The rise of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and sunsetting of Universal Analytics
Last week, Google formally announced that they will be “sunsetting” Universal Analytics and pushing all users to move to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) by the second half of 2023. Does this mean that you should drop everything now and start fully embracing GA4? Actually, things are a bit more complicated. Like everything in the world of data, we recommend a methodical approach to the change. We’ve already outlined Littledata’s approach to GA4 for ecommerce stores. So in this article, we’ll take a deeper look at what Google just announced, what this means for your analytics setup, and recommend next steps for merchants using Google Analytics with ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. [tip]Get excited for what GA4 has in store with our 10 reasons to make the switch.[/tip] What’s happening to Universal Analytics? The summer of 2023 may very well be remembered across the ecommerce industry for the rise of GA4, as Google is officially sunsetting its predecessor, Universal Analytics (aka UA, GA3, or the “old version” of Google Analytics). Google’s official announcement, which you can read in full on their blog. This announcement may have come as a bit of a surprise to some. GA4 has been available for a while but wasn’t made a priority before. Fortunately, moving from UA to GA4 doesn't have to be a headache for your team—as long as you have the right setup in place. Littledata already has a GA4 connection in beta that select customers have been using by setting up their Google Analytics 4 properties and connecting the Littledata app for event tracking and analytics since the news broke. Google promises GA4 will bring an adjustment to more granular data, giving users more insights and better control over customers' privacy. That second point is especially important as the industry makes a major shift away from cookies toward embracing first-party data across platforms. [note]Setting up GA4 on your ecommerce store only takes a few clicks with Littledata. New and existing users can set up GA4 on their store free and ensure they're ready for the new era of analytics.[/note] What we know about GA4 On July 1, 2023, Google will stop standard Universal Analytics properties from processing data. Your Universal Analytics reports will remain visible for a short period after the change (Google hasn't specified how long) but new data will only flow into GA4 properties. In other words, if you haven’t already, you need to create a GA4 property ASAP. With the switch to GA4, Google promises several significant changes aimed at making its Analytics tool more “consumer-focused” overall. This, among other features, includes: A privacy-centric design to maintain key insights despite cookie blockers and privacy regulations A new UI designed to showcase customer behavior through data collection of key events, and out-of-the-box capability to track those events (without requiring set up through Google Tag Manager) Machine learning models that automatically identify trends in data, such as churn probability, potential revenue from customer groups, and demand increases Measurement of cross-platform which means both app and web interactions to snapshot the effectiveness of each of your marketing efforts Data export to your BigQuery data warehouse [tip]See Littledata’s 10 reasons to move to GA4 for ecommerce analytics.[/tip] At the heart of GA4, Google says, is your customer—and more specifically how they interact with your business. This marks a move away from the old platform-centric measurement to instead track via User ID. The change should give a better picture of what actions customers took after discovering your business and track the whole lifecycle from first impression to final sale more effectively. Potential GA4 user concerns While there’s a lot to be excited about with GA4, the change from UA brings a few uncertainties for longtime users. Early versions of GA4, while positively received, did contain their share of bugs. As the platform won’t be rolling out at 100% perfection, we’ll help answer a handful of the most frequently asked questions we’ve seen around GA4. Will I be able to import historical data from UA to GA4? Most likely, the answer here is no. While you can run UA and GA4 in parallel as you make the switch, Google is launching GA4 as a new platform completely separate from UA. How difficult will it be to use the new interface? There’s no doubt users will experience a learning curve when migrating to GA4’s new UI. In essence, it will come down to thinking differently about what data you’re looking for and then creating reports around that. While this was a common concern in the early beta launch of GA4, Google has already added a number of template reports on funnels, user paths, and cohort exploration. We’re excited to see what’s next! To help our customers with the transition, we’ve already begun building our own Monetization and Retention reports in GA4 that will take over from Enhanced Ecommerce reporting in UA. According to the Google blog, The new Analytics gives you customer-centric measurement, instead of measurement fragmented by device or by platform. It uses multiple identity spaces, including marketer-provided User IDs and unique Google signals from users opted into ads personalization, to give you a more complete view of how your customers interact with your business. These improvements, paired with Littledata's tracking, will improve how businesses customize and assign weight to conversion types. Giving marketers and DTC brands better understanding of the customers lifestyle. Google does provide help documents and introductory courses on using the new interface. However, an easier (and more time-efficient) solution may be to have an analytics expert help set up a GA4 integration directly to your Shopify or BigCommerce store. [tip]We've recently launched a new GA4 Glossary to keep you in the loop on new terms and functions. [/tip] Is GA4 going to be a privacy law compliant, long-term solution for my business? This is one big area where GA4 is not just a solution right now, but in the future as well. Many of the changes made—from the new event-based UI to the learning machine-powered core—are built to adapt and grow alongside the global expansion in privacy laws. In other words, as you venture into the world of first-party data, GA4 will be your loyal guide along the way. What you should do now Our Shopify and Big Commerce stores and agency partners know that when it comes to Google Analytics, you can always count on Littledata as a single source of truth for truly accurate ecommerce data. This will remain true with GA4, and we’re excited about the flexible reporting capabilities in the newest version of Google Analytics. Our recommendation is to add a GA4 property now, but not to rely on it entirely. Instead, Littledata recommends continuing to use UA and GA4 in parallel until at least early 2023. This means that you will be able to explore GA4 while still having accurate, actionable data in Universal Analytics, including Enhanced Ecommerce reports, lifetime value reporting, and subscription analytics. All Shopify and Shopify Plus stores are able to activate both UA and GA4 connections directly from their Littledata dashboards. You can learn more about terms and definitions by reading our hand Google Analytics 4 Glossary. [tip]Remember, setting up a GA4 connection for Shopify on your store has never been easier than with Littledata! Get expert advice on everything you need to know to make the switch.[/tip]
