Category : marketing attribution
Why does shop.app appear as a referral source in Google Analytics?
You may have noticed a new referral source appearing in your Google Analytics, or an increase in sales from the 'Referral' channel. This is a change Shopify made with the launch of the new Shop app, and can be easily fixed. What is Shop.app? SHOP by Shopify is a consumer mobile app, aggregating products and experiences from many Shopify merchants. It is heavily integrated with ShopPay, and so Shopify is now directing one-click checkout traffic to the shop.app domain instead of pay.shopify.com. How would SHOP fit into the user journey? There are two scenarios: 1. Customer is using Shop.app for checkout and payment Example journey: User clicks on Facebook Ad Lands on myshop.myshopify.com?utm_source=facebook Selects a product Logged in, and directed to shop.app for checkout Returns to myshop.myshopify.com for order confirmation In this scenario we should exclude shop.app as a referrer, as the original source of the order is really Facebook 2. End customer is using Shop.app for browsing / product discovery Example journey: User discovers product on shop.app Clicks product link to myshop.myshopify.com?utm_source=shop_app Logged in, and directed to shop.app for checkout Returns to myshop.myshopify.com for order confirmation Here, shop.app is the referrer but it will show up with UTM source How do I see the true source of the referral in Google Analytics? Firstly, you need to exclude shop.app as a referral source. Only in scenario 2 is SHOP genuinely a source of customers, and there the UTM source tag will ensure it appears as a referrer. Littledata's latest tracking script sets this up automatically. The second fix is harder. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Shopify only sets utm_source=shop_app in the URL query parameters in scenario 2, and Google Analytics won't consider this a referral unless utm_medium is also set. So it appears under the (not set) channel. I've written a patch for our tracking script so that we set utm_medium as referral if only the source is specified, but you can also edit the default channel grouping in GA so that shop_app is grouped as a referral. Thirdly, you want to differentiate orders going through shop.app from the normal Shopify checkout. Littledata's Shopify app does this by translating the order tag shop_app into the transaction affiliation in Google Analytics, so the affiliation is Shopify, Shop App. Conclusion So if you're a Littledata customer: our app has got you covered. And if not there's a few changes you'll need to make in Google Analytics settings to make sure shop.app traffic is treated correctly.
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. [note]Using a Headless Shopify setup? Littledata fixes tracking for headless Shopify in Segment or Google Analytics. See the headless tracking demo for more details.[/note] 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!
How to fix marketing attribution for Safari ITP 2.3
The latest version of Safari limits the ability for Google Analytics (and any other marketing tags) to track users across domains, and between visits more than a day apart. Here’s how to get this fixed for your site. This article was updated 3rd October to clarify changes for ITP 2.3. How does this affect my analytics? Safari's Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) dramatically changes how you can attribute marketing on one of the web's most popular browsers, and ITP 2.1 makes this even more difficult. How will the changes affect your analytics? Currently your marketing attribution in Google Analytics (GA) relies on tracking users across different visits on the same browser with a first-party user cookie - set on your domain by the GA tracking code. GA assigns every visitor an anonymous ‘client ID’ so that the user browsing your website on Saturday can be linked to the same browser that comes back on Monday to purchase. In theory this user-tracking cookie can last up to 2 years from the date of the first visit (in practice, many users clear their cookies more frequently than that), but anything more than one month is good enough for most marketing attribution. ITP breaks that user tracking in two major ways: Any cookie set by the browser, will be deleted after 7 days (ITP 2.1)Any cookie set by the browser, after the user has come from a cross-domain link, will be deleted after one day (ITP 2.2)Any local storage set when the user comes from a cross domain link is wiped after 7 days of inactivity (ITP 2.3) This will disrupt your marketing attribution. Let’s take two examples. Visitor A comes from an affiliate on Saturday, and then comes back the next Saturday to purchase: Before ITP: sale is attributed to AffiliateAfter ITP: sale is attributed to ‘Direct’Why: 2nd visit is more than one day after the 1st Visitor B comes from a Facebook Ad to your latest blog post on myblog.com, and goes on to purchase: Before ITP: sale is attribute to FacebookAfter ITP: sale is attributed to ‘Direct’Why: the visit to the blog is not linked to the visit on another