6 FAQs you may have asked during a Littledata demo

Like many SaaS companies (and Shopify app developers), we get a LOT of merchants writing in with questions. Big, small, new, old, Shopify Plus, Shopify basic, headless Shopify, platform migrations from Magento...you name it. But some questions stand out for every Shopify store. For those of you who've gone through a demo with our support or sales team, it is highly likely that you asked one of the following questions about Littledata, Shopify and Google Analytics (GA): When's the right time to install Littledata? Do you fix marketing attribution? Should we use Segment? Why doesn't my Shopify data match what I see in GA? How do you capture complete revenue data? What's included in enterprise plans? And there's a reason why — these are the questions we get the most from merchants like you. In this post, we'll break down the answers as clearly and directly as possible. Plus, we'll give you the resources you need for more detailed answers. (Rather talk directly to a human? Book a demo). [subscribe] 1) When's the right time to install Littledata? In short, it really depends on your internal process. What do we mean by process? Let's put like this: why do you need accurate data? What will you do with it? If you're still working on your checkout architecture, it's probably not the right time. If you generally don't trust data to help make decisions about CRO, marketing plans, online product merchandising, retargeting, etc., then it's definitely not the right time (nor a good fit in general). But if you just don't trust your Shopify data in Google Analytics and want to trust it, then it definitely IS time. And if you're still shopping around for Shopify Plus development agencies, it's probably not the right time (though we can help recommend one). But in most cases, the time is NOW! Every ecommerce site and DTC brand has their own internal process for moving toward data-driven decision making, and whether you're ju or already en route to scale insanely fast, we're here to help. But don't take it from us. Here are some of the cases where clients have said they were really glad they started a free trial of Littledata then and didn't wait to fix their tracking: Migrating from another ecommerce platform (most often Magento) to Shopify Ramping up paid spend and want to make sure the data is accurate (most often Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads) Recently redesigned the site or checkout -- or added products by subscription -- and want to ensure complete sales data and better segmentation in Google Analytics Recently launched multi-currency (multiple "stores" in Shopify-speak) and looking for a way to segment marketing campaigns and track sales in Google Analytics And one of my favorites: "We were actually already loving Littledata but upgraded for analytics training and extra support!" [tip]Testing your new setup in a dev store or production site before moving to a live site? Let us know and we'll set up a free test account[/tip] 2) Do you fix marketing attribution? Yes. Littledata is uniquely suited to stores that really care about getting their data right, and that's especially true if you want accurate marketing attribution. Our app fixes attribution for Shopify stores automatically with a combination of server-side and client-side tracking. We stitch sessions together to make sure nothing's lost, so you can rely on Google Analytics or Segment (our current data destinations) as the single source of truth for both pre-click and post-click data, as well as more complex stuff like segmented remarketing, comparative attribution models and LTV calculations for subscription ecommerce. Our script uses gtag and GTM data layer, and can easily supplement and improve your GTM setup (though many clients find that they no longer need GTM). So if you're asking questions like "Why is an absurd amount of my traffic showing as Direct?" or "Is it possible to see the LTV by channel for our Shopify store?", we've got you covered. As our CEO puts it, "What's the real ROI on your Facebook Ads?" [tip]Get accurate campaign tracking and know your true ROAS with our connections for Facebook Ads and Google Ads[/tip] As an added bonus, we have ecommerce benchmarks in the app. So once you have accurate data, you can see if your Facebook referrals are higher or lower than average, as well as if there are technical factors such as page load speed affecting conversions. 3) Should we use Segment? If you're considering different data pipeline and customer data solution, we highly recommend Segment. It's a powerful, clean way to track customer data alongside anonymous browsing behavior, ad performance and more. In fact, we love Segment so much that we built the only recommended Segment connection for Shopify stores. Here's what one customer has to say about it: "This app seamlessly integrated Shopify with Segment. All of our data is flowing seamlessly from Shopify into all of our destinations via Segment." If you're comparing Segment against other CDPs like mParticle and Stitch, we're happy to chat about the pros and cons and give you an honest opinion about what's best for your ecommerce business. One thing our larger Segment users find particularly useful about Segment is that once a source is set up, it tends to run really smoothly. So Segment becomes a single source of truth in a way that few other data platforms can offer, with literally hundreds of destinations for using, acting on and modeling that data. 4) Why doesn't my Shopify data match what I see in Google Analytics? [tip]There's a free resource for that! Learn how to fix Shopify <> GA data differences in our free ebook[/tip] The truth is that Google Analytics (GA) and Shopify need a little help to play nice. Most marketers use GA to track performance, but having a good data setup — even for bare essentials like transactions and revenue — is harder than it looks. In some cases, you may need the help of a Google Analytics consultant or GA expert. For other stores (especially teams