GDPR compliance for ecommerce businesses

Ecommerce companies typically store lots of personally identifiable information (PII), so how can you make compliance easier without compromising analysis? With the deadline for GDPR compliance looming, I wanted to expand on my previous article on GDPR and Google Analytics to focus on ecommerce. Firstly, who does this apply to? GDPR is European Union legislation that applies to any company trading in Europe: so if you sell online and deliver to European Union member countries, the regulations apply to you. It's essential that you understand how your online business is collecting and storing PII. Splitting PII from anonymous data points Your goal should be to maintain two separate data stores: one that contains customer details, from where you can look up what a specific customer bought, and one that contains anonymous data points, from where you can see performance and trends. The data store for the customer details will typically be your ecommerce back-end and/or CRM (see below). This will include name, email, address, purchase history, etc. It will link those with a customer number and orders numbers. If a customer wants the right of access all the relevant details should be in this store. We use Google Analytics as the anonymous data store (although you may have a different ecommerce analytics platform). There you can store data which only refers to the customer record. These are called pseudo-anonymous data points under GDPR: they are only identifiable to a customer if you can link the customer number or order number back to your ecommerce back-end. Pseudo-anonymous data points you can safely send to Google Analytics include: Order number / transaction ID Order value / transaction amount Tax & shipping Product names and quantities Customer number Hashed email address (possibly a more flexible to link back to the customer record) If a customer exercises their right to removal, removing them from the ecommerce back-end will be sufficient. You do not also have to remove them from your Google Analytics, since the order number and customer number now have nothing to refer to. You do still need due process to ensure access to Google Analytics is limited, as in extreme circumstances a combination of dimensions such as products, country / city and browser, could identify the customer. [subscribe] Isn’t it simpler to just have one store? Every extra data store you maintain increases the risk of data breaches and complexity of compliance – so why not just analyse a single customer data store? I can think of three reasons not to do so: Marketing agencies (and other third parties) need access to the ecommerce conversion data, but not the underlying customer data Removing a customer’s order history on request would impact your historic revenue and purchase volumes – not desirable Your CRM / ecommerce platform is not built for large scale analysis: it may lack the tools, speed and integrations needed to get meaningful insights Beware of accidental transfers There are a few danger areas where you may inadvertently be sending PII data to Google Analytics: Customer emails captured in a signup event A customised product name – e.g. ‘engraving for Edward Upton’ Address or name captured in a custom dimension Our PII audit check is a quick, free way to make sure that’s not happening. Multiple stores of customer details GDPR compliance becomes difficult when your customer record is fragmented across multiple data stores. For example, you may have product and order information in your ecommerce database, with further customer contact details in a CRM. The simplest advice is to set up automatic two-way integrations between the data stores, so updating the CRM updates the ecommerce platform and visa-versa. Removing customer records from one system should remove them from the other. If that’s not possible, then you need clear processes to update both systems when customer details change, so you can comply with the right to rectification. Conclusion GDPR compliance need not require changing analytics tools or databases, just a clear process for separating out personally identifiable information – and training for the staff involved in handing that data. I hope this brief overview has been helpful. For further advice on how your ecommerce systems comply, please contact us for a free consultation. Littledata has experience with every major analytics platform and a wide range of custom setups. However, as a number of global companies are concurrently prepping for compliance, we highly recommend that you get in touch sooner rather than later!