4 ways to future-proof your business by using the right subscription tools
No one can predict the future. But as economic uncertainty and major data tracking changes loom, now is an important time for brands to prioritize future-proofing their businesses by developing strategies to minimize the effects of any potential downturns. Recurring revenue from subscription models can be a great way to generate predictable, long-term income. As a best practice, focusing on maintaining solid relationships with customers and ensuring a superior customer experience will help retain them in the long run. During hard times, it will be the most loyal customers who stay committed to your brand. Plus, with acquisition costs rising, focusing on retaining current customers is a much more sustainable option. In this post, we’ll share how you can future-proof your business by building a strong subscription model that attracts subscribers and show you the tools you need to do it. 1. Focus on Subscribers First, rely on subscribers, as they are the most loyal and valuable customers who chose your brand over numerous competitors. Keeping these customers is critical for brands, as it is much less resource-intensive than acquiring new customers. Build your growth strategy around gaining subscribers’ trust, delighting them with exclusive membership perks, and allowing them to advocate for your brand. Throughout the subscription experience, provide flexibility and transparency to establish trust with customers. Specifically, demonstrate transparency by displaying details of what the subscription program entails, emphasizing that customers have the authority to change, skip, or cancel their subscription at any time. You can offer the most relevant subscription options by analyzing customer buying behavior data; for instance, monitor your customer’s average frequency selection when deciding which subscription option should be defaulted on the product page. Offer flexibility from the beginning by allowing customers to adjust the cadence in which they would like to receive the product and how much of it. Letting customers choose the quantity and frequency of their subscriptions solidifies this trust. Your customer won’t feel like they have to fully unsubscribe because they can mold the subscription program to their specific lifestyle, ultimately increasing your retention. That way, you’ll avoid losing valuable customers just because they needed fewer products during a certain month. [tip]See how brick-and-mortar staple Grind scaled DTC sales 50x in 3 months through subscription selling.[/tip] 2. Create a Brand Engagement Hub Transform your brand’s customer account portal into an engagement hub to increase retention and lifetime value for subscribers. Providing access to a consistent, branded customer portal helps develop strong relationships with customers which plays a critical role in retaining them long-term. Customize your customer’s account portal to adhere to your brand guidelines and craft an experience that aligns with the products that you are selling. Intuitive, straightforward tools built directly into the portal empower customers to serve themselves independently and make them more likely to continue doing business with you rather than switching to a competitor. Frictionless account management gives customers the opportunity to manage their subscription journey the way they see fit with intuitive options to gift, skip, swap, or send now. Having an easy customer support function within the customer account portal is mutually beneficial for your brand and your customers, as it saves your Customer Service team’s time and leaves customers satisfied. Typically, customers would rather solve an issue on their own without needing to contact a customer service representative. So saving them time and avoiding any frustrations further decreases the likelihood of them churning. 3. Build Brand Champions Take your subscriber’s loyalty and expand on it as much as possible with customer loyalty features that give customers a reason to come back. This includes subscriber-only promotions and discounts, exclusive gifts, early access to new products, and one-time add-ons. As a best practice, use retention data to create a strategic subscription program. For example, use a retention cohort analysis to determine if you are offering too high of a discount on first subscription orders. Merchants may find customers canceling their subscriptions after the first order when the subscriber discount is too high. By keeping a pulse on these metrics, merchants are able to course correct by getting rid of large, upfront discounts and instead, reward subscribers based on loyalty. Help improve average order value by placing strategic upsells based on data that identified top-performing products or products commonly purchased together. Then recommend these products for a tailored customer experience. Offer early releases of new products and allow loyal subscribers to give feedback, making them feel even more special and valued as customers. Try giving subscribers “X% off of their X order,” free products with orders, or birthday gifts. Create brand awareness with referrals and gifting features built directly within the account portal. Aim to get loyal customers to continue to buy your products, buy more products, and gift products so that your brand awareness extends to friends and family. Many brands take advantage of referrals like “Give X, Get X,” where if you refer a friend, you each receive a discount. Not only does this ensure that subscribers directly benefit from their referrals, but also that friend now has the ability to try your product and later on subscribe themselves. This creates champions of your brand who continue to spread the word and love to friends and family. 4. Littledata and Smartrr Having subscription management software that fits with your main data reporting tool is critical in subscriptions. Google Analytics and server-side tracking give you the first-party tracking you need to understand your buyers and make data-driven decisions that benefit your store. You can use a subscription tracking service to see complete sales data, including one-off purchases, subscriptions, and refunds. Using Littledata and Smartrr as your subscription management and analytics stack allows you to: Calculate marketing attribution for all transactions, including recurring orders Set up custom dimensions to calculate LTV Use information to strategically use upsells, gifting, add-ons, and more Send Smartrr subscriptions data to Facebook Ads via the Facebook Conversions API Conclusion Each of these strategies helps to build a solid foundation to retain customers and ultimately, future-proof your business. Make strategic business decisions by tracking the key performance indicators that drive your business, such as average order value, sales by specific product, churn over time, lifetime value, and subscription revenue growth. Retain customers by crafting a seamless experience through a consumer-focused subscription program with an intuitive account portal that includes features to engage subscribers and build brand champions. Retaining your highest lifetime value customers will help solidify recurring revenue from subscription models and ensure predictable, long-term income. This is a guest post from Anna Jacobson, Marketing Associate at Smartrr—the premium subscription app for DTC Shopify brands. Built with your end consumer in mind, Smarter increases brand engagement and LTV with a variety of out-of-the-box subscription models, a beautifully branded subscriber account experience, member-only benefits, and more.
