The Cart Abandonment Rate (CAR) metric is one of the biggest headaches in digital analytics & commerce today. Very few companies have provisioned their web analytics solution to correctly measure and analyze this metric. You can’t manage what you can’t measure.

It is possible to setup the Cart Abandonment Rate (CAR) metric in your analytics solution, but for most this is an extremely challenging process.

Many companies make use of the free Google Analytics (GA) tool. Google Analytics offers “Classic Analytics” and “Universal Analytics”.

What’s the difference with Universal versus Standard Google Analytics?

Some of the key differences can be seen in the screenshot below. While other differences include:

  • The Classic Google Analytics tracking code is named js and the new Google Analytics Universal Analytics tracking code is named analytics.js
  • There are a number of advanced customizations available for Universal Analytics e.g. Custom Search Engines where you can add in those search engines that Google Analytics does not recognize.
  • Referral exclusions or traffic referred to from third parties that you might want to exclude.
  • Universal Analytics uses a more advanced method for tracking and counting visitors correctly. This new method allows for visitors that did not accept cookies, who you were previously unable to track, now being counted.
  • With Google’s Universal Analytics, Impression Data helps you see how users are exposed to products through search and category grids.
  • By provisioning code on the shopping and checkout pages in Google’s Universal Analytics, users can enable reports that show user falloff through the checkout funnel.
  • Refunds can also now be processed if provisioned in Google’s Universal Analytics.




Let’s talk Implementation: Step 1

So once you’ve selected Universal or Standard Google Analytics, you will be provided with a snippet of code that needs to be placed on every single page of your website.




Knowing that most of the Google Analytics implementation will entail different levels & stages of tagging, some prefer to consider a Tag Management solution sooner rather than later e.g. Google Tag Manager . This is recommended if you have multiple analytics and ad performance tracking tools that require site tags.

Let’s talk Implementation: Step 2

Ok so we have the basics, you’ve selected Universal Analytics for example and you’ve been provided with the UA snippet of code for each page of your website, but we still can’t track your Cart Abandonment Rate metric. So what’s next?

  • Setting up Goal Funnels in the Google Analytics Admin section
    • While goal reports cannot show you your cart abandonment rate directly, goals are useful to track conversions up to and including eCommerce goals. Each step in your conversion funnel can be setup as a goal in the admin section of Google Analytics.





To view this report you have just setup in the GA reporting interface, you could browse to: Conversions > Funnel Visualization






Great! So you’ve added the snippet of code required to each page of your website and you’ve made Google Analytics aware of the pages included in your conversion funnel by making use of the Goal Funnel tracking setup.

Let’s talk Implementation: Step 3

  • So Google now knows about every single page on your website and further knows about the pages classified as steps in your conversion funnel. At this point, Google has no clue about the types of products users could or may have added and any other details related to purchase activity.

Setting up eCommerce tracking helps us understand what users are buying through our website including product, transactional revenue, tax, shipping and quantity information, including the time is takes to purchase and purchase behavior. This is the detailed information you need to provide GA with; on top of the fact that you have made them aware of your Goal Funnels.

  • Setting up eCommerce tracking requires five steps to occur:
    1. Within the Google Admin Section, you will need to let Google know that you would like to activate eCommerce reporting:




2. The tracking code necessary must fire on a receipt or confirmation page and must follow the syntax provided by Google and in the order provided by Google.

3.The tracking code must collect the transaction ID, store name, total required, tax, city, state, and country of the transaction and the addTrans() method must be called or fired at the end of collection.

4. The tracking code must also contain the addItem() method, which contains the transaction ID, the SKU, the product name, the category, unit price, and quantity. This method is generally called each time an item is added to your Cart.

5. After the transaction method has been fired and the item data collected in GA the trackTrans() method is called to ensure the total transaction is correctly captured.

For more information, click here

To view the eCommerce reports, you have just activated in the Admin section and just setup with the above tracking code, in the reporting interface, you could browse to: Conversions > Funnel Visualization and see these reports:




While we are able to now track all the basics including our funnel and/or checkout process together with our eCommerce collection data, we are still not able to capture our Cart Abandonment Rate metric.

Provisioning the Reporting

Before we give you that further insight into what setting up your Cart Abandonment Rate (CAR) in Google Analytics (GA), might look like, one important factor to consider, that many forget is, what do you classify as the entry point of your Funnel? Would it be a Product page, would it be your Cart page or would it be once a user selects the “Add to Cart” button? Let’s imagine for the moment it’s your “Add to Cart” button.

From the click of the “Add to Cart” button, event tracking code would need to be added to the OnClick event of the button to record that activity.




Events are simple to use, they are elements of traditional GA setups as well as the new universal analytics.
Something else to consider is leveraging the enhanced eCommerce “Add to Cart” measurement functionality that Universal Analytics offers. This will turn the “Add to Cart” counter mechanism from a simple event into an event dimensions metric. This custom metric can then become its own custom dimension entirely.

  • Back to Provisioning your CAR in Google Analytics. Now that you have everything setup and you have decided where your Checkout Funnel begins and tagged that appropriately, CAR would need to be setup as a calculated metric.


Calculated metrics are derived from existing metrics. Common operators: subtraction, addition, multiplication and division are used to help you create new metrics from existing metrics for use in your analyses.


  • The calculation would look as follows:
  • Calculated metrics options:
    • There are a few setup options for users that want to use calculated metrics. Some are simple setup solutions like collecting the components and doing the math on a pad of paper, while others entail figuring out how your business deems the metric is calculated and setting it up through different events that Google Analytics offers, however these solutions range from expensive to tedious to time consuming.
  • Third party vendors or options
    • DashThis starting at $39
    • OR Export and use Excel
  • Setting up Cart Abandonment Rate
    • Now that most or all of the above setup is done, you can start collecting components of your Cart Abandonment Rate (CAR) data.
  • How to retrieve Cart Abandonment Rate in Google Analytics
    • If you have already completely implemented the enhanced eCommerce features and enabled them in the user interface, then you can collect CAR from the following report



  • As you can see in the above example image, even companies that have enhanced eCommerce enabled will not see the overall CAR metric, or even the steps of CAR properly set up.

2. Another method of implementation could be to consider simply placing an event on every “Add to cart” CTA with the following syntax:


  • Now that you are collecting add to cart and event data, you can apply this calculation to discover your Cart Abandonment Rate as an aggregate, or for individual rows of data within a dimension.
  • Just a reminder, the calculation would look as follows:
  • An easy way to review the Transactions and Add to Order Metrics is to create a dashboard in the GA UI. In this report all that is necessary is to segment the two metrics by the necessary filters. It is important to use unique events because they can occur only once per session:






  • Alternatives to Google Analytics Cart Abandonment Rate implementations
    • If your company doesn’t have the time or resources to build out the functionality required for CAR reports in GA, then it would behoove you to look elsewhere for additional insights.HiConversions 3.0 Software offers 4D Analytics capabilities. These include:
      • Cart Abandonment Rate reporting out of the box, including CAR metrics built in
      • In depth segmentation of step by step fallout
      • Correlation based graphs that show relationships with CAR as well as other KPIs
      • Simple dashboards that are easy use and provide value insights with great charts.