What is the Difference Between Conversions and E-Commerce in Google Analytics?

Tracking specific conversions lends insight into to the effectiveness of your website and marketing. This post will discuss the difference between goal/conversion and e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics.

Spoiler alert: the metrics essentially denote the same thing because they track the desired actions on a website – clicking, buying, viewing, downloading, etc. How you go about setting up these metrics and where you find them in Google Analytics is a bit different.

Google Analytics Goals

Go to conversions → goals (video: 37 sec.) Goals measure an action that’s been completed. Types of goals you could measure include sign-ups for your newsletter, downloads of your ebook, or views of your video. Goals should be based on key performance indicators that you determine in advance.

Google Analytics E-Commerce Goals

Go to conversions → e-commerce. E-commerce goals track purchase activity (video:49). It could measure the number of product purchases, purchases of a specific product, or the amount of time taken for a product to be purchased.

Google AnalyticsHow do we set up goals in Google Analytics?

Go to Admin → Goals (video 1:23). There are several types of goals that can be set up: destination goals, duration goals, pages per session goals, and more. Anything you can click on on a website can be tracked by making that click into a goal.

For example, you could set up a destination goal to track when someone fills out a form on a website.  This type of destination goal is pretty easy to track. A website visitor fills out a form and the website serves up a thank you page that can only be generated when the form is filled out. The thank-you page is unique and trackable.

Goals that are more difficult to set up and track relate to watching a video, downloading a PDF, clicking on a certain aspect of your website. These require that you set up event tracking so that Google can see that event has taken place. Once that is set up, then you have to turn that event into a goal.

How do we set up E-Commerce goals in Google Analytics?

E-commerce is actually set up in the same area (video: 2:10) as above. As far as Google Analytics is concerned all you do is turn it on. However, there’s more set-up involved. The set-up usually entails either adding a piece of code to the page that fires after a purchase is made or using a plug-in section in WordPress that allows that piece of code to be fired. Conversions are all here and there’s a separation between goals and e-commerce.

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