If you sell things on Etsy, you’re in a tight spot. As a seller, you have all the pressures of a normal e-commerce website, but only half of the tools to do something about it.
You see, most successful websites that sell things online use some form of data analysis or Analytics to optimize and improve their sales. As a general rule, most websites and campaigns run like crap at the start. What I mean is that even the best, most experienced digital marketers still have to undertake some optimization with their websites in order to turn a profit.
These days, digital marketing is scientific task. Conversion Optimization, a set of practices designed to increase the conversion rate of a given website, is a solid way to increase your sales, or (for the sake of our scientific experiment), get the results you want.
Conversion Optimization and Etsy Do Not Mix
If you sell on Etsy you should be engaged in conversion optimization. You should be tweaking your photographs, titles, and descriptions based on the sales of items. If you’re running any type of advertising or referral set up from other websites, you should be looking at what traffic sources have the best conversion rate and putting more of your marketing effort into those sources.
There’s only one catch: Etsy doesn’t give you access to conversion data.
Let’s break it down. Etsy gives you access to two potential data sources: Shop Stats and Google Analytics.
Shop Stats are Etsy’s own proprietary analytics system that’s baked right into your Shop. They’re good for the basics like general popularity of items, and landing pages for various traffic sources. But, at least coming from Google Analytics (one of the defacto standards for web analytics), Etsy Shop Stats are goofy.
Etsy Shop Stats are goofy.
First of all, Etsy does practically of it’s tracking based on “Views.” Unlike Pageviews in Google Analytics, Views are the “cumulative number of views for your item from the moment the item was listed on the site,” which means they’re not accurate for a given period of time; this is the equivalent of calculating your college grades based on cumulative scores from a test on shapes you did in the 2nd grade.
Second, Etsy doesn’t treat traffic sources and sales (often the central conversion metric) the same way Google Analytics does on a session level. For example, let’s say we pay for ads from Google that land on an item in our Etsy Shop. In Google Analytics, we’ll have access to session level data that basically says “Hey, despite this visitor going to many different places on your shop, they ultimately were introduced by this ad you purchased.” However, Etsy treats session traffic as the literal, last page the visitor came from.
Basically, Etsy treats it differently. The way they see it, you pay for an ad, someone lands on the item you’ve selected, browses through several others, and then ultimately purchases the original item or another, and because you clicked around Etsy for a while, it’s referred to as an Etsy traffic source, rather than focus on the original source of the visitor (in this case, the ad you purchased). Why? Because after the visitor, very technically, came from Etsy. Useful for Etsy, but not so useful for anyone trying to use data to improve their sales.
Google Analytics Won’t Fix It
It seems like the easiest solution to create a Google Analytics account and add it into your Etsy Shop. But this won’t help much since Etsy doesn’t insert Google Analytics into the pages that matter: the sales funnel. Google Analytics Goals, traditionally the easiest way to record sales, are inert in Etsy along with any functions related Analytics’s e-commerce functionality.
Forget custom reports or segments, Etsy simply doesn’t seem to include the code for Analytics tracking in any part of the sales funnel; the code is only included on thing you can manipulate, which is basically your items and Shop categories. While Google Analytics will get you more accurate, actionable data related to how many visitors come to your Shop, forget about using data for any real insights into your actual conversions.
Why Does This Matter To Sellers?
This subject and issue is widely undiscussed right now. Do a quick Google search for something like “Etsy Conversion Optimization” and you’ll pull up a few vague articles that discuss engendering trust with your visitors. I’m not saying trust isn’t important! I am saying that my hunch is that most Etsy sellers don’t have independent websites and only have Shops and have probably never confronted the concept of conversion optimization. Also, Etsy’s not telling sellers about this and they should be.
Conversion optimization isn’t a luxury or a premium service — it’s a way of life for online retailers, whether they sell on Etsy or eBay or their own sites.