How to get the most out of your Google Analytics setup

There are seemingly countless analytics solutions on the market today for ecommerce merchants to choose from. None, however, have overtaken the undisputed leader in the data world—Google Analytics. In order to get the most out of GA, though, you have to know a thing or two about what capabilities the tool affords you. As you may have noticed if you've read our content before, we're big fans of GA here at Littledata. Our team of experts help clients get accurate, reliable data through the platform every day. To help you decide where to begin optimizing your GA setup and improve the reporting you're capable of, here are three blog posts answering questions we recommend you ask yourself about GA. Is now the time to move to Google Aanalytics 4 (GA4)? YES! Google has already announced they are sunsetting Universal Analytics (UA), a.k.a the old version of GA, for good on July 1, 2023. If you're just starting a GA property now, GA4 is the way to go. But the coming deprecation of UA isn't the only reason to embrace GA4—far from it. We have 10 reasons you should make the switch now and the benefits GA4's new features offer from an analytics expert's perspective. https://blog.littledata.io/2021/02/04/10-reasons-to-move-to-ga4-for-ecommerce-analytics/ [note]Littledata's GA4 connection gives you complete and accurate data in your GA4 property in just one click. Find out how to set it up on your store.[/note] Should I use GA to track my email campaigns? Email campaigns are a frequently used promotional tool for ecommerce merchants. The name to know when it comes to ecommerce email is Klaviyo, as it's one of the most popular marketing platforms in the entire industry. The best way to optimize your email campaigns for success is of course to track their performance. Google Analytics is not only a dynamic solution for this but an easy one to set up too. In this article, Littledata CEO Edward Upton walks you through how to get your email campaign reporting up and running in GA so you can get the most from your campaigns using data-driven decision-making. https://blog.littledata.io/2020/11/25/how-to-track-klaviyo-flows-and-email-campaigns-in-google-analytics/ Should I get a Google Analytics expert to help with my Shopify data? Google Analytics is the leader in analytics reporting, so of course, that means it's easy to use—right? In most cases, if you've armed yourself with a bit of data knowledge, this is true. However, if you're looking to really unlock the full capabilities of the platform, you need more than just the standard level of GA know-how. While gaining that knowledge is a great learning experience, it also takes a lot of hours—time that busy business owners and marketing teams don't always have. If you want to go beyond the basic revenue/transaction checks and ad campaign monitoring to unlock deeper insights into your customers' behavior, a GA expert could be just the right solution. We have a full article explaining everything a GA expert can help you gain access to in your reporting so you can see if it's the right next step up for your analytics setup. https://blog.littledata.io/2020/02/25/do-you-need-a-google-analytics-expert-to-help-with-your-shopify-data/ [subscribe]