2018-02-13

How to improve AdWords retargeting using ecommerce checkout steps

In the ecommerce world, one of the smartest ways to improve ROI for marketing campaigns is to retarget customers who visited your website in the first place. These visitors are already in the market for the types of products that you sell, but how do you pull them back if they've dropped out of the checkout process? The most effective way to grab these customers is to target them based on where they dropped off. Luckily, Google lets you do exactly that: with the right analytics, you can set up retargeting campaigns based on checkout behaviour. At Littledata we've helped online stores in over 50 countries to improve marketing ROI using ecommerce tracking. In this post I share three simple steps you can take to improve your AdWords retargeting based on ecommerce checkout behaviour. 1. Set up accurate product tracking for your store Enhance Ecommerce tracking has been available from Google Analytics for a couple of years now. If you're already using this Google Analytics feature, good for you! Having product data means you can take advantage of this and create Audiences that then can be shared with AdWords (and other platforms). In order to improve AdWords retargeting using checkout steps, you must have checkout tracking and Enhanced Ecommerce enabled in Google Analytics. Then you can follow this checklist to set up accurate product tracking that can be used for Audiences in AdWords. Check out this resource (or share it with your lead developer): Google's Guide to Measuring a Checkout Repeat after me: "The fields must by dynamically populated! This is important!" Clarify where the checkout process starts and ends on your website (and again, if your developer is handling the setup make sure they're clear about each stage in your checkout funnel, including where  the process starts and stops) Set up checkout tracking based on that process Once this data is successfully coming into Google Analytics, you're ready to create Audiences and share them with AdWords At this point, it's important to mention that there are a lot of elements to Enhanced Ecommerce tracking and each part needs to be set up separately. For example, you will not automatically be tracking product categories, listings and details. If you're not sure how to implement the full extent of Enhanced Ecommerce, we're here to help. If you're using the Shopify platform, you're in luck, as our Shopify reporting app's audit feature checks for accurate product and checkout-step tracking, and automatically assists with setting these up for you. The app works directly with the Google Analytics setup for your Shopify store, so you don't have to deal with Shopify's native reporting, which doesn't let you see how users are progressing through the checkout process. 2. Analyse customer behaviour, including checkout steps Shopping cart abandonment is the most frequent complaint we hear from ecommerce marketers. Why does someone add products to their shopping cart and then just abandon it completely? This isn't common in brick-and-mortar stores, so why does it happen so often online? Remember that online shoppers don't want to leave those things behind. They were attracted to those products and have expressed the desire to buy. But with a bad checkout flow, too much information or too little, they'll fly away and leave behind only unloved products with high shipping costs or under-promoted benefits. One of the best Enhanced Ecommerce use cases is the Checkout Behaviour report. This is essentially a Shopping Cart Abandonment report, showing weaknesses in your checkout process and where to invest your time and money to convince users that have added-to-cart to go ahead and complete a purchase. Why is this important and relevant to AdWords? Well, everything in marketing is about perspective. The above report doesn't only show you where you could improve your checkout flow, but also where you've lost customers. 'Lost' is the key word here. If you're losing a significant percentage of customers at the shipping stage of your checkout process, this is an opportunity to improve - and to market those improvements using AdWords. For example, you might look at that report and ask yourself: Are you charging customers too much for shipping? You can't really change that cost for all carts (we know that shipping costs are significant) but you could, for example, offer free shipping to shoppers with items in their cart over some profitability margin. Retargeting those users in Google AdWords is an effective way to show them that you're ready to reward them for making large purchases from your online store. Are you limiting yourself to too few territories? Put your analysts to work to find out where customers that leave the purchase flow want their goods to be delivered. Can you extend your logistical capabilities, or do you have a brick-and-mortar store nearby where you can direct these shoppers? Use AdWords retargeting to let them know. Of course, Google Analytics' native reports aren't for everyone. If you find them confusing or haven't worked extensively with enhanced ecommerce data, check out Littledata's report packs. These automated reports are an easy but comprehensive way to read and interpret ecommerce data without any hassle. For the purposes of tracking checkout steps to improve retargeting, I'd recommend our Ecommerce behaviour pack, which includes reports on shopping behaviour by marketing channel and checkout steps. [subscribe] 3. Set up retargeting campaigns based on that data How do you retarget users in AdWords based on Google Analytics data? Fear not, my brave colleagues! If you've made it to this step, you shouldn't have any trouble creating powerful retargeting campaigns. First you'll need to create a new Audience. In your Google Analytics Admin, find Audience Definitions in the middle of the screen near the bottom. Click on New Audience. Click on Create New and on this screen go to Conditions and Filter Users to Include the steps you want to target with this Audience. Set the Shopping Stage to contain (equal) 'Checkout_Abandonment' or 'Checkout_1', 'Checkout_2', etc. - wherever your customers have been falling off and leaving a basket full of goodies without completing the purchase. (Note that this field is auto-completed, so give GA a second after you start typing to show the options here.) You'll then need to set a time period. Think about your specific business and how far back you want to go with the search. Once you're happy with your selection, pick which Google AdWords account you'll want to link to this new Audience. That's it! You're now ready to run PPC promotions to a buy-ready audience that would otherwise have disappeared. I hope you've enjoyed this quick guide. Please drop me a line below and let me know how you use checkout steps in relation to AdWords. I always love to hear how other specialists in the field combine platforms to create perfect marketing. PRO TIP: If you're in a country with Google Merchant available, you can benefit from dynamic remarketing. This does take some extra setup on the product level, so let us know if you have specific questions. (And stay tuned - we're planning some Google Merchant Center-related posts for the near future.)

