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 uses Google Analytics to track her product sales and other data. 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 isn't necessarily problematic. What is problematic is that other important metrics are left untracked. This includes: Average order value (AOV) Customer lifetime value (LTV) Cost of engaged users Sales increases Google Ads campaign optimzation 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 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. And to own your data, you need to trust it. Try Littledata's Google Analytics app free and see for yourself how even a few weeks of accurate data can enhance your decision-making (and boost your results) for ecommerce marketing and sales.
Top 3 benefits of integrating Segment with your Shopify store
We may be biased, but...Shopify is a terrific, industry-leading platform that continues to see success with its in-app features and integrations. But one of the ways it hasn't been successful? It's native reporting. [tip]See why Shopify analytics are broken (and how to repair your Shopify tracking)[/tip] In a recent post running down some popular brands using the Segment app for their stores, we outlined what the Segment platform is and why top brands are choosing to integrate Shopify with Segment. Today, we'll run down the top 3 benefits for merchants using Shopify and Segment in tandem. First, let's start with the problem: What’s wrong with Shopify reporting? Shopify’s native tracking tool (Shopify analytics) is unsophisticated and incomplete, missing key steps in the customer journey. This makes it tough for Shopify users to get accurate sales and marketing data for their store. The situation is even worse if you want to push that data to Segment (previously, this had to be done manually), since you'd have to hire a developer or consultant just for the setup. But it's not all doom and gloom. Luckily, Littledata's new Segment connection (available in the Shopify app store) fixes this issue automatically. Here's how... [subscribe heading="Use your store as a Segment source" background_color="green" button_text="Get the app" button_link="https://apps.shopify.com/segment-com-by-littledata"] How does the Segment connection work? Once the data is tracked within your Shopify store, it's then sent to Segment. By adding Shopify to your Segment sources, it's easier to push your Shopify dataset to Segment destinations so you can report and act on ecommerce behavior. Plus, our app fixes the tracking automatically, so you can make data-driven decisions with peace of mind, knowing your Shopify data is accurate when you push it to Segment destinations. Tracking for Shopify & Shopify Plus To recap from our post a few weeks ago, Littledata's Segment connection sends the following events from your Shopify or Shopify Plus store to Segment. These events will show up as tables in your warehouse, and as regular events in your other destinations like Google Analytics, Amplitude, Mixpanel, Kissmetrics, Heap and more. Among all Shopify apps, the Segment connection offers benefits unique to Shopify partners. Check out our help center for additional questions on the Segment integration. 3 reasons to integrate Shopify with Segment 1) Capture every customer touchpoint Our Segment connection lets you use Shopify as Segment source. In other words, merchants can now automatically track every ecommerce touchpoint on your Shopify store, including: User/browsing behaviour Checkout steps Sales & refunds Customer lifetime value (CLV) Marketing metrics like customer acquisition cost (CAC) When merchants integrate Segment with Shopify, no touchpoint in the customer journey will go untracked. This includes multiple checkout steps, sales conversion data and customer lifetime value (CLV), arguably the most crucial metric for Shopify stores. Running a subscription store? We have you covered. The app integrates with ReCharge and Google Analytics so you can track all your subscription data. It also connects to your Facebook Ads and Google Ads for accurate marketing attribution and customer journey tracking. This way, you know which campaigns are actually working (and which are not). [tip]Hey, subscription stores! Now you can track all your subscription lifecycle events[/tip] 2) Server-side tracking for 100% accuracy Speaking of tracking, Littledata's server-side tracking approach within Google Analytics beats out Shopify's native reporting, which is riddled with inaccurate numbers. Server-side tracking ensures each data metric is 100% reliable, empowering merchants to make better, data-driven decisions for their store. 3) Set up in minutes for any Shopify store Quick integrations should never be undervalued. Within minutes, Shopify merchants can have their stores armed with a steady data flow. Sound too good to be true? That's the power of next-gen tracking and reporting. Which ecommerce events are tracked? Littledata's Shopify app for Segment automatically tracks key events in the ecommerce journey. These currently include: From your Segment workspace, you can then push this data to hundreds of Segment destinations, such as: Reporting and visualization tools like Mixpanel and Google Analytics Sales and marketing apps like Hubspot and Salesforce Email marketing like Drip and Klaviyo And the list goes on and on...here's a full list of everything you can track. Enterprise plans for Shopify Plus stores The Segment integration for Shopify captures every stage in the customer journey, empowering you to do more for your store with an accurate dataset. The best way to get started? Littledata enterprise plans are a popular option for Shopify Plus merchants and other stores set on major growth. Not only that, but enterprise plans are specifically designed with Plus stores in mind. With Littledata enterprise, you get: Shopify Plus support Segment support Unlimited connections Unlimited data thresholds Custom setup & reporting Manual data audits Optimization support Enterprise plans also offer reliable customer support, a dedicated account manager, help from our Google Analytics consultants, data analytics experts and ecommerce growth hackers. Ready to give it a shot? Get started with our 30-day free trial, and if you have any questions about Segment, Shopify, how the connection works, we're here to help!
