Category : First-Party Data
Top 5 data tracking mistakes to avoid as a DTC brand
First-party data and server-side tracking is no longer an afterthought for DTC brands and ecommerce managers—rather, it is a centrepiece to their tech stack. But how do you make sure you aren’t “reinventing the wheel” when it comes to 1st party tracking? With the increasing number of “data platform” options it is often challenging to know what is truly needed for accurate attribution. With over 1500+ stores using Littledata’s Shopify and BigCommerce tracking app, we’ve learned a thing or two about the mistakes brands can often make. Allow us to help set the record straight and be a helping hand as you scale up your efforts in 2022. 1. Making data a lesser priority when launching We’ve talked to entrepreneurs across industries and one thing is certain—all are motivated to grow their business and many are managing multiple efforts across the business. One that often gets skipped in launching and updating a Shopify store is setting up data as an afterthought or using default or native tools that miss the mark. Some of the common replies we receive from customers that find out they have a data problem is that they planned on getting to it later or we thought we were getting all the information with pixel tracking (client-side) and the classic it just wasn’t in the budget. The first two we understand, because until folks know this can be automated with a tool like Littledata, the time for learning APIs, implementation, and maintenance can be overwhelming. However, we’ve seen brands give Littledata a shot as a temporary solution and report hours of time saved in an increase in their retention efforts like skincare brand Geologie. When it comes to budget we know the difference between those who do not prioritise data and those who truly can’t add this additional line item. That is why our Client Services team launched a new Littledata Startups program specifically for those just getting going. We have already offered a generous 30 day trial for merchants but realised some teams need a longer runway after seeing companies like Flux Footwear soar in the first year of getting started. 2. Thinking that fancy reporting will fix your data issues There are a lot of nifty reporting and visualization tools out there. But none of them actually fix your tracking. When reviewing how the platforms work be sure to ask about how the data is tracked and reported. While many reporting of these tools offer merchants a great UI/UX experience or insights they can also miss on the most important step, tracking. We are excited to see Google Analytics 4 offer free reporting tools and improved user experience in explorations. This will allow merchants to get more granular insights in GA4 which many consider their single source of truth. Littledata isn’t the new kid on the block. We got our start helping brands first hand get up and running with their data solutions. Then in 2017 we launched our app on Shopify that solved a big problem merchants were facing—accurate data and attribution. The issue we are hearing from partners and customers is that newly launched data tools are not fixing the tracking and analytics but rather they are pulling the data (which is likely inaccurate) and reporting through visualisation tools. We know this because our customers who use these other tools do so after fixing the tracking and attribution issues they are facing with Littledata. Then they use these reporting tools and dashboards in order to analyse the data or generate reports from the insights and recommendations of these tools. Or focus on fixing the tracking and conversion data. Nearly 1 of 5 orders is missed using Shopify’s native tracking tool. Littledata’s engine stitches together client-side and server-side tracking, without server setup and fees needed by merchants, to report end-to-end tracking. This includes important events like add_to_cart, one_time vs. recurring subscriptions, refunds, purchases, and more. We also calculate from these events Lifetime Value (LTV) and Average Order Value (AOV) so that merchants can understand what is really happening in their business—right in Google Analytics. If that wasn’t enough we also work out-of-the-box with many of the SMS, Subscriptions, and post-purchase upsell apps merchants are already using in their store or checkout. Making it easy to find out which channels or tools are working or not. 3. Short-term thinking about setup costs and maintenance This one is self explanatory but often gets missed. Because of our deep integrations with Shopify and BigCommerce our team is always making updates, improving the product, and implementing best practices for the Littledata app. Supercharging your store and functionality without having to outsource which often leads to scope creep. When you get started with Littledata you know exactly what you will be paying month to month with our tiers based on your order volume and not the revenue you bring in. Meaning you are paying for the data you are using and getting access to the same tools 100M GMV companies are using. This predictability makes it easy for merchants to budget for data tracking without having to account for surprises of outsourcing on your own. The best part is that Littledata has partnerships with some of the top agencies in the ecosystem like Swanky, Underwater Pistol, and Ragnarok. Recently, Steven Aldrich the Co-CEO of Ragnarok said on this topic: Merchants not aligning their tracking plan to their actual use cases; building your tracking plan on common sense and legacy schemas with no application is a surefire way to get little to no value out of your tools We don’t think there should be surprises when it comes to pricing. You can learn more on how we structure