How to calculate customer lifetime value (CLV) for subscription ecommerce in Google Analytics
Many of Littledata's subscription customers come to us with a similar problem: how to calculate return on advertising spend, considering the varying customer lifetime value (CLV) of subscription signups. Calculating marketing ROI for subscription ecommerce is a big problem with a number of potential solutions, but even the initial problem is often misunderstood. In this post I break down what the problem is, and walk through two proven solutions for getting consistent, reliable CLV reporting in Google Analytics. What is customer lifetime value? I work with all kinds of subscription ecommerce businesses: beauty boxes, nutritional supplements, training courses and even sunglasses-by-the-month. All of them want to optimise customer acquisition costs. The common factor is they are all willing to pay way MORE than the value of the customers' first subscription payment... because they expect the customer to subscribe for many months. But for how many months exactly? That's the big question. Paying for a marketing campaign which bring trial customers who cancel after one payment - or worse, before the first payment - is very different from paying to attract sticky subscribers. A marketing director of a subscription business should be willing to pay WAY more to attract customers than stay 12 months than customers who only stay one month. 12 times more, to be precise. So how do we measure the different contribution of marketing campaigns to lifetime customer value? In Google Analytics you may be using ecommerce tracking to measure the first order value, but this misses the crucial detail of how long those shoppers will remain subscribers. With lifetime customer value segments we can make more efficient use of media, tailor adverts to different segments, find new customers with lookalike audiences and target loyalty campaigns. There are two ways for a marketing manager to see this data in Google Analytics: one is a more difficult, manual solution; the other is an easier, automated solution that ties recurring payments back to the original campaigns. A manual solution: segment orders and assign a lifetime value to each channel It's possible to see the required data in GA by manually segmenting orders and assigning a lifetime value to each channel. For this solution you'll need to join together: (a) the source of a sample of first orders from more than a year ago, by customer number or transaction ID and (b) the CLV of these customers The accuracy of the data set for A is limited by how your Google Analytics is set up: if your ecommerce marketing attribution is not accurate (e.g. using Shopify's out-the-box GA scripts) then any analysis is flawed. You can get B from your subscription billing solution, exporting a list of customer payments (and anonymising the name or email before you share the file internally). To link B to A, you'll need either to have the customer number or transaction ID of the first payment (if this is stored in Google Analytics). [subscribe] Then you can join the two data sets in Excel (using VLOOKUP or similar function), and average out the lifetime value by channel. Even though it's only a sample, if you have more than 100 customers in each major channel it should give you enough data to extrapolate from. Now you've got that CLV by channel, and assuming that is steady over time, you could import that back into Google Analytics by sending a custom event when a new customer subscribes with the 'event value' set as the lifetime value. The caveat is that CLV by channel will likely change over time, so you'll need to repeat the analysis every month. If you're looking to get away from manual solutions and excessive spreadsheets, read on... A better solution: tie recurring payments back to the original campaign(s) What if you could import the recurring payments into Google Analytics directly, as they are paid, so the CLV is constantly updated and can be segmented by campaign, country, device or any other standard GA dimension? This is what our Google Analytics connection for ReCharge does. Available for any store using Shopify as their ecommerce platform and ReCharge for recurring billing, the smart connection (integration) ties every recurring payment back to the campaigns in GA. Here's how the connector works The only drawback is that you'll need to wait a few months for enough customer purchase history (which feeds into CLV) to be gathered. We think it's worth the wait, as you then have accurate data going forward without needing to do any manual imports or exports. Then, if you also import your campaign costs automatically, you can do the Return on Investment (ROI) calculations directly in Google Analytics, using GA's new ROI Analysis report (under Conversions > Attribution), or in your favourite reporting tool. Do you have a unique way of tracking your marketing to maximise CLV? Are there other metrics you think are more important for subscription retailers? Littledata's connections are growing. We'll be launching integrations for other payment solutions later this year, so let us know if there's a particular one you'd like to see next.