How to create monetization reports in Google Analytics 4
Monetization—at the end of the day, this is what it's really all about for ecommerce brands. You need to know what's making you money and what isn't so you can continue to make improvements and grow. For many of us, when we think of analytics for our brand, monetization reports come to mind first. In Google Analytics 4, you can use these reports to see overall revenue from items, ads, and subscriptions, as well as what things specifically are generating revenue for you. While some of these reports are similar to the ecommerce reports in the old Universal Analytics, many are brand new in GA4. They're also not difficult to build and start using, so let's jump in and show you how to set them up for your store. [tip]Hear former Google's former Evangelist for Google Analytics Krista Seiden talk through everything you want to know about moving to GA4.[/tip] How to create monetization reports in GA4 When we talk about monetization reports, specifically this includes Overview reports, E-commerce Purchase reports, and Retention reports. GA4's new interface has a whole dropdown section dedicated to monetization reporting in the reports view, and this is where we'll start when building the report. After you navigate to this dropdown menu, selecting Overview will show you total revenue, total ad revenue, and ecommerce revenue. This report also shows your total number of purchasers (and first-time purchasers) along with the average purchase revenue per user. Comparing monetization for users based on demographics GA4 also allows you to use custom identifiers to create comparisons of different buyers so you can see revenue based on unique shoppers. To do this, click the 'Add comparison' icon in the top right of the report screen, then choose the specific identifiers you want to compare by. Watch the full walkthrough video below to see how to build ecommerce purchases and retention reports. How to use monetization reports Aside from the obvious usefulness as an insight into which of your products sell the most, monetization reports help you dig deeper into the nuances of where your revenue is coming from and what's really driving it. These reports will help you judge ad campaigns by attributing revenue, and help you zero in on your best buyers using custom identifiers to compare purchases made by different customers. The ecommerce report shows things like item views, purchases, purchase-to-view rate, and item purchase quantity—all of which will help you judge your product offerings and make changes if necessary. The retention report shows returning users compared with new users on your site, and even shows them by cohort, so you can determine how well you're doing at attracting repeat buyers—and what profile those buyers fit. Get more GA4 Making the move to GA4 is a process, but we've got you covered every step of the way. Use our resources below to make the switch painless. How to start off on the right foot with GA4 [Podcast] How to create source/medium reports in Google Analytics 4 How to create sales performance reports in Google Analytics 4 How to build customer behavior reports in Google Analytics 4 [tip]Want an expert's help setting up GA4 for your store? Book a call and talk to our team about how you can make the leap with just a few clicks.[/tip]
How to recover more failed payments with detailed ecommerce analytics
Question for the day: If your subscription business could recover failed payments, how much would that add to your monthly revenue? Ah, failed payments—the bane of subscription businesses and membership sites. Unfortunately, these happen more often than one might think. In fact, a 2020 study from LexisNexis Risk Solutions reported that failed payments have cost the global economy an estimate of $118.5 billion in fees, labor, and lost businesses. Pretty alarming, right? When a payment fails, it means your business just lost revenue. Right there and then. Plain and simple. However, here’s some good news: not all failed payments are lost causes. Read on to learn more about how your brand can recover failed payments. Why do payments fail? Did you know that you’re losing 10% of your revenue due to failed payments? Let’s take a look at the most common causes behind failed payments: The credit card has already expired The customer’s credit card is already at the maximum spending limit The credit card used or payment method doesn’t have a sufficient balance The payment gateway has detected suspicious or fraudulent activity and blocked the card or payment method from being used Human errors such as incorrect card number typed or typographical error All of the reasons listed above have one thing in common: they are all involuntary. The customers didn’t do this on purpose. In fact, there’s a big chance that they may not even be aware that their payment failed. How can you recover failed payments? Since most of the reasons for failed payments are involuntary, the possibility of recovering your lost revenue is high—if you play your cards right. Here are three strategies to help recover failed payments. Set up a dunning email automation Dunning emails are the automated emails sent when customers’ payments fail. These emails remind your customers to settle their pending payments—usually in sets of three to five emails. There are also various dunning software options that can help bigger companies set up and monitor their dunning attempts. But while dunning emails are a good attempt to recover failed payments, some business owners are not comfortable with this strategy—mostly due to their own bad experiences of receiving badly written dunning emails. Here’s a tip: Create a personal approach, and avoid sounding too generic or even robotic. Personalized emails can give you higher transaction rates (up to six times). Plus, badly written dunning emails can result in customer complaints after multiple follow-ups instead of the desired outcome of recovered revenue. Reach out via outbound recovery calls and emails Some businesses prefer doing manual outbound calls or emails instead of setting up an automated system. For example, start-ups and smaller companies usually do this because their outbound specialist can still handle the number of “lost” customers. Though it can be tedious and time-consuming, the greatest advantage of this strategy is the amount and quality of personalization you can put into the customer experience. If you are considering this strategy, here are some quick tips for outbound calls and emails: Identify the customers to reach out to and familiarize yourself with their profile and their customer journey so far. Review the individual customer’s subscription and payment history. Take note of two things: why the payment failed and the last dunning email the customer received. Use this information for a super personalized conversation when you call your customer or when you send out an email. Use the opportunity to build an actual conversation so you can guide your customers through the process of payment. [tip]If you can’t reach your customer via phone call and if they are not responding to emails either, try leaving a voicemail message. Don’t forget to leave a number they can call back if they want to.