pricing here or by booking a chat with our Client Services team. 4. Missing the golden opportunity of creating audiences Creating audiences has to be one of the top priorities of any marketing team for retargeting and creating lookalike audiences. We know when you can understand your audience demographics through reporting and build and target your audience by metrics like LTV and AOV it can do wonders for brands. We’ve already seen Google Analytics 4 improve this by tightening up the relationship between Analytics and Ads. Now using event based tracking vs. session based tracking we will be able to understand customer behaviours even more and develop effective strategies to run ads and reduce wasted spend on the wrong audience. One area we are excited to see expanding within our own customers tracking portfolio is the implementation of Meta Conversions API which enables browser and server side tracking of your events in Facebook Ad Manager. Here you review events and create new campaigns based on this advanced implementation of server-side. The best part is Littledata reports many of the most needed ecommerce events right out of the box that you would have to set up manually through other means of connection. 5. Regular data health checks When maintaining your data stack it is important to know your data is flowing properly from your store to Google Analytics or Segment from your decisions like Shopify or any third party apps you use like Recharge Payments. Manually checking and testing these connections outside of Littledata can be a hassle and time consuming. With Littledata we show your live processed orders and connection details are active. This can help with any troubleshooting that might occur and as a normal check that the data is flowing properly. Merchants can often overlook this small detail but it can be a good habit to instill for any size organization. Any missed orders or transactions could amount to a lost opportunity for merchants or missed insights in your analysis. Recently, we caught up with Littledata’s Head of Client Services, David Pascu, who shared how this plays out in action for brands: Imagine it's the end of the quarter, and you're preparing to analyze a new product's purchase activity compared to a similar product launched in the previous quarter—only to find that the new theme you launched a couple of months ago broke the event tracking on the product detail pages, it went unnoticed, and you don't have the right data to work with. Frustrating, right? I stopped counting how many teams at top DTC brands have voiced their frustration about such situations. This is why tools like Littledata are valuable so that you have complete data without any unpleasant surprises. Let's be realistic, mistakes can happen within any business but it's our responsibility to limit those mistakes where possible. At Littledata we pride ourselves on building an app that can help your business thrive and grow through accurate data and analytics. Don’t make another mistake by missing out on 30 days with no strings attached to try our app with your store. P.S. Worried your conversions are not tracking well in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)? Use our GA4 conversion checker to see in a few clicks if your property is set up properly.
How to adapt to a world without third-party cookies
The ecommerce data industry is going through unprecedented change. It seems every marketer, data scientist, and store owner has at least heard that privacy regulations like GDPR and major tracking prevention updates like iOS14 have broken the old system of collecting data about customers. But the most important question is how should you respond to these changes? The good news is there are still methods to collect critical information about your buyers and use it to target your niche and drive revenue. The main solution in a world without third party cookies—first-party data. Of course it's not enough to just be aware of first-party data. You need to know how to collect it, what insights you can glean from it, and the best methods to set up a first-party data strategy for your store. To help you with all of that and more, we have the only white paper you need on how to replace third-party cookies in your marketing. It's packed with everything you need to know about first-party data: what it is (and what it isn’t), how to collect it, and how to use it to optimize your marketing and make smarter decisions. We’ll also give you some helpful resources to set you on the path to success. How to replace third-party cookies with first-party data When it comes down to it, the biggest problem brands need to solve when replacing third-party cookies is preserving the insights they give into customer behavior. Fortunately there are a handful of ways that can be done with first-party data. In the white paper, we dive into each one, including how to set them up on your store, what insights they provide, and what overall benefits they have over third-party data. The customer insights you can gather from the methods we discuss in the white paper will make a significant difference when it comes to revenue and decision-making. You'll learn strategies to gather some of the biggest ticket metrics, like: Return on ad spendCustomer lifetime valueProduct engagementAdds to cartHighest value customers by demographicMarketing attributionAccurate sales data We also dive into the importance of using the right reporting tools, complete with a section on the newest version of Google Analytics—GA4—and why it matters to start tracking metrics there ASAP. Get ahead of your competitors by making the switch to first-party data with the insights in our white paper and you'll have the tools you need to drive revenue and secure steady growth. Dowload your copy>>> [subscribe]
