The Ultimate Guide to Subscription Analytics
Now more than ever, subscriptions are a huge part of people’s daily lives. Not so long ago, ecommerce stores focused on one-off purchases to scale their businesses. But consumer buying preferences have shifted — brands and customers are focusing on relationship-driven ecommerce, and subscriptions are at the heart of that change. In fact, subscriptions are now the fastest growing area of ecommerce and show no signs of slowing down any time soon. The subscription ecommerce industry is projected to be worth over $246 billion by 2025 — scaling by more than 9,400% since 2016. In two years, Shopify Plus anticipates that 75% of direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses will offer subscriptions. In this post, we’ll cover... The benefits (and shortcomings) of adding a subscription service to your ecommerce store How to get accurate subscription tracking in Google Analytics Headless tracking for subscription stores The most important metrics and tools to get your subscription service off the ground Benefits of adding a subscription service If you're interested in growing your monthly sales and revenue, adding a subscription service is a great place to start. Subscriptions pose an exciting opportunity for ecommerce stores to unlock potential revenue, build long-lasting relationships with their customers, and create a community among consumers. One of the most notable benefits of subscription ecommerce is the consistent, recurring revenue. The predictable income that comes along with subscriptions allows management to: Plan and invest accordingly Order and manage inventory more effectively Project profits with ease and accuracy As Shopify Plus put it in their article on the benefits of subscription ecommerce, “on a deeper level, ecommerce subscriptions are about strong customer relationships. Subscriptions turn customers, who already see the value your company provides, into loyal followers who become reliable sources of recurring revenue.” In fact, the longer a customer uses your product or service, the more valuable they become to you. Plus, higher customer retention rates mean lower acquisition costs in the long term.” Where subscriptions fall short Unfortunately, Shopify stores offering subscriptions consistently fall short in one area — their analytics setups. Shopify Analytics gives you the baseline data, but doesn’t give you the full picture of your customer’s journey. That’s why many merchants rely on Google Analytics (GA) to dive deeper into their data. If you’re using Shopify’s native Google Analytics connection, you’ve probably run into a whole other set of issues. From data mismatches to aggregated orders, it’s evident that Shopify and Google Analytics don’t work well together on their own. We sampled a set of larger DTC brands on Shopify, processing over 50,000 monthly orders through a standard Shopify checkout, and found that on average only 88% of orders processed are recorded in Google Analytics. That’s a major loss; for every 100 Shopify orders, 12 go missing in Google Analytics. Subscription stores face even greater data discrepancies, with up to 70% of Shopify orders being tracked in Google Analytics on a good day and as little as 7% being tracked on, well, a not-so-good day. The major mismatches you see in subscription stores are due to the fact that orders are processed without any customer interaction. Data mismatches, no matter how big or small, hurt your bottom line. Whether it be marketing spend that can’t be attributed to sales or faulty retargeting campaigns, you can’t afford to make decisions based on inaccurate data. For data-driven DTC brands, accuracy is everything! Otherwise, you’re just leaving money on the table. Lucky for you, there is a solution to fix your subscription tracking in Google Analytics. Tracking subscriptions in Google Analytics Searching for a tool for tracking subscriptions that works right out of the box and ensures accurate reporting? Littledata is it. Using a combination of server-side and client-side tracking, Littledata captures data at every customer touchpoint. I know what you’re thinking — sounds too good to be true. So here’s the rundown on how the Littledata app works: Upon installation, Littledata adds a data layer onto your ecommerce site containing all Enhanced Ecommerce events — Google’s term for each crucial touchpoint in the customer journey. Littledata then adds a tracking script to capture each event as it happens. Finally, using combined client-side and server-side tracking, the app tracks all transactions and ensures 100% accuracy in reporting one-time orders, recurring payments, lifecycle events, and everything in between. We work with the top subscription services on Shopify and BigCommerce to empower your ecommerce store with complete data. Littledata automatically audits and fixes your data right at the source, bringing you complete and accurate data in Google Analytics, Segment, or any of your favorite reporting tools. Our plug-and-play solution is as simple as that. Minutes after installing, you’ll have access to truly meaningful data and the power to make your marketing dollars work better for your store. What does this mean for you? Make marketing and sales decisions backed by data that you can trust Track one-time orders, first-time payments, and recurring transactions Accurate marketing attribution data for one-time and subscription orders Measure LTV by product, channel, or source Track multiple checkout funnels with 100% accuracy Get the full picture of your customers’ journey with tracking at every touchpoint Complete tracking for headless setups [tip]Follow our simple guide to start tracking Ordergroove subscriptions in Google Analytics.[/tip] Tracking subscriptions in other reporting tools While Google Analytics may be the most commonly used reporting tool, it's far from the only one on the market. The tools below are also widely popular for analytics tracking: Segment Google Data Studio Tableau Power BI The good news? Littledata's plug-and-play solution integrates automatically with these tools as well. Segment Segment’s data pipeline lets you collect, clean, push and pull customer data from one platform into dozens of others without the difficult engineering. Then you can utilize different connections, protocols, and personas (or single-user views) to analyze that data. Littledata's source for Shopify and Shopify Plus enables you to automatically send ecommerce events into any of Segment’s hundreds of destinations. Once you've set it up you'll be able to capture metrics from every customer touchpoint and attribute results from your Facebook and Google Ads spend with 100% accuracy thanks to our server-side tracking. Headless tracking for subscription stores Headless commerce doesn’t have to come at the cost of missing data. Whether your site uses a collection of headless landing pages or a full headless architecture implementation, Littledata's Shopify to Google Analytics connection is compatible with headless setups to capture Enhanced Ecommerce events and ensure a complete data match between Shopify and Google Analytics. What metrics are the most