[/tip] Outsource failed payment recovery specialists As your business grows, the instances of failed payments will also go up. While reasons will vary from technical issues, involuntary churn, or suspicious acts—it will get to a point where it will be too tedious for you to handle. At the same time, you can’t just ignore the slew of failed payments. So what should you do? Consider hiring a failed payment recovery specialist who can solely focus on handling the entire recovery process. They can also implement outbound communications via email, chat, or phone to expand and complement your existing dunning system. Because a specialist can focus on recovering failed payments, you can focus on other aspects of your business such as strengthening your customer retention strategies, product development, and operations. How to use ecommerce analytics to recover more failed payments Regardless of the strategies you choose to execute, you will need to assess, monitor, and evaluate the results by looking at the numbers. That way, you’ll know what’s working and what’s not so you can figure out the payment recovery strategy that works the best. Here’s where data tracking and ecommerce analytics come in: Check your customers’ purchase and engagement history so you can further personalize your approach. Review recurring charges and subscription product performance to pinpoint the exact instance of the failed payment. Access demographics of your churned customers to have a better understanding of how to reach out to them. For example, their location will give you an idea of the best times to call them. One important thing to note: data tracking and analytics are not limited to the recovery process. With access to powerful and comprehensive data, you can set up your entire customer lifecycle strategy to be data-driven. You’re not just moving around blindly trying strategy after strategy. You’ll be moving along efficiently with strategies that are backed by data. Here are some examples of how you can maximize a data analytics platform: Study your churn rate patterns by comparing numbers from different time periods. Pinpoint the reasons for churn to see if there’s a recurring reason that you can tackle. Analyze demographics, purchase behavior, and marketing channels to determine where revenue comes from. Connect the platform with your other tools. Littledata, for example, integrates with Shopify, BigCommerce, and even Recharge. Get an overall view of how your eCommerce store is really doing—so you can act accordingly depending on what’s needed. The better your customer experience is, the less you’ll have to worry about customer churn. While failed payments may still occur, your brand already has an established relationship with your customers. Recovering your lost revenue will be a much smoother process. Wrap up: Use eCommerce analytics as your strategy’s foundation Data is literally power and knowledge at your fingertips. Start making better business decisions with accurate data across all touchpoints and channels. Combine Littledata and Recover Payments and start recovering more failed payments—you’ll be surprised at how much more revenue there is. This is a guest post from Regina Ongkiko, content writer at LTVplus. She is passionate about creating content that provides value and impacts businesses. You can read more of her work at reginaongkiko.com. She loves getting her inspiration and ideas from the great outdoors.
Lunch with Littledata: Mapping the evolution of subscriptions with Awtomic
Subscription ecommerce is evolving more rapidly now than ever before—thanks in large part to the boom in subscription sellers. As with any rising new industry, though, some things are still a work in progress. The future of subscription ecommerce is no doubt bright, but many new brands still face similar issues. Whether it's costly construction for customer portals, poor tools for subscription management, or blind spots in critical analytics, jumping these roadblocks is a key first step on the road to subscription success. To explore how brands can make that leap and build a great subscription store, as well as how the subscription industry has grown and where it should aim to go, we spoke with Emily Yuhas, CEO and Founder of ecommerce subscription platform Awtomic. She shares how to set your store up for success from the start, gives her thoughts on the industry's growth and future, and explains why diving deep into data is a must for any subscription seller. Greg from Littledata: What's the story of Awtomic? Emily Yuhas: My sister has a brand where she sells body products on Shopify. Over the years, I had multiple conversations with her about what could be better about her process and how I could help. One thing that kept coming up was how frustrated she was with her subscription app—and not only from a usability standpoint. So I audited the most effective methods that top premium subscription brands were using and the reasons that their programs had been so successful. When I looked into how I would actually implement them for her brand, I realized that there wasn't a good solution. The only solution really was to hire a developer to build it all custom. That was surprising to me because a lot of the methods I’d seen really working—things like progressive discounts or personalized bundles, really easy customer portal experiences—those are pretty common. I realized each one of the companies that I’d seen using those had to reinvent the wheel and basically build things from scratch. That's what got me really excited when creating Awtomic—building those features into a platform that goes beyond "subscribe and save" and actually delivers really easy-to-use experiences for merchants and customers out of the box. It allows our users to focus on their brand while we go out and do the research on what the most important tools are for subscription ecommerce. Then we make those easily available and constantly evolve as a platform to support our brands that way. Greg: There are a huge number of new subscription services that likely have similar issues to your sister too thanks to the recent DTC boom. What has it been like for you to see that growth and have brands adopt your product? Emily: Overall it’s really exciting. It goes to show how many merchants want to offer subscriptions because it's such an effective way to build that recurring revenue to really create a community and relationships with your customers. I think it's also really interesting to reflect on how far we’ve come. Just a few years ago, subscriptions felt kind of scammy. If you think back even, say, five years ago—you have a lot of people who had a visceral reaction of, ‘Oh, I didn't know I was signing up for a subscription. And then I got charged again. And then I had to call and stay on the phone for an hour to cancel. And then I had to cancel my credit card.’ That's just terrible, right? We've come a long way from that in a short amount of time. Now, there's a lot more transparency—a lot more consumer trust. Subscriptions are becoming accepted as a great way to automate purchases of products that you love. I think that's reflected in the growth of subscription services, the growth of merchants that want to offer subscriptions, and the overall growth of consumers who want to purchase subscriptions. So it's a really exciting space. What I constantly see when I look at the industry is how early we still are in it. When you compare the scammy days to where we are now, and then look forward to what it can become, we're still not at a place where subscriptions are actually the most convenient way necessarily to purchase products—but they really should be. I think there's a huge amount of opportunity to make it a lot easier for people to purchase the products that they use every day. “We're still not at a place where subscriptions are actually the most convenient way necessarily to purchase products—but they really should be.” Greg: How should stores go about adding subscription selling—or improving their current subscription offering? Emily: I think that a lot of merchants, when they add subscriptions, do it almost as an afterthought. They add the “subscribe and save” option and then just leave it at that. There's so much benefit to be had from starting from the point of thinking about your consumers and how they're going to use your product. Do customer interviews. Look at historical orders. Understand things like how often customers get refills of your products. Ask yourself “Which of my products work best for subscriptions?” Not every product in your store is a sure-fire fit. Think about things from your business’ perspective, as well. Ask “how many items do I need to sell together to reduce shipping costs?” I think those thought processes combined can build a really great subscription program. A lot of times we come at things from a very transactional view and think about how we can drive more sales now. Instead, make that mental shift to consider the long-term relationship with a customer. You don't want a customer who's going to subscribe every week and then cancel after three weeks because they have too many items in their drawer. You want to find the customer who subscribes closer to every month and a half (or whatever their exact usage is) and stays for years. If you get buyers to the point where they're actually