How to fix marketing attribution for Safari ITP 2.1

The latest version of Safari limits the ability for Google Analytics (and any other marketing tags) to track users across subdomains, and between visits more than a day apart. Here’s how to get this fixed for your site. How does this affect my analytics? Safari's Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) dramatically changes how you can attribute marketing on one of the web's most popular browser, and ITP 2.1 makes this even more difficult. How will the changes affect your analytics? Currently your marketing attribution in Google Analytics (GA) relies on tracking users across different visits on the same browser with a first-party user cookie - set on your domain by the GA tracking code. GA assigns every visitor an anonymous ‘client ID’ so that the user browsing your website on Saturday can be linked to the same browser that comes back on Monday to purchase. In theory this user-tracking cookie can last up to 2 years from the date of the first visit (in practice, many users clear their cookies more frequently than that), but anything more than one month is good enough for most marketing attribution. ITP 2.1 (and soon ITP 2.2) breaks that user tracking in two major ways: Any cookie set by the browser, and used to identify visitors, will be deleted after one day (or 7 days with ITP 2.1) Browser cookies set on one subdomain (e.g. www.mysite.com) cannot be accessed from another sub-domain (e.g. blog.mysite.com) This will disrupt your marketing attribution. Let’s take two examples. Visitor A comes from an affiliate on Saturday, and then comes back the next Monday to purchase: Before ITP: sale is attributed to Affiliate After ITP: sale is attributed to ‘Direct’ Why: 2nd visit is more than one day after the 1st Visitor B comes from a Facebook Ad to your latest blog post on blog.mysite.com, and goes on to purchase: Before ITP: sale is attribute to Facebook After ITP: sale is attributed to ‘Direct’ Why: the visit to the blog is not linked to the visit on another subdomain The overall effect will be an apparent increase in users and sessions from Safari, as the same number of user journeys are broken in down into more, shorter journeys. How big is the problem? This is a big problem! Depending on your traffic sources it is likely to affect between a quarter and a half of all your visits. The update (ITP 2.1) is included in Safari version 12.1 onwards for Mac OS and Safari Mobile. It does not affect Safari in-app browsing. Apple released iOS 12.2 and Mac OS 10.14.4 on 25th March 2019, and at the time of writing around 30% of all web visits came from these two browser versions on a sample of larger sites. The volume for your site may vary; you can  apply this Google Analytics segment to see exactly how. The affected traffic will be greater if you have high mobile use or more usage in the US (where iPhones are more popular). Why is Apple making these changes? Apple has made a strong point of user privacy over the last few years. Their billboard ad at the CES conference in Las Vegas earlier this year makes that point clearly! Although Google Chrome has overtaken Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox in popularity on the desktop, Safari maintains a very dominant position in mobile browsing due to the ubiquitous iPhone. Apple develops Safari to provide a secure web interface for their users, and with Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) they intended to reduce creepy retargeting ads following you around the web. Genuine web analytics has just been caught in the cross-fire. Unfortunately this is likely not to be the last attack on web analytics, and a permanent solution may not be around for some time. Our belief is that users expect companies to track them across ­their own branded websites and so the workarounds below are ethical and not violating the user privacy that Apple is trying to protect. How to fix this There are three outline fixes I would recommend. I’m grateful to Simo Ahava for his research on all the possible solutions. The right solution for your site depends on your server setup and the development resources you have available. If you’re lucky enough to use our  Shopify app the next version of our script will include solution 1 below. Contact our support team if you'd like to test the private beta version. For each solution, I’ve rated them out of three in these areas: Quick setup: how much development time it will take to solve Compatibility: how likely this is to work with different domain setups Longevity: how likely this is to work for future updates to Safari ITP Solution 1: Local storage plus cross-domain linking Quick setup *** Compatibility ** Longevity* To solve the one day cookie expiry, you store the GA client ID in the browser’s local storage (which does not expire), along with the cookie. So before we allow GA to set a new client ID we first check if the Safari browser has a local storage. If your site runs across subdomains, then you also need to add the GA linker to every link to a different subdomain. This is similar to the method you would use to track  users across different top-level domains, but you have toaccess the linker plugin directly rather than use ‘autolink’. Here are the full technical details. Solution 2: Common iFrame plus local storage Quick setup ** Compatibility** Longevity ** The problem with solution 1 is ITP also targets those cross-subdomain linker parameters (?_ga=longnumber), meaning it is unlikely to work in all cases. Solution 2 improves upon this by setting up a page on the top level domain (e.g. www.mysite.com/tracker.html) on which that local storage is set, and the page can be accessed from any subdomain. What makes it longer to setup is it will require a new page on your web server, not just script changes on the existing pages (or via GTM). Full technical details. Solution 3: Server-side cookie service Quick setup * Compatibility *** Longevity *** In the long term, ITP may target the local storage API itself (which is already blocked in Private browsing mode). So solution 3 securely sets the HTTPS cookie from your web server itself, rather than via a browser script. The downside is this requires either adapting your servers, proxy servers or CDN to serve a cookie for GA and adapt the GA client-side libraries to work on a web server. If your company uses Node.js servers or a CDN like Amazon CloudFront or Cloudflare this may be significantly easier to achieve. If you don’t have direct control of your server infrastructure it’s a non-starter. Full technical details. What about other marketing tags working on Safari? All other marketing tags which track users across more than one session or one subdomain are going to experience the same problem. With Google Ads the best solution is to  link your Ad account to Google Analytics, since this enables Google to use the GA cookie to  better attribute conversion in Google Ads reporting. Facebook will no doubt provide a solution of their own, but in the meantime you can also attribute Facebook spend in GA using Littledata’s  connection for Facebook Ads. Are there any downsides of making these changes? As with any technical solution, there are upsides and downsides. The main downside here is again with user privacy. Legally, you might start over-tracking users. By resetting cookies from the local storage that the user previously requested to be deleted, this could be violating a user’s right to be forgotten under GDPR. The problem with ITP is it is actually overriding the user’s preference to keep the cookie in usual circumstances, so there is no way of knowing the cookie was deleted by the user … or by Safari supposed looking out for the user! Unfortunately as with any customisation to the tracking code it brings more complexity to maintain, but I feel this is well worth the effort to maintain marketing attribution on one of the world's most popular browsers.