domain The overall effect will be an apparent increase in users and sessions from Safari, as the same number of user journeys are broken in down into more, shorter journeys. How big is the problem? This is a big problem! Depending on your traffic sources it is likely to affect between a quarter and a half of all your visits. The update (ITP 2.1) is included in Safari version 12.1 onwards for Mac OS and Safari Mobile. It does not affect Safari in-app browsing. Apple released iOS 12.2 and Mac OS 10.14.4 on 25th March 2019, and at the time of writing around 30% of all web visits came from these two browser versions on a sample of larger sites. The volume for your site may vary; you can apply this Google Analytics segment to see exactly how. The affected traffic will be greater if you have high mobile use or more usage in the US (where iPhones are more popular). Why is Apple making these changes? Apple has made a strong point of user privacy over the last few years. Their billboard ad at the CES conference in Las Vegas earlier this year makes that point clearly! Although Google Chrome has overtaken Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox in popularity on the desktop, Safari maintains a very dominant position in mobile browsing due to the ubiquitous iPhone. Apple develops Safari to provide a secure web interface for their users, and with Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) they intended to reduce creepy retargeting ads following you around the web. Genuine web analytics has just been caught in the cross-fire. Unfortunately this is likely not to be the last attack on web analytics, and a permanent solution may not be around for some time. Our belief is that users expect companies to track them across their own branded websites and so the workarounds below are ethical and not violating the user privacy that Apple is trying to protect. How to fix this There are three outline fixes I would recommend. I’m grateful to Simo Ahava for his research on all the possible solutions. The right solution for your site depends on your server setup and the development resources you have available. If you’re lucky enough to use our Shopify app the next version of our script will include solution 1 below. Contact our support team if you'd like to test the private beta version. For each solution, I’ve rated them out of three in these areas: Quick setup: how much development time it will take to solveCompatibility: how likely this is to work with different domain setupsLongevity: how likely this is to work for future updates to Safari ITP Update: Solutions 1 and 2, using local storage will no longer work with ITP 2.3 Solution 3: Server-side cookie service Quick setup * Compatibility *** Longevity *** In the long term, ITP may target the local storage API itself (which is already blocked in Private browsing mode). In ITP 2.3, the local storage is wiped after 7 days, along with cookies. So solution 3 securely sets the HTTPS cookie from your web server itself, rather than via a browser script. This also has the advantage of making sure any cross-domain links tracked using GA's linker plugin can last more than one day after the click-through with ITP 2.3. The downside is this requires either adapting your servers, proxy servers or CDN to serve a cookie for GA and adapt the GA client-side libraries to work on a web server. If your company uses Node.js servers or a CDN like Amazon CloudFront or Cloudflare this may be significantly easier to achieve. If you don’t have direct control of your server infrastructure it’s a non-starter. Also, a caveat is that Apple recommends settings cookies as HttpOnly to be fully future proof - but those would then be inaccessible by the GA client tracking. Full technical details. What about other marketing tags working on Safari? All other marketing tags which track users across more than one session or one subdomain are going to experience the same problem. With Google Ads the best solution is to link your Ad account to Google Analytics, since this enables Google to use the GA cookie to better attribute conversion in Google Ads reporting. Facebook will no doubt provide a solution of their own, but in the meantime you can also attribute Facebook spend in GA using Littledata’s connection for Facebook Ads. Are there any downsides of making these changes? As with any technical solution, there are upsides and downsides. The main downside here is again with user privacy. Legally, you might start over-tracking users. By resetting cookies from the local storage that the user previously requested to be deleted, this could be violating a user’s right to be forgotten under GDPR. The problem with ITP is it is actually overriding the user’s preference to keep the cookie in usual circumstances, so there is no way of knowing the cookie was deleted by the user … or by Safari supposed looking out for the user! Unfortunately as with any customisation to the tracking code it brings more complexity to maintain, but I feel this is well worth the effort to maintain marketing attribution on one of the world's most popular browsers.