2018-02-06

How to set up demographics tracking in Google Analytics (VIDEO)

Could you be missing out on your best customers - those that are more likely to convert, and more likely to make big purchases when they do? Watch this quick video to find out how to to set up demographics tracking in Google Analytics. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=PAeCubNxoKI[/embed] Demographics and interests data provides information about the types of customers that are using your site, along with the interests they express through their online travel and purchasing activities. Once you set up this tracking, you'll be able to see your customer base broken down by age group, gender and interests. This data isn't just nice to have; it helps you market to the biggest potential spenders by discovering who's most interested in your products or services. Analytics and AdWords use the same age, gender, and interests categories, so this is particularly useful for improving your targeting on the Google Display Network. [subscribe] That said, connecting demographics data with shopping activity and revenue is a complicated art. Our popular Buyer Personas feature automates reporting and shows you how to improve that spend. And we don't just stop with paid ads. We include personas for every significant channel, including email marketing, organic search, affiliates/referrals and social media campaigns. Wherever you want to use demographics targeting to increase revenue, we've got you covered.

2017-12-05

How to set up campaign tagging in Google Analytics (VIDEO)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVxi0sQmro0&t=5s Google Analytics is only as smart as your tagging. To lower average CPA and increase conversions in a sustainable way, you need an in-depth view of customer acquisition channels. Accurate campaign tagging makes it possible to get the data needed to understand acquisition costs based on particular source and medium. If you want to improve marketing ROI, it's essential to get campaign tagging right in Google Analytics. But how does it all work? Follow the simple rules in this quick how-to video to make sure you're getting accurate data about where your traffic is coming from. [subscribe] Questions addressed in the setup video: What is a campaign in Google Analytics (GA)? What is UTM Parameter and how do I use it? Is it possible that a large volume of my 'Direct' traffic in GA is actually coming from sources such as email or social, but just wasn't tagged correctly? How do I know? I want to see all email marketing campaign traffic as one line item in my GA reports. Do spellings matter? Are UTM parameters case-sensitive? What are the best practices for GTM tagging using the Google Analytics Link Builder? For more info on custom campaign tracking, check out this detailed post about campaign parameters and how to use them. Remember that when you set up new campaigns or marketing channels, things can change or get lost in the mix. It's important to keep an eye on your analytics setup. Even once you've successfully set up campaign tagging in GA, we recommend auditing your analytics on a regular basis. And don't stop there. Once you've established data accuracy, follow in the footsteps of the most successful ecommerce sites and use Buyer Personas to get a clear view of which types of customers are more likely to convert in each channel. Now that's smart growth, driven by data!

2017-10-31

Is Google Analytics compliant with GDPR?

