What are Google Analytics transactions?
A transaction in Google Analytics is an ecommerce metric that measures sales activity on your website.
Recording transactions in Google Analytics doesn’t just help you track your ecommerce store performance: it also gives you key insights about the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and sales funnel, so you can optimize them for better results.
You’ll find transaction data under Conversions > Ecommerce. The Overview report will display the total number of transactions and average order value for any period you choose.
You should know…
Google Analytics may not accurately track all transactions on your website. If users have an adblocker installed on their browser and/or do not consent to cookie tracking, you will have missing transactions because Google can't measure their activity. GA might also record duplicate transactions if order confirmation pages are reloaded or refreshed.
Don’t rely on Google transaction data alone to measure the success of your ecommerce website—always cross-reference with your sales dashboard, and get analytics insight from complementary tools (like Hotjar!).
What data can you track with GA transactions?
There are two types of ecommerce tracking to be aware of:
1. Basic ecommerce tracking measures the result of each transaction on your confirmation or thank you page
2. Enhanced ecommerce tracking measures transactions across your entire website and generates advanced reports on shopper behavior throughout the sales funnel, such as product pageviews and abandoned shopping carts.
Google Analytics can track several key ecommerce dimensions:
A Transaction ID (also known as order ID) is assigned to unique purchases on your website.
The Affiliation dimension records the name of your online store (e.g. Acme Clothing).
The Revenue dimension displays the total revenue generated for each transaction in your store, including fees like tax and shipping costs.
The Shipping dimension lets you track the total shipping cost of each transaction.
You can separate the tax value from any transaction using the Tax dimension.
You can set up GA to track item data in addition to transaction data. Dimensions include the product name (Name), unique item code or stock-keeping unit (SKU), product category (Category), per-unit price (Price), and the number of items sold (Quantity).
If you’re using enhanced ecommerce, you can add additional schema to generate advanced and custom ecommerce reports. Enhanced dimensions include coupon codes (Coupon), promotional banners (Creative), product description (Detail), and refunds (Refund).
Transactions in GA4
Since October 2020, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the default version for all new analytics accounts, replacing Universal Analytics (UA). You can continue using UA or migrate to GA4.
GA4 uses the same ‘transaction_ID’ parameter to track unique purchases and refunds on ecommerce sites and is backward-compatible with UA ecommerce schema (see below).
To view transaction data in GA4, look under the ‘LIFE CYCLE’ section and select Monetization > Ecommerce purchases:
The 'Insights' feature will help you access quick transaction reports in GA4, such as your top products by revenue, and revenue by devices.
How to track transactions in Google Analytics
Step 1: Enable ecommerce tracking
Sign in to your Google Analytics account, click 'Admin' and then 'Ecommerce Settings' in the View column.
Click to toggle to 'Enable Ecommerce'. You can also click 'Enable Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting' for more advanced reports.
Step 2: Add ecommerce schema to your website
In addition to the standard Google Analytics tracking code, you’ll need a developer to add additional ecommerce schema markup to your site.
- For standard ecommerce data tracking, modify your analytics.js or gtag.js file to send transaction and item data to Google Analytics from your order confirmation or thank you page.
- For enhanced ecommerce data tracking, modify your analytics.js or gtag.js file to send combined transaction and behavior data from every page of your website.
You can also add ecommerce code snippets using Google Tag Manager (GTM); if you have upgraded to GA4, you can still use the old ecommerce schema or follow these GA4-specific instructions for GTM setup.
3 easy ways to increase transactions on your website
Now you know how to set up and view transaction data in Google Analytics (and that it may not be 100% correct at all times), you can view reports on sales you already have.
But how can you generate more transactions?
Enter: Hotjar, to help you go beyond Google Analytics to understand how visitors are experiencing your website—and why they’re not converting into paying customers.
Here are three easy ways to increase transactions on your ecommerce site using Hotjar’s behavior analytics tools.
1. Spot and fix website bugs
One of the easiest ways to improve your website is to remove the bugs and errors holding potential customers back from completing their purchases.
Start by identifying the pages on your ecommerce site with the steepest drop-off in users (pages with a high exit rate in GA), then set up and watch session recordings on these problem pages to see where real users got stuck.
Ecommerce case study: Session Recordings
Jeff from Ecommerce Warriors used Hotjar Recordings on a client’s online store to spot an issue on the 'Add to Bag' button. Potential customers were missing the size selection requirement above the button, and kept clicking it in frustration (also known as rage clicking). Once Jeff saw the problem, a simple design change led to an increase in transactions.
Still curious? Here are more examples of how session recordings help you spot website bugs.
2. Check if your CTAs are effective
A CTA (call to action) is an element, like a button or link, designed to get website users' attention and drive an action (most likely a click). If you’re trying to increase transactions on your ecommerce site, you need to make sure that key CTAs like 'Shop Now', 'Add to Cart', or 'Checkout' are getting clicks.
Set up and view heatmaps to get a quick visual overview of how many clicks (and taps) your CTAs attract. Once you have the data to confirm if your CTAs are being seen or ignored, you can optimize the page to improve your ecommerce conversion rate.
Ecommerce case study: Heatmaps
3. Ask customers why they chose you
Another effective way to drive more transactions is to understand why your existing customers choose you over the competition. With this insight, you can do a better job of convincing undecided shoppers to make a purchase.
Set up an ecommerce post-purchase survey on your thank-you page and ask open-ended questions to your customers. A question like “What almost stopped you from completing your purchase?” will alert you to blockers that might be holding back other users from clicking 'Buy Now'.
Ecommerce case study: Surveys
Anna and Rui from RyanAir used post-purchase surveys to measure user satisfaction and identify barriers that almost stopped customers from purchasing flights and hotel rooms.
Using both closed-ended and open-ended follow-up questions, they quantified factors that influenced purchase decisions (for example, timed-out searches) so they could implement fixes and improve conversions.
FAQs about Google Analytics transactions
What is the difference between Ecommerce and Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Analytics?
In Google Analytics, standard ecommerce tracking monitors all website transactions from your order confirmation or thank you page. Enhanced ecommerce tracking records pageviews and events across every page on your website so you can also generate reports on shopper behavior, coupon usage, and individual product performance.
Can Google Analytics track refunds?
You can track refunds in Google Analytics by activating and setting up enhanced ecommerce tracking in your account.
GA can track refunds using the unique Transaction ID associated with each purchase within six months of the original sale. You can implement code to automatically track refunds and/or manually upload refund data if you process refunds via phone or offline.
Does Google Analytics track all transactions on my website?
Google Analytics may not correctly track all transactions on your website. For example, transactions are missed if users opt out of analytics tracking or go over GA’s 500 hits-per-session tracking limit. Google Analytics can also record duplicate transactions if users return to or refresh an order confirmation page.
You can cross-reference analytics data with your own sales records to check for errors.
What’s the difference between transactions and conversions in Google Analytics?
In Google Analytics, a 'transaction' is a unique purchase, and a 'conversion' is any goal you set for your website. A conversion could be a purchase or other action like signing up to a mailing list, filling out a form, or browsing multiple pages.
What’s the difference between transactions and unique purchases in Google Analytics?
In Google Analytics, 'transactions' represent unique orders on your online store, and a 'unique purchase' measures the number of times a product was part of a transaction. Since transactions can include multiple products, the number of unique purchases is often higher than the number of transactions.