2019-05-24

New Klickly integration for Shopify stores

We're excited to announce a new integration with Klickly! Get ready for smarter analytics. Many Shopify stores know that their data isn't accurate, but they don't know where to start. Littledata tracks everything automatically. Our new Klickly integration offers full sales and marketing tracking, plus a free custom report to help you get higher ROI on Klickly campaigns. What’s Klickly? Klickly is an invite-only, commission-based advertising platform that enables ecommerce merchants to run unique buyable ads on thousands of well-known websites. With risk-free, commission-based pricing, you don't pay commission until Klickly gets you a sale. Setup takes less than 10 minutes, and there are no long-term agreements or fees. Stop paying for clicks + impressions that don’t lead to sales. Klickly lets you pay only when ads drive sales and set the commission that’s right for you. Benefits of Littledata's Klickly integration: Campaign reporting – Get automated reporting for sales from Klickly Ads Marketing attribution – Connect marketing channels and campaigns with shopping cart activity and buyer behaviour, with automated tracking for Shopify stores Optimisation – Make data-driven decisions with Littledata’s industry-leading analytics audit, smart connections and industry benchmarks Setup guide For the Littledata - Klickly integration to work, you need to have both apps installed for your store. Install Klickly and Littledata Ask the Littledata support team to activate the Klickly report for you Yes, it’s that easy! You can contact Littledata support from the Intercom widget in the app, or just reply to any of our onboarding emails :) Enterprise plans for larger Shopify stores and Shopify Plus If you run a larger Shopify store on Shopify or Shopify Plus, we’re here to help you scale. Littledata offers enterprise plans that include custom setup and a dedicated account manager. This can include anything from GTM setup to custom reporting. Larger stores looking for an enterprise plan are encouraged to sign up for a free trial of Littledata, then contact us for a free consultation so we can take an in-depth look at your setup. If you’re a digital agency with multiple customers on Shopify using Klickly, even better! Check out our agency partner program for Shopify experts. If you're looking for accurate, actionable analytics, Littledata's new Klickly integration will help you scale the smart way. Say hello to a better way!