by Greg
2022-05-13

The rise of Google Analytics 4 and sunsetting of Universal Analytics

Last week, Google formally announced that they will be “sunsetting” Universal Analytics and pushing all users to move to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) by the second half of 2023. Does this mean that you should drop everything now and start fully embracing GA4? Actually, things are a bit more complicated. Like everything in the world of data, we recommend a methodical approach to the change. We’ve already outlined Littledata’s approach to GA4 for ecommerce stores. So in this article, we’ll take a deeper look at what Google just announced, what this means for your analytics setup, and recommend next steps for merchants using Google Analytics with ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. What’s happening to Universal Analytics? The summer of 2023 may very well be remembered across the ecommerce industry for the rise of GA4, as Google is officially sunsetting its predecessor, Universal Analytics (aka UA, GA3, or the “old version” of Google Analytics). Google’s official announcement, which you can read in full on their blog. This announcement may have come as a bit of a surprise to some. GA4 has been available for a while but wasn’t made a priority before. Fortunately, moving from UA to GA4 doesn't have to be a headache for your team—as long as you have the right setup in place. Littledata already has a GA4 connection in beta that select customers have been using for months. Google promises GA4 will bring an adjustment to more granular data, giving users more insights and better control over customers' privacy. That second point is especially important as the industry makes a major shift away from cookies toward embracing first-party data across platforms. What we know about GA4 On July 1, 2023, Google will stop standard Universal Analytics properties from processing data. Your Universal Analytics reports will remain visible for a short period after the change (Google hasn't specified how long) but new data will only flow into GA4 properties. In other words, if you haven’t already, you need to create a GA4 property ASAP. With the switch to GA4, Google promises several significant changes aimed at making its Analytics tool more “consumer-focused” overall. This, among other features, includes: A privacy-centric design to maintain key insights despite cookie blockers and privacy regulationsA new UI designed to showcase customer behavior through key events, and out-of-the-box capability to track those events (without requiring set up through Google Tag Manager)Machine learning models that automatically identify trends in data, such as churn probability, potential revenue from customer groups, and demand increasesMeasurement of both app and web interactions to snapshot the effectiveness of each of your marketing effortsData export to your BigQuery data warehouse Tip: See Littledata’s 10 reasons to move to GA4 for ecommerce analytics. At the heart of GA4, Google says, is your customer—and more specifically how they interact with your business. This marks a move away from the old platform-centric measurement to instead track via User ID. The change should give a better picture of what actions customers took after discovering your business and track the whole lifecycle from first impression to final sale more effectively. Potential GA4 user concerns While there’s a lot to be excited about with GA4, the change from UA brings a few uncertainties for longtime users. Early versions of GA4, while positively received, did contain their share of bugs. As the platform won’t be rolling out at 100% perfection, we’ll help answer a handful of the most frequently asked questions we’ve seen around GA4. Will I be able to import historical data from UA to GA4? Most likely, the answer here is no. While you can run UA and GA4 in parallel as you make the switch, Google is launching GA4 as a new platform completely separate from UA. How difficult will it be to use the new interface? There’s no doubt users will experience a learning curve when migrating to GA4’s new UI. In essence, it will come down to thinking differently about what data you’re looking for and then creating reports around that. While this was a common concern in the early beta launch of GA4, Google has already added a number of template reports on funnels, user paths, and cohort exploration. We’re excited to see what’s next! To help our customers with the transition, we’ve already begun building our own Monetization and Retention reports in GA4 that will take over from Enhanced Ecommerce reporting in UA. Google does provide help documents and introductory courses on using the new interface. However, an easier (and more time-efficient) solution may be to have an analytics expert help set up a GA4 integration directly to your Shopify or BigCommerce store. Is GA4 going to be a privacy law compliant, long-term solution for my business? This is one big area where GA4 is not just a solution right now, but in the future as well. Many of the changes made—from the new event-based UI to the learning machine-powered core—are built to adapt and grow alongside the global expansion in privacy laws. In other words, as you venture into the world of first-party data, GA4 will be your loyal guide along the way. What you should do now Our Shopify and Big Commerce stores and agency partners know that when it comes to Google Analytics, you can always count on Littledata as a single source of truth for truly accurate ecommerce data. This will remain true with GA4, and we’re excited about the flexible reporting capabilities in the newest version of Google Analytics. Our recommendation is to add a GA4 property now, but not to rely on it entirely. Instead, Littledata recommends continuing to use UA and GA4 in parallel until at least early 2023. This means that you will be able to explore GA4 while still having accurate, actionable data in Universal Analytics, including Enhanced Ecommerce reports, lifetime value reporting, and subscription analytics. All Shopify and Shopify Plus stores will soon be able to activate both UA and GA4 connections directly from their Littledata dashboards. Note: Littledata’s GA4 connection for Shopify is currently in private beta. Subscribe to our newsletter and watch this blog for updates about the public beta release.