How to set up Meta’s Facebook Ad Manager and Facebook Conversions API
Targeted ads have become essential for modern brands who want to find buyers in their niche and attract them with unique, engaging messaging. There's a wide range of content and delivery formats you can try, too. Video ads, carousel ads, dynamic product ads, user-generated content—the sky is the limit on how creative brands can leverage social ads to drive reach, conversions, and revenue. Just check out Facebook’s Ad Libary to see what we mean. But, due to many well-documented changes to third-party data, users of these ads have had to adapt to a new digital landscape and adjust the way they collect buyer data. In this guide, we will walk you through how to set up a Meta Facebook Manager Account and create ads using Meta's new first-party data solution—the Facebook Conversions API. Follow these simple steps below and you'll be ready to start tracking customer behavior and put that data to work for your Shopify store. How to set up Meta Facebook Ad Manager Step 1: Create your Meta Business Account Head over to Meta’s Business Suite and set up your account by clicking “create account” if you have not already done so using your Facebook login. This will allow you to request and manage page permissions to create a Facebook Ad Account. You will need to have permission to the page to connect your store to Facebook Ads Manager. Step 2: Connect a Facebook Ads account to your Meta Business Account Now that you’ve connected your business page from the dashboard, you can add, request access to, or create an ad account. This is where you'll create ads for your business, monitor spending, and execute your overall ads strategy. Step 3: Add Google Analytics to your Shopify store Next, you'll need to set up reporting to see the effectiveness of your ads. There are a couple of ways to add Google Analytics to your Shopify store, but we'll be sharing a solution here that both works for store owners of any expertise level and is one of the fastest—using the Littledata Shopify to GA connection. [tip]Don’t have a Littledata account yet? Sign up here for a free 30-day trial on us![/tip] Setup for using Littledata's Shopify to Google Analytics is as easy as signing up, installing the app from the Shopify app store, and following the self-serve onboarding flow to add Littledata's tracking script to your store. We have a complete detailed guide you can follow as well. Once you’ve connected, you will be able to see the following applicable events in your Facebook Ad Manager Account: Great job! You are on your way to starting to run your ads based on accurate data from your Shopify store. Next, we'll set up the Conversions API to run those powerful dynamic ads. How to set up Facebook's Conversions API on your Shopify store Once you're set up in Ad Manager, have Littledata installed, and have your reporting ready in Google Analytics, adding the Conversions API only takes a few steps. First, you'll add the connection from the Littledata dashboard and approve the change to your plan. CAPI uses a combination of client-side and server-side tracking to increase event match quality and Facebook Pixel attribution, so the next step is to enter your Facebook Pixel ID into the app. Finally, in your Business Manager account under the Events Manager section, you'll generate an access token to include with your Pixel ID and finalize the connection. And voila! You're ready to start running dynamic ads and reach your ideal customers using Facebook CAPI. Conclusion Social ads might be changing in our new cookie-less world, but by leveraging the power of server-side tracking and first-party data through tools like Facebook's Conversions API, you can still gain crucial insights about your audience and create ads that will delight them. Now that you know how to get your Meta Business Manager and Facebook Ads accounts up and running, plus how to set up the new Facebook Conversions API, the only next step is to make sure you have the best possible reporting for your data so you can make decisions based on a single source of truth. Try Littledata free for 30 days to see the difference it makes having a truly accurate data layer for your store, plus access to connections that help you manage subscriptions, paid ads, headless setups, and more. [subscribe]
Six reasons to start using Meta’s Conversions API now
One of the biggest marketing areas hit by iOS14 updates, and tracking prevention in general, is social ads. As Meta’s main moneymaker, the company of course wasn’t going to stand by and have their best feature for brands become unusable. Enter Facebook's Conversions API (CAPI), a solution that complies with new tracking and privacy laws by letting Facebook and Instagram Ads users share customer actions from the servers directly to Facebook. Facebook Ads via Conversions API work alongside Facebook Pixel to help you improve the performance, measurement, and data collection of your campaigns for Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads. But Facebook CAPI isn’t a replacement for Facebook Pixel. Instead, it’s an enhancement that enables deeper first-party data to help you understand performance in more detail and run more effective ads. Using Littledata to set up CAPI on your store makes this data more accurate and reliable so that your campaigns reach the right shoppers at the right time. When using Littledata and Facebook CAPI together, you can: Automatically improve Event Match Quality Score Run dynamic product ads based on accurate shopping data Make revenue data in Shopify match revenue data in Facebook In this post, we’ll share six reasons why you need to add this powerful advertising tool to your toolbelt ASAP. Why use Facebook CAPI? 1. Facebook CAPI solves for VPNs and ad blockers Originally, Facebook Pixel provided us with all the information we needed to build powerful audiences for our ads. Then, VPNs, ad blockers, and other privacy software began causing some discrepancies in the data. This is where the Facebook Conversions API came in. Facebook CAPI sends events “server-side” instead of “client-side” through the third-party browser a customer is using to access your site. That means they aren’t interrupted by the web browsing and privacy trends mentioned above. Even better, you can share almost 100% of purchases from your store with Facebook via CAPI. [tip]Learn how to use Facebook CAPI to run dynamic Facebook ads and target your top buyers.