Ecommerce trends at Paris Retail Week
Physical or digital? We found merchants doubling down on both at Paris Retail Week. At the big event in Paris last month, we found retailers intent on merging the online and offline shopping experience in exciting new ways. See who we met and what the future of digital might hold for global ecommerce. Representatives from our European team had a great time at the big ecommerce event, one of the 'sectors' at Paris Retail Week. Outside of the event, it was great to have a chance to catch up with Maukau, our newest Shopify agency partner in France. (Bonjour!) Among the huge amount of digital sales and marketing trends we observed throughout the week, a few emerged again and again: mobile-first, phygital experience, and always-on, multi-channel marketing. Getting phygital Phygital? Is that a typo? Hardly. It’s the latest trend in ecommerce, and it was prevalent everywhere at Paris Retail Week. Phygital combines “physical” and “digital” experiences in a new ecosystem. This offers the consumer a full acquisition experience across different channels. From payment providers to marketing agencies, everyone was talking about going phygital. One of our favourite presentations was by AB Tasty. They focused on how optimising client experience can boost sales and conversions in the long-term. It’s not enough to promote your products, nor to link to an influencer for social proof -- you need to create a full customer experience. Starbucks and Nespresso are good examples of how this works offline, assuring that a customer who comes in to drink a coffee will linger around for the next 20-30 minutes. By keeping the customers in the shop, they will eventually order more. The goal is to reproduce this immediately sticky experience online too, and focusing on web engagement benchmarks is the best way to track your progress here. Using the example of conversion rate optimisation (CRO) for mobile apps, AB Tasty's Alexis Dugard highlighted how doing data-driven analysis of UI performance, on a very detailed level, can help clarify how mobile shopping connects with a wider brand experience. In the end, customer experience means knowing the customer. 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for an optimal customer experience. Brands that are reluctant to invest in customer experience, either online or offline, will hurt their bottom line, even if this isn't immediately apparent. Those brands that do invest in multi-channel customer experience are investing in long-term growth fuelled by higher Average Order Value (AOV). 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for an optimal customer experience -- the statistic speaks for itself! Another great talk was from Guillaume Cavaroc, a Facebook Academie representative, who discussed how mobile shopping now overlaps with offline shopping. He looked at experiments with how to track customers across their journeys, with mobile login as a focal point. In the Google Retail Reboot presentation, Loïc De Saint Andrieu, Cyril Grira and Salime Nassur pointed out the importance of data in retail. For ecommerce sites using the full Google stack, Google data represents the DNA of the companies and Google Cloud Platform is the motor of all the services, making multi-channel data more useful than ever in assisting with smart targeting and customer acquisition. The Google team also stated that online shopping experiences that don’t have enough data will turn to dust, unable to scale, and that in the future every website will become, in one way or another, a mobile app. In some ways, "phygital" really means mobile-first. This message that rang out clearly in France, which is a mobile-first country where a customer's first encounter with your brand or product is inevitably via mobile -- whether through a browser, specific app or social media feed. [subscribe] Multi-channel experience (and the data you need to optimise it) Physical marketing is making a comeback. Boxed CEO Chieh Huang and PebblePost founder Lewis Gersh presented the success of using online data for offline engagement, which then converts directly back on the original ecommerce site. Experimenting heavily in this area, they've seen personalised notes on invoices and Programmatic Direct Mail (with the notes based on viewed content) generate an increase of 28% in online conversion rate. Our real-world mailboxes have become an uncluttered space, and customers crave the feel of a paperback catalogue or simple postcard, to name just a bit of the physical collateral that's becoming popular again -- and being done at a higher quality than in the years of generic direct mail. Our real-world mailboxes have become an uncluttered space, and customers crave the feel of a paperback catalogue or simple postcard. However, data is still the backbone of retail. In 2017 Amazon spent approximately $16 billion (USD) on data analysis, and it was worth every penny, generating around $177 billion in revenue. Analysing declarative and customer behaviour data on the shopper’s path-to-purchase is a must for merchants to compete with Amazon. Creating an omni-channel experience for the user should be your goal. This means an integrated and cohesive customer shopping experience, no matter how or where a customer reaches out. Even if you can't yet support an omni-channel customer experience, you should double down on multi-channel ecommerce. When Littledata's customers have questions about the difference, we refer them to Aaron Orendorff's clear explanation of omni-channel versus multi-channel over on the Shopify Plus blog: Omni-channel ecommerce...unifies sales and marketing to create a single commerce experience across your brand. Multi-channel ecommerce...while less integrated, allows customers to purchase natively wherever they prefer to browse and shop. Definitions aside, the goal is to reduce friction in the shopping experience. In other words, you should use anonymous data to optimise ad spend and product marketing. For marketers, this means going beyond pretty dashboards to look at more sophisticated attribution models. We've definitely seen this trend with Littledata's most successful enterprise customers. Ecommerce directors are now using comparative attribution models more than ever before, along with AI-based tools for deeper marketing insights, like understanding the real ROI on their Facebook Ads. The new seasonality So where do we go from here? In the world of ecommerce, seasonality no longer means just the fashion trends of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Online events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday (#BFCM) define offline shopping trends as well, and your marketing must match. "Black Friday" saw 125% more searches in 2017, and "Back to School" searches were up 100%. And it isn't just about the short game. Our own research last year found that Black Friday discounting is actually linked to next-season purchasing. Phygital or otherwise, are you ready to optimise your multi-channel marketing? If not, you're missing out on a ton of potential revenue -- and shoppers will move on to the next best thing.
