Category : ReCharge
How to calculate customer lifetime value (CLV) for subscription ecommerce in Google Analytics
Many of Littledata's subscription customers come to us with a similar problem: how to calculate return on advertising spend, considering the varying customer lifetime value (CLV) of subscription signups. Calculating marketing ROI for subscription ecommerce is a big problem with a number of potential solutions, but even the initial problem is often misunderstood. In this post I break down what the problem is, and walk through two proven solutions for getting consistent, reliable CLV reporting in Google Analytics. What is customer lifetime value? I work with all kinds of subscription ecommerce businesses: beauty boxes, nutritional supplements, training courses and even sunglasses-by-the-month. All of them want to optimise customer acquisition costs. The common factor is they are all willing to pay way MORE than the value of the customers' first subscription payment... because they expect the customer to subscribe for many months. But for how many months exactly? That's the big question. Paying for a marketing campaign which bring trial customers who cancel after one payment - or worse, before the first payment - is very different from paying to attract sticky subscribers. A marketing director of a subscription business should be willing to pay WAY more to attract customers than stay 12 months than customers who only stay one month. 12 times more, to be precise. So how do we measure the different contribution of marketing campaigns to lifetime customer value? In Google Analytics you may be using ecommerce tracking to measure the first order value, but this misses the crucial detail of how long those shoppers will remain subscribers. With lifetime customer value segments we can make more efficient use of media, tailor adverts to different segments, find new customers with lookalike audiences and target loyalty campaigns. There are two ways for a marketing manager to see this data in Google Analytics: one is a more difficult, manual solution; the other is an easier, automated solution that ties recurring payments back to the original campaigns. A manual solution: segment orders and assign a lifetime value to each channel It's possible to see the required data in GA by manually segmenting orders and assigning a lifetime value to each channel. For this solution you'll need to join together: (a) the source of a sample of first orders from more than a year ago, by customer number or transaction ID and (b) the CLV of these customers The accuracy of the data set for A is limited by how your Google Analytics is set up: if your ecommerce marketing attribution is not accurate (e.g. using Shopify's out-the-box GA scripts) then any analysis is flawed. You can get B from your subscription billing solution, exporting a list of customer payments (and anonymising the name or email before you share the file internally). To link B to A, you'll need either to have the customer number or transaction ID of the first payment (if this is stored in Google Analytics). [subscribe] Then you can join the two data sets in Excel (using VLOOKUP or similar function), and average out the lifetime value by channel. Even though it's only a sample, if you have more than 100 customers in each major channel it should give you enough data to extrapolate from. Now you've got that CLV by channel, and assuming that is steady over time, you could import that back into Google Analytics by sending a custom event when a new customer subscribes with the 'event value' set as the lifetime value. The caveat is that CLV by channel will likely change over time, so you'll need to repeat the analysis every month. If you're looking to get away from manual solutions and excessive spreadsheets, read on... A better solution: tie recurring payments back to the original campaign(s) What if you could import the recurring payments into Google Analytics directly, as they are paid, so the CLV is constantly updated and can be segmented by campaign, country, device or any other standard GA dimension? This is what our Google Analytics connection for ReCharge does. Available for any store using Shopify as their ecommerce platform and ReCharge for recurring billing, the smart connection (integration) ties every recurring payment back to the campaigns in GA. Here's how the connector works The only drawback is that you'll need to wait a few months for enough customer purchase history (which feeds into CLV) to be gathered. We think it's worth the wait, as you then have accurate data going forward without needing to do any manual imports or exports. Then, if you also import your campaign costs automatically, you can do the Return on Investment (ROI) calculations directly in Google Analytics, using GA's new ROI Analysis report (under Conversions > Attribution), or in your favourite reporting tool. Do you have a unique way of tracking your marketing to maximise CLV? Are there other metrics you think are more important for subscription retailers? Littledata's connections are growing. We'll be launching integrations for other payment solutions later this year, so let us know if there's a particular one you'd like to see next.