well-versed in GA tracking) don't need the help of an expert. There are many reasons for differences in tracking results, but let’s take a look at the top 6 reasons. a) Orders are never recorded in Google Analytics Usually, this happens because your customer never sees the order confirmation page. More commonly, this is caused by payment gateways not sending users back to the order "thank you" page. b) The Analytics / Google Tag Manager integration contains errors Shopify's integration with Google Analytics is a pretty basic one, tracking just a few of all the possible ecommerce events and micro-moments required for a complete picture. Although Shopify’s integration is designed to work for most standard stores, there are those who build a more personalised theme. In this case, they would require a custom integration with Google Analytics. But with Littledata's Shopify app, here's what you can track. c) A script in the page prevents tracking to work on your order thank you page Many websites have various dynamics on the thank you page in order to improve user experience and increase retention. But these scripts can sometimes fail and create a domino effect, preventing other modules from executing. d) Too many products included in one transaction Every time a page on your website loads, Google Analytics sends a hit-payload to its servers which contains by default a lot of user data starting from source, path, keywords etc. combined with the data for viewed or purchased products (name, brand, category, etc). This data query can grow quite long if the user adds products with long names and descriptions. But there is a size limit for each hit-payload of 8kb, which can include information for about 20 products. When this limit is reached, GA will not send the payload to its servers, resulting in lost purchase data. e) Too many interactions have been tracked in one session This inconsistency is not encountered as often, but it needs to be taken into account when setting up Google Analytics tracking. One of GA's limitations for standard tracking is that a session can contain only 500 hits. This means that interactions taking place after the hit limit is reached will be missed by Google Analytics. 5) How do you capture complete revenue data? It's magic. Or at least it might feel that way. Once you put our tracking script in your theme and install the relevant connections, Littledata uses a savvy combination of client-side and server-side tracking to capture every shopper interaction with your online store. Because our server-side tracking sends revenue data with purchase and refund events directly to your chosen data destination (Google Analytics or Segment), it's much more reliable than waiting for an event to fire when a confirmation page loads completely, or trying to hack together a way to capture revenue data with GTM from third-party checkouts. Our app often fixes revenue variance of 20-30%, even for large retailers! Behind the scenes the setup looks something like this: Not only does Littledata capture complete sales data, including refunds, but our Shopify integration also sets up custom dimensions in your Google Analytics account for smarter segmentation and long-term tracking. After all, smart ecommerce businesses know that revenue isn't just about the first purchase numbers -- you need to track what types of customers purchase more over time. For example, do customers who come from a particular marketing channel tend to make a number of smaller purchases that actually add up to higher lifetime revenue than those one-off big spenders? So we add custom dimensions including: Lifetime value (LTV) Last order date Shopify customer ID If you're using ReCharge for subscriptions, note that we also track subscription lifecycle events such as payment method updates and subscription updates, so you can do deep dives into not just revenue changes but the reasons for those changes. [tip]Do you really know which marketing channels bring you profitable customers? Learn from our CEO how to accurately calculate lifetime value[/tip] 6) What's included in Enterprise plans? At Littledata, we've been lucky to have a chance to scale along with Shopify. Larger brands have been increasingly drawn to the platform's ease of use, and Shopify Plus merchants now include Leesa, Bulletproof Coffee, LeSportsac and Gymshark. But even with Shopify's growth, there's a consistent problem: questionable analytics. One thing I really love about working at Littledata is that we’ve managed to keep the core tracking tools extremely affordable, while also offering a wider range of enterprise plans at approximately 1/10 the cost of hiring outside consultants or someone in-house. We have a range of options for enterprise plans to fit your needs and budget, grouped around two enterprise "tiers": enterprise basic and enterprise plus. Basic enterprise Basic enterprise plans can be paid monthly or annually. They include: Dedicated account manager Shopify Plus support Unlimited connections Unlimited country stores Every account manager at Littledata is an analytics expert. They can help to ensure accurate setup of your Segment or Google Analytics tracking, and recommend proven implementation and optimization strategies for Shopify Plus. After all, once you know that you can trust your data, focusing on the right metrics can make a world of difference. Enterprise Plus Enterprise Plus plans include everything in basic Enterprise plans, such as support from an analytics expert, plus custom setup and training to fit your needs. Options include: Custom setup Analytics training Manual data audits Segment support, including solutions engineering Google Tag Manager support Analytics 360 Suite support And a whole lot more. See what’s included in our enterprise analytics plans. In short, we’re here to make sure that you can trust your data — and use that data for actionable results. If you’d like to get started with the app, you can try it free for 30 days. We're also happy to walk you through the app — just book a demo with us online!