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Link Analytics to AdWords with our new Google Ads connection
To target -- and retarget -- the right shoppers, ecommerce sites need to connect customer behaviour and ecommerce data from Google Analytics with their Google Ads (AdWords) accounts. But until now that was a complicated process, to say the least. Marketers have spent years going through detailed setup steps to connect the platforms, or wading through spreadsheets with manual imports and exports, building custom audiences and segments. It was an ongoing headache, but they did it because connecting shopping behaviour data with AdWords campaigns gets big results. Now there's a better way. Littledata's new Google Ads connection makes it easy to link Analytics to AdWords. Ecommerce sites are using the connection for smarter targeting that increases online sales and customer LTV. Why should you link Analytics to AdWords? In past posts we've highlighted the benefits of linking Analytics with AdWords for a mutually beneficial relationship. Littledata's new connection automates the process to ensure accurate tracking and more targeted campaigns. Benefits include: Online sales data in AdWords reports, and visa versa. Add sales columns to reports in Google Ads and view Google Ads costs in Google Analytics. Abandoned cart campaigns. Get higher ROI with targeted PPC campaigns based on shopping cart activity. Ecommerce hyper-segmentation, especially for Shopify stores and enterprise clients. Since Littledata fixes ecommerce tracking across the checkout flow, the Google Ads connection is especially powerful for marketers looking to retarget with granular user behaviour data, such as product list views, product detail pages and adds-to-cart. Multiple accounts. Multiple views. Our Google Ads connections lets you link multiple AdWords accounts to multiple Google Analytics views. It's that simple. Wait, do you mean Ads or AdWords? Have you heard the news? Google AdWords is now Google Ads. Google pitched the switch to Ads as a large-scale rebrand for simplicity, but it's clearly targeted in part at bumping up competition against other 'ads' in common parlance: Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads and Twitter Ads, with Reddit Ads quickly gaining pace among SaaS companies in particular. We still talk about AdWords a bit on the blog (as does the rest of the internet, such as Search Engine Land), but soon we'll all have to adapt to the change. So we're calling this new connection a Google Ads connection, but we don't expect marketers to stop chatting about AdWords any time soon. How does it work? After you sign up for Littledata, you can connect Analytics to AdWords from the Connections tab in the Littledata app. Just follow a couple of setup steps and the app makes the connection for you. No more manual connections. Plus, we audit your analytics setup continually to ensure consistent ecommerce tracking, campaign tagging and UTM parameters. So what are you waiting for? Those products aren't going to retarget themselves... And don't forget to try our Facebook Ads connection to complete your marketing analytics stack. It's an easy way to link Facebook Ads to Google Analytics. All paid plans in the Littledata app include a variety of Google Analytics connections for Shopify, Shopify Plus, ReCharge, Refersion, CartHook and more. PS. The next iteration of our Google Ads connection will provide automation for retargeting using ecommerce segments. Sign up for Littledata today so you're first in line!
Why you should link Google Ads with Google Analytics
Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) and Google Analytics have constantly proved their worth as valuable tools for ecommerce marketers to get insights and detailed reporting on advertising ROI. But why should you link Google Ads and Google Analytics together? What does it mean to connect them? Our enterprise ecommerce customers in particular have seen a major benefit of linking Analytics with Ads. Those who linked these two platforms have seen a significant improvement in reporting and it made it much easier to retarget ads to clients that have forgotten or abandoned their services but shown intent to purchase a particular product or type of product. Why connect? Is it really necessary to connect Google Ads linked with Analytics? Let's get down to basics. In the Ads platform you can’t see what your users do after they click on your ads or if said ads led to a sale, you can’t see their path on your website, so you are basically losing the big picture of your customer’s behaviour after they see the ad. In short, without connecting the two technologies together, your shopping funnel is incomplete. You can't see Google Ads performance compared with other marketing channels, or how those Ads actually contribute to revenue. Both Google tools have their individual strengths but you can see their real power once you have linked both of them. If you are already using both Analytics and Google Ads but haven’t linked them yet, then you are missing a lot of valuable information about