[/tip] 2. Facebook CAPI is iOS14-friendly With iOS 14 privacy changes, we’re not just dealing with discrepancies in the data, but gaps. Those gaps negatively impact Facebook ad targeting because iOS 14 limits what data advertisers can collect through client-side (pixel) tracking and allows users to turn tracking off entirely through app tracking transparency (ATT). Facebook CAPI sends user data directly from your server (not the user’s device) to Facebook instead of relying on the cookie and browser data the Facebook Pixel collects. Even if the customer has opted out of marketing cookies — meaning the purchase cannot be attributed via Facebook’s Pixel ID — Facebook CAPI can send some extra user identifiers like email address, physical address, and phone number. These give Facebook a better chance of linking the purchase to a user, and from there to the ad the user clicked on. We’ll talk more about user data below. 3. Facebook CAPI captures important lower-funnel activity Facebook CAPI allows you to send more than just website behavior to Facebook. Not all server-side events happen and/or are recorded directly on your site. They may happen on your app, a free tool, a third-party payment tool, a support hub, or offline (like through phone calls). If you record this data in your CRM, you can send additional data to Facebook through Facebook CAPI. Events in payment and shopping cart tools are often lower-funnel, making them particularly important to track. 4. Facebook CAPI will be necessary when cookies are gone Perhaps most importantly, when third-party cookies are gone, Conversions API will be our only source for conversion tracking and ad performance data. Google has already announced the phase-out of third-party cookies, and as the market leader, every other service using them will almost surely follow suit. Enabling Facebook CAPI on your store now protects the accuracy of your data, even after third-party cookies have been thrown out. 5. Get a complete picture of your conversion data Facebook Conversions API helps you to see information that the Facebook Pixel can’t see as a result of ad blockers, iOS 14, ATT, and cookies. This includes website events, offline events, and ad CRM data. On the other hand, Facebook Pixel helps you to see information that Facebook CAPI can’t, such as demographic, psychographic, and other behavioral data from around the web. That’s how they work together and why each covers gaps the other has. 6. Get more out of your budget With both Facebook Pixel and Facebook CAPI working together to give you the most accurate data possible, you can: Understand exactly who is interacting with your ads Better understand the customer journey Build strong audiences and generate leads on Facebook, even with iOS 14 Make data-driven optimizations and allocate the budget accordingly Now that you know why you need Facebook CAPI, it's time to get it set up on your store. Get in touch with our data experts and they’ll help you set it Facebook CAPI, show you how to track events, and ensure you get accurate data on your ads in the new age of first-party data. [subscribe]
4 ways to future-proof your business by using the right subscription tools
No one can predict the future. But as economic uncertainty and major data tracking changes loom, now is an important time for brands to prioritize future-proofing their businesses by developing strategies to minimize the effects of any potential downturns. Recurring revenue from subscription models can be a great way to generate predictable, long-term income. As a best practice, focusing on maintaining solid relationships with customers and ensuring a superior customer experience will help retain them in the long run. During hard times, it will be the most loyal customers who stay committed to your brand. Plus, with acquisition costs rising, focusing on retaining current customers is a much more sustainable option. In this post, we’ll share how you can future-proof your business by building a strong subscription model that attracts subscribers and show you the tools you need to do it. 1. Focus on Subscribers First, rely on subscribers, as they are the most loyal and valuable customers who chose your brand over numerous competitors. Keeping these customers is critical for brands, as it is much less resource-intensive than acquiring new customers. Build your growth strategy around gaining subscribers’ trust, delighting them with exclusive membership perks, and allowing them to advocate for your brand. Throughout the subscription experience, provide flexibility and transparency to establish trust with customers. Specifically, demonstrate transparency by displaying details of what the subscription program entails, emphasizing that customers have the authority to change, skip, or cancel their subscription at any time. You can offer the most relevant subscription options by analyzing customer buying behavior data; for instance, monitor your customer’s average frequency selection when deciding which subscription option should be defaulted on the product page. Offer flexibility from the beginning by allowing customers to adjust the cadence in which they would like to receive the product and how much of it. Letting customers choose the quantity and frequency of their subscriptions solidifies this trust. Your customer won’t feel like they have to fully unsubscribe because they can mold the subscription program to their specific lifestyle, ultimately increasing your retention. That way, you’ll avoid losing valuable customers just because they needed fewer products during a certain month. [tip]See how brick-and-mortar staple Grind scaled DTC sales 50x in 3 months through subscription selling.