I recently stopped by the Honest Ecommerce podcast to give listeners the lowdown on ecommerce analytics. Check it out to learn how to fix tracking for Shopify stores!
Get the free podcast episode here: Ep. 21 - How To Track Shopify Sales & Marketing (In A Way That Is Accurate & Useful)
Honest Ecommerce is one of the fastest growing podcasts for Shopify and Shopify Plus store owners, from the good folks at Electric Eye agency in Columbus, Ohio.
While the episode is focused on tips for Shopify stores, we chat about ecommerce tracking for every type of store, whatever platform and business model you're using, and how to do more with less, rather than getting bogged down in too much -- or inaccurate -- data.
In the episode we cover:
- Why we started Littledata and the journey so far
- What is wrong with your data? (Does your Shopify data match what you see in Google Analytics?)
- What KPIs should you be looking at in Google Analytics?
- Using data to drive your business
- Analytics audits & ecommerce benchmarking
- How our integrations work, including Facebook Ads, ReCharge and Refersion
- Littledata's new Segment app for Shopify stores
- How to connect Facebook Ads data with Google Analytics automatically
- Which types of ecommerce sites get the most out of Littledata?
And much more! 🙂
Check it out and let us know what you'd like to hear about in our next podcast appearance.
[00:00:01.750] - Ari
You don't want to start redesigning the site or changing your product line based on a really limited sample because it could be just random. So the more data you can get, the more you can make sophisticated decisions.
[00:00:16.300] - Annette
Welcome to Honest Ecommerce, where we are dedicated to cutting through the b.s. and finding actionable advice for online store owners.
[00:00:24.000] - Chase
I'm your host, Chase Clymer
[00:00:26.050] - Annette
and I'm your host, Annette Grant
[00:00:28.660] - Both
and we believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game.
[00:00:33.160] - Annette
If you are struggling into scaling your sales electric I is here to help to apply to work with us. Today's episode of Honest Eommerce. We welcome the co-founder of Littledata, Ari Messer.
[00:00:53.930] - Chase
He's going to explain to us that our data is broken and how to fix it.
[00:01:04.310] - Chase
Hey everybody welcome back to yet another episode of Honest Ecommerce. I do want to take one second to say thank you to everyone that's actually listening to it. I've gotten so many e-mails from people or just correspondents where people are like "we actually listened to your podcast. Like I learned something from your podcast." So now I have proof that I'm not just talking into the cloud.
[00:01:23.240] - Annette
Well Chase I hate to break it to you. That's me. I've made a lot of aliases and I'm emailing you to make you feel good about yourself.
[00:01:29.360] - Chase
Cool. Well then that's a bummer (laughs). Anyways welcome to Honest Ecommerce.
[00:01:34.730] - Chase
I'm Chase Clymer, this is my co-host Annette Grant. And today we welcome to the show Ari from Littledata. He is going to kick our butts into gear with Google Analytics. Welcome to the show Ari, and let us know how you know so much about analytics.
[00:01:49.130] - Ari
It's good to be here. And I actually have I haven't created any aliases but I have the show that I've heard so far. I think it's great to have something here that's, you know, merchants really find useful and find that other agencies and partners too.
[00:02:02.910] - Chase
So yeah I just don't like to blow smoke up people's butts I like it to be honest and real. It takes hard work.
[00:02:09.320] - Ari
Yes. Yeah I think there's a lot more space for that now. If you can speak intelligently to people, they'll pay attention.
[00:02:17.360] - Ari
The more you learn about analytics, the more there is to know (laughs). Basically I joined Littledata as a co-founder a few years ago, and we've been on Shopify for about two years now. We're adding a lot of connections, the main ones being to Google Analytics. So what I knew before joining was really about how analytics could be used to help people grow a SaaS app, because they really were in the startup space a lot and now have learned more and more about analytics for ecommerce. So that's what we're here to talk about today.
[00:02:53.150] - Chase
Awesome. So what was that transition like? How did you go from helping SaaS companies to building Littledata.
[00:03:00.230] - Ari
Yeah, it was really a natural transition. As we all know, ecommerce is huge. It's growing in all directions, it's continuing to grow and not just in the US, but all around the world. I'd had some cool gigs helping SaaS companies build out integrations. I used to work mostly on the product marketing side. Now, being this close to the company, I sort of do all kinds of things. It was really a lot of those integrations were either directly ecommerce-related or something that was sort of peripherally commerce-related, like helping build out an integration to do retargeting for card abandonment and stuff like that.