how to connect marketing with revenue -- and where to optimise. [subscribe button_text="Free Google Analytics Connection"] With the two platforms tied together, they will be able to communicate much more efficiently and provide more granular data in your reporting. Google Analytics has a dedicated section within the Acquisition reports solely detailing Google Ads performance which you cannot obtain unless you have linked your Google Ads and Analytics accounts and are using auto-tagging in Google Ads. These reports share some common information with the types of data that can be found in Google Ads, but here you are able to combine and link the Google Ads data with all the data available in Analytics to find more meaningful insights and potentially make better decisions. Moreover, you are able to leverage these insights into a number of different goals that you wouldn’t be able to easily see in Google Ads. Surprisingly though, a full connection doesn’t happen automatically. Yes, they are both Google products, but you need to do some work to connect the platforms and then take action based on that data. Google's thoughts on connecting Google Ads with Google Analytics This quick video highlights the benefits of linking the two platforms together (whether you call them Ads or AdWords is up to you...marketers are still a bit confused by Google's rebrand). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EmXFM1_xEo Top four benefits of linking Google Ads with Google Analytics for ecommerce 1. Retarget based on checkout steps in ecommerce The most effective way to grab these customers is to target them based on where they dropped off. Luckily, Google lets you do exactly that: with the right analytics, you can set up retargeting campaigns based on checkout behaviour. We highlighted this in a more comprehensive blog post on how you can improve Google Ads retargeting by analyzing the customer behavior during checkout. Our customers have been applying those tips and seeing results in less than a week. Learn more about how to improve AdWords retargeting using ecommerce checkout steps. 2. Retarget based on users who reach a Google Analytics goal You can set up a simple or complex goal and then target that audience with the right messaging. For example, even a newsletter subscription can lead to a goal completion. That user showed interest in your product and with a bit of persuasion and smart ad targeting, you’ll most likely succeed in transforming that lead into a buying customer. PRO TIP: Watch our video on troubleshooting your Google Analytics goals setup if you're having issues with goals. 3. Block advertising to people who have previously purchased An effective retargeting audience setting is crucial. There is no need to spend money on retargeting ads for people who will not be convinced to buy by them. If someone has already purchased a product from your online store, then the chance of them buying the same product in the next few days is nihil. If you don’t set an effective retargeting audience, you are more likely to spend way more money for with no result. The solution is to exclude people who recently bought your products from retargeting for a certain period, and you’ll be able to retarget them again after a certain time frame. That means that if John from California just bought a shirt from my website, I will not retarget him for the next month; he will not see any ads of the shirt appearing on his browser for that period. [subscribe "button_text="Free Google Analytics Connection"] If you want to see the best result of with your retargeting campaign then keep this in the back of your mind when making campaign planning. You will be left with more budget to spend on retargeting ads that are actually effective and most important of all, a happier audience. 4. Send different adverts to different segments of customer lifetime value (LTV) Our biggest customer segment right now is automated analytics for ecommerce subscription businesses. It should come as no surprise that subscription ecommerce merchants get a special benefit from linking Ads with Analytics. Littledata's ReCharge connection enables you to see customer lifetime value and create different audiences based on a customer’s last purchase or the number of orders placed. By this segmentation of audience you can customise your PPC ads and reach the right people who are already loyal to your brand and know your products. Your ROAS will be amazing and you won’t have to make huge efforts to get major results. Questions? The benefits above speak for themselves, so what are you waiting for? Especially if you run an ecommerce site, the time to connect is now :) If you’re trying to connect Google Analytics with AdWords for an ecommerce site, it should go smoothly. But sometimes an account manager can help with custom setup and reporting, or simply check to make sure you’re tracking things correctly. Littledata’s pricing options include various levels of support to fit every business size and goals for growth. Check out our free guide on how to connect your Google Analytics and AdWords accounts.
