Shopify analytics vs Google Analytics: which offers better ecommerce data?

If your Shopify store is starting to pick up traction, you've probably wondered if you're better off using Shopify's native analytics platform or Google Analytics, the household name for cross-industry reporting. Truth is, both Shopify analytics and Google Analytics offer unique benefits and features of their own. The difference, however, is that one of them is inherently incomplete, leaving Shopify merchants without valuable insights to make well-informed decisions for their store. So, which of them is incomplete? Let's dive in. Shopify tracking Shopify's analytics dashboard (available to both basic Shopify stores and Shopify Plus stores) provides a birds-eye view of the "big ticket" metrics, including average order value (AOV), conversion rate, sessions by location, sessions by traffic source, etc. With Shopify analytics, merchants can do the following: check and compare the value of recent sales by time period compare sales channels by performance track average order value identify store visitors by source (social media channel, location, etc.) monitor shopper trends over time Break in the system However, Shopify analytics offers an incomplete and inaccurate view for merchants, including key metrics like average order value and customer lifetime value (LTV). How do we know this? Take an example from earlier this year, when our team analyzeddata from 10 Shopify Plus customers to see whether the sales by traffic source report within Shopify analytics could be trusted. [subscribe] Turns out, the sales by traffic source report was broken. Looking at 180,000 orders for 10 stores in Q4 2018, here are the marketing channels which Shopify Analytics says brought the traffic: Direct 83.5% Social 9% Search 4.5% Unknown (other websites, not social or search) 3% Email ~0.1% Clearly, the Direct channel traffic seems high — what channels was Shopify grouping under Direct? As you can see below, Shopify's data is all wrong. Here’s a comparison of Shopify’s attribution to Google Analytics last-click attribution of sales for one of these customers: Unfortunately for merchants primarily using Shopify analytics, the proof is in the pudding. Shopify users have frequently shown doubts as well — when we googled the keyword shopify analytics, the first Google-generated FAQ was is Shopify Analytics accurate? So is Google Analytics any more reliable for Shopify merchants? Google Analytics tracking With Google Analytics, merchants can do the following: Track number of sessions/purchases AND unique sessions/purchases Calculate accurate customer lifetime value (LTV) Dive deeper with acquisition reports — analyze campaign performance, referrals, etc. Segment by user type to evaluate your visitors (and potential ROI of retargeting them) Run conversion rate optimization (CRO) tests Analyze checkout funnel drop-offs Track which landing pages generate the most revenue Monitor your target keywords and optimize your store messaging accordingly Use custom segments to see the difference in revenue between search terms The list goes on. But beyond tracking site visitors, sessions, and other customer behavior on your store, Google Analytics provides a more complete picture of store performance within a more robust dashboard. Out with the old Without Enhanced Ecommerce reporting, GA still offers a somewhat limited view of shopper behavior. The EE plugin provides useful data about customer behavior before a purchase is made, giving you a better picture of the buying journey for your customers. Every stage is tracked — from research to consideration to purchase and even refunds. Enhanced Ecommerce does a little bit of everything: Customer behavior before, during, and after a purchase Detailed reports on: Average order value Add to carts Average order size Affiliate data records (number of transactions, affiliate revenue, etc.) Cart abandonment Track customer turnover — at what stage of the funnel are they walking away? Shopper engagement, including product views and purchases Coupon and discount reporting Even with EE, Google Analytics isn't a perfect platform. There is a problem with the reliability of transaction volumes within GA (luckily, this can be fixed with Littledata's Shopify app). But using Shopify’s reports alone to guide your marketing is ignoring the power that has led Google Analytics to be used by over 80% of large retailers. [note] See 4 reasons why you need Google Analytics for your Shopify store.[/note] GA's Enhanced Ecommerce plugin also offers a big step up from Shopify's basic reporting: Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce If you're a Shopify merchant using Google Analytics (either as your main reporting tool or in conjunction with Shopify analytics), make sure you enable Enhanced Ecommerce (EE) reporting on your GA dashboard, if you haven't already done so. [note] Learn more about EE reports and how to set them up here.[/note] EE offers Shopify merchants a gold mine of additional data. But while GA users have EE reporting functionalities by default, the biggest difference is that Shopify's tracker (in this case) does not accurately populate all the reports available with EE enabled. Bridging the data gap Littledata's solution comes packaged in a top-rated Shopify app, where you can get a complete picture of your Shopify store performance, all within the familiar Google Analytics dashboard. With the app, you won't have to worry about switching back and forth between reporting tools or crossing your fingers in hopes that the data you're seeing is accurate. The app offers 100% accurate data from every event (including page views, add to carts, purchases and refunds) that takes place in your Shopify store at every step of the customer journey. It also guarantees pinpointed marketing attribution, so you can track where your customers are coming from and exactly how they arrived at your store. Consider your tracking accurate and automated from here on out! [subscribe] A better question to ask While Shopify’s dashboards give you a simple, daily overview of sales and product data, if you're spending at least a few hundred dollars per month on online advertising or investing in SEO, you need a more robust way to measure success. So, Shopify analytics vs Google Analytics might be the common search query, but here's a better one: how do I ensure my Shopify tracking is accurate? For that, it's Littledata to the rescue. Shopify Plus users should stay tuned for Part 2: Do I need a Shopify Plus expert to help with Google Analytics?