[Free ebook] Accurate Shopify data is closer than you think
Even for essential ecommerce data like product sales and transactions, setting up a reliable data collection system is harder than one might think. Many ecommerce marketers use Google Analytics to track performance, but it's not as simple as a "1...2...3" setup. At Littledata, we work with top apps and agencies in the Shopify ecosystem, especially Shopify Plus partners. In turn, these partners work with marketing managers, data analytics experts and ecommerce store managers across the globe. One of the questions we often receive from these managers: Why don’t my transactions in Google Analytics match those in Shopify? While a plethora of factors can cause differences in Shopify tracking results, we’ve narrowed it down to 6 main causes. 1) Orders go unrecorded in Google Analytics Why does this happen? As a Shopify store owner, your customer never sees the order confirmation page. When online orders go unrecorded in Google Analytics, it’s almost always due to payment gateways not sending users back to the order thank you page. 2) Errors occur in the Google Analytics/Google Tag Manager integration The Google Analytics/Tag Manager integration allows Google Analytics to track only a few “micro-moments” (page visits, page bounces, etc.) required for a complete picture of your customers' online shopping journey. Though commerce connections like Shopify’s are designed to work for standard websites, some store owners build themes that are more personalised to their products. This requires a custom integration with Google Analytics. Want to know the other 4 causes? These two issues probably seem highly fixable (they are) but they don't stand alone. There are a host of factors that cause data mismatches between Shopify and Google Analytics data, all of which threaten to weaken your marketing strategy, hurt your sales performance and damage your bottom line. Luckily, we have just the thing to help. Our free ebook, Why your Google Analytics data doesn't match your Shopify data, isn't just an answer to the question — it's packed with details, pro tips and an ultimate solution to your data mismatches. The ebook will also show you how common tools like ReCharge and CartHook can actually skew your data (and how to fix this). The best Shopify analytics are those that are accurate and trustworthy. With the help of our ebook, you're on your way to Shopify greatness! [subscribe heading="Get the free ebook" background_color="green" button_text="Free download" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/app/ebook-why-google-analytics-dont-match-shopify-analytics"]
Everything you need to know from Shopify Unite 2019
It's been a busy week in Toronto. We're still here at Shopify Unite, but yesterday's announcement day was chock-full of exciting new updates and experiences for Shopify Partners, merchants and agencies. With the most popular Google Analytics app for Shopify merchants and a new Segment app live in the app store as well, our ears perked up and stayed up! We chatted with our agency partners to get some feedback about which announcements might have the biggest impact on their business, from design and development to growth marketing for Plus stores. Here are six major changes: 1) New online store experience (updated design) Shopify's new store design experience will make it easier for merchants to personalise their storefronts without having to write any code. Later this year, Shopify will also introduce a feature that helps agencies provide the "highly valuable skills and services needed to take a merchant's business to the next level". What that feature set looks like is unclear at the moment, but what is clear are the following five design updates: Sections for each page: Sections-based editing is now enabled on every page of a merchant's online store, offering more space for creative freedom and personalisation. Master pages: Merchants can now dictate content and apply changes to all pages by simply editing the master page. Starting points: Shopify themes will offer "starting points", which will be pre-configured content sections to help accelerate store setup. Merchants can choose their starting point and easily fill it with content. Content portability: Store managers rejoice — content is no longer stored in themes, meaning merchants can make changes to their store without duplicating themes. Drafts: Merchants can draft changes on their store without making the changes go live. Merchants can play with design, content, etc. and only publish when they please. UX/UI: A new Shopify interface means (hopefully) a better merchant experience. Shopify says creating a store will now be a more intuitive experience, thanks to the new UI. In light of a new storefront app extension for agency partners, Shopify is unlocking a new feature that lets partners add apps to their storefront. [subscribe heading="Top Google Analytics app for Shopify" button_text="Learn More" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/connections/shopify"] 2) New Shopify Plus admin dashboard (multiple stores, multiple shoppers) Out with the old, in with the new Shopify Plus. The large-scale update will help