2019-05-23

8 ways to minimise cart abandonment

It might be a familiar sinking feeling - why do users keep deciding at the last minute not to buy an item? There are a whole range of reasons that online shopper abandon their shopping carts. You might not be able to do anything about the majority of these reasons, but if you are seeing a high cart abandonment rate then it is definitely something you can actively work on minimising. In this post I dive into shopping cart abandonment: what it is, why it matters, and how to minimise it using proven practices from successful ecommerce sites. What is the average rate of cart abandonment? The Baymard Institute has compared reported cart abandonment from 41 studies, to conclude that the average rate stands at 69.57% in 2019. However, reports varied wildly over the years. In 2010, Forrester Research calculated that cart abandonment stood at just 55%. At the high end of the scale, AbandonAid stated in 2017 that cart abandonment occurs 81.4% of the time. Is your average checkout completion rate below the industry average? How to calculate cart abandonment rate Fortunately, there is no need to consult a mathematician when it comes to calculating your cart abandonment rate. To find the percentage of users who have not completed a purchase after adding an item to their cart, you must divide the number of complete purchases by the number of carts created: 1 - (Complete purchases/Carts created) x100 After doing this division, subtract the result from 1 and multiply by 100 to get your percentage. Fortunately, there’s no need to get the calculator out. You can easily monitor ecommere analytics with Littledata’s Shopify app. Connect this to Google Analytics to make the most out of tracking user movements - in this instance, when they removing products from the cart. Why might a cart get abandoned? There is no simple answer to this question. The truth is, carts get abandoned for a variety of reasons, although the recurring theme is that a lower abandonment rate means a more intuitive and trustworthy store. A high proportion of people browsing your store might be doing so in the hope of coming across a hidden discount, to compare prices or to check your stock against competitors. Some might even be compiling a wishlist for the future, with almost no intention of purchasing your product now. In short, there isn’t a lot you can do about this type of shopper. Focus, then, has to turn to the shoppers who would have made a purchase, was it not for an element of your site or checkout process that led to them scurrying away. As part of the Baymard Institute’s research into cart abandonment, it conducted a survey of over 2,500 US adults asking why they abandoned their purchase after passing the stage of adding an item to their cart. Many of the factors above can be countered by making tweaks to the checkout process. Take the second largest influence - “the site wanted me to create an account”. By offering a guest checkout option where an account is not necessary, this 34% of respondents will be one step closer to purchasing the product in their cart, and avoiding the dreaded stage of checkout abandonment. What goes into a better checkout process? It’s fine to say that the checkout needs to be streamlined in order to reduce cart abandonment, but what does this actually mean? What are the characteristics of a site that experiences relatively low checkout abandonment? This is specifically about what happens after a user has added a product to their cart - optimising add-to-cart rate itself is a different stage in the purchase funnel that we have talked about before here at Littledata. The first thing to take a look at is the intuitiveness of your buying process. After adding a product to cart, ensure that the following trail resembles a standard ecommerce store. This might mean identifying a clear “checkout button”, followed by payment options and providing delivery address, then reviewing the order before submitting. Any significant change to the standard process could throw a user off balance. Making your store as trustworthy as possible is another key step to reducing cart abandonment. Check that the secure payment icons are visible when checking out, and a money-back guarantee will always send a customer’s confidence skyrocketing. Offering incentives to complete a purchase also does the trick. As mentioned, shoppers may be on your site as part of a price comparison tour, so making a 10% discount visible from the outset will make your site a winner in the eyes of many a potential customer. In a similar vein, you should make sure that product and delivery details are easy to locate and understand. Adweek shows that 81% of shoppers conduct detailed research before buying a product, so make this task easier for them. Please don’t include any last-minute delivery charge shocks. Another thing to consider is the mobile-friendliness of your checkout process. The statistic that half of all ecommerce revenue will be mobile-based by 2020 is banded around a lot, but shouldn’t be ignored. If a site is near impossible to navigate on mobile, you can be sure of frustrated cart abandonment. 8 ways to minimise cart abandonment I want to give you a list of specific ideas that you could implement on your site. These have all been taken from Missions - our new optimisation tool. Each mission consists of a pack of ecommerce optimisation tips on a certain subject, complete with evidence and studies found by our researchers. The following eight tips, of course, have all been taken from our “Minimise Cart Abandonment” mission. Steeped in proof, we like to take a step away from gut feel. These tips have all reduced cart abandonment for other sites, and I am sure that some of their effects can be replicated. 1) Send cart abandonment emails This one really is the only place to start. We will of course take a closer look at tweaks you can make to your sales funnel, but targeting people who have already abandoned their carts is a crucial way of reviving a potential sale. Ecommerce site owners are becoming increasingly aware of the opportunities provided by email marketing. Hertz are one company making the most of this practice, reporting that 37% of people who opened a cart abandonment email went on to make a booking. In the past, so much money would have been left on the table by users who abandoned carts. Now, it’s so easy to send a personalised email to every customer who abandons their purchase on your site. This is all about remembering that not everybody who abandons a purchase does so on bad terms. They may simply have gotten distracted, or left the purchase for a later date. A friendly nudge back towards your buying funnel might be just what they are after! 