by Ari
2020-03-27

Do you need a Google Analytics expert to help with your Shopify data?

At Littledata, we believe Google Analytics (GA) is one of the best free tools out there. Google Analytics is a great platform to access detailed data about your Shopify store’s user behaviour and sales performance. Regardless of your industry, as long as your Shopify store is in business, you need a platform where you can monitor your marketing performance and identify ways to increase your conversions.   Google Analytics is the one of the most popular analytics platforms for a few reasons: It’s free. It can show nearly any metric you want to track, straight out of the box. But with a lot of data comes a lot of complexity. Even for experienced analysts, Google Analytics can be a hurdle at times. Your Shopify data needs constant monitoring since it's the single biggest factor in your marketing and sales decisions. And who better to do that than proven Google Analytics consultants! [subscribe] What to expect from a GA expert A Google Analytics expert will (or should) always know what to look for and where to find it, even before opening GA.  Why? Because they’ve learned through experience to take the time and think through the data insights merchants need most. [tip]Here's what you should expect from a Google Analytics expert[/tip] On the other hand, if you’re taking the self-learning path and tackling GA by yourself, you’re really trying to achieve two things at the same time: become a web analyst and learn the GA platform. But are either of those time-efficient tasks to help grow your store? Probably not. Here's another thing: while a Google Analytics expert will help you make sense of your Shopify data, it's the digital implementation specialist who ensures you have the right Enhanced Ecommerce Conversion (EEC) data in your GA dashboard in the first place.  Whether your EEC tracking will be implemented via GTM or other tools, the end game is the same: Get me the correct data in GA. And for this, Shopify and Shopify Plus stores are in luck — Littledata automates the EEC tracking so you don’t have to. Why get an expert? If Littledata automates tracking, why is it necessary to hire an expert? For things like Day to day checks on basic metrics like revenue and transactions Basic campaign monitoring for Facebook Ads, Google Ads, etc. For the most part, you can do these on your own. But a tool like Littledata provides the raw data in Google Analytics for much more granular insights, and that’s where a GA expert will come in handy. Here's an example: With every transaction, Littledata accurately sends to Google Analytics a set of raw properties (e.g. Shopify CustomerID, TransactionID and campaign parameters).  For this data, a Google Analytics expert will be able to link the source or campaign path with customerID’s and transactionID’s in a custom report. This custom report will show the true return on ad spend (ROAS) based on different attribution models. Determining which conversions are linked to a first interaction or an assisted interaction will help you measure and optimize your marketing campaigns with more accuracy. [tip]Find out the real ROAS of your Facebook Ads for your Shopify store[/tip] Metrics that matter One of the main metrics marketers want to know is Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) per channel. If you get that right, you’ll know exactly where to increase your marketing spend. And in doing so, you’ll probably acquire more customers for about the same fixed budget.  A GA expert will be able to gather your (true) marketing costs from all your marketing campaigns over a given time period, and calculate the amounts by channel. This sounds easy, but things can get a bit more complicated when you're trying to find the CAC based on each attribution model. By now you should know your ROAS and CAC, but what about customer lifetime value (LTV)? In other words, you should know how much $$$ your marketing leads are spending with you, what your acquisition cost is per customer, and where to find the highest converting leads. But do you know how much time they are spending with your brand? Which channels are bringing the stickiest clients? Which channels bring the most repeat purchases (or subscriptions)? LTV is one of the most coveted metrics for ecommerce managers. A GA expert will help you calculate LTV by summing up the gross profit from all historic transactions for each individual customer, then splitting those conversions by channel and calculating the median for each.  And if you want things laid out for you in plain english, at Littledata we provide the necessary custom dimensions you need to accurately calculate LTV.  So what's the verdict? For Shopify merchants, Littledata is one of the best solutions to ensure reliable data for accurate marketing attribution and buyer behaviour. And since your Shopify store already needs fixing when it comes to data collection, an enterprise plan (with full support and a dedicated team of Google Analytics consultants) just may be an answer to your prayers.  With Littledata enterprise, get all the analytics support you’ll ever need, for a fraction of the cost to hire an experienced Google Analytics consultant. Get in touch with our team today to see how an enterprise plan can accelerate your path to scale! 🚀