From May 2018 the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will come into force in the European Union, causing all marketers and data engineers to re-consider how they store, transmit and manage data – including Google Analytics. If your company uses Google Analytics, and you have customers in Europe, then this guide will help you check compliance. The rights enshrined by GDPR relate to any data your company holds which is personally identifiable: that is, can be tied back to a customer who contacts you. The simplest form of compliance, and what Google requires in the GA Terms of Use, is that you do not store any personally identifiable information. Imagine a customer calls your company and using the right of access asks what web analytics you hold on them. If it is impossible for anyone at your company (or from your agencies) to identify that customer in GA, then the other right of rectification and right of erasure cannot apply. Since it is not possible to selectively delete data in GA (without deleting the entire web property history) this is also the only practical way to comply. The tasks needed to meet depends on your meaning of ‘impossible to identify’! Basic Compliance Any customer data sent ‘in the clear’ to GA is a clear break of their terms, and can result in Google deleting all your analytics for that period. This would include: User names sent in page URLs Phone numbers captured during form completion events Email addresses used as customer identifiers in custom dimensions If you’re not sure, our analytics audit tool includes a check for all these types of personally identifiable information. You need to filter out the names and emails on the affected pages, in the browser; applying a filter within GA itself is not sufficient. But I prefer a belt-and-braces approach to compliance, so you should also look at who has access to the Google Analytics account, and ensure that all those with access are aware of the need not to capture personal data and GDPR more generally. You should check your company actually owns the Google Analytics account (not an agency), and if not transfer it back. At the web property level, you should check only a limited number of admins have permission to add and remove users, and that all the users only have permission to the websites they are directly involved in. Or you could talk to us about integrations with your internal systems to automatically add and remove users to GA based on roles in the company. [subscribe] Full Compliance Other areas which could possibly be personally identifiable and you may need to discuss are: IP addresses Postcodes/ZIP codes Long URLs with lots of user-specific attributes The customer’s IP address is not stored by Google in a database, or accessible to any client company, but it could potentially be accessed by a Google employee. If you’re concerned there is a plug-in to anonymise the last part of the IP address, which still allows Google to detect the user’s rough location. ZIP codes are unlikely to be linked to a user, but in the UK some postcodes could be linked to an individual household – and to a person, in combination with the web pages they visited. As with IPs, the best solution is to only send the first few digits (the ‘outcode’) to GA, which still allows segmenting by location. Long URLs are problematic in reporting (since GA does not allow more than 50,000 different URL variants in a report) but also because, as with postcodes, a combination of lots of marginally personal information could lead to a person. For example, if the URL was mysite.com/form?gender=female&birthdate=31-12-1980&companyName=Facebook&homeCity=Winchester This could allow anyone viewing those page paths in GA to identify the person. The solution is to replace long URLs with a shortened version like mysite.com/form And for bonus points... All European websites are required to get visitors to opt in to a cookie policy, which covers the use of the GA tracker cookie. But does your site log whether that cookie policy was accepted, by using a custom event? Doing so would protect you from a web-savvy user in the future who wanted to know what information has been stored against the client ID used in his Google cookie. I feel this client ID is outside the scope of GDPR, but guaranteeing that the user on GA can be linked to opt-in consent of the cookie will help protect against any future data litigation. The final area of contention is hashing emails. This is the process used to convert a plain email like ‘me@gmail.com’ into a unique string like ‘uDpWb89gxRkWmZLgD’. The theory is that hashing is a one-way process, so I can’t regenerate the original personal email from the hash, rendering it not personal. The problem is that some common hashing algorithms can be cracked, so actually the original email can be deduced from a seemingly-random string. The result is that under GDPR, such email hashes are considered 'pseudonymized' - the resulting data can be more widely shared for analysis, but still needs to be handled with care. For extra security, you could add a ‘salt’ to the hashing, but this might negate the whole reason why you want to store a user email in the first place – to link together different actions or campaigns from the same user, without actually naming the user. There are ways around that strike a compromise. Contact Littledata for a free initial consultation or a GDPR compliance audit.

2017-10-19

How to see shopping behaviour for each product you sell (VIDEO)

Product performance can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. In this quick video, we show you how to use Google Analytics to see shopping behaviour related to each product you're selling. All you'll need to see this report is a site connected to Google Analytics with the Enhanced Ecommerce plugin setup. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVGAdHTkw3s[/embed] Using the Shopping Behavior report in Google Analytics Whether your ecommerce site is large or small, the Shopping Behavior report makes it easy to drill deep into user behaviour to understand why some products are converting better than others. If a particular product isn't selling well, the Shopping Behavior report will help you figure out why. It shows how far shoppers engage with your products, from initial list views through to shopping cart activities. [subscribe] Reasons a product might not be selling well It isn't at an optimal place in a product list or display The product details, such as images and description, aren't sending the right message Customers are abandoning their shopping carts completely, or removing that particular product (or group of products, such as multiple pairs of jeans) after adding it Who knows? You haven't audited your Google Analytics setup lately so your customer behaviour data can't be trusted to help you improve Each of those issues requires different actions, sometimes by entirely different departments (ie. marketing, pricing, ux)! That's what makes the Shopping Behavior report so important for improving ecommerce sales and conversions. We hope you enjoyed this latest video in our series of Google Analytics how-to guides. Need help setting up Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Analytics, or ensuring that your data is accurate? Contact a Littledata consultant today.