[00:03:41.390] - Ari
And then with Littledata I met Edward Upton, the original founder in London, and kind of came on and as a Google Analytics consultant at first and just thought, "oh wow, this is a really cool idea — you're actually helping people fix their data, not just report on it."
[00:03:57.590] - Chase
So what is one of those common mistakes that you guys were seeing out there with the data? What's broken with my data?
[00:04:08.370] - Ari
We do have an audit tool that people can plug in and sort of get a sense for what might be tracked correctly and what's not. So there are all kinds of things that can go wrong. I think for Shopify stores in particular, there's often a mismatch between how sales are being calculated. So that includes different parts of the checkout funnel, when types of products or product groups people are adding to cart that are not purchased, and all the way through actual sales and refunds.
[00:04:42.870] - Chase
I can agree with that. I noticed there's always a mismatch between the number in Google Analytics and the number in Shopify.
[00:04:49.790] - Ari
Absolutely. And with our app, we basically fix that issue. You know sometimes, you have to do a few more connections and activate some of our plugins (like if you're using ReCharge to do subscription sales or whatever it might be). But basically, what the app does, (not to get too geeky) is use server-side tracking so that every single user action and every sale is tracked in Google Analytics. So what you see in Shopify will match what you see in GA.
[00:05:22.170] - Annette
So you can get yours to match Google Analytics?
[00:05:26.610] - Ari
Yeah, I would say 99.9%.
[00:05:30.780] - Annette
Wow. So if people if things aren't tracking properly, is it because the developer didn't set up Google Analytics correctly? Let's kind of peel it back for for our listeners. If they're looking at their Google Analytics, what are some red flags where they would be in need of "pick your theme and get it in the app." Google Analytics sometimes gets very confusing, so walk me through what are the top things to look at and what needs to be fixed?
[00:06:13.260] - Ari
The main thing is just like Chase was mentioning that just raw sales numbers like when you look at the number in your bank account maybe doesn't match what's Shopify shows. And that doesn't match what's in Google Analytics. So that's definitely a red flag because if you're looking at any sort of marketing campaign — I know we're all getting more and more sophisticated about using audiences and all this stuff like fancy stuff for retargeting and trying to sort of sell people stuff that they're more likely to want to buy — often, you go in there and look and say "well this campaign seems to have worked really well, and yet, the overall sales number is not matching what should be the number of conversions that we got. So it's any kind of mismatch like that, when you're like "this just doesn't seem right." And then of course as you grow, being off by a couple percent can means more and more amount of money. So any kind of mismatch is kind of the thing to look for.
[00:07:15.670] - Chase
Yeah I mean it's just a snowball effect. Like "oh it's just a few dollars" but that can add up.
[00:07:20.760] - Ari
And I wouldn't blame the developers for a lot of it. Some of it's just that Shopify's native tracking and their native Google Analytics integrations are fine, but they're just not that sophisticated. And as we all know, part of that's because they have this really awesome app ecosystem. So you kind of have to find the right tools to make sure it works so that nothing is missing. I mean, I've been guilty of it too, not tagging campaigns consistently, like when you're making your Facebook campaigns and then you start to add more, like the snowball effect. Like how do you really organize them or make sure everything's tracked right?
[00:08:03.980] - Chase
There's just so much in there. So I just want to bring it down to simplify it a bit for our listeners. So, you know, I've got Joe's shoe shop. We're selling sneakers and we're real business. This isn't like a side hustle, this is my full time job. What are the KPIs I should be looking at in Google Analytics? Let's just try to educate people about Google Analytics a bit.
[00:08:28.600] - Ari
So one thing you should be looking at is how detailed...like if you start to wonder "is this product group performing well?" so stuff that's sort of outside normal questions about overall how's the business doing. So stuff like payment cart abandonment, products being added to the cart, particular pages getting more views than other pages. What are some of the basic thing is that make sense? Like it's the sort of details if you think about merchandising or you're thinking about the next season or what you're going to do for a promotion if you want to go in and look in GA to try to figure out a data-driven view of of what to sell or what to promote or things that might get more subscriptions.