by Greg
2022-03-25

We Make Websites features Littledata in ideal headless tech stack

We Make Websites is one of our trusted agency partners at Littledata. The geniuses behind beautiful ecommerce experiences for Lauren Conrad Beauty, PANGAIA, and countless other Shopify Plus sites, We Make Websites are experts in headless builds. We were honored to be included in their new outline of a "perfect" headless tech stack for ecommerce merchants! Littledata's ecommerce data platform now supports any headless Shopify build, and we work together with top Shopify Plus agencies like WMW to help brands get accurate data to fuel their growth. The "perfect" headless tech stack Headless ecommerce isn't new, but the technology has improved across the board in recent years. With the rise of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and increasing popularity of React frameworks, it seems like headless platforms are everywhere you turn these days. Many brands are turning to sites that act like apps, and headless is a great way to do that. Even Shopify seems ready to go all-in with the launch of Hydrogen, which is focused on integrating React server components. As the WMW team explains, headless isn't for everyone. To really do it right (and keep maintenance costs down), you'll need a developer or agency with experience in Node.js and React/Vue as well as the Shopify ecosystem. When done right, headless sites like Recess and ILIA Beauty are lightning fast and provide personalized experiences for shoppers. In "Creating the Perfect Tech Stack for Your Headless Build", the We Make Websites team highlights top apps that work well in a headless environment, work well together, and "harmonize" with the wider tech stack. Here's their recommended stack. ShopifyLoyaltyLionKlevuYotpoNacelleNostoShogunRechargeLittledata Littledata is featured alongside some of our longtime integration partners Recharge (for selling by subscription) and Nacelle (for fast, flexible headless builds), as well as our friends at LoyaltyLion. So, this is an ideal stack for a customer-driven brand that is selling by subscription (at least in part) and is serious about data-driven growth. Note: Littledata also integrates with landing page builders like Shogun, Zipify Pages and Gem Pages Our headless tracking ensures that sessions are stitched together and linked to ecommerce events. We have also added default integrations with every major landing page builder, whether those pages act as your front-end or you're running hundreds of top-of-funnel landing pages. Should you go headless? As the WMW team puts it, one of the biggest reasons for going headless in the first place is the ability to pick and choose from modern commerce tools, including data platforms and CDP integrations: A headless architecture [lets you] employ a “best of breed” technology strategy. By harnessing the power and agility of APIs, headless websites allow you to create a tech stack that’s unique to, and perfect for, your business. We have certainly found that to be true in practice, especially with our merchants using Nacelle and Netlify. For the most part they have managed to keep their Shopify Plus tech stacks while improving speed and engagement . As Devin Saxon, senior sales engineer at Nacelle put it in our interview last year: Every headless build is unique. Not because of catalogue size, but due to what the merchant’s goals and needs are for their front end and overall architecture.The process itself is not dramatically different. We align with the customer on the build scoping process, including their goals, integration, and workflow needs, which can be the biggest determinant of the timeline. It’s best to work this out far before they start building, though, to mitigate any issues from coming up during the build. In our view, chief among those goals and workflows should be your data vision: what do you want to track, how do you want to track it, and who will be using the data? Check out our headless tracking demo to get sense for what's possible. If you're ready to start planning a headless build — or you've already launched are are ready to take data more seriously — let's chat.

by Ari
2022-03-17

Connect Smartrr subscriptions with Google Analytics

If you want to do more with your subscriptions data, you're in luck. Littledata now integrates fully with Smartrr to capture marketing data, shopping behavior, subscriptions and LTV. You can send the data to Segment, Google Analytics, or any connected marketing destination or reporting tool. Yep, it's that easy. Or should we say...smartrr! What is Smartrr? Smartrr is a popular new subscription engine for Shopify stores. Their no-code solution allows merchants to offer curated subscriptions and memberships. Personally, I love their membership portal which encourages both retention and upsells. There are easy options for gifting, add-ons, and subscription changes, and subscribers can manage all of this from email or SMS (so much easier!), not just the web app. Our shared customers have all noted the membership portal as well, so it's safe to say it's a pretty popular feature. If you want to see Smartrr in action, brands already using both Littledata and Smartrr include Aura Bora and Som Sleep. What does the integration do? Smartrr's own analytics dashboard already has useful information about sales, conversions, and AOV (average order value). So why do you need an ecommerce data platform like Littledata? Littledata connects Smartrr data with Shopify data, marketing data, and behavior data so you have one source of truth. This helps with everything from meaningful analysis, to impactful action. It can be hard enough to make Shopify match Google Analytics, and once you add subscriptions to the mix things become even more complicated. In fact, before they started using Littledata, over 80% of the subscription ecommerce stores we audited this year couldn't differentiate between one-off purchases and recurring billing in Google Analytics! We built Littledata from the ground up with server-side tracking to enable accurate data at every customer touch point, including repeat purchases and refunds. Say goodbye to siloed data and hello to a unified, accurate data stream. Subscription tracking Littledata's Smartrr integration captures one-off purchases, first-time subscriptions, and recurring orders — and links those back with marketing channels and browsing behavior. It's a plug-and-play solution: Make Shopify revenue and Smartrr revenue match what you see in Google AnalyticsSay goodbye to "Direct" traffic in GA, and know where visitors are coming fromSee accurate conversion rates for first-time subscriptions vs. other kinds of ordersSend Smartrr subscriptions datato Facebook Ads via the Facebook Conversions API (beta) Learn more about how the connection works to see the full scope of its benefits. We support headless setups, multi-currency sales, and anything else you might be doing! Tip: Not sure where to start? Book a demo and we'll audit your analytics setup and answer all your data questions Customer lifetime value (LTV) Smartrr helps you delight your subscribers and turn them into loyal brand advocates. Littledata is here to help you make data-driven decisions to keep those subscribers delighted over the years — and to find more high-value customers where they already like to spend time. Littledata sends complete LTV data as a custom dimension in Google Analytics or a property in Segment. We capture both purchase count and total customer lifetime value so you can analyze any way you see fit. There are many uses for this data, depending on your business model and growth plans: Understanding your average customer lifetime valueImproving return on ad spend (ROAS) by analyzing LTV by marketing channelAnalyzing LTV by subscription product or product groupBuilding LTV cohorts for advertising and remarketing (email, social, PPC) Our research has found that the most important subscription ecommerce metrics are AOV, LTV, and churn. But what good are those metrics if you can't connect them with the original marketing channel or customer touch point? Learn more in our ultimate guide to subscription analytics.