2020-02-25

How Google Analytics dropping Service Provider & Network Domain info affects your Shopify tracking

On February 4th, Google Analytics removed two standard dimensions from reporting – Service Provider and Network Domain – and replaced them with the dreaded (not set) label. Although there’s been cries of anguish from some analytics companies, my view is that Google has sound reasons to remove the dimensions – and there are ways around many of the limitations. Shortly after Google added the above alert to the hover tip within the Google Analytics interface, data in reports stopped reporting the information. Moving forward (and unless Google reverses course on this decision in the coming days), you’re going to start seeing (not set) under the Service Provider and Network Domain dimensions: What are Service Provider and Network Domain? Every time a visitor is tracked on your website, Google captures the IP address in order to geolocate the user (generating Country, State and City dimensions). It also does a reverse DNS lookup to see which networks this IP address is linked with. Service Provider is either the ISP (for a consumer) or the corporate network (for a business internet user). Network Domain is the main domain by which the traffic was routed (e.g. Verizon, Amazon AWS etc.) So why did Google drop them? There’s been no official announcement from Google, but it’s likely to be a combination of three factors. CCPA Storing of any California consumer’s network details is a violation of the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). This is much more specific than previous regulations, and as a California-headquarted company, Google wants to stay safely within the law. [tip]Here's everything Shopify merchants need to know about CCPA compliance[/tip] Fingerprinting Even if the Service Provider itself is not identifiable to any individual, it may well be used to generate a unique fingerprint for an individual user, in combination with other dimensions in Google Analytics (browser version, operating system, screen size, pages visited, etc.). Fingerprinting is user identification by covert means, and as such Google also wants to clamp down on in. Lack of usage In ten years of advising high-growth businesses on Google Analytics setup, I've never seen a good use for these reports. Google tracks what are the most common reports used, and apparently they were already flagged for deprecation based on lack of usage.  How the change affects your Shopify tracking Some analytics companies (and agencies) are worried about this change for a few reasons : Reason 1: Service Provider and Network Domain dimensions helped filter out spam and bot traffic, which meant less legwork for those doing the reporting. It was easier to sniff out bounce rates that looked too high (or low) to be "real". Take the screenshot below — which Service Provider do you think is probably legitimate and which one is probably a bot/spam? In short, most analytics companies would say before this change, it was easy to uncover bots/spam, and now it's not. Reason 2: Some larger stores used Server Provider and Network Domain dimensions as a quick & easy way to filter out internal traffic from monthly reports. And unfortunately, this change has killed these dimensions' ability to filter. Reason 3: Companies such as Leadfeeder and Leadberry used the Network Domain, plus a database of which companies and people used that domain, to offer a list of sales leads who visited your site. They can mostly work around the limitations by getting their clients to push another tracking script on the site, and looking up IP address themselves — which is OK, providing your website visitors are aware you are doing this in your terms and conditions. In other words, if you're filtering your GA views by network provider, it's possible you'll see internal traffic in your reporting this month. And it might not be obvious, since it's mixed in with all of your site traffic. That is, unless you look at the GA data with better tracking. How can you work around this? For those that really need the lost dimensions there are two solutions: Use Google Tag Manager and an IP lookup service to pass network onto Google Analytics as a custom dimension. Use the recently launched ipmeta.io service to do this.* What now? For some stores using Google Analytics, this sudden change will go unnoticed and won't really impact reporting. For stores that rely on these dimensions to filter out bots/spam and internal traffic for more accurate reporting, the loss of these dimensions will have somewhat of a negative impact. Of course, we'll continue to monitor these changes (and any other surprises that Google may have in store). Don't pay too much attention to the initial outcry — every change has a solution. Littledata users can rest easy — with our Google Analytics app for Shopify, your tracking won't be impacted by these dimensions. You'll continue to see accurate data for better reporting. 🚀   *The current version of ipmeta.io is free and will remain free. The premium version will add more custom dimensions with data on the company behind the visit (if its not an ISP or spider). For example, adding dimensions such as industry codes, company size, revenue, etc. In comparison to similar services, ipmeta.io will be much (about 10x) more affordable to cater to the SMB segment.