Littledata Shopify App featured on Ecommerce Fastlane Podcast
Littledata's own Edward Upton is featured on a new episode of the Ecommerce Fastlane Shopify podcast! Check it out here:Episode 33: Get The Complete Picture Of Your Shopify Store's Performance With Deeper Marketing Insights .The eCommerce Fastlane podcast is the best in the business. It caters to ecommerce strategies, success stories, sales, traffic, and growth for Shopify Plus stores. In the new episode Ed discusses the Littledata Shopify reporting app and how you can make smarter business decisions for your Shopify store. As podcast host Steve Hutt puts it "It closes the loop on all of your data including your Shopify store orders, marketing channels, and lifetime customer value." In other words, your Google Analytics will never be the same. Littledata is a Shopify App Partner that has created an analytics platform that takes Google Analytics and literally puts it on steroids. It closes the loop on all of your data including your Shopify store orders, marketing channels, and lifetime customer value. Littledata offers a free connection with Google Analytics to make sure people get accurate reporting, more powerful marketing insights, and a more complete picture of ecommerce performance. Shopify's basic integration with Google Analytics doesn't capture all of the ecommerce journey events and attribution that stores want to have. That's where Littledata comes in, to make sure that you can get a better grasp of the customer journey. [subscribe] Our Shopify Plus connection automatically tracks the sales and marketing data you need to scale a Shopify Plus store. Here's a comparison chart between our tracking and the default tracking in Shopify. On top of fixing your data collection we've launched the first Shopify flow connector for Google Analytics. The connector enables Shopify Plus stores to automate tracking with custom events in Google Analytics. If you're a subscription business, we integrate with ReCharge to give you an accurate data stream. This means no more headaches when it comes to recurring orders and first-time orders. Say goodbye to the days when transactions from Shopify don't match Google Analytics, and say hello to accuracy! Littledata is the smart solution and we offer a free Google Analytics connection, plus a 14-day free trial on all of our plans - it's the smart way to connect Shopify Plus with Google Analytics. Don't forget to leave a review after subscribing to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever else you like to listen!
How to provide multilingual customer service for ecommerce
Ecommerce is on the rise around the world. Both individuals and companies can create online sites and sell their products without retail storefronts. Studies have shown that eight in ten European internet users perform online purchases through some form of ecommerce storefront. This trend shows no signs of stopping, especially in the younger demographic and millennials. However, online business carries its own share of problems and conundrums to resolve. Even if you implement ecommerce software through a platform like BigCommerce or Magento, you will still have a lot to plan for. International customers are likely to contact you with wishes to buy your products. Even if you implement a multi-currency ecommerce solution like Shopify, the problem is that many people still won’t speak your native language, whatever it may be. Multilingual customer service and user experience (UX) can amend that shortcoming. Let’s take a look at what you can provide for your customers when it comes to multilingual customer support and enhanced UX overall. Benefits of multilingual UX Before we dive into multilingual customer service for ecommerce, let’s take a look at the benefits regarding the process. After all, every upgrade or addition to your site should bear some form of positive outcome. According to CSA Research, 75% of worldwide customers prefer buying online goods through sites with their languages featured as an option. This number is too high to ignore, so let’s take a look at several benefits of implementing multilingual support on your ecommerce website. Better customer engagement Just over 26% of internet transactions on the global level take place in English language. This fact is even more alarming when you take the global number of internet users into account. Providing a multilingual ecommerce storefront will allow for better user engagement globally. People from different corners of the world will be much more likely to use your site to order goods and spread positive word of mouth about your practices. Higher ROI Return on Investment (ROI) is on every ecommerce website owner’s mind – and for good reasons. Hiring professional translators or outsourcing your localization through Pick Writers and their translation services reviews costs money. However, the return on investment connected to the initial expense is tremendous. Mobile ads which lead to online stores fare 86% better if they offer localized marketing content to their readers. No business model will save you from the simple fact that people like to be met halfway when languages are concerned. Good SEO ranking Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a huge role in how your site is perceived through search engines and their algorithms. Google has modified the SEO algorithm to detect and promote websites which offer accessibility and original content above all else. This means that implementing a multilingual approach to your ecommerce will lead to resounding success, especially if you pursue more global languages such as Chinese, Russian and German. Multilingual customer service in ecommerce As with any addition to an ecommerce website, multilingual support should come in stages. Let’s take a detailed look at how you can implement multilingual customer service into an existing, live ecommerce website. 1. Research popular languages and demand Every industry has a certain target demographic which makes it tick. The same goes for children’s toys, books, car equipment or anything else. In order to pinpoint the perfect languages for your website, you should take a look at supply and demand in the industry. Scour through popular competition and their websites. Ask your existing customers about their preferred language offering through email surveys. Do anything you can to eliminate unnecessary languages and add any which might be out of the usual plethora of French, Italian, German and Spanish. 