by Ari
2021-12-02

Is your data haunted? [Guide]

For ecommerce stores, nothing is scarier than wasting money and effort following decisions made using bad data. But, integrating Google Analytics with Shopify or BigCommerce doesn't have to be a horror story. Our Halloween-themed Google Analytics guide will help you banish the phantoms in your data and get 100% accurate analytics for your store. Don't let your data keep you up at night The best way to combat inaccurate and rotten data is to arm yourself with the right knowledge and tools.  In this Google Analytics guide, we share: How to fix your ecommerce trackingThe top tools to help you do itThe most common issues we see in analytics setupsHow to start making data-driven decisions for your store That includes our Google Analytics 101 guide which covers everything from why Shopify Analytics doesn't match Google Analytics to how to calculate customer LTV and track subscriptions in the Shopify checkout. See the full guide>>> Get the checklist to banish demons from your data While ecommerce analytics can seem a scary challenge at first, remember that many Shopify stores have been in your shoes before. The checklist in our guide will show you what ghouls stores most often find lurking in their data so you can rid them from your tracking and trust that you're using truly accurate analytics. Ready to claw the inaccuracies from your data? Get the full guide.

by Greg
2021-10-29

Shopify Analytics: Everything You Need to Know

Every good business runs on good data. It doesn’t matter if you’re choosing a store design, analyzing your marketing, or setting revenue targets, it all comes back to what the data tells you. On the flip side, running on bad data can lead to your store whiffing on those big decisions. That’s where, if you’re a Shopify store, Shopify Analytics (and other analytics options) come into play. In this post, we’re going to: Break down what Shopify Analytics doesDiscuss Shopify Analytics’ limitationsShare tools that can give you deep, accurate data and drive revenueShow you how to add powerful data tools to your ecommerce store What does Shopify Analytics do? Built within its platform, Shopify has an analytics tracker that allows you to generate data based on your store’s performance. This data includes high-level metrics like your total store sessions, number of sales, returning customers, and the average value of orders placed. Shopify Analytics' overview dashboard gives you a snapshot of your store's high-level metrics. Metrics like these help you get a snapshot of how visitors are interacting with your store. That way, you can pinpoint elements of your website to tweak or update based on what the data is telling you and continue to improve your metrics overall. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more popular metrics that Shopify Analytics displays within its overview dashboard: Total Sales: This metric displays the total revenue your store has generated over a specific date range minus costs like shipping and taxes.Online Store Sessions: The online store sessions metric counts the total number of customers who visited your site in a given date range, including repeat visitors.Returning Customer Rate: Returning customer rate shows the percentage of customers who have purchased from your store more than once. These customers are valuable due to their loyalty and subsequent higher lifetime value.Online Store Conversion Rate: Conversion rate tracks the number of visits that led to a purchase.Average Order Value (AOV): Average order value is calculated by taking your total order revenue and dividing it by the number of orders. The first step to using these metrics to improve your store is knowing where to find them. How to use Shopify Analytics Shopify displays data and reports about your store’s performance within its “Overview Dashboard.” The Overview Dashboard also allows you to carry out a range of basic data analyses. This includes: Comparing the value of your current sales to a previous date rangeTracking how many sales you receive from a variety of marketing channelsGenerating your AOVTracking your site trends over time To access this Overview Dashboard, start from your Shopify admin page and go to Analytics > Dashboards. The dashboard will display data generated from today and compare it to the day before. You can change this date range by selecting the date menu. You can also change the comparison period for this data by clicking compare to previous dates, then Apply and your data will be generated. You can then select “View report,” which gives you a more detailed analysis of your chosen metric. Be aware, however, that not all metrics will generate in your report. The metrics you can see will depend on the Shopify plan you are currently on. What analytics are in Shopify If your store uses Shopify Lite, your analytics report will show you a basic range of metrics, including the overview dashboard, finance reports, and analytics about your products. To access detailed reports like