2020-02-24

What's new in our Shopify apps for Google Analytics and Segment

Littledata is always improving. Over the last 6 months, we’ve worked on numerous features to enhance the accuracy and availability of our ecommerce data analysis for Shopify merchants. Littledata's smart connections make it easy to get accurate data in Google Analytics or Segment. The changes below affect both of our Shopify apps (Segment and Google Analytics for Shopify), marking the biggest major update to our Shopify tracking script and server-side tracking since we released V8 last year. [tip]Check out our release notes for regular updates![/tip] Attribution for email marketing signups In order to provide enhanced email attribution, we've linked 'customer created' and 'customer updated' events back to the original source. Stores building a customer email list can now analyze where those email signups originally came from. By linking customer creation or update events on Shopify’s servers to the original campaign or referrer to the store, Littledata customers can now accurately track the source of email signups. Merchants can now also segment these signup events by whether or not the customer opted into marketing. Checkout steps Tracking checkout steps is essential for ecommerce analytics, but Shopify's native tracking is incomplete and inaccurate. Littledata's Shopify connections solve checkout tracking issues automatically. With recent updates, we’ve made the tracking of checkout steps even more reliable, coping with situations where a user is already logged in, or abandons the cart and then returns later. [note]Did you know by sending the data to Google Analytics, you can easily track your Shopify payments gateway during checkout?[/note] With the help of the full Enhanced Ecommerce specification, you can: track exactly which products follow in each step calculate the value of opportunities to improve each step [subscribe] ReCharge connection, recharged As subscription ecommerce sites continue to scale, they need even more detailed data about the user journey, especially lifecycle events. [tip]Do you trust your subscription tracking in Shopify? Learn how to get accurate tracking for repeat orders[/tip] With our new ReCharge v2 connection, subscription stores can now track the full subscription lifecycle including: subscription updates cancellations failed payments product edits customer profile / information edits [note]See the full slate of ecommerce events you can now track with ReCharge v2[/note] Geolocation of server-side events Stores need accurate information on the location of their customers to retarget campaigns around top-performing regions or cities. The extra events above, plus all the standard order data, are sent from our servers in Virginia, US. But, of course, in your analytics, you want to see them linked to the customers' real location. We now have a belt-and-braces solution for correctly geolocating customer events, passing on the browser's IP address where known, or else sending the shipping address (default customer address) to Google Analytics as a 'Geographical Criteria ID'. CartHook and Bold Cashier We've always supported other checkouts for Shopify, as we know some stores need flexibility with payment, upsell and recurring billing options. And for the most popular checkout solutions, we're always looking at ways to provide advanced tracking automatically. So in the past 6 months Littledata has launched more robust integrations with CartHook and Bold Cashier. New Google Optimize connection Google Optimize is a powerful A/B testing and personalization platform used within and beyond ecommerce. [note]Connect your Shopify store to Google Optimize to test your product pages, store content and messaging with 100% accuracy.[/note] Now, we have an out-of-the-box setup for Shopify, including an anti-flicker snippet. And coming soon... In Q1 2020, we're working on connections for Iterable's email marketing platform, plus a more consistent way of handling Segment's anonymous ID for stores which don't use Google Analytics. Is there something you're eager to see in Littledata? We're always happy to hear feature suggestions — get in touch with our team today!