by Nico
2019-11-05

Top 6 coffee brands using ReCharge for Shopify

In a recent post, we discussed the top four benefits of a Shopify ReCharge connection. As mentioned in that post, ReCharge helps Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants sell subscriptions easily and smoothly. When you connect ReCharge to your store (it works for both Shopify and Shopify Plus), you'll see ReCharge's full feature set at work — track a variety of subscription types, including single product, mixed cart & entire cart subscriptions. Why connect ReCharge with Shopify? The ReCharge and Shopify APIs allow ecommerce managers and developers to: customize the checkout experience for customers personalize how those customers manage their subscriptions automate product discount codes order cancellation processes or updated pricing on select items And that's just scratching the surface. Installing ReCharge on your store also means orders are processed faster (thanks to an increased API call limit). [note] Littledata's Google Analytics app is designed for better subscription ecommerce, including accurate tracking for marketing attribution and checkout steps.[/note] For Shopify Plus merchants, ReCharge also has full compatibility with top-rated apps like Klaviyo and Smile.io. However, without hiring expensive Google Analytics consultants, ReCharge customers don't have a way to get full lifetime value reporting for ecommerce subscribers — until recently. [subscribe heading="Get Littledata's ReCharge connection for Shopify" background_color="green" button_text="get the connection" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/connections/recharge"] Using Google Analytics to sell more subscriptions From first-time transactions and repeat orders to marketing campaigns at every stage of the funnel, Littledata's advanced Google Analytics integration for ReCharge merchants lets you capture the entire subscriber journey and segment first-time from recurring purchases. Littledata connects your Shopify store and ReCharge data automatically, so data from every step your customers take is reeled into Google Analytics: There's a reason ReCharge is a highly-rated tool for Shopify merchants — it really works! One of the newer industries where subscriptions have quickly become popular is coffee. Below, check out 6 coffee subscription brands that currently use both Shopify and ReCharge for ecommerce success. 1. Groundwork Coffee A Littledata customer, Groundwork Coffee is an organic coffee roaster based in Venice Beach, CA. For over 30 years, Groundwork has valued local community impact and pushed global, responsible coffee sourcing through its popular cafés and online store. While Groundwork sources from nearly every major growing region in the world, the roaster's mission is to "ensure that none of those offerings come at the expense of the farmers who brought them to market." 2. Dripkit Dripkit sells coffee beans, coffee gear and gift sets online through its popular Shopify store. One of the better known "gear brands" in the industry, Dripkit partners with esteemed roasters to pair their top roasts with Dripkit's single-serve pour-over. Take barista-quality coffee on your morning commute to work, enjoy it at home, or even take it on a camping trip! Dripkit also offers a coffee quiz to help first-time customers and new coffee drinkers narrow down their choices. 3. La Colombe La Colombe is a large roaster and wholesale coffee brand originally based in Philadelphia, PA with locations throughout the US. La Colombe offers online brew guides, a popular coffee subscription and a signature canned draft latte that can be found in grocery stores like Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Publix. 4. VitaCup A Littledata customer, VitaCup offers infused coffee and tea with vitamins and superfoods. From coffee grounds and espresso pods to tea bags and quick caffeine shots, VitaCup has a wide product selection for coffee consumers of all kinds. 5. Heart Coffee Roasters Heart Coffee Roasters is perhaps Portland's biggest household name among coffee connoisseurs. Known for its high-rated coffee and premium coffee products, Heart's impact stretches far beyond its three physical locations. Heart has a popular coffee subscription where customers can enjoy a new bag of beans every one, two or four weeks. 6. Brio Coffeeworks  Brio Coffeeworks is a specialty roaster, retail boutique and espresso bar located within the Southend Arts District of Burlington, VT. Brio sells a variety of blends, decaf and single origin coffee from across Africa and Central America. Brio also sells apparel, coffee gear and even educational books for those new to the coffee world.