What's the real ROI on your Facebook Ads?
For the past decade Facebook’s revenue growth has been relentless, driven by a switch from TV advertising and online banners to a platform seen as more targetable and measurable. When it comes to Facebook Ads, marketers are drawn to messaging about a strong return on investment. But are you measuring that return correctly? Facebook has spent heavily on its own analytics over the last three years, with the aim of making you -- the marketer -- fully immersed in the Facebook platform…and perhaps also to gloss over one important fact about Facebook’s reporting on its own Ads: most companies spend money with Facebook 'acquiring' users who would have bought from them anyway. Could that be you? Here are a few ways to think about tracking Facebook Ads beyond simple clicks and impressions as reported by FB themselves. The scenario Imagine a shopper named Fiona, a customer for your online fashion retail store. Fiona has browsed through the newsfeed on her Facebook mobile app, and clicks on your ad. Let’s also imagine that your site -- like most -- spends only a portion of their budget with Facebook, and is using a mix of email, paid search, affiliates and social to promote the brand. The likelihood that Fiona has interacted with more than one campaign before she buys is high. Now Fiona buys a $100 shirt from your store, and in Facebook (assuming you have ecommerce tracking with Pixel set up) the sale is linked to the original ad spend. Facebook's view of ROI The return on investment in the above scenario, as calculated by Facebook, is deceptively simple: Right, brilliant! So clear and simple. Actually, not that brilliant. You see Fiona had previously clicked on a Google Shopping ad (which is itself powered by two platforms, Google AdWords and the Google Merchant Center) -- how she found your brand -- and after Facebook, she was influenced by a friend who mentioned the product on Twitter, then finally converted by an abandoned cart email. So in reality Fiona’s full list of interactions with your ecommerce site looks like this: Google Shopping ad > browsed products Facebook Ad > viewed product Twitter post > viewed same product Link in abandoned cart email > purchase So from a multi-channel perspective, how should we attribute the benefit from the Facebook Ad? How do we track the full customer journey and attribute it to sales in your store? With enough data you might look at the probability that a similar customer would have purchased without seeing that Facebook Ad in the mix. In fact, that’s what the data-driven model in Google Marketing Platform 360 does. But without that level of data crunching we can still agree that Facebook shouldn’t be credited with 100% of the sale. It wasn’t the way the customer found your brand, or the campaign which finally convinced them to buy. Under the most generous attribution model we would attribute a quarter of the sale. So now the calculation looks like this: It cost us $2 of ad spend to bring $1 of revenue -- we should kill the campaign. But there's a catch Hang on, says Facebook. You forgot about Mark. Mark also bought the same shirt at your store, and he viewed the same ad on his phone before going on to buy it on his work computer. You marked the source of that purchase as Direct -- but it was due to the same Facebook campaign. Well yes, Facebook does have an advantage there in using its wide net of signed-in customers to link ad engagement across multiple devices for the same user. But take a step back. Mark, like Fiona, might have interacted with other marketing channels on his phone. If we can’t track cross-device for these other channels (and with Google Marketing Platform we cannot), then we should not give Facebook an unfair advantage in the attribution. So, back to multi-channel attribution from a single device. This is the best you have to work with right now, so how do you get a simple view of the Return on Advertising Spend, the real ROI on your ads? Our solution At Littledata we believe that Google Analytics is the best multi-channel attribution tool out there. All it misses is an integration with Facebook Ads to pull the ad spend by campaign, and some help to set up the campaign tagging (UTM parameters) to see which campaign in Facebook brought the user to your site. And we believe in smart automation. Littledata's Facebook Ads connection audits your Facebook campaign tagging and pulls ad cost daily into Google Analytics. This automated Facebook-Ads-to-Google-Analytics integration is a seamless way to pull Facebook Ads data into your overall ecommerce tracking -- something that would otherwise be a headache for marketers and developers. The integration checks Facebook Ads for accurate tagging and automatically pulls ad cost data into GA. The new integration is included with all paid plans. You can activate the connection from the Connections tab in your Littledata dashboard. It's that easy! (Not a subscriber yet? Sign up for a free trial on any plan today.) We believe in a world of equal marketing attribution. Facebook may be big, but they’re not the only platform in town, and any traffic they're sending your way should be analysed in context. Connecting your Facebook Ads account takes just a few minutes, and once the data has collected you’ll be able to activate reports to show the same kind of ROI calculation we did above. Will you join us on the journey to better data?
