Category : Google Analytics 4
A deep dive into Shopify's Google Sales Channel for GA4
You might have seen the message below in your Shopify store settings about setting up the Google Channel app. What should you do when you see this message? Shopify offers a number of sales channels to make it easy to sell products on different online channels like Facebook and the Shop app. The Google sales channel is a bit different, since 1) it now also includes Google Analytics 4 (GA4) tracking, and 2) it is now managed directly by Google. Although we work with larger merchants at Littledata, who typically use external apps and agency partners to manage sales channels and analytics, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about the recent updates. Here’s a first look at what the Google Channel app does, and how that compares with other ways to set up Google Analytics 4 (GA4). What is the Google Channel app? Shopify launched the Google Channel app back in 2017 to provide an easier way for stores to sell on Google, using Google Ads and Google Shopping. It’s free to install, though of course you pay for the Ads ;) “Sync your products to Google Merchant Center, list products for free on Search, YouTube and more and even run paid Performance Max campaigns.” In the relaunch in March 2023 Shopify/Google added tracking for GA4, along with better support for Google PMax (Performance Max) campaigns. Shopify wants to offer you with a no-code install process for GA4, but adding the Google Channel won’t “avoid any data disruptions” for all stores. [subscribe] Why Shopify is moving GA4 tracking to the Google Channel Universal Analytics - the previous GA version - will stop collecting data on 1st July 2023, so Shopify was under pressure from customers to offer in-built GA4 tracking ahead of that deadline. GA4 is also Google’s preferred way of tracking conversions in Google Ads, and PMax campaigns need conversions (purchases) tracked to maximize Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). I also think Shopify wants to push support for GA4 onto Google by moving all of the Google connections out of their core platform and into a ‘third party’ app. What’s included in Google Channel tracking? The Google Channel app allows a store to pick a GA4 property and copies most of the ecommerce event tracking available from Shopify to Universal Analytics: Page views Product views (including product name and price) Add to cart Checkout started Purchase (Order completed) [note]Are you tracking conversions in GA4? Find out in 5 minutes with our free order checker app[/note] What are the limitations of Google Channel for tracking GA4? Firstly, the Google Channel is built to work with Google Ads. However, there’s many other reasons to use Google Analytics other than for Google Ads targeting: tracking all marketing channels, understanding on -site conversion, checkout conversion, product performance and more. Shopify hasn’t optimized the tracking for that. So there are some limitations with the events sent to GA: No tracking of product list views or clicks No checkout steps, beyond begin_checkout * No currency field on Product Detail views No reporting on product SKUs No tracking of coupons and discount codes No server-side tracking for accurate orders and revenue No Enhanced Conversions for cross-device tracking of Google Ads * Theoretically, an event is triggered when users add payment info, but we couldn’t get this to fire in multiple tests. See a full comparison with Littledata tracking. Secondly, the GA4 tracking is tightly coupled with the implementation of Google Shopping feed (which has some bugs, judging by the thirty 1-star reviews from the last month) so while you can just use the GA4 part of the Google Channel app, you run the risk of disrupting Google Analytics when you edit Google Ads settings. Thirdly, there are no settings to adjust the Google Channel tracking - so if you want only certain events tracked, or integrate with third-party apps, your hands are tied. "There are no settings to adjust the Google Channel tracking. So if you want only certain events tracked, or integrate with third-party apps, your hands are tied." Lastly, Shopify does not provide full support for GA4 tracking via the Google Channel app. The app is theoretically supported by Google, but Google only provides technical support if you pay $50k+ a year for Google Analytics 360. Other than that you’d need to pay a consultant to check the set up for you. What is the best way to set up GA4? You need to start getting data into GA4 by July this year - not just for analysis, but also for building audiences and retargeting your own customer base in Google Ads. So beyond this app, you have two options: 1. Add Google Tag Manager to your store theme Pros: Reliable page view tracking, simple to customize settings, free to run Cons: No tracking of the checkout steps (even for Plus stores), revenue in GA won’t match revenue in Shopify, lots of time (and developer cost) required to set up all the shopping behavior events 2. Use a proven, highly rated app like Littledata Pros: Reliable tracking of the whole customer journey in GA4, 100% match between orders and revenue in Shopify, no implementation effort, no developers needed, instant data quality; and Littledata is optimized for Shopify Plus, including headless tracking, Shop App tracking and multi-currency tracking in GA4 Cons: Ongoing app charge to maintain data quality [note]Are you tracking conversions in GA4? Find out in 5 minutes with our free order checker app[/note] Why server-side tracking? The basic limitation of the Google Channel is client-side tracking -- which means all the events to Google are sent from the end user’s browser. This isn’t a reliable way to attribute sales to marketing campaigns in an age when many browsers and ad blockers limit tracking. The world of web analytics has changed a lot since Shopify added GA via the Shopify store preferences back in 2014 - but Google Channel isn’t changing how the event data is actually tracked. In contrast, server-side tracking allows apps like Littledata to hook into what is happening on Shopify’s servers from the add to cart onwards. This means 100% of revenue can be tracked and the vast majority (~90%) of that can be linked to a pre-checkout user journey and marketing campaign. There’s many apps that promise to ‘fix’ marketing attribution (Rockerbox, Northbeam, etc), but the only way to get truly reliable tracking of orders and revenue is server-side tracking. What your store should do today While I understand that Shopify wants to provide an out-the-box integration with Google Analytics for smaller stores, this Google Channel won’t be suitable for any scaling brand spending heavily on online customer acquisition and retention. You DO need to start tracking in Google Analytics 4 ASAP! If your brand turns over less than $1M a year, and you don’t have the time to dive into marketing attribution and targeting, then the Google Channel may be enough right now. And that's great! But if you are doing $1M+, or need to dive into the details of what drives customers to purchase, then I don’t think the Google Channel will be robust enough for you. If you're ready to be truly data-driven this year, consider applying for a Littledata Plus plan so we can support you fully with higher SLAs and analytics training for your team. Shopify has reason to launch limited free apps (eg reviews, email and geolocation) to address the concern that their sticker price doesn’t reflect all the paid app add-ons you need to run a store. Yet professionals at growing brands know you need paid apps to guarantee quality and support. Littledata’s Google Analytics connection is no exception -- try it for free in the Shopify App store today!
How to create segments for subscription orders in Google Analytics 4
The key to growing your ecommerce subscriptions is understanding your customers — why they subscribe, pause, churn, or upgrade their subscription. Accurate subscription tracking has always been a challenge for Shopify and BigCommerce stores, and that hasn’t changed in the newest version of Google Analytics, GA4. Shopify’s newly released GA4 integration tracks “certain ecommerce events” after applying tags, but subscription events are missing. Luckily, first-party tracking has come a long way since the early days of Shopify. For brands interested in capturing data across the entire customer journey, the solution is easier than you may think. No, you don’t need custom GTM — that can be time-consuming and costly to maintain — you just need the right app that tracks subscription events in GA4 automatically. [tip] Try our free GA4 Conversions Checker to make sure your GA4 property is tracking complete conversion and transaction data. [/tip] Once you’ve successfully tracked your recurring orders in GA4, you’ll need to build out reports to understand your subscription sales performance over time. Building segments in GA4 sets the foundation for deeper analysis. In the latest installment of our GA4 courses, we walk you through how to build segments for first-time and recurring orders in GA4. How to create segments for subscriptions in GA4 GA4’s segments feature allows users to slice and dice their data into smaller subsets, empowering data-driven brands to understand trends between customers with similar characteristics, including whether or not they’re subscribed to your product. This is true whether you’re selling individual products by subscription, or product bundles. Get started by creating a new custom dimension in your Google Analytics 4 property — ‘affiliation.’ By adding ‘affiliation’ as a custom dimension, you’ll be able to analyze subscription data and answer specific questions to your business’s needs. Add these custom dimensions to a copy of your sales performance report with custom event segments, and you’re off to the races! Use the insights from your first-time orders and recurring orders segments to understand your subscription sales performance, analyze the real return on investment (ROI) of your subscription sales, and build out in-depth reports with actionable data. [note] Users can also use the custom dimension for affiliation in a filter and apply it to a custom report. [/note] Follow our step-by-step guide below to take a deep dive into your subscription sales performance: https://youtu.be/aLRsAp3EhWM Get more GA4 With GA4’s deadline quickly approaching, check out the rest of our free resources to jumpstart your GA4 journey: Extending our Recharge integration to work with GA4 and Facebook CAPI GA4: What Shopify stores should do TODAY to keep up with the new version of Google Analytics How to track ecommerce conversions in GA4 10 reasons to switch to GA4 GA4 Glossary of Terms: What you need to know to get started
Harnessing data insights to drive retention and growth with subscriptions
Recently, Ari Messer, Co-founder and CMO at Littledata, caught up with Awtomic—who provides shoppers and merchants with the best tools to manage subscription products and membership services easily. Brands that have subscription models at the core of their business know that in 2023 increasing their retention rate for new and existing users is key to their growth. Ari shared the importance of using data effectively in decision-making by understanding consumer behavior and attribution saying: “The marketing mix for every brand is a little different. To reach high-value customers you have to adjust marketing and not just aim for a big purchase at the beginning but for the right kinds of engaged customers. You have to use your data to build community.” Many brands struggle with consistent, trustworthy data which can lead to poor decisions and ineffective marketing. Littledata’s app helps merchants clean up and organize their data sources so that they can make informed decisions—saving hours of implementation time and data maintenance. Merchants' biggest problems with Google Analytics include inconsistent data, missing data, and double tracking. Littledata helps clean up these problems and provides consistent data by grabbing serverside and clientside data from their Shopify or BigCommerce store and sending it to destinations like Segment and Google Analytics (UA +GA4). The result is that merchants can confidently make decisions based on accurate data, including LTV and cohort analysis. This includes one-off or recurring orders which is something many brands struggle to sort out by doing analysis. Of course, brands are looking at data to increase their bottom line but big players in the space also are using data to drive creative campaigns for their target audience which in turn amplifies their brand’s community and often reaches higher value customers. Looking to stay on top of the Shopify and BigCommerce data scene? Join the thousands of brands who receive news and updates from Littledata, sign up for our newsletter.
How to track ecommerce conversions in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
Have you mapped out a data plan for 2023 yet? If you’re selling on a major DTC platform like Shopify or BigCommerce, GA4 is probably on your mind. With the sunsetting of Universal Analytics (GA3 or the “old version” of Google Analytics) on the horizon, it’s time to get going with event-based tracking. Many brands have been procrastinating about setting up GA4 – or, worse, only setting it up halfway so that browsing behavior is tracked but revenue and conversions are missing. But can you blame them? Shopify isn’t planning to release native GA4 integration until March 2023 at the earliest (and nobody’s expecting it to work well for serious DTC brands) BigCommerce released a beta version of their GA4 integration in November, but it’s extremely minimal, tracking only begin_checkout and purchase events Manual setup is costly and confusing (and has to be maintained every time you change your site or checkout flow) GA4 revenue tracking should be your top priority, but there’s a lot of confusion around GA4, made worse by Shopify apps that claim to offer GA4 integration but only offer client-side tracking. It shouldn’t be so complicated. At Littledata we’ve already fixed GA4 tracking for hundreds of top DTC brands. In this post I’ll show you how to check if you’ve set up GA4 correctly to capture orders and revenue, and how to start tracking ecommerce conversions today in the most secure and reliable way possible. Follow this guide to GA4 and you’ll be on your way to ecommerce data tracking in no time. We’ll look at how to get from this: To this: How to check if you’re tracking GA4 revenue and conversions After creating a