large, multilayered businesses to manage multiple stores, shoppers and automation — all from a sleek new admin dashboard. The new design will offer brands: Robust insights across all of their stores The ability to manage multiple stores and user permissions from one place A better space to facilitate better store operations Shopify also continues to add more possibilities for what you can do with Shopify Flow, a smart way to automate workflows within Shopify Plus. For example, user admins and assigned staff members will soon be able to copy flows across all of your stores. [subscribe heading="Top Google Analytics app for Shopify Plus" button_text="Learn More" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/connections/shopifyplus"] 3) New checkout app extension for subscriptions [Coming soon] This is a big one, though the details are not yet clear. Later this year, Shopify Partners will be able to access the company's very first checkout app extension. The extension will mainly focus on improving purchase flow for subscriptions. The idea is to keep everything within Shopify's checkout flow, rather than sending shoppers to other apps. In Shopify's words: Buyers will no longer be routed outside of Shopify’s checkout to complete their transactions. Developers will be able to integrate their subscription apps into the checkout experience, surface their app’s information into Shopify’s checkout, and give merchants the ability to process transactions for subscription goods and services within one seamless checkout experience. If you or your clients are using ReCharge for selling subscriptions in your Shopify store, don't worry. Nothing changes now. You can still use Littledata's advanced Google Analytics integration for ReCharge to get accurate data about subscription sales and marketing channels, and we'll keep you in the loop about accurate tracking for checkout app extensions, once those get closer to going live. 4) Custom storefront tools, including multi-currency for non-Plus stores Because the customer journey is about more than an attractive website and pretty design, Shopify has taken the headless commerce approach by creating custom storefront tools for niche and complex ecommerce businesses. They're calling this "flexible commerce" and it promises to have a big impact on key Shopify benchmarks. These flexible commerce tools help merchants: Create a beautiful front-end experience Play a bigger role in a more personalised shopper experience (i.e. connecting to a CMS tool to share more dynamic pieces of content) Engage with shoppers through voice shopping, smart mirrors, smart fridges, etc. Leverage the scaling ability and speed of a headless commerce model Merchants and agencies can also now access the following through the Storefront API: Selling in multiple currencies New product recommendations Shopify Scripts All Shopify merchants now have the ability to sell in multiple currencies with Shopify Payments. This feature was previously only available to Shopify Plus merchants. 5) POS cart app extensions for loyalty and promotions Checkout is now faster and easier for both merchants and customers. Store managers can now see details about customer loyalty and promotions "directly in the cart without having to click away". The POS cart app extensions provide merchants with the "loyalty and promotion app functionality (they) want, where they need it: within the customer cart". With a more seamless checkout experience, merchants and customers can now enjoy better: Speed: The time it takes to apply a discount code is now down from 15 to 5 seconds Visibility: Store managers don’t need to remember to visit the apps section of POS Recognition: Customers feel more appreciated, no matter where a purchase is made The new POS app extensions helps both merchants and development teams improve the user experiences of the storefront(s) they manage. [Coming soon] Shopify's updated POS app will prioritize "quick and seamless workflows, helping store staff focus on what’s most important to them: human-to-human customer interactions and making each sale a positive experience". 6) New order editing APIs Shopify's brand new order editing features of the GraphQL AdminAPI enables apps to add, drop or replace items "before the line item has been fulfilled". This offers merchants increased flexibility after a purchase. 7) Shopify Fulfillment Network Once this news broke, we watched Twitter run wild as store managers imagined the possibilities with Shopify's brand new Fulfillment Network. Designed to compete with the world's top fulfillment networks (Amazon, USPS, etc.), the network will be built across the United States at first before (hopefully) expanding across the Atlantic. Shopify will be pumping over a billion dollars into this infrastructure, expanding and improving the network. The network gives Shopify merchants access to tools and services previously only available to the biggest stores in the world. Benefits include: One back office: This will reduce both errors and frustration for store management teams Maintain inventory integrity: Made possible by scheduling rhythmic cycle counts Nearly 100% accuracy: Orders will be ready to go on-time