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Strange stats for buyers - GA

     
5:56 am on May 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

I have a small niche business and website selling mountain biking books and maps, that I've recently overhauled. I'm pretty confused by some unusual GA data characteristics about my buyers and wondered whether anyone had any theories or suggestions.

Basically the vast majority of my customers come in as direct source, new visitors and enter directly on the product page. It seems that the buyers already know that they want to make the purchase when they enter the site.

So, its apparent I haven't succeeded in pulling in and selling new customers. What confuses me however, is the fact that 80% or so of the buyers I do get are new visitors entering on pretty deep pages sometimes with not very memorable urls. I can't help but think that there must be alot of people researching, bookmarking and then coming back to purchase, but the new visitor data suggests otherwise...they would be marked as returning visitors.

Any thoughts or help on this would be appreciated. Thanks.

6:35 am on May 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hi Dude, I have noticed many such discrepancies with Google many a times in the past. It is the issue with Google analytics tracking.
9:41 pm on May 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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are any of the pages on your site missing the tracking code? If so, if a person lands on a page without the tracking code, then moves to one with the tracking code, they may show up as a direct visitor. Also, if you have framed pages this may cause the issue as well.
10:30 pm on May 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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The site doesn't use frames and I'm pretty sure all the pages are tracking properly looking over the content stats.

I wonder if for some reason, I might just have a large percentage of people who are researching on their work computer and then buying on their home computer (and thus appearing to be new visitors)

Its frustrating because I'm getting very little ROI information that analytics is supposed to provide. I'd imagine that many e-commerce sites get alot of business from bookmarked or direct visitors. I wonder how they manage to track back to original source?

Thanks for your help.

5:09 am on May 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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well, it is a possibility that people are switching computers before the purchase. feel free to sticky mail me your site if you'd like me to take a look.
12:19 pm on May 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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It's probably not bookmarking. I mean, do people really use bookmarking all that much these days? Not enough to account for this, I don't think.

It's probably just other sites, usually shopping aggregation search sites, that display a link to your product page. If the link is an ordinary javascript link that opens your site in a new browser window, then there will be no referrer for anybody using IE browsers.

A lot of the shopping sites open new windows this way, because it's in their best interest to keep their site open in your browser.

One way to get support for this theory is to run a report just for Firefox and Safari users. If the proportion of those referrer-less internal-page-entry visits drops dramatically for these two browsers, it fits.

Your situation underscores the necessity of having all possible links to your site (through affiliates, banners, pay per click) marked for tracking with a parameter in the link URL. Relying on the referrer is no good any more. Even for search. On sites I track, 9% of all pay per click traffic has no referrer because of the link behaviors of various affiliate search engines --- it's a much higher percentage for Content Network PPC.

8:01 pm on May 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your response(s). I'll try to check out your ideas. At first glance, the only seller of my products that is showing upon the shopping sites is Amazon.
 

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