2) Trigger exit surveys and live chat at key moments If a user is on the brink of exiting a site in frustration at not being able to find what they want, a live chat session could keep them around. Some classic stats served up by BoldChat suggest that live chat is the preferred method of communicating with a business for 21% of shoppers. If you manage to solve a customer’s biggest doubts, they will be one step closer to completing a purchase. In turn, exit surveys allow you to gather the opinions of customers who abandoned their cart. Why didn’t they make a purchase? Gold dust. Easily identify recurring themes and patch these things up so fewer potential sales slip through the net. A handy tip for exit surveys - give people open-ended questions to answer instead of preset options. According to Groovehq, this will increase response rate by 10%. 3) Use address lookup technology to minimise typing Form-filling is dull. Customers know this as well as anyone, and will often go to great lengths to avoid it. If your checkout funnel is littered with unnecessary forms to fill, more than a couple of potential customers will run like the wind. Of course, a customer’s shipping address is central to completing their order. To make this easier on them, some accurate address lookup technology such as Loqate will squash the time it takes to get things done. Anything you can do to make the form-filling process as pain-free as possible is a surefire way of reducing your cart abandonment rate. Hotel Chocolat, after introducing address lookup, reported a 19% uplift in the amount of people completing each stage of their checkout funnel. 4) Give shoppers the option of using a guest checkout Finding the option to “checkout as a guest” is starting to come as naturally to customers as looking for the “add-to-cart” button. Research from the Baymard Institute indicated that 30% of all shoppers abandon their purchase immediately upon viewing a registration process. Not even a second thought! Similarly to tip #3, this is all about saving time on the customer’s side. If they have a product in their basket and are willing to pay for it, the last thing you want to do is shove a registration form in their face. 5) Use dynamic retargeting to recover lost sales Stella & Dot saw their average order value increase by 17% when targeting customers with more relevant ads. This is all about employing technology which is able to accurately create a picture of a customer’s browsing experience, so that they can be targeted with adverts to match their interests. Although female lifestyle and fashion website Stella & Dot were more focussed on increasing their average order value, dynamic retargeting is a valid method of reducing cart abandonment by presenting individual users with adverts to match their activity. 6) Provide a one-click checkout Made famous by retail giant Amazon, a one-click or one-step checkout allows a user to immediately purchase a product if they already have their payment details registered on the site. The ability to avoid form-filling and save time is a godsend for shoppers - and the estimated $2.4 billion value of Amazon’s recently expired one-step checkout patent goes to show this. Other ecommerce sites have designed one-click checkouts of their own, finding that they do wonders for retaining customers within the purchase funnel. A case study by Strangeloop showed that implementing a one-step checkout increased conversion rate by 66%. 7) Be clear about delivery (especially free shipping) A joint study conducted by eDigitalResearch and IMRG found that 53% of cart-abandoners cite unacceptably high shipping costs as the reason for abandoning their purchase. Making sure that your shipping fees are blindingly obvious from an early stage in your purchase funnel will prevent any user frustration at discovering the cost just before payment, or simply not being able to locate this information at all. A study by Accent has shown that 88% of online shoppers expect free shipping to be offered to them in one way or another. Failing to meet this rising expectation will likely result in a chunk of abandoned carts. 8) Experiment with exit-intent popups It isn’t a coincidence that popups always appear just when you are about to close a page. Many sites use technology that detects an aggressive mouse movement towards the top corner of the screen - usually a sign that it will be closed down. These are a last-ditch attempt to keep a user browsing the site, but if they capture attention in the right way then they can work wonders in terms of saving a cart that was about to be abandoned. A common tactic is to offer a discount. Research from Beeketing indicates that 48% of ‘window shoppers’ would buy a product they were interested in if they were offered a limited-time discount. This works on the scarcity principle - a perceived rush to buy a product can prevent someone from abandoning their cart to come back at a later date. Reduce your cart abandonment today Packed with plenty of tips similar to the ones we have explored, the ‘Minimise Cart Abandonment’ mission will equip you with an arsenal of techniques to drive that statistic down and keep shoppers inside your purchase funnel until the very end. Littledata automatically benchmarks ecommerce sites so you can see how you compare, then recommends missions to optimise performance. Knowing your average checkout completion rate is a good place to start. Whether you're looking at a Shopify abandoned cart or abandoned carts on a different ecommerce platform, you can launch the 'Minimise Cart Abandonment' mission directly from your Littledata dashboard. Use the app to track progress as you test ideas to discover what works best for your site. And one final tip: don’t try to fix everything at once. Start with one of the tips above that’s most relevant to your current shopping funnel, and go - or should I say grow - from there! This is a guest post by Jack Vale, a UK-based freelance writer and ecommerce expert.