new GA4 property and following the setup assistant to create a new data stream, you might have noticed that you’re instructed to copy and paste the Google tag (gtag.js) script on every page of your ecommerce site. Once you’ve added the Google tag to your site and linked your GA4 property, everything will just start tracking automatically, right? Wrong. With the basic script all you get are engagement events such as page_view, session_start, view_search_result, and click. Obviously these “automatic events” are super important, but they don’t tell you what happens post-click. Here’s how to check if your GA4 ecommerce setup is working or not. 1. Check your Acquisition reporting in GA4 There are two places to look to see if you’re capturing ecommerce conversions. First, the Acquisition reports. You’ll see user and traffic engagement details grouped by channel, but no conversion or revenue data exists. You’re seeing which organic or paid channels are bringing visitors to your store, but you can’t tell if you’re generating any revenue from these visitors. GA4 revenue reporting not showing is one of the most asked questions by merchants and performance marketers. 2. Check your Engagement and Monetization reporting in GA4Taking a step further, check your Engagement and Monetization reports. Do you see GA4 reporting data about cart updates, interactions with the checkout flow, or any purchase or revenue data? If revenue is missing in GA4’s monetization overview, you need to start tracking ecommerce activity ASAP. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of data points that lead nowhere and you will not have an accurate understanding of your ecommerce store’s performance. [tip] Use our complementary instant order checker for GA4 to check your property [/tip] How to track ecommerce conversions and revenue in GA4 After landing on your store, online shoppers interact with collections and products before adding items to their carts and going through the checkout process. These web interactions must be captured as events and linked with customers and marketing data in GA4 to get a complete picture of your business. We have looked at what data can be missing from your GA4 events and which enhanced ecommerce events you should track. But how can you get all these ecommerce events in GA4? Google Tag Manager (GTM) has always been the most common tracking method for Universal Analytics, and the setup process can be carried over to GA4. However, for a lean team, the setup process can be quite time-consuming and complex, having to create a Data Layer In Shopify, and then for each event, you must create: Firing Triggers in GTM Data Layer Variables in GTM Ecommerce Tags in GTM Needless to say, there are quite a few maintenance pitfalls if you're going down this route. Setup is just the beginning. To make matters worse, Shopify is removing GTM from the checkout for Shopify Plus stores (standard Shopify stores never had access). So even if you take the time to add all your own events to tracking visitors before they make a purchase, you’ll no longer be able to track checkout steps (add-to-cart, etc) with GTM. If you want to save time and money while still having confidence in the accuracy of your GA4 data, Littledata is the perfect solution for you. Our proven app is used by over 1500+ brands and can help you track your ecommerce conversions with ease, giving you the reliable data you need to make informed decisions about your business. Littledata’s data layer uses a unique combination of client-side and server-side tracking to ensure accurate, complete ecommerce data in GA4 and any connected data warehouse or reporting destination. Littledata captures complete ecommerce data automatically in GA4 for Shopify and BigCommerce stores. We can break down those events into seven general categories: Marketing channels Browsing behavior Checkout steps Conversions Revenue Recurring orders Upsells Of course, each reporting category has useful data, but brands that really want to scale link it all together to look at revenue and LTV by channel, splitting out first-time purchases from repeat purchases or recurring orders (subscription analytics). As I mentioned earlier, Acquisition reports are some of the most valuable sets of data GA4 offers. They show which of your team’s marketing efforts bring the most results, from traffic through engagement and conversions. The difference between having accurate or questionable ROI data in these reports rests on how the purchase event is tracked. It is useful to have the engagement metrics grouped by channel, but the difference between having accurate or questionable ROI data in these reports rests on how the purchase event is tracked. Get started with Littledata today so you will have the data you need to scale faster the smart way. We recommend tracking in UA and GA4 “in parallel” as soon as possible.