visitor behavior analysis or marketing and sales reports, you will need to upgrade to the Basic Shopify plan or higher. Shopify Analytics can generate a few other metrics beyond the most high-level ones mentioned above. Incorporating these into your data strategy is also important to maximize marketing attribution and revenue. Sales Metrics Some of the most valuable sales metrics generated through Shopify Analytics include: Total sales - the amount of revenue that was generated through your online store or your Point Of Sale if you have a physical storefront.Sales Source - this lists the sources from which your sales generated (i.e. social media channels, ads, or direct traffic.)Total orders - this metric displays the total number of orders generated through both your ecommerce store and your physical store. Customer Metrics Top products by units sold - This metric shows the items in your store which sold the most by volume, helping you identify your most popular offerings.Top site landing pages - This indentifies the most frequent landing pages on your site where visitors started a session.Returning customer rate - This gives the percentage of customers who have bought from you repeatedly in a selected time period. Shopify Behavior Reports Shopify also provides behavior reports which record customer actions on your site and allow you to: Track how your online store conversions have changed over time.Determine the top online searches for your product.Track how your product recommendations change over a given period. Shopify Analytics' behavior reports help you drill down into how key metrics have changed over time. All these metrics can play a key part in your overall marketing strategy and help you improve marketing attribution. But to make the best decisions for your business, you need truly accurate data — something Shopify Analytics has a spotty record with. Is Shopify Analytics good? Shopify Analytics is a good tool overall for what it is: an out-of-the-box solution for basic analytics tracking on your ecommerce store. Shopify Analytics provides the top-level metrics to give you a broad snapshot of your store’s health and customer behavior. But it lacks the detailed reports of a more robust analytics service like Google Analytics. What is Shopify analytics lacking? Unfortunately, Shopify Analytics also has a poor history when it comes to accuracy. Shopify Analytics’ tracking has shown to be both unreliable and incomplete. In fact, an analysis conducted of Shopify Analytics found that for every 100 orders tracked in Shopify Analytics, 12 go missing. There are a handful of other shortcomings those who rely on Shopify Analytics as their main data source face, as well. These include: Cross-domain tracking being setup incorrectlyServer-side tracking is missingSales data doesn't segment between first-time purchases and recurring transactions (subscriptions)Refunds not included in Google Analytics Many of Shopify Analytics’ shortcomings obscure traffic sources and disrupt attribution tracking. As an example, when customers check out on your Shopify store they’re redirected to a Shopify domain, causing the visitor’s session to end suddenly — even if they are in the process of buying an item. This affects what Shopify Analytics shows as their last click and takes away from the power of the data you’re collecting. So, is there a better way to track referrals sources, collect customer behavior metrics, and ensure accurate analytics? Yes: using a more powerful analytics tool like Google Analytics. Shopify Analytics vs. Google Analytics Google Analytics (GA) is a household name for analytics reporting across nearly every industry. In fact, it’s the world’s most popular marketing analytics platform, used by 98% of online stores. While both Shopify Analytics and GA offer unique benefits, store owners who opt for GA get more data for their dollar. We can see this first hand on a metric like sales by traffic source. Tip: Read our full ebook on why Shopify Analytics and Google Analytics don't match, plus how to fix it for your store. Littledata looked at 180,000 orders from 10 Shopify stores, and the marketing channels in Shopify Analytics were as follows: Direct 83.5%Social 9%Search 4.5%Unknown (other websites, not social or search) 3%Email ~0.1% The Direct channel sticks out like a sore thumb, mainly because it dwarfs every other source of traffic. Compare this with the last-click attribution of sales from GA, and the difference in accuracy becomes clear: To put it simply, Shopify Analytics lacks both the accuracy and specificity of data that a tool like GA provides. How to add Google Analytics to Shopify While GA doesn’t work automatically with Shopify, it’s not difficult to set up for your store. There are multiple ways you can add Google Analytics to Shopify, and the method you choose will depend both on your technical skill and the time you have to dedicate to set up. Once you’ve created a Google Analytics property for Shopify, you can follow your preferred method to add GA