important for subscription stores? Analytics really matters when it comes to subscription ecommerce, which is why identifying key metrics is that much more important. The three most important metrics, which indicate your store’s performance, growth, and longevity are: Average order value (AOV) Customer lifetime value (LTV) Churn These metrics will guide your sales and marketing decisions and ultimately determine the fate of your store. Average Order Value AOV — the average amount spent by customers when they place an order — measures sales trends and reflects customer behavior and buying preferences. This can be one of the trickiest metrics to increase. Boosting AOV is a priority goal for ecommerce teams as it directly impacts profits (and customer lifetime value). Order value can be maximized with upsells and cross-sells, but there’s a fine line between encouraging and annoying your customers. Ecommerce tools like CartHook and subscription apps like ReCharge specialize in incorporating unobtrusive upselling into your customers’ buying experience, providing an easy solution to one of our customers’ biggest feats. [tip]Find out if your AOV is in good shape: benchmark your ecommerce store against thousands of other brands in your sector.[/tip] Customer Lifetime Value LTV is considered a “universal indicator;” it’s a comprehensive metric that encompasses the overall health of your subscription store. LTV is the best indicator of churn, best projector of profit, and best aid in decision making. When it comes to marketing and sales decisions, LTV helps you easily identify which products and channels are your top performers and bring you your most valuable customers. Find out how you can use Littledata’s custom dimensions to calculate customer lifetime value with your data in Google Analytics. Churn For subscription stores especially, Shopify stores live and die by churn — the rate at which subscribers stop subscribing to your store. Churn is the flip side of your retention rate, revealing how many customers shopped with you and didn't return. Your churn rate is a critical indicator of the health of your subscription business, reflecting its overall viability in the long run. Where to see the data Data is everywhere. But at Littledata, we believe that you should have full ownership of your own ecommerce data. Unlike reporting tools that focus on external data storage or complicated interfaces, Littledata automatically audits your setup, fixes your tracking, and leaves it where it should be: with you. From discovery at the source to events throughout their shopping experience — our combined server-side and client-side tracking captures data at every touchpoint and sends that data directly to Google Analytics or Segment. If you’re using our Google Analytics app for Shopify, you can see that data directly in Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, or your favorite reporting tool that works with GA, like Google Data Studio. If you’re using our Segment app for Shopify, you can send data to hundreds of Segment destinations for analysis or remarketing. [tip]Read our free guide on how to make data-driven decisions for Shopify plus stores and grow your store with better metrics.[/tip] Apps to fuel your ecommerce subscriptions Both Shopify and BigCommerce have a wide array of plug-and-play subscription apps that make it easy to boost your store’s performance; Littledata has built connections with the top subscription services in ecommerce to equip your team with the tools needed to make data-driven decisions. ReCharge ReCharge is a leading subscription management app, designed to let your store offer subscriptions with a few clicks. Since 2014, merchants of all sizes have used ReCharge’s billing and payment solutions to grow their business by increasing customer lifetime value and reducing customer churn. ReCharge has helped to power the growth of industry-leading brands like Wild and Grind through their revenue-boosting tools like upsells, SMS and email notifications, and actionable subscription insights. Check out our interview with Teddy Robinson, CMO and Creative Director of Grind, and find out how they harnessed accurate data to grow their monthly subscriptions by 50x in just three months. Bold Subscriptions Bold Subscriptions helps merchants to generate predictable recurring revenue and build customer loyalty with a customizable subscription program that’s unique to your business. The app is compatible with multiple ecommerce platforms, integrates with over a dozen payment gateways, and allows merchants to craft any subscription program with API customization. Bold Subscriptions is widely used across ecommerce platforms by brands like Wulf’s Fish and Staples Canada. Ordergroove Ordergroove is a recurring billing solution that helps merchants maximize subscriber enrollment, grow their AOV, and boost customer retention. Ordergroove allows customers to create a personalized subscriber experience through promotions, rewards programs, and more. It’s a popular solution for larger brands — like Yankee Candle and Kind Snacks — and offers a range of integrations to help brands scale. Smartrr Smartrr’s subscription ecommerce app is designed for Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants to offer personalized subscriptions to their customer base, allowing subscribers to manage their recurring orders, providing gifting options, and offering upsell add-ons and product swaps that increase customer satisfaction. Their no-code approach makes it easy for early-stage ecommerce stores — like Misfits Market and Sanzo — to hit the ground running with subscriptions. Paywhirl PayWhirl provides powerful widgets & tools to manage your recurring billing. Paywhirl helps ecommerce stores sell subscriptions, pre-orders, payment plans, and more. Rebillia Rebillia makes subscription easy by giving customers the option to save payment information for future purchases, subscribe to their favorite products or services, and send powerful, automatic recommendation emails according to purchase history. Rebillia empowers major brands like Charmin and Gillette to sell by subscription. Should you use Google Tag Manager (GTM)? This depends primarily on the marketing tags that you plan to use and the sources you want to collect data from. If you're looking for an automated solution, Littledata's connections can easily replace GTM tags for Google Analytics and Google Ads through server-side tracking. Littledata takes care of tracking for other data destinations like email marketing tools and CRMs as well. But, if you plan to use other marketing tags (like TikTok, Pinterest, or Twitter) then you will need to set them up using GTM. For this solution, Littledata offers a plus plan that includes a full GTM setup to make sure you have accurate tracking. So what's next? The rise in subscription ecommerce is just heating up; what better time than now to launch your subscription store? From subscription management to analytics and more — there are tons of apps across Shopify and BigCommerce to help you scale your business.Take the first step towards making data-backed decisions with your 30-day free trial with Littledata.