The World Cup guide to marketing attribution
It’s World Cup fever here at Littledata. Although two of the nationalities in our global team didn’t get through the qualifiers (US & Romania) we still have England and Russia to support in the next round. And I think the World Cup is a perfect time to explain how marketing attribution works through the medium of football. In football (or what our NYC office calls 'soccer'), scoring a goal is a team effort. Strikers put the ball in the net, but you need an incisive midfield pass to cut through the opposition, and a good move starts from the back row. ‘Route one’ goals scored from a direct punt up the pitch are rare; usually teams hit the goal from a string of passes to open up the opportunity. So imagine each touch of the ball is a marketing campaign on your site, and the goal is a visitor purchasing. You have to string a series of marketing ‘touches’ together to get the visitor in the back of the net. For most ecommerce sites it is 3 to 6 touches, but it may be more for high value items. Now imagine that each player is a different channel. The move may start with a good distribution from the Display Ads defender, then a little cut back from nimble Instagram in the middle. Facebook Ads does the running up the wing, but passes it back to Instagram for another pass out to the other wing for Email. Email takes a couple of touches and then crosses the ball inside for AdWords to score a goal – which spins if off the opposing defender (Direct). GOAL!!! In this neat marketing-football move all the players contribute, but who gets credit for the goal? Well that depends on the attribution model you are using. Marketing attribution as a series of football passes Last interaction This is a simplest model, but less informative for the marketing team. In this model the opposing defender Direct gets all the credit – even though he knew nothing about the end goal! Last non-direct click This is the attribution model used by Google Analytics (and other tools) by default. In this model, we attribute all of the goal to the last campaign which wasn’t a Direct (or session with unknown source). In the move above this is AdWords, who was the last marketing player to touch the ball. But AdWords is a greedy little striker, so do we want him to take all the credit for this team goal? First interaction You may be most interested in the campaign that first brought visitors to your website. In this model, Display ads would take all the credit as the first touch. Display often performs best when measured as first interaction (or first click), but then as a ‘defender’ it is unlikely to put the ball in the net on its own – you need striker campaigns as well. Time decay This model shares the goal between the different marketing players. It may seem weird that a player can have a fraction of a goal, but it makes it easy to sum up performance across lots of goals. The player who was closest to the goal gets the highest share, and then it decays as we go back in time from the goal. So AdWords would get 0.4, Email 0.5 (for the 2 touches before) and Instagram gets 0.1. [subscribe] Data-driven attribution This is a model available to Google Analytics 360 customers only. What the Data-driven model does is run through thousands of different goals scored and look at the contribution of each player to the move. So if the team was equally likely to score a goal without Facebook Ads run down the wing it will give Facebook less credit for the goal. By contrast, if very few goals get scored without that pass from Instagram in the midfield then Instagram gets more credit for the goal. This should be the fairest way to attribute campaigns, but the limitation is it only considers the last 4 touches before the goal. You may have marketing moves which are longer than 4 touches. Position based Finally you can define your own attribution weighting in Position Based model, based on which position the campaign was in before the goal. For example, you may want to give some weight to the first interaction and some to the last, but little to the campaigns in between. Still confused? Maybe you need a Littledata analytics expert to help build a suitable model for you. Or the advice of our automated coach known as the analytics audit. After all, every strategy could use a good audit to make sure it's complete and up-to-date. So go enjoy the football, and every time someone talks of that ‘great assist’ from the winger, think of how you can better track all the uncredited marketing campaigns helping convert customers on your site.
