How to Measure Your eCommerce Store's Site Search Effectiveness

Creating an effective site search starts with understanding how to measure its effectiveness. Today we'll share how to evaluate it using Google Analytics.

Which site search metrics are important for measuring effectiveness?

No matter how your site search performs now, generally visitors who use search for finding products convert twice as much compared to visitors who use other site navigation to browse the product catalog - according to Econsultancy. This is explained by the fact that searching visitors have a more specific shopping intent than visitors who are simply browsing: the information gathering stage is completed, and they want to view product details to satisfy other buying motivators such as price, availability and delivery terms. So, it makes it all worthwhile to learn about measuring site search effectiveness to see how well your search supports converting visitors to buyers, and later use this data to make decisions about improving site search.

In order to measure your site's search performance, use Google Analyitcs' dedicated "Reports" section. So what are the main search metrics you can track with Google Analytics?

  • Monitor how often visitors use search on your website (Google Analytics divides visitors into the Visits Without Site Search and Visits With Site Search groups),

  • Measure site search conversion and compare it to conversion through browsing product catalog,

  • Evaluate the revenue and the average order value in the site search.
The collected search data will help you analyze users' behavior who use the site search and understand if you need to invest in the search development, and how soon you will return your investments.


3 Steps to Set Up Google Analytics for Site Search Analytics

1. Turn on Enhanced Ecommerce in the Shopify admin panel

Go to the Online Stores tab → Preferences and find Google Analytics item. Add your GA code if you still haven't activated analytics.
Activate Enhanced Ecommerce in Shopify

2. Turn on Enhanced Ecommerce in the GA admin panel

Visit Admin pageView tab → Ecommerce set-up. Next, turn on Enable Enhanced Ecommerce.
Activate Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Analytics

3. Turn on Site Search Tracking in the GA panel

On the previous step, we activated visitor tracking for Ecommerce. Now, go to the Admin page → ViewView Settings.
View Settings in Google Analytics
Find and turn on Site Search Tracking on the bottom of the page. In the Query Parameter field, enter the letter "q" that means an internal query parameter in the site searсh. Other search apps could have different query parameters, and you can enter up to five parameters, separated by commas. Read How to identify search query parameters below.
Site Search Tracking in Google Analytics
And just like this, you no longer have to wonder how to measure the effectiveness of your site's search.
To view Google Analytics (GA) reports, open Behaviour tab → Usage. You'll see the standard analytics reports based on visits. They are not so interesting for the evaluation of the financial efficiency of the search. So, go to the Ecommerce tab and choose to create charts by Revenue option as it shown on the screenshot.
Usage of Site Search in GA
Now you can get the efficiency graph for your search:
Site Surch Graph in GA
You have two segments of customers: Visits Without Site Search and Visits With Site Search. Compare clients by the following parameters:

  • Sessions Standard measure of how many visitors use search or view catalog.

  • Revenue Shows revenue of each segment. GA tracks your customers purchases, and how they made them: through the catalog or through the search. All customers purchases are added up together, which shows the profitability of each segment.

  • Transactions It shows how many purchases were made by customers from different segments. GA monitors whether the purchase took place or not, and from what page the user came to the product page.

  • Avg. Order Value It's calculated by dividing Revenue by Transactions.

  • Ecommerce Conversion Rate It shows how many clients have made payments. It is calculated by dividing the number of customers in the Sessions column by the number of transactions.

  • Per session value Average revenue per visitor. The fewer visitors at a high check per buyer—the higher the parameter.
Site Search Usage Table
It's clear from our table that the majority of our customers viewed products through the catalog and made more purchases there. However, the customers that bought goods through the search brought more profit, and conversion of these customers was 39% instead of 17%.

Calculating the total profit from all the customers who have purchased through the search, you can see the effectiveness of the internal search in your store.

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Those three simple steps will allow you to measure your website's search engine metrics effortlessly.

And if any of these e-commerce search metrics are performing below your expectations, there is likely room for improvement. In this case, Searchanise is there for you to lend you a helping hand and boost conversions through your search.

Searchanise is an advanced smart search tool designed for higher conversions in eCommerce stores.
Use a 14-day free trial period to explore your opportunities with smart search by Searchanise:
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Searchanise advanced API and API docs will help you handle any integration.
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