Lunch with Littledata: Get the tools to succeed from 1-800-D2C
One of the first — and most important — decisions ecommerce store owners make on their journey to success is choosing which tools will support their business. The ecommerce landscape is flush with great options to help with everything from email and user messaging to core requirements like analytics and attribution tracking. For many store owners, choosing the right tools can be a challenging process. Learning about how each tool stacks up against its competitors, identifying what tools you need at your current growth stage, and pushing past decision paralysis to pick the best one is no easy task. Fortunately, there’s a new service the ecommerce industry can call on to make smart tooling decisions by learning from others in the industry — 1-800-D2C. In this installment of our Lunch with Littledata series, we chat with 1-800-D2C founder Tim Masek to learn how he launched the directory, see what SaaS tool strategies drive growth, and discuss what the future of ecommerce tooling and the industry as a whole has in store. Greg from Littledata: Can you tell me the story of how 1-800-D2C started? Tim Masek: 1-800-D2C came from a need. I was a growth marketer for a long time helping different ecommerce businesses, and a big part of the job is to always recommend the right tools to different merchants. Because tools are changing so fast, though, I’d struggle to keep up with what the best solutions out there were. Instead of going on endless demo calls, I realized that by looking at the tool stacks of different brands I might be able to make a more informed decision on what the actual best tools to use would be. It clicked in my head that maybe there was a space on the internet for another DTC directory, but this time focused on tooling. So, toward the end of 2019 through to early 2021, I put together this Airtable spreadsheet with lots and lots of records of direct-to-consumer brands. Then I added a bunch of information about them — their URL, image, description, the category therein — and paired that with data about the stacks that they were using. That was my MVP, but I wanted to package it in a really nice way. So, I used Webflow to showcase it and my fiancee — the designer behind 1-800-D2C who has designed for a bunch of ecommerce brands — kindly helped me out on the presentation of the site. Her design gave the site a whole old-school feel of yellow pages. It gave something that could be seen as boring and stale when you're talking about essentially B2B SaaS and B2B software for e-commerce merchants a fun, fresh, and energetic feel. We went live in February 2021 and launched on Product Hunt, then that's when the word started to spread organically. There's never been any paid promotion behind 1-800-D2C. For me, now 10 months after launch, the biggest validation is people still sharing it amongst themselves and the community learning about it on their own. Greg: The website design definitely makes it very unique and memorable. How has business been going since launch? Tim: Thank you so much. Littledata is all over it because it's such an important tool for a lot of e-commerce brands on the directory. There are at least 50+ records of brands using Littledata, so it's great to have you guys on there. The business has been going really well. The site's opened up a lot of doors to speak with people on both sides of the equation — merchants who want to share their story about how they built their devices and also tool creators like Littledata who want to make sure they're connecting to their audience and communicating the benefits of their solutions vs. others. I recently spoke at the Webflow No Code Conference event. I've got some sponsors on the site. So really, really fun and I’m still loving it. Greg: Was the first time you heard about Littledata when you saw it in people's tech stacks? Or did you know about us before? Tim: I knew about it before, probably about a year and a half ago when I was working with a DTC brand called Bower Collective. It's a website where you can buy plastic-free home goods. They were using the first version of ReCharge and they didn't have much money to spend on software, so they weren't using anything crazy on the analytics front, just using Google Analytics. Because I was running the growth for that business when they were a part of Founders Factory, we took a look at some tools that would help us make sense of what was happening with discrepancies on the data side between Recharge and Shopify and Google Analytics. That's how I stumbled upon Littledata and was so excited. The product was super simple. The team was very nice, very switched on, and very operational. I didn't feel like I was talking to sales reps or anything like that. It felt like I was talking to geeks, which made us all feel comfortable. The data was flowing quite nicely and it helped us uncover a lot of insights. [tip]Try Littledata free for 30 days and use better data to drive revenue for your store.[/tip] Greg: That's great to hear. I can vouch that our support team are definitely data nerds and not salespeople. They just love the ecommerce space. Tim: Yeah, it's niche, man. It's niche. There are a few people that get excited about this whole DTC space, you and me included, and there are not too many of us on this Earth like that. So it was just fun to meet them. Greg: Do you see any common problems ecommerce businesses face when they're building their tech stacks? Tim: I'd say probably the biggest mistake I see is someone picking tools that don't work in sync with the other tools they've already purchased. That racks up a large SaaS bill every month without any synergy amongst their apps. It's easy to rectify because it's oftentimes quite easy to switch from one app to another. But we're seeing a bunch of apps connecting the entire ecosystem together. For example, you're going to need somebody on the analytics and attribution front. That's where a tool like Littledata comes in, and Littledata works well with ReCharge and Shopify. So if you are already using ReCharge, it makes a lot of sense to be integrated that way. "It would be a mistake to see apps as individual problem fixers when they could actually be leveraged as part of a larger strategy, a larger ecosystem." Then you've got customer support. If you're using Gorgeous, for example, that's going to sing very well with ReCharge because there's a native integration there. Then for reviews, Juniper is super well integrated into the whole stack, and they might sing well with your texting solution. When the pieces start to come together we've got really strong integrations across the board. It would be a mistake to see apps as individual problem fixers when they could actually be leveraged as part of a larger strategy, a larger ecosystem. Greg: Do you think that ecommerce owners are starting to notice the native