2020-01-21

Do App + Web Google Analytics properties work with Shopify?

The short answer is no: until these new properties come out of Beta testing and support Enhanced Ecommerce reporting, we can’t recommend you use them with your Shopify store. This past July, Google brought out a public beta forcombining website and native mobile app tracking called ‘App + Web’ properties. These are technically a big step forward for Google Analytics (GA), combining some of the flexible, event-based tracking from Firebase Analytics for mobile with the deeper reporting and journey analysis tools in GA. However, we believe these are not yet suitable for use with ecommerce stores because they miss the Enhanced Ecommerce reporting that makes GA so powerful for Shopify analysis. Where’s this new reporting going? What Google appears to be doing is rebuilding Google Analytics from the ground up, so it’s fair to call it ‘GA v2’. Some of the long-term problems they are addressing include: Flexible ways of building funnels based on a series of events and page views (i.e. no more limitation on ONLY page views or event funnels) More powerful ways to build ‘audiences’ used in other Google tools (such as Google Ads), instead of the clunky and error-prone advanced segment builder True event-level views of the data with ‘stream view’ Enabling events to be sent with many properties, rather than just event ‘action’ and ‘label’ See Krista Seiden’s excellent post for more information on the features. What’s next with App + Web? We hope that (eventually) ecommerce events are added to that list, but it might be in a more flexible way to how GA v1 copes with events. We’ll keep watching the progress, as this ‘App + Web’ setup is going to be the future it seems.

2019-12-17

What you can track with Littledata's Google Analytics app for Shopify

Here at Littledata we believe that everyone should have access to professional-level analytics tools for tracking, reporting, and improving sales and engagement. That's why we built the ultimate Shopify app. Shopify is one of the best ecommerce platforms, but Shopify's native analytics are limited and the platform's standard integration with Google Analytics is incomplete and unreliable. In contrast, our Shopify connection uses a combination of client-side and server-side tracking to ensure 100% accurate data about your Shopify store in Google Analytics. Littledata automatically integrates with Shopify and Shopify Plus sites to capture every customer touchpoint, including sales, marketing and product performance data. Below is a table outlining the differences in tracking. What you can track with the Littledata Shopify app for Google Analytics [subscribe heading="Top Shopify app for Google Analytics" button_text="Learn more" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/shopify"] * Orders can be attributed back to a marketing channel or campaign, and linked to multiple previous visits by the customer using multi-channel attribution in Google Analytics The Littledata app makes all of this remarkably easy. It guides you through the correct Google Analytics setup for your Shopify store, then provides curated reports and analytics to help you make sense of your new stream of reliable data. In addition to 100% accurate sales tracking, Enhanced Ecommerce events and advanced marketing attribution, our Shopify app includes a ReCharge connection for subscription analytics. [tip]Now, with a revamped ReCharge connection — ReCharge v2 — you can track subscription lifecycle events with ease![/tip] After all, how can you grow a business unless you understand what share of your sales comes from repeat buying versus new customers? You don't have to be a Google Analytics expert to use Littledata's Shopify app. In fact, the app works best for product and marketing teams that are eager to learn about the big power of little data. We simplify the setup process and streamline the reporting process. It's that simple. Try it today for free in the reporting section of the Shopify App Store and see for yourself!