by Nico
2019-10-29

Accurate data in Google Analytics for Shopify Plus stores

Using Shopify Plus? Littledata's team of Shopify Plus experts and Google Analytics consultants is here to help you scale. Introducing the Shopify Plus smart connection guide! ✨ Littledata has helped more Shopify Plus stores get accurate, actionable data than any other solution on the market. Now, with the help of the smart connection guide, we're ushering in a new era of enterprise ecommerce — one with accurate Shopify reporting, expert Shopify Plus support and Shopify Plus analytics that empower you to make better decisions at scale.  For ecommerce directors selling across country borders, not to worry! Shopify Plus multi currency and Shopify Plus multi store businesses are also covered in the guide. They're also included in Littledata's Enterprise Plus plan: Littledata Enterprise Choose the plan that's right for you based on your ecommerce analytics needs. All enterprise plans include priority support from an analytics expert: Enterprise: Do more for less with a dedicated account manager and unlimited data thresholds. Enterprise Plus: Scale like the top Shopify Plus brands with custom setup and reporting, including Tag Manager support and an in-depth analytics audit. What are you waiting for? With the Shopify Plus smart connection guide, you're well on your way to scaling faster for enterprise ecommerce success. [subscribe heading="Get the Shopify Plus smart connection guide" background_color="green" button_text="Download it free" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/app/shopify-plus-smart-connection-guide"]

by Nico
2019-10-17

[Free ebook] Dear Shopify merchants, give your product pages the attention they deserve

Typically, online shoppers aren’t engaging with your products because they’re not engaging with your page. To truly optimise conversions, you need product pages that visually appeal, ooze customer value and surpass common industry benchmarks. Once you start optimising your Shopify product pages, it’s off to the races. But on-page optimisation more of a marathon than a quick sprint to test and launch. Just like CRO, product page optimisation is a continuous, analytical process of reviewing, changing, testing and refining. Optimisations help you discover: What your customers find most appealing What your customers like and care about What about your brand makes your customer trust you What ultimately encourages your customer to purchase If you’ve had trouble optimising (or seeing positive results from) your product pages in the past, there’s no reason to get discouraged — there is always room for improvement. For online merchants, the following reminders are the key to Shopify product page success: 1) Establish product page goals Before you create a product page or make changes to your current landing pages, be clear about what you want to accomplish with the page. Every online merchant wants to increase store sales. But many Shopify store owners have more specific, actionable goals to work towards, such as: Increased sign-ups More user engagement Higher monthly page views When planning your changes, think about what success looks like for your product pages. 2) Know how to measure your content Whether your page is more of a content pillar page, category page, or a long product page with plenty of detail, there’s one easy way to measure engagement: track how far down the page users scroll. For your store, reporting should be as straightforward as possible. In other words, when you make changes to your landing page, focus on tracking only the metrics that matter to your product. These are the metrics that yield the most return to your business. Want the other 6 keys to success? Our free ebook, 9 best practices for your Shopify landing pages, contains proven techniques and advice from top ecommerce brands, Shopify merchants and Littledata customers. With our ebook, you’ll be on your way to more store traffic, product views and orders.   [subscribe heading="Get the free ebook" background_color="green" button_text="Download it free" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/app/ebook-shopify-product-pages"]

by Nico
2019-08-16

How much does customer engagement affect conversion rate?

