Well, that means that any of the traffic sources you see in Google Analytics could show how that person found the Etsy home page or an entirely different shop before they navigated to yours within Etsy. Half your so-called social media traffic could be from other people’s marketing! (And not in a good way…)
Even worse, Google Analytics doesn’t show you how people found your shop within Etsy, which makes up the bulk of your traffic. Etsy search, clicks from favorites or recently viewed, promoted listings: all hidden.
A long time ago, when I worked in retail, I envied the prim, organised merchandisers whose sole responsibility was (as far as I could tell from behind the counter) to fluff around with enticing displays of gifts and stationery.
I know I’m not the only one!
Now as Etsy sellers, we get to “merchandise” our own online shops every day.
Check how our listing thumbnails look all together in the catalogue.
Pour over a new product page to make sure every detail is perfect.
Go through our shop policies with a fine tooth comb to make sure we aren’t accidentally committing to replacing unwanted items with a lifetime supply of Starbucks…
And I know—because I’ve spent my fair share of time there—that we do a lot of this “fluffing around” in our public shop front. You know – the exact same view that our buyers see.
The pages of our shop where our Google Analytics code runs. Those pages.
If you’ve hung around here for a while, you’ll have heard a little about UTM Campaign Tags. They are the magic ingredient for making sure that visits from Instagram, Pinterest and anywhere else show up in your Google Analytics reports correctly.
Why doesn’t this happen right in the first place??
To know where a visitor came from, Google Analytics has to listen in to the conversation happening between the visitor’s browser and your website. Often this conversation includes information about the last page the visitor looked at (their traffic source).
This is called “referral” information.
But sometimes, for a whole bunch of technical reasons, it doesn’t have this information or it’s wrong. In many of these cases, the visit will be attributed as “direct” traffic (the catch-all black hole bucket of mystery visits!)and you’ll never know if your marketing actually worked.
Campaign tags let us control all the information about the source of the visit and leave nothing to chance.
Keep reading to find out how and where to use campaign tags for marketing your handmade shop!
This article has been updated for Google Analytics 4. (You don’t need to change your tagged links!)
Reading and understanding the numbers around your shop’s traffic is super important. If you can do this, you can better understand where you should focus your marketing, what parts of your shop could be improved, and make sure you’re seeing real benefits from all your promoting efforts.
(And we know promotion needs A LOT of effort!!)
There are two sources for this information: Etsy’s built-in Stats and Google Analytics (“Analytics” or just “GA”). They both have their pros and cons, so you’ll most likely continue to use both hand-in-hand to gauge your performance. But when should you use each one?
The past few years haven’t been easy, for Etsy or sellers. Despite their increasing Gross Merchandise Sales, 2014 through 2016 saw the average amount spent per buyer and per item fall. More buyers who buy cheaper things for less is not a good outcome for handmade businesses trying to crack a luxury market!
Ok, so it’s not quite that scary in there. It’s just a lot of very passionate sellers who are trying to run a successful shop and are worried about changes to their platform that might make that harder.
And rightly so! It’s never nice to have the rug pulled out from under your feet.
So it didn’t surprise me one little bit to see the plethora of threads, discussions and yes – complaints – about the new Etsy Shop Stats that were released earlier this year. Sellers were talking about why the changes were made, the things they couldn’t find anymore, and the new numbers that didn’t make sense.
So what do I think? Should you be throwing in the Etsy-Shop-Stats towel or running back to it with open arms?
The smell of your morning coffee still lingers in the air as your daily task list looms.
Gotta answer those customer questions… Better update those old product descriptions… What about that new Instagram photo challenge?
Oh and making some beautiful things. You know – the whole reason your shop exists.
Thank goodness for that coffee!
It’s hard work running a small business, especially when your online shop needs so much marketing and promotion to keep making sales. Sometimes it feels like you do more “business” than “making”.
So what I’m about to suggest might sound a little scary. We’re going to go even deeper into “business”.
The level of strategy and KPIs.
Key performance indicators? Really??!
Don’t worry, these aren’t the “awkward closed-door meetings with your boss” kind of KPI. These are the kind that focus how you measure your shop’s performance and tell you when to have a celebratory drink.
If you don’t know what success should look like, how will you know when you get there? How will you know when to crack that champagne?!
You need to figure out what your “success metrics” are, first.
Have you ever asked the question, “What type of listings do my visitors spend longer on?“
It’s a great question! If I sold children’s toysandtoy patterns, I’d want to know what general type of products are more popular with visitors, regardless of what actually sells more.
But if you’ve spent much time in the Behavior reports in Google Analytics (which is where you’ll find all your listings), you’ll know that you can’t just group them by their Section. That info just isn’t in there at all!
You know what I’m going to say… we can totally fix that!
You can take your Listings reports to the next level by putting in whatever information you want about every listing. So keep reading to find out how…
⚠️ IMPORTANT! These instructions are for GA Universal Analytics and are no longer applicable.Etsy now supports GA4.
The out-of-date article below is available to read if interested. If the topic is still relevant in GA4, it might be updated in the future.