integrations that are out there as they use more tools? Tim: Yeah, it's definitely catching on. The market's maturing very, very rapidly, and I could see how it becomes a no-brainer in the next year or two to have everything come together. I think it perhaps starts with agencies who have to be educated on what works well together, and we started to see more of that about a year ago. I've worked with a lot of different agencies. They may be inclined to build everything custom themselves, and the merchants may be the ones saying, “OK, but I've seen my friend who runs this other e-commerce store crushing it with upsells because they're using Rebuy instead of doing it custom. Can we just use that solution instead?” So there's got to be a bit of back and forth now between agencies and merchants to figure out what stack is recommended. But for sure, the whole ecosystem is becoming more and more aware of the right tools to recommend and how they all play together. Greg: You have a lot of interesting roundups on the site. Do you have one that's the most popular? Tim: There is one that I really liked, it’s a fun interview I did with Brandon Amoroso who runs an agency called electrIQ marketing. Brandon is a very young agency founder and a super impressive guy. That's the cool thing about what I do — getting to meet amazing individuals like that scattered around the web who I wouldn't have ever met otherwise. In my interview with him, I got him to break down his stack and tooling decisions for a coffee subscription business called Amora Coffee that they put on ReCharge which does some crazy sales volume. He was talking to me about how he used Loyalty Lion for a specific scenario of rewarding customers who bought bundles then letting them redeem those directly in one click from a Klaviyo email. It's all super niche, but he breaks down exactly why he made those decisions. I thought it was a really insightful story — a storytelling way to learn more about different apps. Greg: Are there any tools that you see DTC businesses using the most? Tim: I actually put together a page on the website called “The top 5’s” and it breaks down the top five tools within each category across the entire directory. That's a nice way to get a sense of the top tools. Other than that, one that comes to mind is Klaviyo because it’s used by, I think, 90% of the 1-800-D2C directory. Shopify, of course, because I love brands that are built on Shopify. For the most part, Shopify is number one, Klaviyo is number two. It’s absolutely crazy when you think about the value of Klaviyo and how unmatched it is. Some people talk about Omnisend or Drip or a few others that are in the conversation. But really, the go-to is Klaviyo, especially for young brands. A lot of people are using heat-mapping tools like Hotjar, too. Those are quite easy to just quickly install on the website and get valuable insights. Fullstory falls a little bit behind after that — also a great tool. Then customer support comes right after reviews, so Okendo, Juniper, Stamped, Gorgeous, Zendesk. Really, those are the core types of tools, and they rank really high on our top 5 tools list. Greg: We've seen the same thing as well with Klaviyo and Shopify. They’re the market leaders, so it makes sense that you'd see those in pretty much every stack. Tim: Just a quick point on that because it really is crazy. We try and come up with our own predictions about what's going to happen in the future with ecommerce, the Shopify ecosystem, etc. I don't see a world where ecommerce stores don't send emails. It’s always going to be there as step number one or step number two. So every store uses email, and Klaviyo just completely dominates that. It's just unbelievable. I hope there will be challenges to Klaviyo because it will keep pushing them to build a better product over time. But for now, they're just completely undefeated, sitting at the top, just enjoying it, crushing it. [tip]Get advanced analytics tracking on your store's email performance with Littledata's integration for Klaviyo and Shopify.[/tip] Greg: Are there any trends in the DTC space you see that excite you the most? Tim: I love what Blueprint is doing. They’re really cool because they're an SMS-focused DTC tool aimed at driving retention. There's lots of machine learning that happens on the backend of the tool to learn about your customers, find when are they likely to repurchase again, and what kind of cross-selling opportunities you can identify. So you're not just looking at a platform to send broad messages and be an extra layer on top of email. You're looking at something to build a long-lasting relationship with the customer. It merges the world of marketing/communications with customer support because the whole philosophy behind Blueprint is to build one-to-one customer relationships. So, on the other end as a merchant, you can't wait for the moment when Greg decides, “I'm actually going to reply to this text and give some feedback.” Because then the person on the merchant side can start just talking to you and getting to know you a little bit more, which is a bit like customer support, but you’re not only chatting with them because you have an issue. It's a really nice trend in the world of SMBs. Greg: What advice would you give to an e-commerce store owner who is just starting to build a true tech stack? Tim: First, Start super slow. Don't overspend on tools, build up as you go. It's quite easy to graduate from one tool and get to the next. Then, do your research. Use 1-800-D2C, use whatever you can to find the best tools for you at your stage, and then build up from there. What we did with Bower Collective was really fun. We didn't have much of a stack in the beginning. But over time we started adding. Littledata I think was one of the first tools we added because we needed to see the attribution done properly. That was pretty core for the stack and it was lightweight to do since there’s no huge yearly contract, just an easy implementation. "Start (building a tech stack) slow and ramp up your app costs with your sales. Don't put too much burden on yourself in the beginning." Then we were looking at referral marketing solutions due to customer requests, so we implemented Conjured referrals. There are expert referral platforms out there like Friend Buy and Talkable, but Conjured is the most lightweight one that looks really good, is easy to implement, and can really be your first entry into the world of referral marketing. And if it works to get you an uptick on referrals, you're two years ahead at that stage and can move to those other platforms. Then we started looking at text messaging, then the next thing, and the next. So start slow and ramp up your app costs with your sales. Don't put too much burden on yourself in the beginning. Greg: You guys have a very active social presence. Who runs your social accounts? Tim: 1-800-D2C is really