Whether you're using Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, Salesforce Commerce Cloud or another ecommerce platform, it's crucial to drive high traffic volume to your site. But important as it may be, it's not the deciding factor between a sale and a cart abandonment. If your traffic doesn't convert, the volume of traffic doesn't matter. Customer attraction is only half the battle — customer engagement, however, is what leads to higher conversion rates, which means more product sales for your store. Conversions are the lifeblood of product marketing. So your main goal is not attraction, but persuasion — collecting an email for lead generation or retargeting, completing customer transactions, getting signups up for your newsletter or anything else of measurable value for your store. As a merchant, you know conversions are the name of the game. You'd think every merchant would have it down to a science. In fact, the data suggests otherwise. What's a healthy conversion rate? While your average ecommerce conversion rate will vary by product type, price point, location of sale and other factors, here are some reliable industry benchmarks we've nailed down: Just recently, our team surveyed 1,127 stores and found the average conversion rate for stores was just 1.4%. This means a conversion rate above 3.1% would put your store in the 80th percentile, with a rate higher than 4.8% in the 90th percentile. Our test also found an ecommerce conversion rate (all devices) of less than 0.5% would put your store in the 20th percentile, with a rate of below 0.2% ranking your store among the worst-performing: Converting sales isn't getting easier, either — reaching the 1.4% industry benchmark can be a challenge for online stores, especially those that: don't price competitively (with the help of historical data) don't use conversion rate optimisation best practices don't optimise their store to increase customer engagement Speaking of customer engagement, we'll dive into how to boost your ecommerce conversion rates (here are some bonus tips on improving CRO). But first, let's overview what customer engagement really is. [subscribe] What is customer engagement, really? Customer engagement is the strongest indicator of how a customer feels about your brand, your products and your online shopping experience. There are many conduits for measuring customer engagement (e.g. email open rates, page views, landing page clicks, average time spent on page, bounce rates, etc.). With a 500-person sample of marketers, a Marketo survey found the following: 22% of people thought customer engagement was a brand awareness tool 63% considered it customer retention, repeated purchases and renewal rates 78% thought it was something that occurred in the final stages of the marketing funnel In other words, modern merchants don't exactly have a solid definition of what customer engagement really is. Even as data analytics experts (a.k.a. data geeks), we consider customer engagement to be more than a measurable set of customer data or online actions — it's also an emotional connection to a brand as well as a tool for brand awareness, chiefly driven by data, measured by data and optimised by data. See the pattern? Customer engagement isn't just short-term set of actions. It's a strategic, long-term play that informs product sales performance, marketing attribution and customer delight. Without accurate, reliable data to support decision-making, it's difficult to move the needle for your store — and especially hard to optimise your conversion rate. Luckily, our commerce connections for top platforms like Shopify, Shopify Plus, Magento and BigCommerce are available for merchants of all sizes. And of course, you're free to try our smart analytics app free for 14 days, including our top-rated Google Analytics connection (free) and highly-rated Shopify app.