New help center articles on Shopify tracking and ReCharge integration
We recently launched the Littledata Help Center to make it easier for customers to find the most relevant answers to their analytics questions. You can think of it as the more formal, technically-minded cousin of our popular analytics blog (which you're reading right now). With detailed new articles on Shopify tracking and how our ReCharge integration works, the Littledata Help Center is a go-to resource for current customers and ecommerce managers looking for a clearer view of how to use Google Analytics effectively. About our Help Center Like many startups, we began by using our blog as the main support resource, with articles on everything from Google Analytics to GDPR. Yet as we've grown, so have the number of setup guides and technical details we feel we should provide for a seamless user experience. In short, our support articles have outgrown the blog! Not to worry, blog fans. The blog will continue to be a resource for anyone interested in ecommerce analytics. We've been honoured at all the industry attention our blog has received, and we look forward to growing both resources side-by-side in the coming years. Shopify tracking Until you know what to look for, choosing the right Shopify reporting app can seem like a daunting process. There are a number of apps that are good at tracking just one thing, or helping you visualise some of the tracking you already have set up. Littledata's Shopify app is different. It's become especially popular with Shopify Plus stores and medium-sized Shopify sites on the enterprise growth path because it fixes your tracking and provides a full optimisation suite, including automated reports, benchmarks and buyer personas, to help optimise for dramatically higher revenue and conversions. New support articles help break down how this all-in-one solution works, including what you can track with our Shopify reporting app and setup guides for basic and custom installations. [subscribe] ReCharge integration Advanced Google Analytics integration for stores using ReCharge is one of our most popular integrations. It's a streamlined way to get accurate subscription analytics, including marketing attribution and LTV reporting. New support articles break down how ReCharge integration works with Littledata. You'll find guides on everything from how to check if the integration is working, to FAQs and more technical articles about tracking first-time versus recurring payments with GA views. We hope you take full advantage of Littledata's Help Center. Of course, you can always reach out to our support team directly from the Intercom popups on our blog, public site and app. We're available Monday to Friday in time zones around the world. Don't hesitate to get in touch, and remember -- your success is our success!
ReCharge integration for subscription analytics
We're excited to announce that Littledata's Shopify app now integrates seamlessly with ReCharge! The integration makes it easy to get an accurate data stream about your ReCharge subscriptions in Google Analytics. What is ReCharge? ReCharge is the most popular recurring billing solution for Shopify stores. It lets you easily sell subscriptions on a Shopify store. ReCharge has a robust feature set for stores selling physical products on subscription, allowing for single product, mixed cart & entire cart subscriptions. The app powers thousands of stores processing tens of thousands of orders daily, including Littledata customers like Tiege Hanley skin care and BIOHM probiotics. Until we built this new integration, ReCharge customers didn't have a way to get a complete data collection in Google Analytics without hiring expensive GA consultants. How the integration works Integrating Littledata with ReCharge lets you capture data about the entire subscriber journey, from marketing campaigns to first-time payments and recurring revenue. The integration uses Littledata's magic sauce to connect Shopify and ReCharge data to Google Analytics. The reporting includes essential information for understanding business performance: End-to-end Google Analytics tracking for the subscriber journey Marketing attribution for subscription revenue, including first-time payments and recurring charges Segmentation by payment source, subscription plan type and product category With this integration plus the power of Littledata's analytics audit tool, you ensure accurate tracking of everything in your ecommerce funnel. You can then take advantage of automated reporting to help you increase revenue, including report packs built specifically for subscription analytics. Littledata's revenue optimisation tools pull directly from your GA data. Advanced users can can also use that data directly in GA - and connect it to dashboard tools like Data Studio and Supermetrics. And the price is right! Littledata provides Google Analytics for ReCharge stores at no extra cost. It's a free integration for any Shopify store using both apps! [subscribe] Setup guide For the Littledata - ReCharge integration to work, you need to install both apps for your Shopify store, then connect them by activating the integration. Install ReCharge Install Littledata’s Shopify app Follow these steps to activate the integration Note that you will activate ReCharge’s basic Google Analytics integration as part of the setup process, but you need to complete the Littledata integration to get full marketing attribution and to track recurring subscriptions (not just first-time payments). For more information about how our ReCharge integration works, check out our knowledge base. If you’re looking for custom setup or help with reporting, consider one of Littledata’s enterprise plans. Higher-tier plans include a dedicated account manager and support from analytics experts. We have many happy ReCharge customers, so please get in touch if you have any special requests! This post was updated in June 2018
Subscribe to our blog
Get the latest posts in your email
Get the Littledata analytics app
Complete picture of your ecommerce business. Free Google Analytics connection, audit and benchmarks.Sign up