2017-09-14

5 (bad) reasons not to do a Google Analytics audit

Does this sound familiar? 'We know our data's bad, but we don't have the time or resources to fix it'. Or, even worse: 'I checked a bunch of other metrics and they didn't justify our current ad spend, so I think I'll just present that same old report at the meeting today...again. Luckily we haven't fixed our Google Analytics setup to track too much relevant data about other marketing channels, or to connect those channels directly to revenue, because then we might need to change our whole strategy!' There's still a lot of confusion out there about the role and scope of an analytics audit. With a free audit tool directly in the  app, Littledata is on a mission to change this. Here are some (slightly exaggerated) versions of common objections to doing an analytics audit, and how to overcome them. 1. You don't know what a Google Analytics audit is Okay, not to start this somewhat ironic post with an entirely un-ironic objection, but not understanding the process is probably the only good reason not to audit your analytics setup. Luckily an analytics audit is actually very straightforward: it's simply a check of your analytics configuration and implementation. Some consultants and last-gen apps can make the audit process seem confusing and disorienting. If that's been your experience, we're here to help. Our free Google Analytics audit tool explains the process in real time. Not only that, but many tracking and reporting issues can be fixed automatically by the app (hello, intelligent algorithm!). 2. You don't believe in marketing ROI There are a lot of fluffy tools out there. Google Analytics isn't one of them. It's not that all digital marketers take action based on analytics, but a majority of the top ones do. That's what makes them the best. If you need convincing that accurate data is the secret sauce behind higher marketing ROI (return on investment), check out the recent Google Analytics research with Econsultancy, where they found that '60% of leading marketers routinely take action based on analytics, and are also 48% more likely than mainstream marketers to say their strategy is strongly data-driven'. 3. You trust everything you read online Failing to audit your analytics setup is basically the same as believing that everything you read online is true, no matter the source. Why? Because bad data produces bad reports. This is true no matter how fancy your reporting templates might be, or how much time you've spent making spreadsheets of Google Analytics data look accessible. Unless you regularly audit your analytics setup, how do you know if you're tracking the right things in the right manner? This is especially true if you're using an otherwise awesome ecommerce platform like Shopify, which has notoriously questionable tracking that also happens to be easy to fix with the right analytics app. [subscribe] 4. You think that the customer is always wrong Customer happiness isn't just a buzzword, it's increasingly what's driving the growth and expansion of online businesses, especially in the ecommerce space. Big players like Amazon learned this early on, and they built an effective - and addictive - customer experience around heaps of data on everything from affiliate ads to repeat buying activity. Think you don't have access to those same tools? Think again. If you want to build a better customer experience, it's essential to start with the correct Google Analytics setup and end the guessing games about where your leads and customers come from, and how they act. That's where the audit comes in. 5. You're betting on failure Are you betting that your own company will fail? Unless you secretly run an ecommerce hedge fund and have shorted your own startup, this is probably a bad idea. Auditing your data tracking across the customer life cycle is a sure way to see what's working, what's not, and what can be improved. Otherwise you're stuck with bad data and revenue tracking that might not have much to do with the reality - or the future - of your online business. Is there a better way? Look, we get it. Change can be scary, but choosing to stay stuck in the same data rut isn't the way forward. We've helped over a thousand online businesses fix their Google Analytics setup to capture accurate, relevant data. Littledata's industry-leading automated audit tool is free to run as often as you'd like. Sign up today and start trusting your data.

by Ari
2017-09-07

How to set up Site Search tracking in Google Analytics (VIDEO)

What are visitors searching for on your website? Watch this quick video to learn how to set up Site Search tracking in Google Analytics. Site Search makes it easy to track search activity on your site. In the video we show you how to: Set up Site Search for a web property connected to your Google Analytics account Understand which query parameters you're using, and apply them to your Site Search setup View the resulting search metrics, including visits with search, total unique searches, specific search terms (what web visitors are searching for), and search depth Tracking on-site search terms is surprisingly easy! All you'll need to get started is a Google Analytics account and a search box on your site. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlsMBWFt5aQ[/embed] What are visitors searching for on your site? On-site search is one of the things we scan for with our free Google Analytics audit tool. Many online businesses forget to add this to their Google Analytics setup, focusing instead on external search data such as that from Google AdWords (or ignoring search activity altogether!), but this is a mistake. Capturing on-site search terms is essential for any online business that that is serious about growth. Understanding what web visitors are searching for - and how that leads to deep engagement with your site or app - can help you improve site UX (user experience), develop product offerings which your customers are already hungry for, and get a higher ROI from product marketing campaigns and ad spend. For more details on the Site Search feature and how to identify search query parameters, check out the Google Analytics help guide. Still have questions? The Littledata team is always here to help. You can contact us directly in the app, or feel free to connect with our Google Analytics consultants for larger projects. [subscribe] Hint: Use search-related benchmarks to find out how your on-site search traffic compares with other sites in your industry and location. The Littledata app includes analytics benchmarks to make this as easy as possible. For example, you can compare usage of internal search on your website against internal search usage on all websites. Once you've set up Site Search, you will automatically be able to see relevant search-related benchmarks in your Littledata dashboard.  

2017-09-06

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