by Nico
2019-08-15

Top 4 benefits of connecting ReCharge with your Shopify store

As the most popular recurring billing solution for Shopify stores, ReCharge helps Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants sell subscriptions easily and smoothly. ReCharge's feature set also allows for a variety of subscription types, including single product, mixed cart & entire cart subscriptions. In our last post, we talked about major challenges for Shopify store owners who manage subscription orders. Today, we're outlining a major solution. Why use ReCharge? By installing ReCharge, Shopify merchants can customise subscriptions for their store (including custom promotions via Advanced Discounts API). The ReCharge and Shopify APIs allow developers to customise the checkout experience for customers and personalise how those customers manage their subscriptions. And that's not all — with access to the ReCharge API, Shopify merchants can harness the power of marketing automation. Whether you want to automate product discount codes, order cancellation processes or updated pricing on select items, you can do just that. Installing ReCharge on your store also means orders are processed faster (thanks to an increased API call limit). For Shopify Plus merchants, ReCharge has full compatibility with popular apps like Klaviyo and Smile.io. Why connect ReCharge with Shopify? As mentioned above, ReCharge helps Shopify store owners easily sell and manage subscriptions. However, without hiring expensive Google Analytics consultants, ReCharge customers don't have a way to access a complete data collection in Google Analytics — until recently. [subscribe heading="Get Littledata's ReCharge connection for your Shopify store" background_color="green" button_text="get the connection" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/connections/recharge"] Wait, why Google Analytics? Arguably the most powerful free tool available to marketers, Google Analytics is a robust data platform that allows for multi-layered tracking, buyer behaviour analysis, segmenting by user characteristics and much more. While GA offers free features and hundreds of metrics for stores of all sizes, it certainly isn't without shortcomings. However, Littledata offers a way to maximise the power of Google Analytics' powerful data platform along with the Shopify ReCharge connection: How to optimise the Shopify ReCharge connection Unfortunately, simply installing ReCharge on your Shopify or Shopify Plus store limits the full power of the connection. That's where we come in. Littledata's Shopify ReCharge connection opens the door to accurate data for recurring transactions through an automated, advanced Google Analytics integration. With Littledata's connection, merchants not only benefit from accurate data — they get more features, automated tools and ways to track their store's performance in GA: 1) Automatically track first-time payments & recurring transactions Shopify reporting is now 10x easier. With Littledata's Shopify ReCharge connection, merchants can enjoy easy tracking of the entire customer journey along with accurate marketing attribution. The best part: you won't need to lift a finger (after granting GA access, of course). 2) Get marketing attribution for subscription revenue Littledata's smart technology automatically connects your ReCharge checkout with Google Analytics for accurate subscription revenue, including first-time payments and recurring transactions. 3) Segment your performance Whether by payment source, subscription plan type or product category, connecting ReCharge with your Shopify store allows you to track performance by segment. Not only does this ensure accurate tracking of your entire ecommerce funnel, but it also frees you to take full advantage of automated Shopify reporting to grow revenue (including report packs designed for subscription analytics). 4) Benchmark your site See how you stack up against other subscription-based Shopify merchants with Littledata's powerful ecommerce benchmarking tool.  Not only will integrating ReCharge allow you to see website benchmarks by industry, but you'll also see which key metrics are succeeding and which of them have room for improvement. The ReCharge connection also offers access to professional-level subscription analytics tools. How the Shopify ReCharge integration works From marketing campaigns to first-time transactions and recurring revenue, integrating Littledata with ReCharge lets you capture the entire subscriber journey and all the crucial data it produces. With Littledata’s magic sauce, your Shopify store and ReCharge data are automatically connected and reeled into Google Analytics. Once the two are integrated, Littledata’s revenue optimisation tools pull straight from your Google Analytics data. Connect the apps you know and love In addition to the ReCharge connection, Littledata lets you loop in the subscription tools and marketing apps you rely on most — Facebook Ads, Google Ads, CartHook, Refersion, and more!. Bottom line: Littledata automates the process to ensure accurate sales data and marketing attribution for your Shopify store. You can view the data directly in Google Analytics, or in the Littledata app.