to your store and start getting full, accurate data. Read on to discover which method will work best for adding GA to your store. For Universal Analytics Before 2020, Universal Analytics was the Google Analytics default. To find out if your store has Universal Analytics, check your web property ID. A universal analytics web property ID will start with ‘UA’. If you’re using Universal Analytics, the two options we’d recommend to connect GA to your Shopify store are: Using Shopify’s built-in tracking, found in-store preferencesUsing Littledata’s advanced Shopify to Google Analytics app For Google Analytics 4 Since late 2020, GA4 has operated as the default Google Analytics property. There are a handful of benefits to using GA4, not least of which being that it provides more thorough reports delivered within a faster timeline. Shopify does not yet support Google Analytics 4, so the built-in tracking feature is not an option here. However, you can try using GA4 and Shopify Analytics in parallel to test the performance of both and see the differences yourself. The “least hassle” option If you want to add GA to your store and you’re looking to save time and get things done correctly, implementing Littledata is likely your best bet. Littledata provides a Getting Started guide to help you add Google Analytics to your Shopify store. Once connected, the Littledata app gives you a thorough data overview and sends weekly updates as Google and Shopify add new features. Tip: Try Littledata's Google Analytics connection free for 30 days to see how it can fix your tracking while integrating with your other Shopify apps. Using Google Analytics with Shopify Analytics GA and Shopify Analytics can be used in conjunction with one another, as each have their uses. As an example, you could use Shopify Analytics as a quick overview dashboard for store performance while relying on GA for a complete analysis of sales and marketing efforts. In depth data decisionmaking will still most likely be coming from what you see in GA, but you can still rely on Shopify Analytics to capture big picture metrics. Connecting dashboards and reporting tools The most successful modern DTC stores operate not with GA alone, but with a full data stack that helps them cover each step of the customer journey. They increase the scope of their data coverage by connecting other data dashboards and tools. ReCharge A great tool to connect to your store, especially if you offer subscriptions, is the ReCharge Connection. This connection is an advanced GA integration that helps you to track subscription ecommerce behavior. Connecting Shopify and ReCharge with Google Analytics allows you to obtain accurate sales data, including first-time orders, recurring payments, and subscription lifecycle events. It also allows you to obtain accurate marketing attribution for first-time orders, recurring payments, and subscription lifecycle events. Segment A further tool you could use to track your Shopify data is the Segment app connection, which allows you to track each customer touchpoint within your website, including the checkout steps taken by customers, sales information, and the lifetime value of a specific customer. Segment is a Customer Data Platform (CDP) that makes it easy to combine customer data with marketing data, then send that data to other platforms you use, whether that’s a data warehouse or an email marketing tool. As such, Segment isn’t just for analysis. It’s also a popular way to build new marketing audiences, such as building lookalike audiences in Facebook from your highest-spending Shopify customers. Google Ads and Facebook Ads Online advertising is a major source of traffic for modern DTC brands. To ensure your making the best decisions in your advertising strategy, you need accurate data. That’s where the Facebook Ads and Google Ads connections can play a key part in your overall analytics stack. The Facebook Ads connection fixes campaign tagging and allows for importing ad costs so you can drill down marketing attribution costs. The Google Ads connection is ideal for tracking sales expenses in reports and connecting marketing data with ecommerce performance. Wrapping it all up Now that you know exactly what Shopify Analytics can provide for you, what analytics strategy will you implement to ensure you’re making smart business decisions for your store? Using Google Analytics with your Shopify store gives you: a thorough view of the dataa complete snapshot of the entire customer journeyadvanced metrics you need to improve attribution and boost revenue Using these, you can plan changes to your store and product offerings based on accurate data while improving your visibility by taking control of your analytics tracking. And once you’ve connected other powerful reporting tools and dashboards like Littledata’s ReCharge and Segment apps, you’ll have all the information you need to dial up your store’s growth. Take the first step by getting a free data audit when you start your 30-day free trial with Littledata.