[/tip] 2. Create a Brand Engagement Hub Transform your brand’s customer account portal into an engagement hub to increase retention and lifetime value for subscribers. Providing access to a consistent, branded customer portal helps develop strong relationships with customers which plays a critical role in retaining them long-term. Customize your customer’s account portal to adhere to your brand guidelines and craft an experience that aligns with the products that you are selling. Intuitive, straightforward tools built directly into the portal empower customers to serve themselves independently and make them more likely to continue doing business with you rather than switching to a competitor. Frictionless account management gives customers the opportunity to manage their subscription journey the way they see fit with intuitive options to gift, skip, swap, or send now. Having an easy customer support function within the customer account portal is mutually beneficial for your brand and your customers, as it saves your Customer Service team’s time and leaves customers satisfied. Typically, customers would rather solve an issue on their own without needing to contact a customer service representative. So saving them time and avoiding any frustrations further decreases the likelihood of them churning. 3. Build Brand Champions Take your subscriber’s loyalty and expand on it as much as possible with customer loyalty features that give customers a reason to come back. This includes subscriber-only promotions and discounts, exclusive gifts, early access to new products, and one-time add-ons. As a best practice, use retention data to create a strategic subscription program. For example, use a retention cohort analysis to determine if you are offering too high of a discount on first subscription orders. Merchants may find customers canceling their subscriptions after the first order when the subscriber discount is too high. By keeping a pulse on these metrics, merchants are able to course correct by getting rid of large, upfront discounts and instead, reward subscribers based on loyalty. Help improve average order value by placing strategic upsells based on data that identified top-performing products or products commonly purchased together. Then recommend these products for a tailored customer experience. Offer early releases of new products and allow loyal subscribers to give feedback, making them feel even more special and valued as customers. Try giving subscribers “X% off of their X order,” free products with orders, or birthday gifts. Create brand awareness with referrals and gifting features built directly within the account portal. Aim to get loyal customers to continue to buy your products, buy more products, and gift products so that your brand awareness extends to friends and family. Many brands take advantage of referrals like “Give X, Get X,” where if you refer a friend, you each receive a discount. Not only does this ensure that subscribers directly benefit from their referrals, but also that friend now has the ability to try your product and later on subscribe themselves. This creates champions of your brand who continue to spread the word and love to friends and family. 4. Littledata and Smartrr Having subscription management software that fits with your main data reporting tool is critical in subscriptions. Google Analytics and server-side tracking give you the first-party tracking you need to understand your buyers and make data-driven decisions that benefit your store. You can use a subscription tracking service to see complete sales data, including one-off purchases, subscriptions, and refunds. Using Littledata and Smartrr as your subscription management and analytics stack allows you to: Calculate marketing attribution for all transactions, including recurring orders Set up custom dimensions to calculate LTV Use information to strategically use upsells, gifting, add-ons, and more Send Smartrr subscriptions data to Facebook Ads via the Facebook Conversions API Conclusion Each of these strategies helps to build a solid foundation to retain customers and ultimately, future-proof your business. Make strategic business decisions by tracking the key performance indicators that drive your business, such as average order value, sales by specific product, churn over time, lifetime value, and subscription revenue growth. Retain customers by crafting a seamless experience through a consumer-focused subscription program with an intuitive account portal that includes features to engage subscribers and build brand champions. Retaining your highest lifetime value customers will help solidify recurring revenue from subscription models and ensure predictable, long-term income. This is a guest post from Anna Jacobson, Marketing Associate at Smartrr—the premium subscription app for DTC Shopify brands. Built with your end consumer in mind, Smarter increases brand engagement and LTV with a variety of out-of-the-box subscription models, a beautifully branded subscriber account experience, member-only benefits, and more.
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