just me. I'm working with a really great intern called Emmy, she's based in New York and she helps me out a lot with Twitter. But for the most part, it's just me trying to stay not only top of mind, but also really provide value in the Twitter ecosystem. It's a great platform with great individuals who want to chat about ecommerce. I'm passionate about the space, so it's an easy way to communicate with the audience. Greg: That’s impressive, props to you for taking it all on by yourself! You mentioned earlier that you actually bootstrapped 1-800-D2C pretty much with all no-code tools. What do you think the power of the no-code movement is for the DTC industry? Tim: Good question, I don't know if I have a good answer for that. Shopify is your starting point in DTC and it's becoming more and more user-friendly, with fewer customizations to do on the coding side of things. So, in some ways, it's becoming more and more no-code-like. But if you're serious about building a successful DTC brand, you want to know a thing or two about how Liquid works or at least have some resources on hand to help you with that. That's actually what I'm working on now with Stuart Tasker — making those resources more available to everyday merchants to put you in touch with the best developers on Shopify and help you move at the speed that you want to. Greg: That’s a great service for store owners to tap into. Having just that one expert can be enough to solve a problem and help you bootstrap the rest of the way. Tim: That's it, man, that's the creator economy in a nutshell. It's also what's happening with the whole remote work movement. We live in a world where you can get a lot done on your own by pulling in extra resources from different experts scattered around the world. I'm a big believer in that. Greg: Are there any other brands that you look to in the DTC space for inspiration? Tim: I actually was asked this question recently for the first time, and I didn't have an answer for it besides one kind of funky, odd one, which I'll say again. They're called Darn Good Yarn. It's the type of business I love because they just sell yarn online for people who are into knitting. And finding yarn in a physical store is probably not the easiest thing to do in the world nowadays. So you’ll likely look online for it, and they've become a home for that. I also love it because the community is already so strong. People who frickin love knitting are going to go out of their way to find you online to shop from you. Those shoppers are going to not only be in a great position to love your brand because you're delivering directly on their needs, but then they're going to go out into the real world and create something beautiful that they can then share with you as a brand which you can repost on social and connect with the community. It's really nice ecosystem, and I imagine the yarn market's decently big. So if you can win that, then you’ve got something special. Greg: What's on the horizon for 1-800-D2C? Tim: I would like to do two things. First, I think there's a nice opportunity to create a job board for anybody in the world of ecommerce. Lots of the brands and tool owners that I speak with are trying to hire for a specific role on their teams. A lot of the people I interact with are hiring because the space is growing rapidly and they just need more people to work on interesting projects. There's a couple of resources on the internet that talk about ecommerce, but only a few that really specialize in ecommerce hiring. So I could see 1-800-D2C being a nice home for those types of opportunities. The second bit is getting more contributors to write on the one 1-800-D2C website for me. Right now it's a lot of me putting in the work and talking about what I'm seeing out there, which I'm totally fine with. I love it and that's why I do it. But there are so many bright minds in the world of ecommerce, and I want them to have a platform to share their ideas and their thoughts. So hopefully I can find a scalable way to get them to contribute to the website. Greg: Almost like an ecommerce clubhouse. That’s a great idea. We’d be happy to join you there! Tim: Yeah, exactly. Just read at your convenience — whether it's the newsletter, the blog content, or the job board— or just browse different DTC brands and their tools. Quick links: Find out how to make data-driven decisions for Shopify plus stores Learn how to scale your business faster using first-party data Discover 5 things that change in Google Analytics when you install Littledata Connect Smartrr subscriptions with Google Analytics
New Recharge integration for BigCommerce stores
In the DTC world, subscription ecommerce used to thrive mainly on Shopify or custom solutions. But times have changed. Although Cyber Week was flat or down for many online retailers, BigCommerce merchants saw a year-over-year GMV increase of 15%. We're excited to announce that Littledata's BigCommerce app for Google Analytics now includes a plug-and-play integration with Recharge, the leading subscription payments solution. The new connection makes it easy for subscription brands on BigCommerce to get granular data about online orders, marketing channels and subscriber behavior in Google Analytics. The subscriptions analytics connection for BigCommerce lets you: Track browsing behavior Track shopping cart events, orders, recurring orders, and refunds Improve marketing attribution Differentiate one-off orders, first-time subscriptions, and recurring orders in Google Analytics Data-driven growth has to start with accurate data. Littledata's magic combination of client-side and server-side tracking works behind the scenes so you can get back to business. We're here to help subscription analytics be less complicated and more useful. Recharge is now used by over 15,000 brands around the world. Our Recharge integration for Shopify is one of our oldest — and most popular — integrations at Littledata. We're eager to keep helping Recharge merchants get accurate, actionable data, whichever ecommerce platform or custom setup they might be using. [tip]The BigCommerce Recharge integration works automatically without any extra setup steps (if you're using Recharge and BC, we'll automatically track subscriptions for you). Try it for free today![/tip] For the data geeks out there, we've also added data pipeline settings such as a domain linker and IP Anonymization (or IP masking). And yes, Littledata works with custom themes and headless BigCommerce setups! Adapting to the new world of first-party data and hurdling obstacles like iOS changes and Facebook Ads' switch to a Conversions API becomes much easier with the powerful server-side tracking of Littledata's analytics connection. The app is designed for Universal Analytics (UA), but coming soon for GA4. Not sure where to start? See 5 things that change in Google Analytics when you install Littledata.