by Nico
2019-08-09

3 massive hurdles for merchants who manage subscription orders

For merchants who run subscription-based businesses, accuracy is crucial for tracking recurring orders. The problem: popular platforms like Shopify provide merchants with native analytics that are broken. In other words, these platforms don't offer a complete picture (or an accurate one) of data that subscription-based stores depend on. There are many potential blockers for these store owners, but we narrowed it down to three: 1) Customisable orders & levels of membership Many successful subscription-based stores allow shoppers to customise their monthly orders. While this is an effective draw for consumers, it causes all kinds of headaches for the teams that manage the orders. The ability for customers to customise monthly orders adds layers of complexity for teams who manage product inventory, fulfillment and logistics in the back end. Perhaps the best example is from the hugely popular Dollar Shave Club. Known for their humor-driven marketing approach, the brand constantly encourages its subscribers add more and more products to their monthly shipments, which go out at different times each month. Due to the brand's meteoric growth over the past five years, this creates headaches — imagine fulfilling dynamic orders each month (different cart sizes, products and membership levels) for hundreds of thousands of customers across America. The 'curated box package' is another common subscription model. StitchFix, a curated clothing company for men and women, surprises its customers each month with a package containing 'personalised' new outfits. While the surprise factor might not be a draw for some, the brand's main appeal is the diversity of its products. Every month, StitchFix's variety is what appeals to its majority millennial market. Whether your store offers dynamic monthly ordering (where customers can change the contents of their cart) or follows a more traditional subscription model, it's crucial to have data you can trust. This means finding an ecommerce solution built to handle both customer changes and increased payload as your store scales. [subscribe heading="Automatically track your subscription orders" background_color="green" button_text="find out how" background_link="https://www.littledata.io/connections/recharge"] Affiliate marketing & partnerships It's common for subscription-based stores to partner with affiliate marketers to generate an additional source of revenue and tap into new customer groups. However, with more customers comes more demand, and the importance of accurate data only increases — this includes tracking sales made through affiliate partners, commission owed on each sale, etc. 2) Customer loyalty & reward programs When done right, effective customer loyalty programs create more loyal customers, boost customer retention and increase sales. These programs aren't used by every subscription-based brand, but for the brands that use them, they really do work, according to LoyaltyLion. However, as high shopper expectations continue to soar, the landscape for rewards programs is getting more competitive. Shoppers know that if they don't absolutely love one aspect of a brand's rewards program, they can easily run to a competitor that offers what they're looking for — whether it be a cheaper price tag, better discounts or more rewards available. Mark Hook, Head of PR and Communications for retail management software Brightpearl, had this to say: Over two-fifths of millennial shoppers (45%) admit to being less loyal to brands when compared to a year ago, and are quicker to abandon buying from companies that don’t meet expectations A great example of a rewards program within a subscription is Nike+. By putting the mobile shopping experience at the top of its priority list, Nike has developed multiple apps that work hand-in-hand with the Nike+ loyalty program by allowing its members to 'take the brand wherever you go.' By offering easy member access to the program, Nike gets higher engagement from community members and increased brand loyalty from repeat buyers. However, for merchants, a successful customer loyalty program hinges on back end analytics and whether or not it's set up properly. For merchants relying on Google Analytics for tracking, do you have custom dimensions set up? Are there parameters to track recurring orders, free trial offers, promo codes or even brand events? 3) Payment security & order changes Ecommerce businesses not operating on a subscription model typically receive credit card information every time a transaction is made. On the other hand, subscription-based businesses store data for recurring purchases, which simplifies the user experience and helps encourage users to continue paying each month. With potentially millions of credit card numbers stored in a database, brands are constantly at risk for large-scale fraud. This forces brands to invest in airtight security measures to protect your own revenue and the sensitive data of your customers. Merchants need to stay prepared for orders with expired credit card info, subscription cancellations and changes to recurring orders — all of which make it tougher to accurately track individual events and transactions. Running a subscription-based store with data you can trust Even with these hurdles, there's a shiny silver lining for merchants who rely on subscriptions. Littledata's plug-and-play ReCharge integration connects with Shopify and Google Analytics to do the following: Automatically track first-time payments and recurring transactions Provide accurate marketing attribution for subscription revenue Segment performance by payment source, subscription plan type and product category Benchmark your site and offer access to professional-level subscription analytics tools With Littledata's Shopify ReCharge integration, there's a better way forward for merchants who manage subscription orders. BullyMax, a popular nutrition and muscle-building supplement for dogs, and Dry Farm Wines, a health-focused natural wine club, are two top subscription brands that have seen great success with Littledata's Shopify ReCharge connection. Read more about our topintegration for subscription analytics. In a follow-up post, we discuss a fool-proof solution for Shopify merchants who manage subscription orders. Check it out!

by Nico
2019-08-02

Can you trust Smart Goals in Google Analytics?

