Rather than looking at the obvious data, like bounce-rate and overall conversion rate, what specific data should I be looking at to help improve earnings on a site or seeing where money is being lost?
First, you need to make sure you have the conversion funnel set up properly. Enter the urls for all of the checkout steps (cart, login/register, checkout page, etc) and then look at the conversion funnel. This will help you to see if there are any bottlenecks or major problems causing a huge portion of your customers to drop-off at any point in the checkout process. Ideally a checkout should be one page, the more clicks, the higher the drop-off.
Also look at all of your individual pages, see which ones have the highest abandonment and the highest conversion. That will help you see what you are doing right/wrong.
I'd also highly recommend doing extensive A/B testing. You'd be surprised how much difference the wording of a button or even the color can make on whether or not a user clicks on it. Same goes for navigation elements, position of items on a page, promotions, etc. You can never A/B test enough!
At The Good (thegood.com) we usually start not by looking at data, but rather by talking to the actual users. Funny thing is, they will actually show you exactly where the money is being lost.
Look at where they are deserting on the site, where they get stuck in the conversion process, and where they are frustrated.
You'll also learn through testing that consumers/users have goals. And they are almost never the same goals as the marketing team who put the site together. So go find out what the consumer's goals are (by asking them directly) and then use that to make changes to the site.
After you've done this process, THEN start tracking and reviewing data. Otherwise, you're just looking at data for an unoptimized site... and mostly wasting your resources.
So in short, qualitative and quantitative. You need both, most forget one.
You have the basics, the In and Out of the funnel. But you are missing the middle measure, which many so-called "pro" marketers I've coached have also missed.
This measure tells you whether the chief problem is on the Traffic or the Conversion side of your revenue equation.
Did you know there are two factors to you making money?
If your traffic source is garbage, ie. not pre-qualified for your offer, then do you think getting into a frenzy over improving conversion will help?
Where can you get the biggest bang for your buck?
If you want to know what this measure is, and how to use it in every funnel you make going forward, then we should speak.
If you want to move past basic bounce rate, here are a couple suggestions that might help:
heat maps of where the customer is 'looking':
A/B testing to simultaneously test several variations of your website to see which is doing best:
Not sure if you're yet measuring on a fine grained level on your site (i.e. which buttons people click on within your site), but popcornmetrics offers an easy, non-dev way to set that up.
if you want advice specific to your site feel free to send a message,
Not to reiterate on what has already been mentioned, something I always look at is what is the user intention when they hit your site. Meaning, did they find your site through organic Google search? If so, what keywords are people using? If paid ads, where are the ads placed? What do the ads say?
Once that is determined, you need to manage the user thought sequence. There is some form of interest from the customer because they landed on your site. Any ad or keyword offers somewhat of a "promise" that your site will provide certain information. Are you delivering on that promise?
To analyze this, a lot of times you can see how a user flows through your site. Are they landing on the landing page, then they move to the "Product" page, then the "About" page? If so, your messaging might not be clear on the page they enter your site on - as they are seeing more information.
Also, look at what devices people are using. Are you getting high amounts of mobile/tablet traffic? If so, is your site user friendly on those platforms?
Hopefully this helped. If you have any specific questions, feel free to message me.