5 things that change in Google Analytics when you install Littledata
In the modern ecommerce landscape, data is power. Making sure that your data is as accurate as possible, though, can give you the ultimate leg up on your competitors. As a Shopify store owner, ecommerce, or marketing manager using both Shopify analytics and Google Analytics, you're surely aware of the numerous benefits of using Shopify as your ecommerce platform and GA as your analytics platform. However, you’re also probably aware of the fact that these two platforms don’t really play well together, and that Shopify’s native connection with GA has quite a few shortcomings. This disconnect is what inspired us to create Littledata. We built a tool that resolves data dilemmas, restores your trust in the data from GA, and offers accurate ecommerce and marketing insights — no questions asked. Even better, many of the most critical fixes and enhancements that come with Littledata’s tracking are available right out of the box. In this post, we’ll show you five such fixes and detail how they will improve in your Shopify store’s analytics. 5 benefits you’ll get from Littledata right after install 1. Accurate attribution metrics When checking referrals to your store, you might have noticed a lot of your traffic coming with “direct/(none)” listed as the source/medium. Oftentimes, this number is a lot higher than expected (over 30%), and paid traffic channels are underrepresented. That means you have a marketing attribution problem. As soon as Littledata starts tracking sessions and events on your Shopify store, accuracy for these metrics instantly improves. That’s because the app uses a combination of two different kinds of tracking to capture full customer behaviour data: Client-side tracking, or customer data gathered from web browsers and mobile devices Server-side tracking, or customer data gathered from web pages that fulfil clients’ requests on browsers/mobile devices Tracking both together ensures data coverage across clients’ sessions without interruption. Plus, UTM parameters alongside the GA ClientID are always passed into Google Analytics, giving you an accurate source for each visit along with previous interactions visitors may have had with your store. If you’re spending significantly on social ads and marketing campaigns, this data fix will have an immediate positive effect for calculating your return on ad spend (ROAS) and overall return on investment (ROI). Even if you’re just starting out and need to learn more about attribution to find your most valuable leads, accurate attribution stats will pay dividends for your store. 2. Revenue, transactions, and refunds One of the more well-known shortcomings of GA for Shopify stores is that it does not capture all transactions happening in Shopify, and Shopify doesn’t send refund data to GA. This creates a big revenue discrepancy between platforms and leaves you unable to trust GA’s accuracy for data about your store. To bridge this gap, Littledata relies on Shopify’s webhooks to create all transactional events server-side, making this particular problem a thing of the past. What will change in GA specifically, you ask? All purchases will show up in your GA reports with the correct order and revenue details, refunds will be tracked, and most importantly revenue in GA will match with Shopify. 3. Checkout funnel One of the biggest features of GA’s Enhanced Ecommerce is support for checkout steps. GA uses a funnel navigation path to follow your website users from the time they initiate the checkout up to the final purchase. Shopify does not track these interactions natively in GA, so it’s hard to tell where customers drop-off before buying — or even include them in a retargeting campaign. Thanks to Littledata’s server-side tracking using Shopify’s checkout webhooks, you can see those interactions and understand your customers’ behaviour in the checkout. After you install Littledata on your Shopify store, you’ll see GA’s Checkout Behaviour report now displays the correct number of users who navigated through the funnel, at each step, with the corresponding drop-offs. 4. Order affiliation There are times when seeing an ecommerce transaction event alone in Google Analytics isn’t enough. That’s especially true when you’re trying to measure the performance of third-party apps you use to manage subscriptions, upsells, product exchanges, and affiliate marketing. In these cases, you need to get more granular when analyzing a transaction using a metric like order type. Littledata shows this additional transaction data by collecting Shopify’s order tags, then making use of GA’s Affiliate Code report and Ecommerce Affiliation dimension. This is especially useful when you’re trying to count new subscribers and manage subscription analytics, measure LTV, identify product upsells, and track affiliate referrals. 5. Product List performance Many stores typically use GA’s ecommerce reporting to measure checkout performance or product revenue. However, with Littledata installed on your Shopify store, there are many more insights to be unlocked around product list performance than those basic metrics. By analyzing events at the top of the funnel, Littledata lets you identify which products need better images, descriptions, or pricing to improve conversions. Space on product listing pages is a valuable commodity, and products that get users to click on them – but don’t then result in conversion – need to be removed or amended. Equally, products that never get clicked within the list may need tweaking. Littledata tracks product list impressions on any Shopify storefront, using Google’s standard product list event properties. How to get Littledata set up for your Shopify store Littledata’s platform makes a significant positive impact on your metrics reporting right from the first time you use it. Having correct attribution, a clear picture of revenue sources from different order types, and full view of checkout funnels and product performance can make a major difference in your ROI right away. Perhaps best of all, you can see the benefits Littledata can bring to your store for 30 days without paying a cent. Plus, when you sign up for the Littledata 30 day free trial, you’ll also get custom benchmarks to target based on leaders in your industry. Sign up for Littledata to fix your analytics reporting in a snap and set your store up for the most successful year yet. [subscribe]
How can digital marketers comply with GDPR?