2019-05-16

How to succeed with subscription ecommerce: podcast and virtual summit

We're excited to participate in eCommerce Master Plan's virtual summit for subscription ecommerce this week. Littledata CEO Edward Upton is one of the lecturers, and that's not all! Over 10 industry experts have contributed in-depth online sessions to the summit, with advice for a variety of sites. This popular online conference is the place to be, whether you're just launching subscription products or looking to optimize revenue and customer lifetime value for an established brand.  eCommerce Master Plan Virtual Summit The summit is a gathering place for thought leaders and growing brands. Sessions are live today, Tuesday 30th April, and unlocked for participants until 5pm on Thursday 2nd May. In one of the online sessions, Ed shares essential advice about Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) for subscription ecommerce. Get the inside scoop on how to calculate CLV and what it means for your business. The summit is a who's-who of next-gen ecommerce apps and consultants. Ed is joined by experts from ReCharge, Churn Buster and more. Topics include everything from launching and scaling a subscription box company, to specifics about Facebook Ads and loyalty programmes. Why attend the summit? Why should you attend this 3-day annual conference? Chloe and the team break it down into the most convincing reasons: HUGE OpportunityThe latest Royal Mail research predicts the Subscription Box market will be worth £1 billion in 2022. This Summit will give you the knowledge to grab your share of that market growth It's a different ball gameSubscription eCommerce is a very different type of business to a 'normal' eCommerce business. Different challenges, different opportunities. This Summit will explore those differences, and how to make the most of them to build and grow your subscription business. Keep OptimisingLearn multiple ways to optimise and improve the marketing of subscription products. We couldn't agree more. It's why we built, and why we regularly highlight content specifically for online retailers selling things by subscription - whether it's the heart of your business (like it is for our customers Athletic Greens and Dry Farm Wines) or simply a part of your wider product mix. Plus, it's a virtual summit so travel costs are nonexistent. So start brewing that coffee at home and hop online for non-stop learning. Sign up today! Free podcast with subscription ecommerce tips Want to learn more before signing up? Conference organizer (and ecommerce mastermind) Chloe Thomas has you covered. Check out Chloe's latest podcast (the 213th episode!) on top tips from the summit - including some from Littledata. If you're looking for even more free content, this podcast episode is a great compliment to Ed's appearance on the eCommerce Fastlane podcast, where he breaks down how to get a complete picture of your store's performance, from marketing channels through repeat buying behaviour. Thanks and see you at the summit!

by Ari
2019-04-30

Littledata updates: new funding, new Segment connection...and we're hiring!

What an amazing year it's been already! With a focus on smart connections for ecommerce analytics, Littledata is scaling quickly. We recently closed a new funding round and are firing on all cylinders, ramping up our agile product development, marketing outreach, career opportunities and conference participation. Here's the latest news from Littledata HQ. Littledata closes new angel funding round We're excited to announce that Littledata has closed a new angel funding round. We will be using the new funding chiefly to enhance product development and inbound marketing. Funding is a tricky thing. Too many companies make big claims without building a viable product, or estimate markets that don't actually turn out to exist. We've taken the opposite approach, building automated tools that solve real problems faced by major ecommerce brands. After all, the fanciest reporting in the world is useless if you can't trust your data! In other words we've been conservative with our funding because we believe in establishing deep product-market fit, and this new round comes at a perfect time. I've long said that bootstrapping builds better startups. For a bit of Littledata history, check out CEO Edward Upton's appearance on the Ecommerce Fastlane podcast, and his take on six challenges in developing a Shopify integration. New connection: Shopify to Segment We worked closely with the Segment team to create the ultimate Segment connection for Shopify and Shopify Plus. Segment offers a powerful Customer Data Infrastructure (CDI) that lets you clean, collect and control customer data. Our Shopify app for Segment users fixes tracking automatically, and lets you use Shopify as a Segment source. Benefits include: Server-side tracking for 100% accuracy Capture every customer touch point, including checkout steps, sales data and customer lifetime value (LTV) Push Shopify customer data to hundreds of Segment destinations Set up in minutes for any Shopify store We're hiring! With great things on the horizon, Littledata is seeking the best talent across departments in London, NYC and Romania. Check out our job postings for an up-to-date list. Our values include: Agile development New technologies Open collaboration Happy people We're looking for brilliant team players who are ready to build the next generation of analytics apps. Google Analytics knowledge is essential. Ecommerce experience is a plus! Conference season We all might live online these days, but our team culture values meetups IRL. If you're heading to Shopify Unite in Toronto this June, or ReCharge's ChargeX conference in LA in September, send us a note - we'd love to see you :) Should you go to that ecommerce conference? How to decide. There's never been a better time to join the Littledata family, whether as a partner, customer or team member. Growth has never been stronger - and customer happiness continues to be our most impressive statistic. Thank you for joining us on the journey to better data!