2019-11-26

How to set up cross-domain tracking in Google Analytics

Cross-domain tracking makes it possible for Google Analytics to track sessions on two related sites (e.g. an ecommerce site and a separate shopping cart site) as one single session. This is also known as site linking. In other words, with cross-domain tracking, you can see a user in a single Google Analytics account throughout their journey across multiple domains you control (e.g. mysite.com and myshoppingcart.com). It’s a seamless shopping and checkout experience for your online shoppers, so shouldn’t you track it seamlessly? Why you need to set up cross-domain tracking Here’s what it looks like with a standard configuration of the Google Analytics script on your site:  Every time a user loads a page on a different domain, a new session is generated even if the branding looks seamless to the user and the previous session has ended.  Even if the customer is still active and continues to generate events and page views on the other domain, the sessions are still interrupted.  Until you implement the cross domain tracking on your site, you won’t have an accurate customer journey. For example, let’s take a standard website, www.siteA.com, and its blog, www.blogB.com. To track sessions, Google Analytics collects a Client ID value at every hit. Client ID values are stored in 1st party cookies, and these cookies are only available to web pages on the same domain.  When tracking sessions across multiple domains, the Client ID value has to be transferred from one domain to the other. To do this, the Google Analytics tracking code has linking features that allow the source domain to place the Client ID in the link URL, where the destination domain can access it.  First, the source domain needs to ensure all URLs pointing to the destination domain contain the Client ID of the source domain. Second, the destination domain needs to know to check for the presence of a Client ID in the URL once a user navigates there. If you're using gtag.js, cross domain tracking can be done by adding a linker parameter containing the Client ID (as well as the current timestamp and browser metadata encoded within it) to URLs pointing to the destination domain.  When a value is configured for the domains property of the linker parameter, gtag.js will check for linker parameters in the URL. If the linker parameter is found and is valid, gtag.js extracts the client ID from the parameter and stores it. By enabling cross domain tracking with gtag.js, you have the option to add the linker parameters either automatically or manually to URLs in links and forms on the page. Setting up cross-domain tracking by modifying the tracking code To set up cross domain tracking for multiple top-level domains, you need to modify the Google Analytics tracking code on each domain. You should also have basic HTML and JavaScript knowledge (or work with a developer) to set up cross domain tracking. The examples in this article use the Global Site Tag (gtag.js) framework. To get started, within the source domain you’ll need to configure the Domains property of the Linker parameter in your property's config for URLs pointing to the destination domain.  After that, gtag.js will listen for selections on links that point to the destination domain(s), and it will automatically add the linker parameter to those links before the navigation starts. You can also set the optional decorate_forms property of the linker parameter to true if you have forms on your site pointing to the destination domain. For example, this code will append the linker parameter to any links on the page that point to the target domain 'siteA.com': [dm_code_snippet background="yes" background-mobile="yes" bg-color="#0fa69d" theme="dark" language="javascript" wrapped="no"] gtag('config', 'GA_Property_ID', {   'linker': {     'domains': ['siteA.com']   } }); [/dm_code_snippet] If the destination domain is not configured to automatically link domains, you can instruct the destination page to look for linker parameters by setting the accept_incoming property of the linker parameter to true on the destination property's config: [dm_code_snippet background="yes" background-mobile="yes" bg-color="#0fa69d" theme="dark" language="javascript" wrapped="no"] gtag('config', 'GA_Property_ID', {   'linker': {     'accept_incoming': true   } }); [/dm_code_snippet] Bear in mind, there are sometimes cases where it is unclear which domain your users will see fist.  