How to scale your business faster using first-party data [Podcast]
Data matters now more than ever for ecommerce store owners. It forms the backbone of any strong decision-making process and gives an invaluable look at customers you can't find anywhere else. But data collection is changing, with new privacy regulations and major tracking changes through iOS 14 (and beyond) adding hurdles to gathering truly accurate data. The solution to maintaining good data? Server-side tracking. To shed more light on the topic, Littledata CEO Edward Upton appeared on two podcasts to show listeners the power that data has on stores' future prospects, why it's so critical to focus on, and how to make sure you're using good data to guide your store. Keeping your ecommerce data accurate in a first-party data world Ed also appeared on the 2X eCommerce podcast to chat with host Kunle Campbell about the big changes facing ecommerce data managers today. They dive into new restrictions on third-party data and how data managers can use tools like the new Facebook Conversions API (FB CAPI) and server-side tracking apps like Littledata to maximize ROI through data-backed decision-making. The conversation is a must-listen for any ecommerce store owner or data manager, particularly those spending significantly on acquiring customers through ads. They dive into: What events you should be tracking to get to know your customers better How you can still get the data you need without violating privacy laws What the future of ecommerce tracking will look like, and how to prepare for it Hear the entire episode to get the guidance you need to make the right calls for your store. Listen on Spotify Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Soundcloud How to use first-party data to improve loyalty and lifetime value Speaking with Flavilla Fongang from Tech Brains Talk, Ed shared how being able to analyze customer data correctly — using accurate metrics, of course — shows you the best paths to take for building both customer loyalty and lifetime value. Listen to the full conversation to hear how you can learn from your customers' behavior and make adjustments to your store design and promotion methods to drive more revenue and win more business. Listen on Spotify Listen on Apple Podcasts [subscribe]
How to make data-driven decisions for Shopify plus stores [ebook]
As your ecommerce store grows and your revenues increase, knowing where to spend and how to scale your customer base becomes crucial. Getting the biggest decisions right — from choosing marketing channels to determining your most valuable customers — comes down to how accurate and reliable your data is. Of course, you're more than likely already using some kind of reporting tool to analyze your buyers' behavior and make improvements to your store. But Shopify's own reporting tools can be inaccurate, with orders going missing and attribution data lacking the clarity you need to plot a profitable path forward for your store. More importantly, if you're not tapping into the power of the wide array of data tools available to you as a Shopify store, you're leaving money on the table. To get a complete picture of your sales and marketing data and capture actionable metrics from each customer touch point, your store can rely on adding smart connections with the help of Littledata. Through a combination of server-side tracking and tools that analyze shopping behavior and offer multi-channel marketing attribution, Littledata's smart connections show you the full picture of your shoppers' behavior. No matter if you're using a headless setup, offer subscriptions, or focus entirely on Facebook and Google ads, the connections shared in this guide will give you truly accurate data to inform the most important decisions you make for your store. Free ebook on accelerating Shopify store growth by leveraging 100% accurate data Adding proven integrations to your data stack, channeled through the 100% accurate tracking Littledata provides, can be the key to unlocking sales and exponential growth for your store. In the free Shopify smart connection guide, we'll show you how to: Optimize your Shopify product pages Track major ecommerce events on your store (adds to cart, checkouts, etc.) Calculate accurate marketing attribution Segment your orders by marketing channel You'll also learn how to compare your store against industry benchmarks that will help you set realistic targets for growth. The tools in this ebook are used by successful DTC Shopify businesses worldwide, and can help you accelerate your store's growth just as they have. Download the free ebook>>>
Connect Smartrr subscriptions with Google Analytics
If you want to do more with your subscriptions data, you're in luck. Littledata now integrates fully with Smartrr to capture marketing data, shopping behavior, subscriptions and LTV. You can send the data to Segment, Google Analytics, or any connected marketing destination or reporting tool. Yep, it's that easy. Or should we say...smartrr! What is Smartrr? Smartrr is a popular new subscription engine for Shopify stores. Their no-code solution allows merchants to offer curated subscriptions and memberships. Personally, I love their membership portal which encourages both retention and upsells. There are easy options for gifting, add-ons, and subscription changes, and subscribers can manage all of this from email or SMS (so much easier!), not just the web app. Our shared customers have all noted the membership portal as well, so it's safe to say it's a pretty popular feature. If you want to see Smartrr in action, brands already using both Littledata and Smartrr include Aura Bora and Som Sleep. What does the integration do? Smartrr's own analytics dashboard already has useful information about sales, conversions, and AOV (average order value). So why do you need an ecommerce data platform like Littledata? Littledata connects