Using Google Analytics to Identify Important Holidays

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

This blog post comes to us from our friends at Blue Acorn, an award-winning, full-service eCommerce agency. It was written by Conversion Consultant Amanda Graham (be sure to read her bio below!).
As you begin your email marketing strategy planning for the upcoming holiday season, in addition to the obvious promotions, make sure to include a plan for any secondary holidays, as well. Amanda explains how to identify them.  
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Everyone knows about Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season. With few exceptions, it is the most active time of the year for eCommerce sites, but what about other holidays? Most eCommerce stores have at least one other holiday bump. Think of the other holiday bump as a secondary holiday that drives traffic and sales. Somewhere in Google Analytics, there is data pointing to a secondary holiday spike.
You may not believe you have a secondary holiday, but trust me you do. To identify your secondary holiday, simply log into Google Analytics (or another web analytics platform) and research your traffic over the past year. Do you see spikes? Next, look at revenue throughout the past year. Do you see corresponding spikes?
A spike in traffic and revenue does not necessarily directly correlate to a secondary holiday. It is possible you are looking at spike caused by a successful campaign or massive public relations bump.
By always carefully annotating your web analytics account, you can quickly dismiss campaign/PR spikes and consult your calendar to determine what people were celebrating.
multichannelfunnel for advanced tagging
For example, you might frequently see a spike near the 3rd Saturday in August and discover the indicated date correlates with: International Geocaching Day! That explains why during this time your eCommerce store sells so many GPS devices and flashlights. Not all secondary holidays are as eclectic as International Geocaching Day; some are very obvious such as a beer t-shirt eCommerce site’s secondary holidays, St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Break.
Once you have discovered your secondary holiday, it is important to target visitors during this time period and determine how they are finding your site. Not all holidays are the same. For example you may find visitors convert very well from affiliate sites during the Christmas holiday season, but observe a negative ROI from affiliates during your secondary holiday. Using Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics allows you to discover what visitor paths convert best and use that information to better target your visitors during any holiday season.
What to do about a spike is important, but the first step is simply finding out when. Take a few minutes today to check out your site data in order to discover your hidden secondary holidays.
Check out the original blog post here.


by Amanda Graham CONVERSION CONSULTANT

Amanda is our resident scientist at Blue Acorn. You won’t find any contractions or oxford commas in her articles. She’s always quick to pick up on new techniques and even faster at teaching them to us. We count ourselves lucky to have her here. In her free time, she volunteers for the Analysis Exchange, a group that offers free web analytics consulting to nonprofits and NGOs around the world. She spends the rest of her spare time hanging out with Charley, her wicked-cool miniature schnauzer, who you can also follow on Twitter @charleydoggy.

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