[00:09:26.500] - Ari
Let's say the shoe business is on subscription, running shoes where you've got a new one every month or every quarter or something. You'd want to go into GA and be able to see the type of product that you should promote.
[00:10:55.390] - Chase
I think a common oversight with analytics is "it's just data." It's just a bunch of numbers and you have to extrapolate from those numbers and make inferences. You use that data to drive your business and if there isn't like a on-size-fits-all approach to it, it's definitely business-specific.
[00:11:20.650] - Ari
Yeah for sure. And so for us, you know with Littledata, what the app does is first, fix the tracking, so then for your particular business, you can go in and figure out the key metrics to to pay attention to. With ReCharge, I'm sure you have a lot of clients doing subscription business. And we're definitely seeing a lot of people that are either experimenting with subscriptions or that's like all of what they do, you know for like athletic supplements or workout clothes or whatever it is.
[00:11:52.240] - Ari
I'm just bringing it up but I think it's a really good sort of case study in how a basic fix in analytics can really help. And you might want to just see if your advertising campaigns are leading to more first time purchases or recurring purchases, like people signing up to get stuff every month. And unless you've set up tracking correctly for the checkout flow, you'll go into Google Analytics...you could be running your company for years and go in (to GA) and suddenly realize there's no way to see that that split.
[00:12:29.870] - Chase
Yeah that's definitely important information.
[00:12:32.720] - Annette
This might be a left field question, but can the app at all help with search engine optimization like work the organic there if things are behind the scenes are running smoother? Like could it help you notice things that would help you rise to the top a little bit more?
[00:12:51.440] - Ari
It's definitely not the main focus, but we do have some fixes (both sort of audit checks) and actually website benchmarks against other sites which you can also see in the app, against Shopify stores and things. For technical performance stuff like page load speed, it actually does have a big effect on SEO.
[00:13:12.810] - Annette
Oh cool. So just to make sure I understand this, inside the app, you will have competition in there and I could see like their page speed load compared to mine?
[00:13:22.070] - Ari
[00:13:22.170] - Annette
Oh that's awesome. OK. Now that's that's a huge value.
[00:13:26.460] - Ari
Yeah. We have those benchmarks broken down by sector, so you could look and say (obviously you can't see the actual stores it's all anonymized, I should say that upfront) but you could go in and say against other people selling shoes with an average order value around one hundred dollars per purchase, "is this a good page load speed, is this a good conversion rate?" stuff like that.
[00:13:53.300] - Annette
That's really valuable.
[00:13:53.410] - Chase
It is. So there's data everywhere. Is it only Google Analytics you guys are taking a look at?
[00:14:00.220] - Ari
So the main app does connect with Google Analytics. Our main Shopify app is called Google Analytics by Littledata. By the time this podcast comes out, hopefully we will have launched an app for Segment. So Segment is sort of a connector between all kinds of different apps and platforms. And what this app will do is pull Shopify data, and again making sure everything's tracked correctly (checkout steps, sales, etc.) and pull that into Segment, so then you can connect it from Segment to any destination, which includes Google Analytics.
[00:14:46.640] - Chase
That's wonderful. Yeah I'm over here on the website and I see there's so many connections you guys have set up.
[00:14:51.160] - Ari
Cool, yeah. We're building out more, so to the listeners, if there are things you'd like to see, or if you've found a particular analytics problem, let us know and maybe we can fix it or help you find a way to automate or automatically check if it's working or not.
[00:15:11.540] - Annette
Do you want to explain those connections. Like I'm actually looking at your site right now too. So if I were to call in to see if I could get the app, what are some of those things that you would talk, about like the Facebook Ads connection that you have?
[00:15:22.710] - Ari
Sure yeah. So basically, for all the connections other than Segment, first you connect to Google Analytics. We're using that as sort of the ultimate source of truth. We always recommend to clients that it's good to gather lots of data and you want to be able to get detailed, but you really want to focus on just a couple of core metrics that are most important (like we were saying earlier) to your business.