by Greg
2021-09-14

Is it possible to track headless Shopify setups?

Headless commerce is not a new concept, but it's an increasingly popular solution. As larger brands continue to move to streamlined ecommerce checkouts such as Shopify and BigCommerce, they look to headless setups as a way to maintain speed or flexibility. An increasing number of those bigger DTC brands are going headless, whether that means a collection of landing pages leading directly to a Shopify checkout, or a full-on headless architecture implementation with a dynamic CMS. The question today is less whether you should consider headless in the first place (everyone is at least considering it), but more about your overall tech stack. When looking at the details of your stack (cost, functionality, maintenance, etc), it's important to consider headless pros and cons in general. But it's often even more useful to highlight specific use cases. We've previously written about how it's now possible to maintain your favorite Shopify Plus tech stack with a headless Shopify architecture. But what about your data stack? Does headless mean that your analysts will be dealing with a snow storm of anonymous IDs? Are there sacrifices to data accuracy, such as marketing attribution for recurring orders? With the right tools and plug-ins, you can still capture the complete headless journey on your headless site. In this post we look at headless Shopify tracking from several different angles and share resources for further reading. Why headless? DTC brands with a headless Shopify Plus setup now include Inkbox, Rothy's, Verishop, Allbirds, Recess, and many more. So why do merchants go headless? Headless commerce overview from Shopify Plus The main reason is speed, or site speed to be precise. When built the right way, modern headless sites are insanely fast. Ballsy increased conversion rates by 28% after going headless, thanks to dramatically faster page load times. (The average Shopify site sees around 4 seconds to full page load). At the same time, as our agency partner We Make Websites has noted, "extreme performance" isn't for everybody. Sometimes it can be like "the difference between buying a BMW or Audi, versus buying a Ferrari". Additional reasons for going headless include flexibility of controlling and customizing the complete frontend (with a CMS or other content framework). Of course, there are also limitations. When it comes to headless Shopify sites specifically, some trade-offs are the need to maintain multiple technologies or platforms, and the fact that Shopify's Storefront API uses GraphQL (there's currently no REST API for Storefront). Without the right tools, the other limitation is data accuracy and completeness. That can include: Marketing channels (paid channels, organic social communities, SEO)Browsing behavior (landing pages, product lists, website, mobile apps)Sales data (checkout behavior; one-off, first-time and repeat purchases)Ecommerce data from additional checkout apps (subscriptions and upsell flows) Headless tracking in Google Analytics / GTM It's no secret that Shopify and GA need some help to play well together. For every 10,000 orders processed on Shopify, 1,200 go missing in Google Analytics. For your average headless site, the stats are even worse. By default, different customer interactions with your brand — ppc campaigns, product lists, adds-to-cart, checkouts, refunds, recurring orders and subscriptions, email campaigns — are often either not tracked at all or not linked to the original user or session. In that way, you can end up with siloed data in different apps and platforms. Or even worse, everything could show up as anonymous activity or "Direct" traffic, even for repeat purchases. This isn't Las Vegas; what happens in the checkout should definitely not stay in the checkout! We have solved this problem by extending Littledata's server-side tracking to stitch sessions together from the client-side events captured on headless frontends . . . which is a rather technical way of saying that our Google Analytics app for Shopify now tracks headless sites automatically, from browsing behavior through the checkout funnel and beyond (we even capture subscriptions such as ReCharge payments!) This guarantees accurate sales and marketing data for any headless Shopify site. Check out Littledata's headless demo to see how our headless Shopify tracking works for Google Analytics. Tip: Using Google Tag Manager? Read more about our GTM / Data Layer spec. Headless tracking in Segment As mentioned, we have offered server-side tracking for Shopify since the beginning, and automatically linked this with client-side events. Now this is available for any headless setup as well. In theory, it should be easy to send data from additional cloud sources to Segment. Each part of your headless frontend stack can just plug right in. But in practice this means manually adding a hodgepodge of client-side and server-side event tracking, and maintaining this as you scale. If you're using Segment as your CDP — or considering using Segment — rest assured that Littledata's headless tracking now fully supports Segment as a data destination. You can try to set this up yourself, but it's much easier (not to mention cheaper and more reliable) to just use our Shopify source for Segment to track your checkout. With Littledata, you can automatically send sales and marketing data from a headless Shopify site to your Segment workspace. We also recently added more flexibility around which fields to send as the userId for known customers. Check out our headless tracking demo to see how our headless Shopify tracking works for Segment. Tracking landing page builders Not every headless site is using a Content Management System (CMS). For those who do, Contentful is the most popular with straightforward headless Shopify builds. There are also "soft headless" sites that rely on a series of landing pages or similar flows, which then lead to the main Shopify site or even directly to the checkout. In the first case, where the landing pages are truly landing pages and lead to your main site, you can use the default settings in Littledata's Shopify app and generally do not need to take the headless install route. For cases where landing pages go directly to the checkout, see the headless tracking demo linked above. We also need to take landing pages seriously. It can actually be just as difficult to get complete marketing attribution or even to link sessions together and track the purchases customers make after landing on one of these pages. To solve this problem, Littledata's automated tracking now tracks landing pages as "additional apps" on top of our main Shopify connections for Segment and Google Analytics. As long as the Littledata script is loading on those landing pages, everything will link together automatically. We have tested this functionality with three of the most popular landing page builders for Shopify stores: Shogun PagesZipify Pages Gem Pages  Drop us a line if you have any questions about additional apps or special requests for landing page tracking. Preferred headless tech partner: Nacelle Our merchants looking for a complete headless Shopify solution often choose our tech partner Nacelle. Nacelle powers storefronts that stand out from the competition, offering headless website builds backed by a robust data stack. Focused on Progressive Web App (PWA) technology, they build lightning-fast, responsive sites for modern DTC brands. We've been working closely with Nacelle on tracking setup for some initial merchants (many brands you would recognize...) and are excited to now be able to offer headless tracking for any Nacelle customer. Read our shared ebook on going headlessExplore our headless tracking demoCheck out our NPM package for grabbing client IDs [or forward this to your developer!] Littledata's Nacelle tracking works automatically once you follow a few simple setup steps. Plus, the data can be sent to Segment, Google Analytics, or any connected data warehouse or reporting tool.