getting your product when they want it and when they need it, that's when they retain and you build that long-term relationship. Greg: Awtomic offers a handful of advanced features. Can you recommend any that help merchants with customization that works better for their consumers? Emily: Absolutely. We’re really excited about our build-a-box feature. It's something that was a huge gap in the market—being able to sell a customized box of products and then make it easy for customers to manage it on an ongoing basis. A lot of times you’d see personalization on purchase, but then the buyer is stuck with that selection going forward and it’s difficult to make changes. We focused on making that feature a really seamless experience with our app and we found that it works across a lot of verticals. We see it work really well with pets, household, beauty, drinks, or meal services. But what's really great about it is it's an example of a feature that works for both consumers and merchants and makes that relationship stronger. Greg: Right. It helps subscribers get the exact products they want delivered via their subscription instead of thinking it's easier to just go to the store and buy individual items. Emily: Absolutely. We have some brands that come to us who have either had something like this in the past or know they need to offer it. But we also have a lot of brands who have been direct to consumer for many years and introduce it because it's part of our platform, which we love. It's just so easy. It's not something they have to go seek out and do custom development for. There was one case where I did a strategy session with a brand that had never considered doing this before. We set it up for her within a few minutes and that week I saw her average order value go from around $8 to around $30. It was just bonkers to see that happen so quickly all because it was something that resonated really well with her customers. They didn't mind purchasing in larger quantities and she gave them a bit of a discount for that. Ultimately, it's much better for her operationally and for her buyers. [tip]Learn three tactics that can help better your subscription sales.[/tip] Greg: Are there any other subscription selling strategies you've seen stand out? Emily: I would say the most important thing that still gets overlooked is transparency and flexibility. There's a reason that you see a lot of sites say “cancel any time” or “skip or pause when you want to” because that's really important for consumers. I’ve experienced it as a subscription enthusiast with products that I personally love. There's just a reality that sometimes we go on vacation or forget to use everything we got in a shipment—things that are part of life. It's frustrating when I can't go in and just say, “I don't need this right now.” Maybe my situation has changed and I want to change the thing that I'm subscribed to. Maybe I just want a new scent of soap. Whatever it is, I should be able to do those things quickly and easily. It's still the case with so many subscriptions that I'm on that I try to go manage them and I can't even get into my account. Then when I finally get there, there's no pause button. "Your subscribers are a special class of customers and they should be treated that way." Those are the things that drive me nuts as a consumer and they make me feel negatively about a brand, which is such a shame because it's a brand that I've already decided that I love. I think if you do nothing else, transparency and flexibility are the most important thing. I'm also a huge believer in subscriptions as memberships. Your subscribers are a special class of customers and they should be treated that way. Brands that really lean into that end up retaining their customers longer. That can mean anything from giving subscribers exclusive access to upcoming products to special discounts across the store. I think it's really cool when brands are mission-driven as well. We work with coffee companies who source from very specific communities and they can share more about the people in the communities with their subscribers as special content, maybe even live videos. As we come out of the pandemic, you could even think about potentially organizing live events for your subscribers. There's just so much opportunity to engage your subscriber community—these people who have already expressed that they really like your products and your brand. The more brands think about their subscribers as long-term relationships that they want to maintain, the more successful they'll be. Greg: Does that approach help with lifetime value as well? Emily: Absolutely. I think it helps with conversion, too, because buyers see if they subscribe to a product, they’re not just going to get a 10% discount. They’re going to become a member of this community and get all these other perks. Wine clubs have been doing this for a long time. If you're a wine club member, you get your shipment, but you also get free tastings when you come to the winery and you get treated like a VIP. You can book tables where others can't. You might get access to special dinners and other events. You can go visit other wineries associated with the one you joined. It’s a great model that's been around for a long time that can apply to almost any brand really. Greg: How important is data in subscription selling—and to your users specifically? Emily: Data is very important for subscription selling. Our users that are most successful with subscriptions care most about their data. It's only going to become more important as brands need to lean into subscriptions and recurring revenue. As we see marketing costs and cost of acquisition going way up, the reality is that subscriptions can absolutely be optimized. And like I said, a lot of folks come into it, just throw up the “subscribe and save” option and move on. But if you really start looking at the data, you can start to understand what products perform the best as subscriptions. You can even see what products are good ones to be added to subscriptions, even if they're just one-time add-ons. You’ll see what frequencies perform best. If your customers are subscribed monthly, you’ll see if they end up having a higher LTV. You’ll understand why people are canceling. Some of the most successful brands we work with will actually call their customers and ask them for a cancellation reason and how they could have been better. Data helps you deeply understand why people are canceling and what products people buy together. Could those be sold as bundles and increase AOV? You'll understand what discount incentives resonate with people. On our platform, you can easily even run experiments where you try different discounts and see if that impacts your conversion rate. You can see how people are engaging with your customer portal. Are they skipping often? Are they ordering now or are they swapping their products a lot? What are they swapping to? All of these things are data points that merchants really should be looking at on a regular basis. Understanding their customers' behavior and understanding the performance of their subscriptions will help them make their subscription program much stronger. Those who do see their proportion of subscribing customers go up. Ultimately, as soon as you get someone to a subscription, their lifetime value increases significantly. Greg: Do you see your users taking that data and creating personas of their top buyers and then retargeting them? Emily: I do. I think there's so much opportunity to do this specifically with subscribers. I would say it's actually really surprised me. We often do strategy sessions with our customers. One thing we talk about right off the bat is thinking about your marketing, messaging, and how you can target subscribers specifically. A lot of brands have that one lazy subscription option on and just continue marketing as if they're marketing one-time. But really understanding “who are the customers who become subscribers? How do I target them? What are the personas within?” That’s a really valuable way to increase subscriptions. For brands who do that, subscriptions pretty quickly become a really primary part of their offering. [tip]Profile and target leads that match your best customers using Facebook's Conversions API to run dynamic ads.