Last month I had the pleasure of watching Holly Carrington of Ariat speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Expo in Chicago. The topic was Prioritizing Merchandising & Design Investments. Ariat is one of my favorite clients, and Holly’s presentation was really engaging, so it was great to be able to see it live. What made it even sweeter, was that Holly peppered her slides with plenty of good supporting data – much of it derived from the work of SwellPath analysts. This made her presentation more engaging, and validated many of the decisions she had made with regards to Ariat.com functionality and features. One of the slides pointed to the effect of videos on product detail pages, and the fact that viewers of those videos convert at a rate 160% higher than the site average. This prompted a question from one of the audience members, on how Holly was able to calculate that. Holly pointed at the tracking and analysis we’d done to get that metric, and then the audience member asked directly who her agency was. It was great to get a mention, but I thought it’d be good to breakdown how we captured and analyzed that data.
First, bear in mind that Ariat.com is pretty dialed in on the analytics tagging. We’re able to push through fairly advanced tracking, and it is put in place by skilled developers. So the foundation, from which this particular data is built upon, is solid. We made the decision to use event tracking for this, but you could also use custom variables with a session based scope. Ariat’s videos are YouTube players in overlay iframes. We had the developers trigger the analytics request for a Google Analytics event, when the visitor clicks to launch and play the video. Here is an example of the code:
<a href=”#” rel=”popup” id=”videos_how_to_fit_a_tall_boot” onclick=”_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'PDP Video', 'Video Play', 'How To Fit A Tall Boot']);”>
I’ll break down how we organized these values, so that they are optimally displayed in Google Analytics. The Event Category is PDP Video, so all video plays from product detail pages, are aggregated in this value in the reporting. The Event Action is Video Play. That is the only action the visitor can take with the current video setup, but if we have other actions we want to track with videos in the future we can expand on this (e.g. Video Pause). Finally, the Event Label tracks the title of the video, so we can quickly see which videos are being watched, in the Google Analytics reporting.
So all that explained how we track the views – but how do we tie it back to conversion rate? This is accomplished by using an advanced filter on the eccomerce tab on the report. Dropping down the advanced filter interface, we have the option of selecting the Event Category as the dimension we’ll filter on (using Include as the operator). Then we match the regular expression of PDP Video, and we’ll isolate only these video view events in the report.
Now we simply click the Ecommerce option in the reporting “tabs” above your chart, and you’ll now be able to see revenue, transactions, and ecommerce conversion rate for the videos. You can of course see them in aggregate, but you’ll also be able to view them for each individual video.
Now, it is important to remember what we are looking at here: the revenue, transactions, and ecommerce conversion rates for visits where a video was viewed. This does not mean the video influenced the sale directly, or even indirectly. The visitor could view a video on a product detail page, and then purchase a completely different item on a product detail page that had no video. It is also important to keep causation and correlation separate here. A visitor who is purchasing may be more likely to watch a video because they are prepared for a longer visit and doing more extensive product research; it is simply correlation. Versus a visitor watching a product-focused video, and being inspired to make a purchase as a result of that viewing (causation).
All that being said, when Holly gave her presentation last month, she pointed out that visits where a product detail page video had been viewed, had a conversion rate that was 160% higher than visits where no product detail page video was viewed. When I just dug around for this post, I found the number even higher than that. This post isn’t trying to make the case for videos on product detail pages, but that is compelling data none-the-less, and data that we would not have had with out implementing the advanced Google Analytics Event Tracking.