[00:15:59.700] - Ari
So for some people, that will be how their Facebook Ad cost contributes to a particular detail about sales for one kind of product or a new product type or sales type or whatever it is. So what the Facebook Ads connection does is actually pull your ad costs and campaign details into GA so that then you don't have to rely on what Facebook is telling you in terms of how well the ad has performed and how many conversions you got. Instead, you can look and say "oh this campaign actually led to people adding a bunch of this type of product to the cart" or "it ended up leading to X amount of subscription revenue"
[00:16:41.740] - Chase
So you can drill down to the product level to see what had been added to the card from that campaign.
[00:16:48.590] - Ari
Exactly. Google makes that pretty easy to do with their own products, but they make it fairly complicated for people using other platforms. And so what a connection like that does is pull in the Facebook data and then suddenly plug that in along with everything else.
[00:17:04.710] - Chase
Can I use this app to also see that information from Google AdWords and Google Shopping?
[00:17:09.600] - Ari
You can. The AdWords connection works a little different whereas it's pulling...I mean the effect is similar, but it actually lets you pull your Google Analytics data into AdWords so you can see sales again...like product sales next to campaign performance.
[00:18:20.720] - Chase
Well I'm one hundred percent going to do a demo of this app. This is awesome.
[00:18:25.160] - Annette
Yeah I have a question...Chase, you might be able to answer this too. So for instance, are my Facebook Ads currently connected to Google Analytics automatically, or do you have to have an app like Littledata to do that for you?
[00:18:41.420] - Ari
I'd have to take a look at yours in particular, but in general, unless you've gone through and set it up, no they won't be. You might have Facebook as a source, but that won't give you much detail.
[00:18:54.640] - Annette
Right because, specifically going back to what you guys just talked about, I have an ad running right now for a piece of equipment that's a higher dollar and I'm making sales not the ad, but I'm not selling that particular product and I want to drill down and see exactly what I'm selling off of the ad, but I can't do that in Facebook Ads but this would enable me to do that, correct?
[00:19:18.940] - Ari
Exactly. That's the perfect test. Yeah.
[00:19:21.080] - Chase
And you can take it one step further and see if those people are viewing that expensive product for a long time or create a segment to retarget those people and educate those people. Set up some drip campaigns if you have their email?
[00:19:37.360] - Ari
Exactly super smart. It's kind of like maybe they're not buying it but they actually were really interested in it. They're like "oh I'll try this first"
[00:19:46.890] - Chase
And then it's your job to market them and educate them. Here's the thing, I think with just any advertising campaigns, people go for the kill, like instantly it's "buy this buy this buy this." You need to explain what the product is first and educate them about the product, especially if it's an expensive product. No one's just going to drop one hundred dollars plus on something that they didn't know existed before your ad.
[00:20:12.500] - Annette
They won't drop 500 not knowing what it is? (laughs)
[00:20:15.150] - Annette
I'm going to run this ad, new product 30 days and do it. But what's happening (exactly my issue, so sign me up for the Littledata app today) because I don't know what they're buying. They're not buying the high dollar, they're buying other products and I want to see how that ad is tricking down to that. That's something before we even started this conversation — I didn't know that that connection would do that.
[00:20:42.740] - Chase
We have clients ask all the time to drill down like, what are people doing from the ad if they're not...It's like yeah you made money off the ad your turned out fantastic but they're like cool, like what were they buying? There's no easy way to see that in Facebook.
[00:20:56.000] - Ari
Totally. And even when we started Littledata, we didn't realize that at first. And as we started working with more companies, we were doing custom setups with Google Tag Manager to try to figure this out, and then we were like "wait a sec. If we could just build something that would pull this into Google Analytics, voila."
[00:21:16.320] - Annette
That is so valuable. My brain is kind of rocked. That's awesome.
[00:21:23.960] - Chase
Yeah you just ruined Annette's weekend. Now she's going play with this.
[00:21:31.610] - Chase
It takes time to get data that you can make a decision from. You don't need to be looking your data everyday. Unless you're getting so many page views and sessions a day, which is top tier million dollar companies, you don't have enough data to make a decision from 24 hours ago. Even with ads, if you're not spending thousands of dollars a day you know your ads run for like a week before you see what the hell is going on.
[00:22:03.040] - Annette
Actually Chase, you taught me that. Like this specific ad that I'm running right now...t's what, the twenty eighth of the month? We started running it at the beginning and I said "hey I'm not even going to look at this. Let's just let it roll, like let's not even look at." I looked at it yesterday and I was like "wait, what's happening here?" I would know if I sold that high dollar product. We didn't. And I'm like I'm just going to let this roll for a while just not even pay attention to it and focus on everything else. And when I looked at it yesterday...we're selling stuff, we're not selling that product, the ad is working, but how?