How to use GA4 for ecommerce analytics [Podcast]
With BFCM behind us, it’s time to push forward and begin planning for 2023. One of the biggest changes 2023 has in store for ecommerce brands is the deprecation of Universal Analytics and the rise of Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Many merchants are still struggling with their migration from UA to Google Analytics 4, and we get it — change is hard. Especially when it comes to a vital tool that your business relies on. [tip]Get the free ebook on 10 reasons to switch to GA4[/tip] The good news is that switching to GA4 doesn't have to rack your nerves. Littledata’s Head of Client Services, David Pascu, shares his expert advice on building a strong foundation in GA4 on the Infinity Nation podcast. Whether you’ve been tracking in parallel for months, or you’re pushing off your migration until the last minute, you won’t want to miss this episode. Sending Shopify data to GA4 David joined Al Keck on the Infinity Nation podcast to discuss all things Shopify and GA4. David answers many of the most common questions users have about migrating to GA4, including: Myths and facts about GA4 for DTC brands Why Google is deprecating UA in change for GA4 When should you get started with GA4 How to start sending ecommerce data to GA4 Listen to the full episode >>>
Insights from GA4 experts on our webinar
With Universal Analytics’ deprecation date quickly approaching, merchants and agencies alike have been looking to ecommerce platforms, like Shopify and BigCommerce, to lead the way in integrating their stores with GA4. But little progress has been made by ecommerce platforms, leaving merchants to their own devices. But one thing’s for sure: with the right partners, you’re not alone. Last week we joined forces with some of the best and the brightest in the ecommerce analytics world to answer merchants' biggest questions about migrating to Google Analytics 4: What’s different between Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4)? What exactly is event-based tracking? Why hasn’t Shopify offered a plug-and-play solution for GA4? Whether you’re working with an ecommerce agency like Irish Titan, an ecommerce reporting tool like Daasity, or an ecommerce data platform like Littledata, data should be at the core of every business decision you make. Up until this point, 87% of Shopify stores have relied on Universal Analytics as a trusted reporting tool for their store’s sales and revenue, marketing attribution and campaign performance, and for a complete view of their customer journey. And that’s why we held last week’s webinar: to gather the top GA4 experts in ecommerce analytics to answer your most asked questions about GA4, provide some clarity around your migration, and arm you with the tools you need to succeed in the next generation of Google Analytics. Watch the full webinar on-demand>>> Key takeaways Custom reporting Merchants have grown accustomed to the 50+ built-in reports that UA offers, and are understandably uneasy with GA4 providing only a fraction of those reports out-of-the-box. But the good news is that all the reports you’ve grown to know and love in UA can be custom-built in GA4, offering the opportunity for you to zero in on the metrics specific to your business’s unique set of goals. In a matter of minutes, your Source/Medium Report or Sales Performance Report can be up and running. Find out how to build custom reports in GA4 with our series of free GA4 courses on YouTube. Once you’ve set up your GA4 property, the next step is crucial. Ensure that all your events are set up properly, including any custom and ecommerce events that you’re tracking in UA. Your events set the foundation for your reports and ensure that your custom-built reports work seamlessly. The easiest way to do this is with a GA4 connector Shopify app. [tip] Whichever GA4 connector you choose, make sure it takes advantage of server-side tracking. Otherwise, your data discrepancies will just get worse! [/tip] New data model GA4’s tracking is fundamentally different from UA’s. Previously, Google captured data based on hits or sessions, whereas GA4 uses event-based tracking. Similarly, Google has shifted away from its last-click attribution model and has turned to data-driven attribution instead. What exactly is event-based tracking, and what does this mean for many of the metrics you’ve relied on in UA? Some of the metrics merchants have used to monitor their store’s performance have changed in meaning or are no longer available. ‘Events’, for example, track actions within a page in UA, including video views, widget clicks, and downloads. In GA4, ‘events’ measure every user interaction with your website or app, including loading a page, clicking a link, and completing a purchase. With GA4’s event-based tracking, merchants are no longer limited to UA’s predefined hit types and can create custom events to track any action or piece of information that they like. [tip] Stay in the loop on GA4’s new terms, metrics, and reports with the GA4 Glossary.