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Revenue Tracking with Google Website Optimizer

Posted by ophir on February 28th, 2008

I came across this question on the Google Website Optimizer group:

Hi, I run a website where I sell 7 different products each at a different price level.
I am wondering whether there’s a way so that I can track the changes I make in terms of their effect on my overall revenue?

From a marketing perspective, this raises an interesting question.
Will the test version with the best conversion rate always bring the most revenue?

If what you are testing has no relationship to what you are selling, then probably yes.

On the other hand, lets say you want to test what product you should be highlighting.
In such a case, measuring overall revenue makes sense.

So here is how I would do it…

The first thing you want to do (which you should be doing in any case, even if you’re not tracking revenue) is apply the Google Website Optimizer + Google Analytics hack.
This provides you with all of the Google Analytics data for each one of your combinations.

Next, you need to use Google Analytics E-commerce Tracking.
Here are the instructions from Google:
Tracking e-commerce transactions in Google Analytics

If you’re just testing a single page, this alone should be enough as you can get the revenue data on a per page basis (Pageviews * $ Index).

But what if you’re testing a site wide change, like the “add to cart” button or “product of the month”?

You can easily get revenue data for each combination using the Google Analytics e-commerce tracking by simply over-riding one of the item fields in the addItem call.

Here’s the original example:

pageTracker._addItem(
   "1234",                           // Order ID
   "DD44",                           // SKU
   "T-Shirt",                        // Product Name
   "Green Medium",                   // Category
   "11.99",                          // Price
   "1"                               // Quantity
 );
 

I’m going to put the GWO combination number in the SKU field.

Here’s the modified example code:

var combo = ‘combo - ‘ + getcombo(); // getcombo function from the GWO + GA hack.

pageTracker._addItem(
   "1234",                     // Order ID
   combo,                      // SKU
   "T-Shirt",                  // Product Name
   "Green Medium",             // Category
   "11.99",                    // Price
   "1"                         // Quantity
 );
 

Then simply use the GA e-commerce report for product SKU performance.

That’s it!

2 Responses to “Revenue Tracking with Google Website Optimizer”

  1. Gavin Doolan Says:

    Interesting technique, I wonder though if this is the best method? This is probably due to the fact that the article is old now, but on Eric Vasilik’s blog he shows a method of inserting the utmx combination value in the _utmv cookie so you could just go to Visitors -> User-Defined and E-commerce tab to see revenue associated with a combo and p/visit value etc.

  2. ophir Says:

    @Gavin

    Putting the GWO combination number in the user defined variable is also a valid solution.
    This of course is assuming you’re not using it for something else.

    Each method has it’s pros and cons.

    I myself have used the setvar method in a couple of instances where we couldn’t make changes to the actual GA eCommerce code.

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