[00:22:32.730] - Chase
Yeah the attribution on Facebook is unique in and of itself...and honestly you can get some sketchy agencies that make that thing really long. And they get that attribution up and they're like "Yeah, we made you all this money" but you're like where is it? Where's that money?
[00:22:52.300] - Ari
[00:22:52.370] - Annette
Being a store owner, I have wonderful developers that I work with but sometimes I try to do some of this stuff myself. So when I now, after my mind's been blown and I get the app, is this something that you need to have a developer connect for you, or is it easy enough for a DIY store owner to do themselves?
[00:23:17.790] - Ari
Yeah we've definitely tried to make it easy enough. And the good thing is for Shopify (and we do have clients on other platforms like Magento, BigCommerce) it's fully automated. So unless you have a really customized theme (in which case we do have separate setup steps where our support team can help you) it all should just happen automatically
[00:23:39.020] - Annette
And that is for Facebook Ads also?
[00:23:41.340] - Ari
[00:23:42.560] - Annette
Oh wow. OK.
[00:23:44.030] - Ari
It'll give you a guide in the app. You'll have to make sure that the campaigns have been named in a certain way. There's some things we can't do automatically. But for those few things that we can't do it, it gives very clear steps.
[00:24:00.760] - Chase
So what size stores does this make sense for?
[00:24:07.720] - Ari
I always say anyone who wants to grow should start tracking things early, because otherwise you'll get to a point where you can't go back and get a start date if the tracking wasn't set. Basically once you start to introduce traffic, our basic plan runs up to about five hundred orders per month. We have the pricing tiered based on sessions, orders or sales, but the number of orders is a pretty good indicator. So once you're starting to get traffic and have some orders come through, it's a good time to go with it. And then for our enterprise plans, where we do help with custom setup and reporting and things as needed, those are generally larger — you know, bigger DTC brands doing maybe five to 50 million a year.
[00:24:55.020] - Annette
Awesome. Just for our listeners (this is something I always like when apps offer this), Littledata offers a twenty five percent off discount if you pay the annual fee upfront so you can save some serious dollars.
[00:25:09.330] - Ari
Oh yeah. Hey you're doing my job for me! That's a good point.
[00:25:13.420] - Annette
It's always nice to be rewarded if you're going to pay for something upfront, as a consumer.
[00:25:22.160] - Ari
Yeah. And we do find like Chase was saying, it takes a while to start gathering the data for advertising campaigns, and also just for understanding user flows on your site because you really need a lot of information. You don't want to start redesigning the site or changing your product line based on a really limited sample, because it could be just random. So the more data you can get, the more you can make sophisticated decisions.
[00:25:47.740] - Chase
Awesome. I think that is the gem of the podcast right there. And with that I think we're going to wrap this one up.
[00:25:54.700] - Chase
Is there anything that you want to leave with our guests? I know everyone probably want to go check out the app. It's Littledata.io slash Shopify (90 percent of our listeners are probably on Shopify).
[00:26:05.430] - Ari
Yeah, nothing in particular...ifyou're using ReCharge, our Shopify ReCharge connection is really powerful will probably solve a lot of tracking issues that you thought couldn't be solved. So check that out. And that's about it. It's a great podcast. Good to be here.
[00:26:23.970] - Annette
No, thank you! I do appreciate it. You actually answered the question I was going to ask Chase after the podcast (laughs).
[00:26:30.500] - Chase
I hate when we have podcasts when it's like a sales letter, but for this app, it's just so fancy — it works. It solves problems and that's what people want.
[00:26:41.840] - Annette
Actually it's solving problems I didn't even know there was a solution for. So that's exciting. Thank you Ari. We appreciate having you on today.
[00:26:52.690] - Ari
Oh and you just one more thing...If anyone has questions, even if they don't need the app, we do a lot on our blog around analytics issues. So feel free to write to us with topics you'd like covered and we'll sort of investigate.
[00:27:09.790] - Chase
Oh cool awesome I'll check that. I'll check the blog out too. Awesome. Well thanks a lot.