Benchmark Analytics in Ecommerce for Marketing

by Kathleen Booth, on Feb 2, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Ecommerce platforms are data machines. From the revenue side to the UX side, there is a wealth of information businesses can use to improve ecommerce sites and increase sales. 

Because there are so many sets of numbers to look at, it’s important to prioritize. Knowing the data that most impacts your business will help your team make strategic decisions.

This article is meant to be an overview of the benchmarks you’ll look for in your analytics, sorted by category, many of which will affect your bottom line.

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Analytics for Ecommerce

Ecommerce metric benchmarks provide a trajectory (not a hard target) for your goals. Think of them as leading indicators that provide you a crystal ball into which you can see how your business will perform in the future. Businesses that keep a close watch on their metrics have an opportunity to take swift action to course correct and in doing so, avoid negative outcomes.

Frequently, ecommerce businesses measure their benchmarks in terms of percentage growth (or decrease) and pay particular attention to both short-term and long-term trends. Depending on how long you’ve been operational, it may also be useful to measure your performance against broader retail ecommerce industry trends.

However you rate and rank, these analytics are useful in helping you identify seasonal opportunities and shape business, product and marketing decisions.

The analytics ecommerce businesses focus on can be loosely divided into three categories:

  1. Ecommerce Website Analytics
  2. Ecommerce Marketing Analytics
  3. Ecommerce Financial Analytics

Of course, these delineations are conceptual and many subcategories overlap but for the sake of simplicity in this article, we've kept it to three broad categories.

Ecommerce Website Analytics

For online retailers, an ecommerce website is the mothership for the entire business ecosystem. Whether or not it works, how it works and how you track your ecommerce website performance are vitally important data points that can determine whether your business survives or thrives. 

All ecommerce businesses should have goals for predictable improvement, and progress against these goals can in many cases be tracked using ecommerce website analytics including: 

  • Overall site traffic 
  • Site health
  • Site traffic patterns
  • Which pages visitors view
  • How long visitors stay on a page
  • How many pages visitors view
  • Increases depending on day of week/time of day
  • Device type
  • PPC v. SEO
  • What are the most effective channels for traffic?
  • How many site visitors come from paid ads?
  • How much organic traffic does your site get?
  • Transaction path length (how many sessions before conversion?)

These numbers help business owners understand how visitors are using their site, where they’re encountering difficulties and how/when/where they drop off. Metrics such as these can also be used to develop a plan of action for improving website performance.

What’s the Norm? Ecommerce Website Benchmarks

Here are some benchmarks for these metrics that can help you measure the health of your own ecommerce website against the average. Keep in mind, these are averages from ecommerce businesses across a range of industries. As such, they should be considered a starting point against which to measure your performance. Over time, the most important thing for your business is to see measurable improvement over your own past performance.

Ecommerce traffic sources:

  • 43% Organic
  • 18% Paid search
  • 20% Direct search
  • 4% Email
  • 5% Social
  • 1% Display Ads
  • 7% Referrals
  • 3% Other

Device type:

  • 53% Mobile
  • 37% Desktop
  • 10% Tablet

On-site engagement:

  • Average pages per session = 5
  • Average bounce rate = 41%
  • Average page load time = < one second
  • Average session duration = 3 minutes

Transaction paths (how many sessions for conversion):

  • 40% in 1 session
  • 60% in 2 sessions
  • 70% in 3 sessions
  • 81% in 5+ sessions

Ecommerce website conversion rate: 2.57%

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Ecommerce Marketing Analytics

There are many ecommerce marketing KPIs that you can choose to track for your business. Knowing what these are and how to systematically improve your performance is key to your success.

Today's customer is mobile and social and successful ecommerce businesses know the importance of developing a marketing strategy that keeps them in front of buyers regardless of where they happen to be. A true omnichannel strategy encompasses not only your ecommerce website, but organic and paid social, email marketing, and a whole host of other channels.

Some of the metrics that ecommerce businesses typically use to measure omnichannel performance include:

Google Ads:

  • Click rates/conversion rates (some of these metrics will vary depending on your bid strategy/how the ad is setup)
  • Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
  • Average CPC and conversion rates
  • Average cost per action

Bing Ads:

  • Conversion rates

Facebook Ads:

  • Impressions, views, etc.
  • Conversion rates

Email Marketing:

  • Email open rates
  • Email unsubscribe rates
  • Email bounce rates
  • Email conversion rates

What’s the Norm? Ecommerce Marketing Benchmarks

Here are some averages, across thousands of online stores, that can help you understand how well your campaigns are performing versus other ecommerce omnichannel marketing campaigns.

Average conversion rates by source:

  • 5.44% Referrals
  • 5.32% Email
  • 2.16% Direct
  • 2.08% Organic
  • 1.42% Google Ads
  • 0.74% Social
  • 0.93% Facebook

CTR for Google Ads for ecommerce brands:

  • 2.69% Search Networks
  • 0.52% Display Networks

Google Ads conversion rates for ecommerce brands:

  • 2.81% Search Networks
  • 0.59% Display Networks

Cost per action for Google Ads for ecommerce brands:

  • $45.27 Search Networks
  • $65.80 Display Networks

YouTube Ads benchmarks:

  • 31.9% view rate
  • $0.026 CPV
  • $0.49 CPC
  • 0.65% CTR

Email marketing benchmarks:

  • Average email open rate is 15.66%
  • Average email click rate is 2.07%
  • Average email unsubscribe rate is 0.24%

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Ecommerce Financial Analytics

This category is arguably the most important of all when it comes to ecommerce business metrics because it speaks directly to the financial health of the organization.

These are some of the key metrics you’ll want to track from a financial standpoint:

  • Average order value (best to segment by traffic source)
  • Add-to-cart rates (by device type)
  • Cart abandonment
  • Conversion rate (by device type)
  • Annual growth rate
  • New versus repeat orders
  • Google Shopping stats
  • Revenue share (by device)
  • Performance (by vertical)
  • CPC and conversion rate by device
  • Average gross margins
  • Customer acquisition cost

What’s the Norm? Ecommerce Financial Benchmarks

There will be plenty of factors that impact your own financial projections and goals. These numbers represent some averages and norms that can provide a baseline or points of comparison.

Global ecommerce performance in Q2 2020:

  • Sales growth: 71% 
  • Traffic growth: 37%
  • Order growth: 37%
  • Average order value: $110.49
  • Average spend per visit: $3.40
  • Social traffic share: 8%
  • Average discount rate: 18%

Note: most of these numbers doubled, if not tripled, between the first and second quarters of 2020. This is likely due to the fact that people stayed at home and shopped on their phones. This trend, and the fast pace at which buying behavior can change, speaks to the importance of quarterly analysis and benchmarking.

Add to cart rate:

  • 10.93% Desktop
  • 12.2% Tablet
  • 9.78% Smartphones

Ecommerce average shopping cart abandon rate: 69.89%

Google Shopping revenue benchmarks:

  • 48% Desktop
  • 10% Tablet
  • 42% Mobile

What To Do With Benchmark Analytics in Ecommerce

The trick is using all of the data points we listed above to inform strategic action. Many online retailers collect metrics like this, but many don’t do much, instead choosing to simply “watch” them. Analytics truly become valuable when they are put into action.

When you have a busy retail ecommerce platform, the numbers change every day. Your goal should be to create a system where you’re regularly looking at the right numbers and immediately turning around to make strategic decisions based on them. 

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