2. Work with an international shipping company Since you plan on expanding into international waters, you should look for shipping companies which can meet your clientele’s demands. International shipping companies come in two varieties; some focus on sea transportation while others (more commonly) prefer air shipping. Look for the best international shipping options in your country and see if you can settle for a mutually-beneficial contract. After all, there is no point in shipping internationally if you don’t break even at the end. 3. Site translation and localization As we’ve mentioned before, site localization should be done in-house or outsourced to a professional translation service. Outsourcing is especially viable if you intend to offer multilingual support in numerous languages not only in content but customer support as well. Add new languages in waves and don’t overreach. You have all the time in the world to slowly and methodically add languages one by one and gauge the public interest in doing so. [subscribe] 4. Machine-learning chatbots In the early days of your website’s multilingual customer service, you can rely on chatbots to get things done. Chatbots are AI algorithms designed to provide rudimentary customer support and learn as they go along. Some of the better quality chatbot algorithms can be found in the app stores for platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento. These prolific ecommerce support websites also offer numerous plugins which can make the transition into multilingual services much easier and user-friendly. 5. Hire or outsource support agents There will always come a moment where your chatbots won’t be able to deliver on their promises. This is especially possible in their early days, while they are still unaware of the customers’ patterns on your website. In order to offer full customer service despite this shortcoming, you can hire full-time agents or virtual assistants to act as support agents. With some rudimentary training, these employees and freelancers can help you deliver multilingual customer service without you personally speaking the languages. 6. Ongoing product description support Multilingual customer service is a long-term commitment. Each product you publish on your ecommerce website will have to be updated with corresponding descriptions and texts in each language. This raises the question of whether you should hire full-time translators or stick to on-demand freelancers. Make the choice that works best for the volume of products you intend to publish. 7. Create and emphasize feedback channels Ecommerce or not, you will want to talk to your customers on a constant basis. Create dedicated a dedicated email address for feedback and comments. Collect data from your chatbots and have human support agents go through them. Gather feedback constantly, and make sure that your customers know that every bit of criticism is welcome. That way, you will always have an insight into how well you are doing your job. You will also know whether or not you should refocus your multilingual customer service efforts one way or another. Conclusion Whether you opt for DIY localization or assisted ecommerce development with a platform such as Shopify, you should always do it on demand. Never assume that a language is necessary on your website by hunch alone. Add new language support options on a constant basis but back those actions up with research and feedback as you go. Only then will you strike the perfect cord with your audience and find a middle ground that works for both parties. This is a guest post by Kristin Savage, a freelance writer with a special interest in how the latest achievements in media and technology can help to grow readership and revenue. You can find her on Facebook and Medium.
Littledata's Shopify connection is now using gtag and GTM data layer
Shopify's 'sales by traffic source' report is broken
If you're a Shopify store manager, one of your biggest questions should be 'which campaigns lead to sales?'. We looked at data from 10 Shopify Plus customers to see whether the sales by traffic source report can be trusted. Under the Shopify store admin, and Analytics > Reports tab, you can (in theory) see which sessions and sales came from which traffic sources. BUT this sales by traffic source report is broken. Looking at 180,000 orders for 10 stores in Q4 2018, here are the marketing channels which Shopify Analytics says brought the traffic: Direct 83.5%Social 9%Search 4.5%Unknown (other websites, not social or search) 3%Email ~0.1% And using comparative data from Google Analytics we know this is all wrong. Here's a comparison of Shopify's attribution to Google Analytics last-click attribution of sales for one of these customers: Marketing attribution comparison for 700 orders Shopify Google Analytics Direct 99% 43% Search (Paid + Organic) 0.6% 7% Social 0.4% 10% Email - 25% Affiliates - 15% Here's why it's broken 'Direct' traffic is when the source is unknown. But for Shopify's report this means where the source of the last session is unknown - the user most probably visited a search ad or product review previously. Having only 1% visibility on your marketing performance is just not acceptable!We know that tagged Facebook traffic alone represents 7% of traffic for the average store, so 10% of sales from Social is more normal. Social also brings more than the actual sales in terms of visibility and influencers.Google generates billions of pageviews a month for ecommerce stores. If your site gets only 1% of its traffic from search, we'd be very surprised! Including paid search this site is still well below the 40% average. (Check out our 6 essential benchmarks for Shopify stores.)Monthly emails and personalised retargeting emails are now a staple of online marketing, and we know all the customers in this analysis use email marketing of some form - including for new product launches, discounts and cart abandonment campaigns. The problem is, it's unlikely to be the only campaign which brought customers, so it gets drowned out by other 'last click' channels. The solution: multi-channel attribution.Affiliates are a really important channel to get right, as they are paid based on the sales attributed to them. Why should you rely solely on the report the affiliate marketer gives you, and not see the same numbers in Google Analytics? So don't leave your marketing analytics to guess-work! Try the Littledata app to connect Shopify with Google Analytics on a free trial today. All paid plans include unlimited connections, to ensure accurate marketing attribution for sales via ReCharge (subscriptions), CartHook (one-page checkout), Refersion (affiliates) and more.