by Ari
2019-04-16

5 best Shopify apps for Instagram ads and sales

When it comes to social profiles, most ecommerce marketers choose to highlight their products on Instagram. But how can you turn your Instagram marketing into consistent sales growth for your online store? Instagram gets over two times the engagement on photos versus all other social platforms. You’ll also find that more than one in three internet users interact with social media to find more information on a brand or product. Due to this, ecommerce stores are turning to Instagram for not only engagement but also for launching ads. This process is made simple by connecting an Instagram profile with Facebook, making it easy to convert the Instagram profile into a business one. This allows you to launch ads on Instagram, while all the data is directly connected to your Facebook account. Once you’ve created a promotion you have the ability to send it to your Instagram profile, your website, or your Facebook page. You can also create Instagram promotions directly from Facebook’s self-serve advertising platform. Some of the benefits of Instagram advertising include scalable pricing, control of who you’re targeting, and instant ads. As with Facebook Ads, you can define the goals by reach, traffic, and brand awareness. Gone are the days when Instagram was used just for engagement, it’s now a frontrunner for sales. Below are the apps that we’ve chosen based on rankings and reviews. 5 best Shopify apps for Instagram ads So here they are: the top 5 apps. If you're using Instagram to market your brand, these can help you increase sales and customer lifetime value. Much like our previous post where we dug into 15 Shopify apps that would help you increase AOV, we’ve taken the same approach to look into 5 Shopify apps that can help you increase your sales and deliver results. We searched for top-ranked apps to give you the best tools and ensure your ecommerce site is using Instagram to its full extent. 1. Instagram Shop by Snapppt Quick pitch: Shoppable galleries, UGC, find influencers & build communities Snapppt is a free, Instagram approved app that allows you to make your Instagram feed shoppable. That’s right, shoppers can now buy directly from your Instagram feed - now shoppers can instantly click on a pair of earrings they thought were great and buy them. An example would be South Beach Swimsuits, in the image below you can see how within the photo you can view the product displayed and shop for that item directly from Instagram. Snapppt also gives brands the ability to track their customers from the point of seeing an Instagram image all the way to checkout. While Instagram is testing out their own checkout, called simply Checkout, we still think Instagram shop is a better fit for Shopify stores. It's a must-have for brands looking to add to their sales pipeline. Happy scrolling! 2. Kit Quick pitch: Run better Facebook ads Kit is an official Facebook Marketing Partner that integrates with Facebook and Instagram. Kit's been owned by Shopify since 2016, so obviously it's a great fit for any Shopify store looking for smart automation! What is Kit? It's a virtual marketing assistant that can manage your Facebook Ads, Instagram ads, social posts, and email marketing to help you drive sales. Need help creating discount codes and targeting customers? Kit is really helpful with that - all you need to do is communicate via SMS or Facebook Messenger. Just type in some commands and Kit will be ready for duty. It also works with other Shopify apps like Yotpov and Venntov. Kit will make your life easier when it comes to managing ads and can even help you generate reports for sales. Hire an assistant or get a free assistant with Kit? Tough choice, big reward. 3. Google Analytics by Littledata Quick pitch: Google Analytics app with Facebook Ads & ReCharge connections Littledata's Shopify app fixes your tracking automatically and gives you accurate data. Once you install, all you have to do is connect your Facebook Ads account using our Facebook integration. Using that Facebook integration, we'll show you the real ROI of your Instagram ads - and connect ad performance to buying behavior, like adds-to-cart and recurring purchases. That’s right - since your Instagram ads data is found in Facebook Manager, all you need to do is connect Facebook Ads and you’ll get that data imported right into your Google Analytics account. Simple, right? That’s what we thought as well. After you connect, that data will be seamlessly pulled into your overall ecommerce tracking, so you can see if your Instagram promotions lead to purchases and conversions, or just a lot of ‘window shopping'. [subscribe heading="Connect Instagram Ads to Google Analytics" background_color="grey" button_text="free trial"] 4. Vantage Quick pitch: Automated Facebook & Google Ads for Your Ecommerce Store Vantage uses your Shopify data to help you better target and retarget audiences based on customer interests, behavior and purchase history. For example, if you sell sports clothes and health vitamins, you can automatically run Instagram ads aimed at people who are interested in health, vitamins and sports apparel. This makes sure that your ads are seen by the optimal shopper. Vantage helps Shopify merchants understand shopping behavior using insights from your store. It allows you to personalize content using highly targeted and automated Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads, all of which Vantage integrates with. It also auto-optimises, so you won’t waste money on ads that aren’t performing well. It will reallocate your budget so that you're focusing on the right channels and best placements. Vantage allows you to target ads based on demographics, interests, as well as online behavior - leading to even better results for your Instagram ads. With more successful ads you’ll be able to bring more people to your site and your Instagram page. 5. Stamped.io Reviews Quick pitch: Get product reviews, site reviews, photo/video reviews and Q&A Stamped.io Reviews takes your customers words or content and uses it to increase your sales. It’s an easy three-step process as you can search Instagram for the photos you want to add to your gallery, tag them with items from your store and showcase those by creating a gallery. You have complete control over the contents of the gallery, which can includes images that are posted by customers. As people are interacting with your Instagram feed or the gallery on your site or blog they are able to see the products in one place instantly. This also allows for a smarter marketing strategy as you’re using user content to your advantage to drive traffic. All of these Shopify apps add something special to make sure that your Instagram is performing at its best. They can lead you to a more successful marketing strategy due to smarter ads, ad cost analysis, and a directly shoppable Instagram feed. Let’s remember that Instagram has 58% more engagement than Facebook and 75% of Instagram users take an action after seeing an engaging post. You don’t want to miss out on those numbers, so optimise your Instagram for success today!