by Ari
2021-09-10

Shopify Analytics vs. Google Analytics: Why don't they match?

If you're a Shopify store owner using both Shopify analytics and Google Analytics, you're probably familiar with the often large discrepancies between the two tracking systems. What you might not know is that this happens in part because Shopify's default analytics misses tracking on 12 out of every 100 orders. That leaves you unaware of your true sales performance and marketing attribution, and what actions your customers are taking at key touchpoints along their buying journey. Layering expensive data dashboards and connectors on top of this, as many stores often do, just compounds the problem and leads to more wasted marketing spend. It's never a good idea to make decisions based on bad data. An insider's guide to fixing your Shopify store analytics The first step to fixing your Shopify tracking is understanding where it fails. You know the data is missing, but what's going on behind the scenes to cause it? And is there a better way? Fortunately, there is. Our free guide on why Google Analytics doesn't match Shopify analytics dives into: The main reasons why transactions go missing in GAHow a data mismatch affects your bottom lineA comparison of different tracking methodsWhat you can do to fix Shopify analytics Read the ebook >>> Adding Google Analytics to Shopify If you're not already using Google Analytics with your Shopify store, getting it set up should be your first step toward improved data accuracy. Though Shopify does have a default GA integration, it misses tracking many key metrics.  We have a full walkthrough on setting up Google Analytics on your Shopify store, which covers what to look out for after you've set up GA as well. Using the methods in our guide will help you ensure you get a full and accurate picture of your data in GA. For a fast way to connect them automatically, try out Littledata's GA to Shopify connection for free. The trial allows you to get an accurate snapshot of your key metrics, and you'll still own that data in GA whether you continue using our advanced data connections or not.

by Greg
2021-07-30

Try the top-rated Google Analytics app for Shopify stores

Get a 30-day free trial of Littledata for Google Analytics or Segment