Smartrr data with Shopify data, marketing data, and behavior data so you have one source of truth. This helps with everything from meaningful analysis, to impactful action. It can be hard enough to make Shopify match Google Analytics, and once you add subscriptions to the mix things become even more complicated. In fact, before they started using Littledata, over 80% of the subscription ecommerce stores we audited this year couldn't differentiate between one-off purchases and recurring billing in Google Analytics! We built Littledata from the ground up with server-side tracking to enable accurate data at every customer touch point, including repeat purchases and refunds. Say goodbye to siloed data and hello to a unified, accurate data stream. Subscription tracking Littledata's Smartrr integration captures one-off purchases, first-time subscriptions, and recurring orders — and links those back with marketing channels and browsing behavior. It's a plug-and-play solution: Make Shopify revenue and Smartrr revenue match what you see in Google Analytics Say goodbye to "Direct" traffic in GA, and know where visitors are coming from See accurate conversion rates for first-time subscriptions vs. other kinds of orders Send Smartrr subscriptions data to Facebook Ads via the Facebook Conversions API (beta) Learn more about how the connection works to see the full scope of its benefits. We support headless setups, multi-currency sales, and anything else you might be doing! [tip]Not sure where to start? Book a demo and we'll audit your analytics setup and answer all your data questions[/tip] Customer lifetime value (LTV) Smartrr helps you delight your subscribers and turn them into loyal brand advocates. Littledata is here to help you make data-driven decisions to keep those subscribers delighted over the years — and to find more high-value customers where they already like to spend time. Littledata sends complete LTV data as a custom dimension in Google Analytics or a property in Segment. We capture both purchase count and total customer lifetime value so you can analyze any way you see fit. There are many uses for this data, depending on your business model and growth plans: Understanding your average customer lifetime value Improving return on ad spend (ROAS) by analyzing LTV by marketing channel Analyzing LTV by subscription product or product group Building LTV cohorts for advertising and remarketing (email, social, PPC) Our research has found that the most important subscription ecommerce metrics are AOV, LTV, and churn. But what good are those metrics if you can't connect them with the original marketing channel or customer touch point? Learn more in our ultimate guide to subscription analytics.
An open letter to Mark Zuckerberg from Littledata Founder, Edward Upton
Dear Zuck, You’re a developer. I’m a developer. And I thought Facebook was a developer-friendly company to work with — after all, you’re trying to recruit tens of thousands of engineers to work at Meta. But our experience trying to integrate with Facebook Ads makes me really doubt that. It’s been frustrating. At times, eyeball-gougingly frustrating. Littledata runs a popular data integration, allowing hundreds of ecommerce brands spending a LOT of money on Facebook Ads to export their cost and click data to better calculate return on advertising spend. Until October this Facebook app was running just fine, and our mutual customers were happy social marketers. The trouble started when Facebook needed to verify our business manager account earlier this year. We’ve heard that Facebook needs to know their business customers better — some of those Russians spending big on election Ads were not quite who they said they were. We understand. Littledata is trusted by thousands of Shopify stores around the world, so we’d be happy to show Facebook our company paperwork. The problem is the app in question is linked to a legacy business manager account with no admin user. Hands up, that was my fault — as someone who’s led a hyper-growth startup I hope you’ll see why sorting out a duplicate Facebook account never got prioritised. So, we never got the memo back in February 2021 that the business manager account was unverified and suspended. No Facebook message, email, push notification or carrier pigeon. Nada. This time bomb carried on ticking until 5th October when we needed to add back app permissions after an update to Facebook’s marketing API. But we were not able to do so without — you guessed it — a verified business manager account. On 5th October you probably had bigger fish to fry with Facebook’s network meltdown, but I hope a coder like you couldn’t fail to spot the classic infinite loop: Littledata can’t verify the Facebook business manager account, because there is no admin user with access to that business Facebook can’t add an admin to an unverified business when it's been inactive for more than 60 days We can’t move the app to another Facebook business, as there is no admin user with accesss Since October, I’ve been in contact with Facebook business support nearly every day because our Facebook advertiser customers are complaining every day. And over 8 weeks — EIGHT WEEKS — I have felt like I’m head-butting a concrete wall. Since this scenario isn’t one that was imagined by the business verifications team, it apparently just can’t be fixed. Maybe this is how those data centre managers felt on 5th October, locked out of their own building because Facebook’s authentication systems were offline? So now our app can’t be used. So advertisers spending tens of millions with Facebook Ads are upset too. I’m just a developer wanting to work with Facebook. Can you or anyone else get us out of this verification Meta-hole? Best regards, Edward Founder, Littledata P.S. If you can take a short break from the metaverse, it's support ticket 622162645450139
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