How to implement a successful mobile marketing strategy
Mobile as a marketing strategy isn’t a new idea to anyone, but the landscape is changing quickly. Back in 2015, Google told us it would be expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. More recently, in early 2018, they stated that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches middle of this year. As consumers change their behavior on mobile devices, this greatly impacts our strategy as marketers. We now need to be visible on all devices, all the time. What do all these changes mean for marketers? Whether you're a solo AdWords consultant or a member of a digital agency, it's essential to stay on top of consumer trends in a way that is measurable and repeatable. In this post I break down how to develop a data-driven mobile marketing strategy that can easily scale with your online business. Mobile search has changed As consumers, we are research-obsessed. We want to know everything we can about an ecommerce product or service so we can make informed decisions. And as more of us search for seemingly minor things and do so on a small device, advertisers have the opportunity to be present in those micro moments. With an increase of searches on mobile devices (and with mobile searches already having bypassed desktop searches several years ago) we need to be present across the entire consumer experience, making the customer experience a business priority regardless of our brand or business size by providing a seamless experience on every device. Analyzing data with a last-click attribution model misses some of these mobile moments. Assumptions have changed along with search behaviors. In September 2015, Google shared that “near me” or “nearby” searches on Google had grown 2X in the previous year, but the use of that phrase has since declined. People still want results that are near them, but the assumption of today’s searchers is that Google knows the location of the searchers and where to find what was searched because people are using their devices throughout the day. Increase of use for “open now” and “tonight" and “today” travel-related terms indicate people are seeking information on their device. [subscribe] What this means for brands Does your strategy consider these trends and adjust to changes in consumer behavior? A mobile experience leads to a brand impression. People expect a consistent experience every time they interact with a brand. If your site does not deliver and does not deliver quickly, they will quickly leave. Regardless of which channel they used to get to your site, the mobile experience must be as seamless as the desktop experience. What this means for Google AdWords As mobile use continues to increase and consumer behavior changes, we need to better align our PPC efforts and use an attribution model that addresses all steps of the journey. With AdWords, we can align our marketing strategy to mobile use with mobile search ads, mobile display ads and app ads on mobile devices. Each option offers slightly different features. Text ads can display on any device. The primary difference with ads on mobile vs desktop is more ads per page on a desktop and only a couple on a mobile device. Because the first couple ads take up most of the screen on a smartphone, advertisers need to be in the first or second position because that is all that will display. Impatient searchers will not scroll down on their device to your ad in position four. On the Display Network, you can be more creative with ads, adding images and videos to the mix. Although image sizes that work on desktop computers will also work on mobile devices, aim for a smaller size of 320 x 50 when possible, keeping the layout of smaller screen sizes in mind. The third option for mobile ads are appearing on mobile apps, which are part of the Display Network. App promotion ads have a goal of driving downloads. Campaigns with only app promotion ads are eligible for phones and tablets; they are not on desktop computers. Bid adjustments With your AdWords campaigns, set bids on mobile devices that are aligned with your goals. As mentioned above, many will not scroll down the search results page on a smartphone to view ads so may want to increase these bids. This is also important for branding goals; you need to be at the top to be seen. When determining mobile bids based on ROI, identify ROI for desktop versus tablets and devices. That way, your adjustment is based specifically on the mobile value of conversions. Keywords In any AdWords campaign, the key to success is selecting the correct keywords. But you can go a step further and use the keyword tool to also see mobile trends for your selected keyword over the previous year. Use these findings to inform your bidding strategy. A subjective approach is to view your keywords in the eyes of your users. Are the keywords in your campaigns ones that you would type into your mobile device? Although more people use voice recognition to search, there are still those who type in their request. Since typing on a small screen results in typos, you want broad match keywords in your campaign when targeting mobile users. Make sure these keywords include action-oriented terms. Some people may surf their device out of boredom while standing in line, but many search to find information to make a decision. You can capture these early clicks with an attribution model other than last-click. Mobile URLs Google provides an option of using mobile URLs in ads to customize the mobile experience, but if the mobile URL is the same as the Final URL in AdWords, adding it does not impact mobile performance. This is designed for people who have different pages for mobile users. AMP pages An open source initiative, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) solve the issue around slow landing pages to make them faster for mobile. Business that have used them find a much quicker loading time and a more engaging experience. You can also use the AMP version of your website in this option for final URL Bid strategy Take advantage of machine learning with a Smart Bidding strategy in your AdWords campaigns. It considers the multiple signals around device type and browser for auction-time changes, offering more targeting than we could do manually as an AdWords account manager with simple bid adjustments. Monitor device performance with this strategy and prioritize mobile traffic if it does particularly well on devices. Attribution models In all AdWords campaigns, regardless of device, many advertisers use the last-click attribution model, which is not ideal for any campaign, including those targeting mobile. It gives all the credit for a conversion to the last touchpoint - the last click - which misses out on how other interactions influenced the decision to convert. If you have enough data in your account, utilize the Data-Driven Attribution Model. If it is not available to you, consider one of the other options besides last-click attribution. The right reporting for mobile marketing Before you target mobile users with advertising, check first that your site performs well on mobile devices if you do not plan to have a mobile specific URL. Start with a quick test for mobile speed to see if you are at risk of losing traffic. Next do a quick SEO check of your site which is based on Google’s guidelines, which is also relevant to paid traffic. For all your campaigns, not just AdWords, you need to consider metrics such as sessions by device type for general site behavior and conversions once a campaign is running for a while. To minimize manual work for reporting and analysis, use a Littledata report pack which pulls in data from Google Analytics to offer automated reporting on customer touch points, providing data you need without the manual labor. And remember your mobile users are on the go, so any advertising needs to cater to them in the moment! Want to know more? Get in touch with Tina's agency, 360 Internet Strategy, and follow her on LinkedIn.