[/tip] Some other small but impactful changes have been made to metrics that many merchants are familiar with, including ‘sessions’ being redefined. ‘Bounce rate’ and ‘session duration’ are no longer available in GA4, instead, they have been replaced with engagement metrics. ‘Bounce rate’ can be understood with its inverse, ‘engagement rate’, which measures the number of engaged sessions divided by the total number of sessions over a specified time period. While these new metrics may cause some confusion, Google’s new engagement metrics help merchants uncover a detailed look at how customers interact with their website or app more accurately and will empower merchants to identify their conversion rate optimization areas with ease. https://youtu.be/XFrDq6VSU5M Google’s data-driven attribution model provides a holistic view of all of the touchpoints that contribute to a conversion and distributes credit for the conversion based on data for each conversion event. GA4 allows merchants to funnel in multiple data sources, including your website, app, email marketing platform, and advertising platforms, like Meta, to properly attribute sales across your marketing efforts. Google’s data-driven attribution model will help brands maximize their marketing efforts and budget, which is especially important in today's uncertain economic climate. Merchants can now leverage Google’s machine learning capabilities with predictive audiences, providing insights into what users are likely to purchase are doing on your website, and comparatively, what users who are likely to churn are doing on your website. Built on first-party data In a way, GA4 is Google’s response to increasing privacy regulations and tracking prevention. With the growing absence of third-party cookies, we’ve seen accuracy in client-side tracking slip away over the past few years. Unlike UA’s reliance on third-party cookies, GA4 is built on first-party data, offering merchants accuracy in tracking and in-depth insights into how users interact with their website and app. Exporting GA4 data into BigQuery Many of the features that were previously limited to GA360 users on UA (for the hefty price of $100k+ annually) are now available to all GA4 users, free of charge. This includes the ability to export raw data from GA4 to BigQuery, and from BigQuery to any destination of their choice. GA4’s automatic BigQuery export not only relieves merchants of the tedious and costly manual data export, but also opens up opportunities for data transformation and analysis outside of GA4’s interface and API constraints — the possibilities are endless! Watch the full webinar on-demand>>> What you should do now As echoed by all of our speakers, you should start tracking your ecommerce analytics in GA4 now! And with the right tools, getting complete Shopify or BigCommerce insights in GA4 is simple. If you haven’t started already, now is the time to start tracking in parallel with UA and GA4. You won’t be able to export UA data into GA4, which is why it’s so important to get as much overlap as possible, especially if you’re serious about understanding your store’s performance year-over-year. For a step-by-step guide to creating your GA4 property, read GA4: What Shopify stores should do TODAY. “Make a data plan. Determine which are your brand’s most important marketing and business questions, and build exploration reports to answer those questions with data. In doing so, you’ll be surprised with how quickly you become an expert in GA4!” —David Pascu, Head of Client Services at Littledata Once you have created your GA4 property, ensure that you’re tracking your ecommerce analytics in parallel, or sending data to both UA and GA4. This lets you capture browsing behavior and sales performance in both places, so you can analyze the data, build comparative attribution models, and start to get a sense of how UA and GA4 are different — as well as where they converge. https://youtu.be/oqGAX1xgZGE The easiest (and most accurate) way to do this is with an ecommerce data platform like Littledata. Littledata automatically captures ecommerce events in UA and GA4 and links them to the original touchpoint. Book a demo to learn more. Join the Littledata and Daasity teams for another GA4 webinar! Our analytics experts will be answering merchants' top questions about migrating to GA4 in a live AMA (Ask Me Anything) style webinar on December 6 at 12 PM EST. Register here >>>
Join Littledata and Daasity for the ultimate GA4 webinar