[/tip] Greg: Right. It's understanding the difference in kinds of customers to find out, like you said, people who are going to stick around, who are looking for that membership, who are looking to get a product on a regular basis and are willing to pay for a subscription. Emily: Yeah, absolutely. I've started to see some behavior differences even in the types of products some of our brands will offer. Things like a discovery box or some kind of one-time purchase that indicates that the person is interested in trying something with the idea of potentially becoming a subscriber. Those are lead-ins to subscriptions that help identify different types of customers for you. Greg: Are there any specific metrics that your users look to the most? Emily: I would say the top-level metrics that people look at are overall subscriptions, number of buyers active/paused/canceled, involuntary churn, voluntary churn, revenue from subscriptions, and average order value. But again, I think there's so much opportunity to go deeper here. Those brands that do go deeper, they look using things like retention by cohort. That's a huge one to look at. It helps people understand which customers are retaining, what they did, and why they stayed. Being able to look at retention by product, buy by frequency—understanding how these things actually impact customers’ behavior and longevity. Looking at product performance, not only with subscription but which products pair well together for subscription or as one-time add-ons. Understanding cancellation rates and why people are canceling.Going deeper into the voluntary and involuntary churn. Our platform has a lot of advanced functionality around reducing involuntary churn. We actually give merchants some tooling to experiment there with different numbers and intervals of reach-out attempts via SMS. So there's a lot of optimization to be done there. Also, again, cancellation reasons give merchants the ability to constantly evolve as they get that feedback. Another area is discounts and incentives. There's the basic "subscribe and save 10%," but you can go so much further than that. You can reward people for a number of products that they have in their subscription. You could reward people for longevity on the platform or how many people they've referred. I think all of these things are metrics that merchants can watch as they play with the different settings and experiments and get feedback from customers. [tip]Go deeper on your data with the ultimate guide to subscription analytics.[/tip] Greg: Are there major challenges that you see facing a lot of subscription sellers right now or down the road that they need to be aware of? Emily: A big one we already discussed is that we can't just rely on that simple subscribe and save discount to convert and retain people anymore. That's a very basic level entry point and it's not going to be the thing that keeps people long-term. What I see is this lean into changing your mindset around not really thinking of these as transactional relationships, but thinking of them as long-term relationships and really building community and depth in that relationship. That's what will set the brands apart. That will end up really winning this game. Greg: You mentioned the lack of a development team in the beginning as a blocker for some subscription sellers. Do you have any thoughts on the impact of the no-code movement and how it could affect the future of ecommerce apps like yours? Emily: I think overall it's a really positive thing. In the past ecommerce brands have had to kind of be half ecommerce and half tech company. That just doesn't make sense. Development costs are extremely high. To have engineers on staff is incredibly expensive. What's so great about Shopify and a lot of the no-code solutions out there, including Awtomic, is that they make it so that you don't need developers, but you can still get a lot of the same power, capability, and even flexibility. It gives you the ability to still express your brand and uniqueness, but not have to be in the deep plumbing of how everything pipes through to orders and fulfillment and inventory. I think our app and other no-code apps on Shopify make it so that you don't need to invest in custom solutions when they shouldn't need to be custom. That, I think, will have a big impact on which brands win as well. Actually, there's been a really interesting trend I've been seeing where larger brands that already have custom solutions are looking for how they can get off those solutions and onto apps and platforms that will do it for them because of the platform benefits they would get. In a sense, it's free development. They don't have to constantly invest in development costs themselves and maintenance. They also get flexibility from the platform as apps like Awtomic continuously do research and invest in improving the capabilities they get to unlock as they come online. They don't have to have someone on their team go out and do the research, go design, go build with a team, maintain the thing forever, constantly change it, and have that lack of flexibility. They actually get more flexibility from being part of a platform. I think ultimately the no-code movement's most impactful effect is empowering ecommerce brands to focus on the things that they want to do and do best without having to effectively become tech companies to be able to offer those functionalities. Greg: Is there anything on the horizon for Awtomic that you'd like to share? Emily: We're always thinking about how can we really deepen relationships between merchants and their consumers. So, we're working a lot on bridging the gap between what it means to be a subscriber and what it means to be a member. Of course, we’re also leaning into a lot of the features that differentiate us already, like our build-a-box and helping merchants sell more and become more operationally optimized. We’re really working to make the consumer experience as powerful and easy to use as possible. I think that's something that's really unique about our team. We come from a user experience and tech background, so from the beginning, we focused a lot on the ease of access and usability of our portal. Constantly moving the needle on making our app experience really delightful is so important to us. Quick Links: Littledata and Awtomic join forces to elevate subscription ecommerce management 4 tips for creating a powerful subscription experience Lunch with Littledata: How to take a Smartrr approach to subscriptions 3 ways to better your subscription sales How to win with subscription selling on BigCommerce
10 simple strategies for reducing CAC for Google Ads campaigns
Is your business feeling the squeeze of the current economic climate? With costs rising across the board, profit margins are shrinking. The last thing you want to be doing is handing over a huge slice of what’s left to Google, especially when costs per click were going up long before everything else! In this article, we’ll look at ways of reducing CAC (customer acquisition cost) for Google Ads campaigns. We’ve got some simple strategies to help you preserve your margins or even improve them to drive growth for your business. What is Google Ads CAC? Let’s first set out what we mean by Google Ads CAC. Your customer acquisition cost is the amount it costs you to get a new customer from your Google Ads. Google Ads metrics like CPA (cost per action) and CPC (cost per conversion) factor in only your ad spend. Remember your CAC for Google Ads actually includes all the spend that goes into your ad campaigns, including design, copywriting, salaries, commissions, and admin. How to calculate Google Ads CAC Before starting to look at ways of reducing CAC for Google Ads campaigns, you first need to know your current CAC. This can be calculated by simply taking the total amount you spend on Google Ads in a particular period and dividing it by the number of new customers acquired via those ads. That gives you the average amount it costs to get a new customer from Google Ads. Keep in mind that it’s the total amount you spend on Google Ads, not your total Google Ads spend. Factor in the things we’ve mentioned above, like the time that’s spent on creating, maintaining and reporting on Google Ads. You’ll need to put monetary values on all of those things in order to accurately calculate your CAC. Strategies for reducing Google Ads customer acquisition costs Let’s take a look at some of the best strategies for reducing Google Ads CAC so you can lower the cost of bringing new customers to your business. 