In such cases, there is also the option to implement "bi-directional cross domain tracking". With this config, each domain is configured to work as either the source or the destination.  To implement bi-directional cross-domain measurement, enable auto linking on both domains and configure them both to accept linker parameters and automatically link domains. To keep the same code snippet on every domain, you can add all possible domains you want to track in the domains property of the linker parameter. [dm_code_snippet background="yes" background-mobile="yes" bg-color="#0fa69d" theme="dark" language="javascript" wrapped="no"] gtag('config', 'GA_Property_ID', {   'linker': {     'domains': ['example-1.com', 'example-2.com']   } }); [/dm_code_snippet] Setting up cross-domain tracking with Littledata's Shopify app If you use Shopify or Shopify Plus and have already installed one of Littledata's Shopify apps to fix your analytics tracking, then the cross-domain linker implementation will be even easier. We offer versions for Google Analytics and Segment, but they work in basically the same way. When you install Littledata, the app replaces Shopify's integration with Google Analytics with its own improved tracking script (LittledataLayer). This script contains the extraLinkerDomains property where you can add extra sites for domain linking, keeping everything very robust: [dm_code_snippet background="yes" background-mobile="yes" bg-color="#0fa69d" theme="dark" language="javascript" wrapped="no"] LittledataLayer = { transactionWatcherURL: 'https://transactions.littledata.io', referralExclusion: /(paypal|visa|MasterCard|clicksafe|arcot\.com|geschuetzteinkaufen|checkout\.shopify\.com|checkout\.rechargeapps\.com|portal\.afterpay\.com|payfort)/, googleSignals: true, anonymizeIp: true, productClicks: true, extraLinkerDomains: ["domain1.com", "domain2.com"], persistentUserId: true, googleAdsConversionIds: ['AW-12345'], hideBranding: false, ecommerce: { currencyCode: '{{shop.currency}}', impressions: [] } }; [/dm_code_snippet] How to test your cross-domain tracking setup One of the easiest ways to test if the new cross-domain tracking is set up properly, is to check if the same client ID (cid) is tracked on all available page sessions using Tag Assistant Recordings.   Get help from Littledata enterprise If you’re an enterprise customer, just ask your account manager to help add the secondary domains and audit your set up. This is the easiest way to do it and one of the time-saving benefits enterprise customers enjoy.  Using filters to report on cross-domain tracking By default, Google Analytics only includes the page path and page title in page reports - not the domains name. For example, you might see one page appear in the Site Content report like this: /contactUs.html Because the domain names aren’t listed, it might be hard to tell whether this is www.siteA.com/contactUs.html or www.blogB.com/contactUs.html. To get the domain names to appear in your reports you need to do two things: Create a copy of your reporting view that includes data from all your domains in it Add an advanced filter to that new view. The filter will tell Google Analytics to display domain names in your reports. Follow this example to set up a view filter that displays domain names in your reports when you have cross-domain tracking set up. For some fields, you need to select an item from the dropdown menu. For others, you need to input the characters here: Filter Type: Custom filter > Advanced Field A: Hostname Extract A: (.*) Field B: Request URI Extract: (.*) Output To: Request URI Constructor: $A1$B1 Click Save to create the filter. You can validate that filters are working as you expect using Google Tag Assistant Recordings. Tag Assistant Recordings can show you exactly how your filters change your traffic. In your Google Analytics reports, you should start seeing the domain names populated alongside the page path.  Want to double check to ensure it's working? When you sign up for a trial, you can check your full setup with our  smart analytics audit. Get started today with a 14-day free trial! [subscribe heading="Get my smart analytics audit" background_color="green" button_text="audit my site" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/features/audit"]

2019-11-19

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

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

by Nico
2019-11-05
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