GA4, the new version of Google Analytics, is the talk of the town these days. But is it really that different from Universal Analytics? What should DTC brands do today? Littledata is joining forces with some of our top partners in the Shopify and BigCommerce worlds to share insider knowledge about the new version of GA4: what's changing, what isn't, and what it all means for data-driven ecommerce businesses. Join us along with our tech partner Daasity and our agency partner Irish Titan for the ultimate GA4 webinar on Thursday, November 3rd. See you there! [tip] Missed this webinar? You can now watch it here on demand [/tip] As Universal Analytics’ last days approach us, we’re still seeing some confusion among ecommerce merchants on their migration to Google Analytics 4: ⚖️ What are the reporting differences between UA and GA4? 🔌 Why hasn't Shopify offered a plug-and-play solution for GA4? 📈 Will GA4 solve cross-domain tracking issues? 🤔 What exactly is event-based tracking anyway? Save your spot today >> With the busy holiday shopping season approaching quickly, there has never been a more important time to get your data ducks in a row. Register for our free webinar and learn how to quickly enable better tracking with first-party tracking with a free platform that is more reliable and robust than many paid solutions. [tip]Did you know? Google has added many features to GA4 that used to only be available to GA 360 customers (the expensive paid version of Google Analytics)[/tip] Littledata's plug-and-play GA4 integration is now available for Shopify and BigCommerce stores, including subscription tracking and conversion events. We've worked with the top Google Analytics experts to make sure we offer the best solution in the industry. Learn more about our GA4 connection for Shopify and Shopify Plus Learn more about our GA4 connection for BigCommerce Learn more about tracking Universal Analytics and GA4 in parallel Get the GA4 ebook Looking for that extra bump in effectiveness? Check out Littledata Plus for managed onboarding, manual data audits and analytics training.
GA4: What Shopify stores should do TODAY to keep up with the new version of Google Analytics
Setting up Google Analytics 4 (GA4) on Shopify is easy with the right tools, but there is a lot of confusion in the marketplace right now. There are apps offering "GA4 setup" that can't actually help you with tracking (getting accurate data into Analytics), and there are agencies offering detailed GTM tag setup guides for GA4 without mentioning that there are automated solutions for GA4 conversion tracking. This is all very exciting...but also not necessary. The truth is that you don't need custom tagging or reporting, just the right Shopify tracking app for GA4. What is GA4? It's Google's answer to the modern data stack, in some ways a complement to it (eg. GA4's BigQuery connection, which used to be reserved for GA 360), and in others a replacement for multiple expensive tools that haven't always worked well together. The move toward GA4 started with Google's interest in offering better cross-device and cross-channel tracking, and has been refined with a focus on user privacy -- in other words a world without third-party cookies. As a result, using the right Shopify and GA4 connection now lets you start capturing data about your Shopify store performance that is by default more complex and dynamic than what you might be currently tracking in Universal Analytics (UA, the current version of GA). GA4 can save you time and money versus a complex analytics setup, while offering visibility into the entire customer lifecycle, from organic and paid channels through complex browsing behavior and -- essentially -- customer lifetime value (LTV) and purchase count. But at the very least you need to start capturing that data. [note]This doesn't only apply to Shopify stores! If you're on BigCommerce you can use our server-side BigCommerce to GA4 integration[/note] Google has also built in data-driven models for both comparative attribution reporting and predictive analytics, such as in-app purchase probability and overall purchase probability. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. First you need to capture the data. We expect some brands to just ignore GA4 until the last minute (I'm expecting some not-so-fun Memorial Day Weekend parties next year in NYC...), but we've also noticed that the top ecommerce managers and data scientists are all doing the same thing: tracking in parallel today, so they will have at least six months of data before making the full switch to GA4. Here's a quick guide to help you make the right moves too. 1. Stop procrastinating Is Google really getting rid of the old version of Google Analytics? The answer is a definitive yes. They are sunsetting the old version of Google Analytics in 2023. You need to be ready, but what does that mean exactly? Is there anything you can do today? Track in parallel today so you will have at least six months of data before making the full switch to GA4 Google formally announced the shift to a new version of Google Analytics back in November 2020, but many DTC brands are still putting off the shift to GA4. While moving to a different version of a tool most online marketers use weekly (if not daily) might sound a bit intimidating, there are two points to remember: Google is one of the most user-friendly companies on the planet and they have already added a bunch of functionality and default reporting templates in GA4 You need to capture data before you can analyze it! As our agency partner CXL writes in their ultimate guide to GA4: "Unlike previous upgrade iterations, GA4 is a brand-new product. This means starting afresh, with a new learning curve to navigate." But at the same time, as they say, "it promises to be the future of analytics, with cross-platform tracking, AI-driven data, and privacy-centric design." We couldn't agree more. Littledata's top 10 reasons to switch to GA4 include both custom funnels and predictive insights. This is especially important for ecommerce brands that want to building shopping funnel reports and LTV cohorts in GA4 that fit their particular business model and customer base. So what should you do today to take advantage of this powerful, free ecommerce reporting? First of all, create a GA4 property! 