without the risk of error regarding order contents, shipping addresses, etc. Your eyes at the warehouse: Shopify is providing merchants with dedicated account managers with "logistics and Shopify expertise". The Shopify Fulfillment Network will also support the following: Multiple channels — online store, retail, Instagram, eBay, Amazon, etc. Returns and exchanges Custom (branded) packaging Stores of all sizes — "shipping 10 to 10,000 products a day", aiming to get this to "3 to 30,000" per day in coming years Is there anything we missed? Let us know. Next up, Ed will break down the announcements and unpack what they mean not only for Shopify partners and agencies, but for teams that rely on Littledata's smart connections for marketing attribution and better business decision-making. Stay tuned! Photo credits: Littledata, Shopify
Uniting after Unite: Littledata sponsors De:brief event for Shopify partners
We’re proud to announce our sponsorship with De:brief., this week's exclusive, post-Shopify Unite event. We'll look at what was announced at the leading Shopify conference, and what it all means for Shopify partners, app developers, and ultimately for merchants. Every year we go to Unite. And every year we ask ourselves: wouldn't it be nice to have some time to just debrief about all the things that were announced, and what they really mean? De:brief is an essential post-Unite gathering for partners working at the forefront of the Shopify ecosystem. It will take place on Friday this week in Toronto, the day after Shopify Unite. De:brief will be a prime opportunity hear Shopify expert analysis, dive into the details of what was announced at Unite, and unpack what those announcements mean — especially to those within the Shopify partner ecosystem. With a ton of Littledata customers using our Google Analytics Shopify app -- and the upcoming release of our V8 Shopify tracking code -- we're especially excited to chat about how we can all work together to help stores scale faster and smarter. Who's coming? Over 150 data analytics experts and colleagues will also be joining networking and discussions around panels about Shopify updates and the impact they'll have on ecommerce going forward. We're happy to announce that our leading integration partner ReCharge will be leading a panel, and the good people at our agency partner We Make Websites will be there as well. Food for thought As official sponsors of the De:brief event, Littledata's co-founders Edward Upton and Ari Messer will be at the event and Ed will be on a panel about the app economy. A terrific opportunity to network with peers, discuss key industry trends and hear from ecommerce thought leaders, De:brief is an event you can't miss. For more details or to reserve your seat, check out De:brief's registration page.
Enhanced Magento connection: Welt Pixel app for Google Analytics
As part of our Magento connection, we're excited to announce our partnership with Welt Pixel. Not only will this allow us to offer more dynamic enterprise plans for Magento merchants, but it creates a ripe opportunity for interested enterprises to join Magento's unique ecommerce network. Through Welt Pixel's Magento 2 extension, we've been able to provide store owners with complete, accurate data, including: Full Enhanced Ecommerce shopping behaviour events Custom dimensions for product reviews and stock status Light-weight script for fast-loading pages Full configuration in Google Tag Manager A connection you can trust With this new partnership, Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce for Magento 2 enables full Enhanced Ecommerce tracking implemented in just minutes. That way, you can start gathering valuable data literally overnight to make better, data-based company decisions than ever before. Magento users can also track product views, clicks, detail impressions, cart-related user actions (adding or removing products), promotion data, purchase data, refunds, and more. Enterprise plans Our Magento connection is available at any enterprise level. Littledata's Enterprise plans include unlimited app features, such as Facebook Ads and Google Ads connections with Google Analytics, plus options for custom setup and reporting. Plan features include: Advanced setup for Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager Account management from a certified Google Analytics expert Knowledge of best practices for Magento 1 and Magento 2 Advice on analytics and platform migrations Multi-channel marketing attribution and Lifetime Value reporting Private benchmarks [subscribe heading="Get accurate data for Magento" button_text="Get started" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/connections/magento"] Getting started If you don't already have a Littledata account, you can book a demo with a Magento analytics expert. Questions? We're here to help you scale — contact us with any questions about Littledata, our Magento connection, or what our new Welt Pixel partnership means for your store.
Subscribe to Littledata news
Insights from the experts in ecommerce analytics
Try the top-rated Google Analytics app for Shopify stores
Get a 30-day free trial of Littledata for Google Analytics or Segment