1. Ditch low-performing ads If your Google Ads campaigns are running profitably, it’s easy to bring some low-performing ads along for the ride inadvertently. Dig into the details of your campaigns to find out which ads are bringing in new customers most cost-effectively. Stop ads with high CAC and especially stop those that are not bringing in sales at all. Even for ads that are working well, use split-testing to improve performance. Test colors, copy, calls-to-action, and audience targeting — see what lowers CAC for your ads, then do more of it. 2. Ditch low-performing keywords It is a very simple point, but one worth reiterating: do your keywords actually match your ads? If not, this could be generating clicks on your ads that do not ultimately result in sales. Deadweight keywords that are not driving the right people to your website eat up your budget and inflate CAC. Google rewards ads that already have closely matched keywords with better placements and cheaper clicks, both of which will reduce CAC. So that’s definitely the way to go. To optimize your keywords: Choose keywords that are closely related to your ad intent Check the search terms tab in your Google Ads account every couple of weeks, adding low-performing terms to your negative keywords list and top-performing search terms to your campaign keywords list Monitor quality score, which is Google’s measure that your keywords match your landing page Use a manageable number of keywords (ideally less than 20) per ad group Don’t let Google Ads settings like broad match keywords undermine your good work 3. Delve into your CAC in Google Analytics Your Google Analytics data could contain the answer to lower Google Ads CAC. Take a look at conversions from your Google Ads campaigns and consider: Which days are best for conversions? What times are best for conversions? Where are new customers based? Which devices do new customers use? Maybe your Google Ads are most successful when targeting people in Belgium using desktop devices on Saturdays. Tailor your ad campaigns to reach the right audience at the right time to reduce CAC. McDonald’s Hong Kong is using this approach to increase app orders. Collecting real-time ecommerce data via Google Analytics 4, McDonald’s used predictive audiences to find the customers most likely to order again within seven days. These predictive audience segments were then exported directly to Google Ads. The resulting campaign increased conversions by 550% and decreased acquisition costs by 63%. [tip]Littledata's Google Ads to Google Analytics connection gives you accurate reporting for better CAC calculations and improved retargeting.[/tip] 4. Improve your tracking If you’re not able to get the sort of data we’ve just discussed from your Google Analytics, you might need to improve your tracking. This will ensure you can accurately determine: Which Google Ads campaign has driven a particular click What that potential customer did when they landed on your site Whether it converted into a sale 5. Tackle your hidden CAC We’ve already discussed how CAC goes beyond CPA, which is the tip of the iceberg. That figure is based on your ad spend — but what about the cost of time and resources managing your Google Ads campaigns? Using Juni’s Google Ads integration you’ll be able to reduce administrative costs with features like Google Ads automatic receipt generation, a centralized overview of your ad accounts in real-time in a single dashboard, and monthly invoices pulled automatically from your account. 6. Create and test landing pages It’s tempting to find an ad that converts, direct people to your homepage or a category page, and wait for the sales to come in. That’s great, but how much higher would your conversion rate be (and consequently how much lower would your customer acquisition cost be) if you created a custom landing page dedicated to the proposition of your ad? Once your landing pages are in place, you can run A/B tests to improve your conversion rate. Map software Radar created a suite of landing pages on which the copy was tailored to the intent of the ad that the potential customer had clicked. The result was a 50% increase in conversions and therefore a huge reduction in their Google Ads CAC. Create further savings by using: Sitelink extensions, which allow you to create links to multiple landing pages within a single ad Image extensions, which places a CTR-boosting image next to your ad Callout extensions, which enable you to add extra text to promote free shipping, discount, price matching and other benefits within your ad 7. Use remarketing Remarketing — the Google Ads version of retargeting — allows you to reach people who have already visited your website via Google’s display network. Warmer leads usually result in a higher conversion rate. That higher conversion rate should translate to a lower CAC on Google Ads. Fintech company IndiaLends used remarketing to reduce its customer acquisition costs by 53%. Just keep in mind that this approach still needs people to find their way to your website initially. 8. Use bidding strategies One way to make your ad budget go further and reduce acquisition costs is to use bidding strategies. There are a range of options for bidding strategies within Google Ads automated bidding. These include enhanced CPC, maximise conversions, maximise clicks, and target return on ad spend (ROAS). Any of these options may offer a route to lower CAC. For something that’s right on the money, experiment with target CPA, which essentially allows you to name the CAC you want to achieve. But remember, Google Ads is not one size fits all. Octopus Energy cut acquisition costs by 36% when it switched bidding strategy from target CPA to target ROAS. There are also third-party apps that will help you to implement bidding strategies. Cosmetics brand Charlotte Tilbury Beauty used Scibids and was able to cut its acquisition costs by 29%. 9. Test user-generated content User-generated content tends to perform better and costs less per click across all platforms. Run tests to see whether this applies to your Google Ads accounts. You could choose to use user-generated content from YouTube videos, customer reviews, Google Seller Ratings, or find another way of incorporating user-generated content within your ads. Danish ecommerce brand Cykelpartner reduced its acquisition costs by 11.14% — saving the business more than €40,000 per year on Google Ads in the process — by incorporating reviews within its ads. 10. Get cashback on your Google Ads spend A simple way to boost ROAS and reduce CAC is to get some of your Google Ads spend paid back to you. That’s exactly what Juni offers. When you pay with your Juni card, you’ll receive 2% cashback for your first 30 days, and up to 1% cashback thereafter. Excellent Sneakers gets more than £1,000 paid into its account every month as cashback on its ad spend. The result is that each click, conversion and customer acquisition costs less than would otherwise be the case. Start reducing your Google Ads CAC now As with any process for optimizing paid media, reducing CAC for Google Ads is going to involve some trial and error. Different brands, products, and audiences need different approaches. You can get to work immediately on some of these strategies and start to build up an idea of what works for you. For some quick wins: Study Google Analytics for useful conversion insights and update your campaigns accordingly Find underperforming ads, mismatched keywords, and other Google Ads basics that are pushing up CAC Create and test landing pages that are closely aligned with specific ad groups, keywords, or campaigns Start earning cashback on your Google Ads spend This is a guest post from Juni, the financial platform built for ecommerce that ties together physical and virtual cards, accounting, analytics and digital advertising platforms, giving businesses a holistic view of their finances. Get 2% cashback on your Google Ads spend for 30 days, and up to 1% cashback thereafter, when you get Juni.