How to dramatically increase revenue with Refersion and affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing consistently outperforms other channels for ecommerce businesses. In this special guest post, Refersion's Robert Woo shares essential tips about how Littledata customers can get a piece of the action. Affiliate marketing is a powerful channel to drive sales, but is surprisingly overlooked by many small and medium-sized businesses. In a 2016 report by Heinz Marketing, referrals made the most positive impact on revenue for businesses, by far. As business owners know, the easiest sales come from customer recommendations to their friends and family. Especially for SMBs, word-of-mouth is often the backbone of how they acquire new customers. Now here’s another statistic: when customers come through affiliate channels, their average customer revenue is 58% higher than other channels. In other words, not only is it easier to get more customers via word-of-mouth, if they are referrals, but those customers also spend more. As you can see, getting into affiliate marketing is a double win for your business. But it can seem tricky to get started. The traditional way of doing affiliate marketing Online affiliate, or referral, marketing is as old as the internet. Here’s how it traditionally works: Research various affiliate networks that are accepting new merchants (that’s you). Pay a fee to join one (as high as $5000). Use this network to find affiliate partners to market your product/service. Pay out a commission to these partners. Pay out a monthly fee, and a portion of these commissions (15 to 25%) to the affiliate network. In this traditional way, you can see a clear trade-off for the benefit of joining an existing network. While you’ll have immediate access to many publishers waiting to market your product, there are a lot of fees for this privilege. So much so that for smaller businesses often find it hard to make a good profit from this model. On the other hand, you could start your own program up from scratch. But while you’d save a fortune in fees, the big trade off is your time investment. It takes time to put an affiliate marketing program in place. From creating a portal for your affiliates to use, to finding these influencers in the first place, to getting the hang of the metrics you need to monitor; it can all be a lot, especially for SMBs with a small team devoted to marketing. [subscribe] The better way, for Littledata customers Luckily, we here at Refersion have made it easy and affordable to forego joining an existing affiliate network and start your own. What we do is help businesses take a 'hybrid approach', taking the best of both worlds, making running a program cheap and simple. The best part? We’ve now integrated with Littledata to make data analysis even more insightful, so your business can easily maximize the ROI of your in-house affiliate marketing program. Used together, Littledata and Refersion are a supercharged toolbox for ecommerce entrepreneurs who have always wanted to launch a referral program, but was afraid to commit the time and energy. With Refersion, you can set up your business to start taking advantage of affiliate marketing in less than ten minutes. Connect your online shopping cart, create custom affiliate emails and coupon codes, and quickly find the right publishers to work with in the Refersion Marketplace. And if you’re already a Littledata customer, you’ll know that you can get all your affiliate marketing metrics and analysis in your dashboard and reporting. Don’t leave money on the table With the rise of ad blockers, many types of online marketing have taken big hits. But affiliate marketing isn’t subject to this limitation. Don’t ignore one of the best channels of getting new customers and higher sales! If you want to learn more about Refersion, watch this short intro video on how it all works. Ready to take the plunge? Here’s a special signup page for Littledata customers. Get a 14 day free trial today! Robert Woo is a Marketing Manager at Refersion.
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