2. Create a GA4 property Google will not be allowing anybody to import historical data from UA into GA4, so you need to create a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) property today if you are serious about seeing performance over time. Luckily, adding a GA4 property is surprisingly easy. Current GA users (that's most of you) can just head to their Analytics accounts and use the setup assistant. You should add at least one data stream. (Don't worry, you can add more later.) Data Streams in GA4 replace Views in Universal Analytics, but they're a bit different . Data streams can be any website (or blog, microsite, country store, etc) or mobile app (iOS or Android), and they can be viewed in aggregate or individually. Adding a data stream might sound intimidating, but this can be as simple as adding the URL for your website (eg. "littledata.io"). [tip]Whether you're new to Google Analytics or a longtime user, we recommend turning on the Enhanced Measurement settings, which include useful defaults.[/tip] When you add a data stream, you will have the option to enabled Enhanced Measurement settings. This is highly recommended. Here's more info on what Littledata lets you track automatically in GA4 -- examples include product views, product list views, checkout funnel events and purchases -- and which events are tracked with Enhanced Measurement, such as page views, site search and form interactions. Now that you have set up a GA4 property, it's time to set up your ecommerce tracking. [tip] Use our complementary instant order checker for GA4 to check your property [/tip] 3. Track in Parallel Tracking UA and GA4 in parallel means that you can send data to both destinations at the same time. This lets you capture browsing behavior and sales performance in both places, so you can analyze the data, build comparative attribution models and start to get a sense for how Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 are different -- as well as where they converge. The most accurate way to do this is to use an ecommerce data platform like Littledata to capture ecommerce events by default, including both sales/conversion tracking and marketing attribution (stitching sessions together). We send data directly to GA4. Because we have a pre-built GTM data layer, you don't need to add tags manually! Use a pre-built data layer for GA4 so you don't have to add tags manually Littledata's tracking schema works out of the box to capture both major and minor touch points in the ecommerce journey. When you install Littledata, we instantly start tracking all of the key ecommerce events for you in both UA and GA4, so you'll have the data you need when you're ready to dive into week-on-week and month-on-month analysis. Here's a quick video on tracking in parallel. To get something similar to Enhanced Ecommerce reporting, you'll need to build reports yourselves, so we've also put together a few videos on building ecommerce reports in GA4. These reports are more flexible and dynamic than anything available in UA. It's like having Google Data Studio within Google Analytics for complete reporting. There's even more free content available for subscribers in the app :) Wait, so GA4 is pretty different? GA4 is based on a different type of tracking called event-based tracking, which is is exactly what it sounds like: a more flexible and comprehensive way of tracking everything so you can build granular reports and predictive models based on the endless flow of events and attached parameters. The UA data model focused on sessions and pageviews. GA4 focuses on events, and sessions are no longer broken by a change in campaign "source" (GA4 continues tracking the same session as well as the change in source). But those sessions will not be stitched together automatically with purchase data and Shopify customer IDs. And many Google Tag Manager solutions for GA4 are missing out on the basics, like purchase events, revenue and conversion tracking. If you aren't capturing purchases, how are you supposed to know if your marketing is working? Using Littledata's solution is quick and easy, with both low-code and no-code options. Our ecommerce tracking is deep and comprehensive. When you start a free trial you can choose to send data to both UA and GA4 at no additional cost, with server-side tracking to guarantee accurate data. [subscribe heading="Top-rated GA4 tracking for $99 a month"] Want to know more? Book a free data audit with one of our Google Analytics experts today!
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