The year in data: 2018 in ecommerce statistics
How did ecommerce change in 2018? Let's take a look at the data. Littledata benchmarks online retail performance in Google Analytics, and with over 12,000 sites categorised across 500 industry sectors we have a unique insight into ecommerce trends in 2018. The pattern we're seeing is that web sessions are becoming ever shorter as users split their attention across many ads, sites and devices. Marketers need get visibility across a range of platforms, and accept that a customer purchase journey will involve an ever greater number of online touch points. In the following analysis, we look at how performance changed across 149 ecommerce sites in 2018, and how these trends might continue in 2019. Ecommerce conversion rate is down Ecommerce conversion rate has dropped by an average of 6 basis points, not because of a drop of online sales - but rather because the number of sessions for considering and browsing (i.e. not converting) has risen. This is partly an increase in low-quality sessions (e.g. SnapChat ads preloading pages without ever showing them to users), and partly an increase in users from platforms like Facebook (see below) which bring less engagement with landing pages. See our mission to Increase Ecommerce Conversion Rate for more details. Revenue per customer is up Revenue per customer is the total sales divided by the total number of users which purchased online. The increase of $16 USD per customer per month shows that many stores are doing better with segmentation - ignoring all those sessions which don't convert, and retargeting and reselling to those that buy lots. The growth in subscription business models is also fuelling this trend. Getting a customer to commit to a regular payment plan is the most effective way of increasing revenue per user. See our mission to Increase Average Order Value for more details. Reliance on the homepage is down Content marketing became mainstream in 2018, and no self-respecting brand would now rely on the homepage alone to drive interest in the brand. The percentage of traffic coming 'through the front door' will continue to fall. In building out a range of keyword-specific landing pages, stores are harnessing a wider range of Google search queries, and providing more engaging landing pages from Google Ad and Facebook Ad clicks. Usage of internal site search is up Along with fewer visitors coming through the homepage, we are seeing fewer browsers use traditional category navigation over internal search. We think this is partly to do with younger consumers preference for search, but also probably reflects the increasing sophistication and relevance of internal search tools used by ecommerce. Referrals from Facebook are up Even after Facebook's data security and privacy embarrassments in 2018, it continues to grow as the 2nd major global marketing platform. Although few sites in our benchmark rely on Facebook for more than 10% of their traffic, it is a significant driver of revenue. As merchants continue to come to Littledata to find out the real ROI on their Facebook Ads, check back next year for a new round of analysis! How did your site perform? If you're interested in benchmarking your ecommerce site, Littledata offers a free trial to connect with Google Analytics and audit your tracking. You can see ecommerce benchmarks directly in the app, including 'ecommerce conversion rate', 'referrals from Facebook' and 'reliance on the homepage', to know exactly how your site's performing. Sign up today to benchmark your site and import Facebook Ads data directly into Google Analytics. [subscribe] For this article we looked at Littledata's private, anonymized benchmark data set, selecting ecommerce sites that had a majority of their traffic from the US and more than 20,000 sessions per month. We measured the change from 1st December 2017 to 31st December 2017 to the same month in 2018.
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