Recently, Smart Goals in Google Analytics have resurfaced as a helpful feature for ecommerce merchants, but particularly Shopify merchants. In a previous post, we outline what Smart Goals are and why some ecommerce businesses use them. However, a lack of trust (and lack of endorsement) with the Google Analytics feature has turned away ecommerce merchants, particularly Shopify merchants. Like we discussed in the previous post, Smart Goals is a goal-setting users can enable in Google Analytics. Unlike other goals, Smart Goals uses both behavioral data and contextual (shared) data to predict which of your web sessions will result in a conversion. The pitfall here is that the data is not your data, which would naturally be the best predictor of future conversions. Instead, Google's algorithm seeks highly-engaged visitors and then uses that data to conclude the likelihood a given web session ends with a conversion. Google puts it this way: To generate Smart Goals, we apply machine learning across thousands of websites that use Google Analytics and have opted in to share anonymized conversion data. From this information, we can distill dozens of key factors that correlate with likelihood to convert: things like session duration, pages per session, location, device and browser. We can then apply these key factors to any website. The easiest way to think about Smart Goals is that they reflect your website visits that our model indicates are most likely to lead to conversions. Are Smart Goals a good idea? There's a big hitch in the original concept. Smart Goals was designed for merchants using Google Ads who don’t use conversion tracking. Smart Goals was to help optimise their Ads campaigns by collecting important metrics of user engagement. In theory, it sounds brilliant and helpful for ecommerce merchants and business owners of all scales. But here's how it breaks down in real life: Advertise, measure, repeat As a rule of thumb, ecommerce merchants with stores of all sizes should be measuring their advertising performance. Even if you're creating a "set it and forget it" Google Ads campaign, it's still crucial to track product views, page views, user engagements, cost per click, etc. If you're advertising your products without measuring, you're likely wasting your time and your budget. So how do you ensure you're making good use of ad dollars? Properly set up conversion tracking. Littledata's Google Ads connection is a great place to start. With the connection, you can be confident in your data reporting and that you're tracking the metrics that matter. [subscribe heading="Get Littledata's connection for Google Ads" background_color="grey" button_text="Get the connection" button_link=https://blog.littledata.io/2019/02/28/link-analytics-to-adwords-with-our-new-google-ads-connection/] With conversion tracking, you can follow a shopper's journey and see how many ad clicks lead to purchases, contacts, downloads, signups and more. This data will help you better optimise your campaigns and adjust the ad copy, visuals and calls-to-action to what performs best. Unfortunately, there are thousands of ecommerce merchants who advertise their products without proper conversion tracking. This sets them up for underperforming campaigns and stalls their online store from scaling. Can you really trust anonymous data? The short answer is a resounding no, and for a few reasons: Using other people's data to make crucial product and marketing decisions around your campaigns, your website and your customers isn't a good idea. Only your own customer behavior trends will guarantee you're making optimal business decisions for your product marketing campaigns and your online store. How does Google's algorithm determine likely conversions? If conversions aren't defined and conversion tracking isn't properly set up, how can likely conversions be determined? Google basically assigns each web session a score, with the top sessions made into Smart Goals. That begs the question, "what defines top sessions?" Google scans anonymous data (such as session duration, pages per session, location, device, and browser) to select the users that are "most engaged" in your online store. For example, let's say Shawna the Shopify merchant. Shawna uses Google Analytics to track her product sales and other "big data" figures. However, Shawna has never set up goals in GA. For someone like Shawna, Google would use engagement metrics in place of conversion metrics, since Shawna has no conversion tracking for her Shopify store. This is not necessarily problematic. What is problematic is that other important metrics are left untracked. This includes metrics like: Average order value Customer lifetime value Cost of engaged users Sales increases Google Ads campaign optimisation If conversion tracking was set up (rather than Smart Goals), Shawna would easily be able to trace the online journeys and user engagements on her Shopify store. Littledata's Shopify connection with Google Analytics would also provide Shawna with curated reports and analytics to help make sense of her GA data stream. What's the verdict? While even Google advocates for conversion tracking, there is a better way to track the metrics that support better decisions for your ecommerce business. When advertising, especially with Google Ads, it’s incredibly important to use your own data to make decisions for the positive growth of your campaigns.

by Nico
2019-07-26

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