Analytics tip – 3 metrics to benchmark holiday success

B2B vendors are already in the holiday marketing swing to help their retailers fulfill inventory, while B2C brands are brainstorming and executing holiday campaign strategy for their stores, websites, emails, and more.

Everyone wants a piece of that huge holiday pie. Last year, holiday sales during November and December increased 5.5% over 2016 to $691.9 billion.

A smart digital strategy is step one to getting a big, fat piece of that seasonal spending. Of course, the best way to map out a winning digital strategy is to first look back at what worked last year.

To get started, we’ve outlined 3 Google Analytics metrics to benchmark from last season to help you develop this year’s marketing plan.

Conversions + most popular shopping days

First, identify the days your website saw the highest conversions last year.
To benchmark high-level conversion numbers from last season in Google Analytics, navigate to Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview.

The Overview graph at the top of the page displays the E-commerce Conversion Rate by default, but can be modified by clicking the dropdown. You can click “Select a Metric to add additional metrics, like Average Order Value, Quantity, Revenue, Transactions, and Unique Purchases. We selected Revenue and E-commerce Conversion Rate.



This graph helps us mark our highest revenue and converting days. You’ll notice revenue and conversion rates start picking up in mid-November. This indicates an optimal range to start heavily promoting.

In particular, it’s clear that Black Friday and the week of Cyber Monday perform particularly well. You can also see that the season doesn’t end on Christmas Day. In fact, Deloitte found that 1 in 5 shoppers will spend 23% of their budget after December 25.

Traffic sources by channel

Now that you’ve identified your highest converting days, how should you promote them?

Next, we recommend looking at Google Analytics’ Channels report to determine where to spend your marketing budget.  Navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels.

Google Analytics Channels Report

The Channels report delivers a breakdown of the channels (organic, paid search, direct, email, etc.) directing people to your site. It tells you:

  • How many visitors you had on each channel
  • How long they explored your website
  • Conversion rate
  • Revenue generated from each channel

Dig deeper into this data by clicking the channels individually.

Channels driving the highest traffic, conversions, and revenue last holiday season should receive a lot of love (and extra budget) in this year’s marketing plan. Channels delivering little ROI can be omitted from this season’s plan, or tweaked to perform more effectively.

% Mobile Traffic

If you’re seeing a higher volume of website traffic from mobile devices (20% of traffic or more) then you need to update your website and email campaigns to deliver a fantastic user experience from every device.

Check the percent of website traffic deriving from mobile devices by using a mobile traffic segment on your Channels report. At the top of your Channels report (discussed above) choose +Add Segment.

Mobile Segment in Google Analytics Channels Report

Select System on the left side (this segment is also located under All). Checkmark Mobile Traffic, uncheck All Sessions, and select Apply. Now, you are looking only at your mobile traffic.

Measure Mobile Traffic spikes during the holidays in Google Analytics

Check the graph to find patterns in mobile traffic and scroll below to review mobile traffic by channel. See the days of the week driving the highest mobile traffic and metrics like Sessions, New Users, Bounce Rate, Transactions, Revenue, and E-commerce conversion rate.

(PST: if you don’t care to see mobile traffic by channel, but just want to check mobile traffic volume, you can also navigate to Audience > Mobile > Overview. Voila!)

Measure + repeat

Review these metrics each year to benchmark holiday success to fine-tune your digital strategy ongoing.