2019-04-03

Shopify vs Magento: Ecommerce performance

Whether you're choosing a new enterprise ecommerce platform for your online business, or considering a platform migration, choosing Shopify vs Magento is not an easy choice. But when it comes to ecommerce performance, it pays to take a look at the data. Littledata has a range of customers on different ecommerce platforms, with a majority of larger stores using Shopify Plus or Magento. So which platform has the best ecommerce performance? For this post, we crunched data from 1,600 Shopify and Magento stores to see where the platforms typically perform best, from technical performance essentials like site speed, to ecommerce essentials like conversion rate and average order value. Ecommerce benchmarks Littledata benchmarks stores using our platform on 30 key metrics. Any merchant can sign up to benchmark their ecommerce website, and we like to dive into the benchmark data to find key stats and unexpected trends. Comparing Shopify vs Magento benchmarks, we looked at the median performance of stores of all sizes in all sectors, and then just larger stores (those getting more than 20,000 sessions per month). The headline news is that Shopify converts more visitors into customers than Magento, mainly due to better add-to-cart rate, but also slightly more efficient checkout conversion rate. Shopify stores have a higher Average Conversion Rate, but Magento stores have a higher Average Order Value However, since Magento stores have a larger average order (maybe because stores selling high value items are put off by Shopify’s percentage pricing) the Magento stores get more revenue per visit. And it is really the higher customer lifetime value that you should care about (Shopify agrees). Magento stores outperform on landing page engagement and marketing, and have a significantly higher usage of product search. Shopify vs Magento: a benchmark-by-benchmark comparison Average conversion rate The headline ecommerce conversion rate is better on Shopify (2% vs 1.7%) and this actually widens for larger stores (2.3% Shopify vs 1.5% on Magento). This is reflected in Shopify being better on both underlying metrics of performance: add-to-cart rate (5.5% vs 4.6%) and the percent of those starting to checkout. [subscribe button_text="benchmark your site"] The checkout completion rate is actually better on most Magento stores (48.6% vs 51.3%), although for larger stores this is flipped around (50.0% Magento vs 48.7% Shopify). Average order value Average revenue per customer is much higher for the Magento stores surveyed (and this difference persists for larger sites) - $75 USD per customer on Shopify vs $161 on Magento. This is driven by both a higher average order value, and more repeat purchasing on Magento stores. This extra money per order more than compensates for the lower conversion rate on Magento, and means Magento stores get an average $2.79 per visit versus $1.52 for Shopify store visits. Site speed There are two factors to website speed - how long the server takes to response, and how long the page takes to render in the browser. Shopify's cloud infrastructure is better at the former (609 milliseconds versus 967 milliseconds average server response time on Magento), but for the more important delay before page content appears there is little difference between the platforms (2.6 seconds for Shopify vs 2.8 seconds for Magento). Larger Shopify stores do typically install lots of 3rd party apps, which can increase the script load time, and so the time to full page load is higher on larger Shopify stores (6.8 seconds vs 6.0 seconds on Magento). Marketing channels There are some big differences between how Shopify and Magento store owners go about Marketing. Shopify stores get a far higher proportion of traffic from Facebook (5.8% vs 2.7%), but this is still below the global average for Facebook referrals. Shopify stores also had a greater reliance on the homepage - showing a lack on content marketing sophistication (34% on Shopify vs 25% on Magento). User engagement (site search and email marketing) The interesting difference is a much higher use of site search for Magento stores (3.1% Shopify vs 10.8% Magento). This may that Magento themes make it easier to implement site search, or that Magento stores with larger numbers of SKUs. And Magento marketers manage to get a lower bounce rate from emails: 50% on Shopify vs 44% on Magento. This is maybe due to a greater variety of email landing pages or campaigns. What about Shopify Plus vs Magento Enterprise? Many of the same differences are there for Shopify Plus (the equivalent of Magento Enterprise Edition for larger stores). Shopify plus stores manage a higher conversion rate (2.6% vs 1.6% for Magento EE), and but still have a lower average value per session ($2.12 on Shopify Plus vs $3.23 on Magento). And Plus stores, with more customised themes, still get a higher bounce rate from mobile search (55% vs 51% for Magento). If you're looking for more info, we have a useful post on the general differences between Shopify and Magento, and our friends at Electric Eye have an extensive breakdown of how Shopify and Magento pricing and implementation really work for merchants seeking the best ecommerce platform for their business. For an in-depth look at enterprise ecommerce options, we recommend checking out the big Magento 2 Commerce vs Shopify Plus comparison by Paul Rogers. An expert in ecommerce replatforming, Rogers has worked with Magento brands including O’Neills, Agent Provocateur, Waterford, Royal Doulton, and Shopify Plus brands including Bulletproof, Trotters, Oco, Current Body and ESC. Learn more Looking for more performance data? If you're interested in the topic of Magento vs Shopify performance, you can view our public listing of detailed Shopify benchmarks and Magento benchmarks. We've made it easy for anyone to dive into the data for themselves. And if you have an ecommerce website, sign up to benchmark your site for free! [subscribe button_text="benchmark your site"]

2019-03-21

A case study in how to improve page load speed

We used one of Littledata's own benchmarks to identify an issue with mobile page load speed and fix the underlying problems. Here's how we did it. Page load speed benchmark Using benchmarking in the Littledata app, we compared our website with 72 other marketing services sites benchmarked in December. (Our app lets you compare web performance by sector). Paying attention to both mobile and desktop experiences, we looked at things like the average delay before page content appears and the average time before full mobile page load. Overall we are above average, but against one benchmark - delay before page content appears - we are close to the median. That means 35 sites in our sector manage faster page load speeds. As website professionals, we can't let that rest! We care because Google cares about speed. If our landing pages take a long time before first 'paint' - before the content is visible - then more visitors will bounce or pick another article to answer their questions. If we invest time into writing articles like this one on our analytics blog, we should also invest time in making sure they are fast to load, and fast for Google to crawl and index. Here's how we acted on the benchmark data. [subscribe heading="Benchmark your site" button_text="sign up"] How fast were pages loading? We used the excellent PageSpeed Insights tool to pinpoint what was going wrong with the pages loading. Our original speed on mobile For mobile browsers, where traffic increasingly comes from, we were in the bottom 10% for speed, and below average for desktop. That sucks, and was definitely penalising our organic search rankings. Fixes to improve page load speed 1. Removing unnecessary JavaScript modules As a 'web app' built using Meteor, our pages are heavy with Javascript - effectively the whole site is pre-loaded with the first page. This means a module used by only one page can slow down ALL pages. By visualising the bundles for our Meteor App we found 2 very large modules which were blocking page load for all pages: the D3 library, used to visualise our industry category coverage, and the autoform package used for a single signup form. Using the clever dynamic imports feature in Meteor were were able to cut those modules from the landing page, and half the size of the Javascript bundle loaded from 1.6Mb to 0.8Mb. 2. Using Webp images for Chrome and compatible browsers Google prefers you to use the more efficient .webp image filetype, which is typically half the file-size of older .png or .jpeg filetypes. We found our chosen image server, Cloudinary, includes a simple feature to automatically chose the best file type for the browser it detects. Very quick fix! 3. Lazy-loading of landing page images Even if the images are efficiently served, trying to fetch all the images for a long-form landing page takes time - and is wasteful for users who only read the first few paragraphs. Instead, we can wait until the user scroll down before images are loaded for that section. This results in a small flicker as the user scrolls the first time, but faster initial load time. 4. Caching pages from our blog Wordpress is a great CMS, but the PHP + MySQL stack it uses is not the fastest for generating the pages. Luckily there are some great cache plugins, including WP Fastest Cache which we set up. What this does is save a rendered HTML file on the WP server, and only refresh the cache when the post is edited or new comments are added. 5. Cleaning up unused CSS and HTML templates Like all sites that have evolved their design and content over a few years, ours had lots of redundant code that no-one had spring-cleaned. Generally it's easier with older projects just to leave code, but for Meteor apps particularly it can slow down every page (see fix 1). So a new front-end developer starting was a good chance to rewrite templates from scratch, and chuck out the trash. The page load speed improvements Those 5 improvements, plus a database upgrade, let to some pretty good speed improvements - above average for mobile and top 2% for desktop speed! Even a few days after the release we saw a boost in the visibility of our landing pages in Google Search. Looking at Littledata's benchmarks for February, included in the newly released mobile vs desktop benchmarks, we can see the delay before content appears has dropped from 2.6 to 1.8 seconds (down by 40%). And the desktop speed is now in the top 10% of all sites at 1.7 seconds. The only area we still lack is the mobile page speed, so maybe we will look at some AMP versions in the next sprint. Ready to benchmark your site? Littledata's free plans include a Google Analytics connection and free benchmarks in ecommerce, engagement, marketing and site speed.

2019-03-13

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