Why Google Analytics 4 is so important to your ecommerce store [Podcast]
Good decisions start with good data. That's not just a phrase we like to toss around here at Littledata—it's a mantra we live by because we've seen it ring true across the ecommerce landscape. But as the analytics world is rapidly changing amid wider privacy regulation, increased tracking prevention, and third-party cookies going away, getting that good, accurate data is more of a challenge. That's why it's not enough to simply add the right apps to your tech stack to collect accurate data. You need to choose a smart place to see that data and act on it as well. For us—and tens of millions around the world—Google Analytics is the simplest and most powerful way to report your store data. Of course, as you may have heard, Google Analytics is getting an overhaul. Google Analytics 4 is on the way and will replace the old version of GA officially on July 1, 2023. While many have already jumped in to see the new look and features, reactions have been mixed. Our Head of Customer Success Bianca Dihoiu joined the Milkbottle Labs podcast to explain just what's so great about GA4 and why it's so important for your ecommerce store. Why GA4 is so important for your ecommerce store Speaking with host Keith Matthews, Bianca explains that getting your data flowing to Google Analytics—especially when using a data platform like Littledata—gives you a single source of truth for all metrics on your store. Customer Lifetime Value, marketing attribution, return on ad spend, conversion rate for specific products: these are just the high-level metrics you can see in GA. During their discussion they jump right in on GA4, covering: What GA4 is and how it's different from the old GA The best new features in GA4 How to build reports and use the new dashboard Why GA4 is a strong solution now and in the future Check out the full episode below. Get more GA4 Need more resources to get ready to make the switch? We've got you covered. Google Analytics 4: Ready to make the switch? How to build customer behavior reports in Google Analytics 4 How to create sales performance reports in Google Analytics 4 How to create source/medium reports in Google Analytics 4 [subscribe]
Littledata closes growth funding round
Littledata is excited to announce a major funding round that will help us accelerate growth around the world. The round, which consists of a mix of debt and equity, provides significant runway for Littledata to continue expanding our ecommerce data platform and to keep hiring the best and the brightest in ecommerce analytics. New investors in the round include Tomas Slimas, the co-founder of Oberlo, which Shopify acquired in 2017. “Ecommerce business owners are dealing with an increasingly complex world of ad blockers and omnichannel user flows,” says Slimas. “Littledata helps them see where their revenue is really coming from.” [tip]Learn more about why leading DTC brands around the world trust Littledata for truly accurate analytics.[/tip] In addition to funding from angel investors, Littledata secured a revenue-based loan from Element Finance, a boutique growth finance firm with offices in San Antonio, Texas, and Dublin, Ireland. Element Finance Partner, John Gallagher, commented: “We were impressed with the business (co-founders) Edward and Ari have built, and they have a fantastic vision for moving the business forward.” “This new funding round is central to the next stage of our growth as an ecommerce data platform,” says Edward Upton, founder & CEO of Littledata. “Element Finance in particular had a genuine understanding of where we want to go, and we feel that they will back us all the way. The funding allows Littledata to accelerate on its mission to make it ridiculously easy for direct-to-consumer brands (using Shopify, BigCommerce, and more) to connect their data and understand performance.” The funding will allow Littledata to accelerate product development and marketing to enable more use cases and reach a wider range of brands. “As one of very few automated solutions for server-side tracking — and the only one I know of in the ecommerce space — Littledata has a unique market position,” says Littledata co-founder and CMO, Ari Messer. “This new funding mix allows us to double down on what’s working, while also exploring a wider range of tech partnerships and co-marketing opportunities. We’ve always helped brands get better data for analysis in tools like Google Analytics, but now we’re expanding to enable data for action in tools like Segment, Klaviyo and Facebook (Meta) Ads. It all comes back to our company value of being inspired by data internally and in what we can offer to customers and partners.” Learn more about Littledata by reading our 5-star reviews in the Shopify app store or browsing our partners and available integrations. PS. We're hiring :)
3 ways to start using first-party data for ecommerce
First-party data is the buzzword floating all about the ecommerce world—and for good reason. As you probably know already, third-party cookies are soon to be no more. Add in the overhaul that iOS 14's tracking opt-out and other intelligent tracking prevention brought about, and getting accurate metrics on attribution and customer behavior looks a whole lot different to marketers than ever before. That's where first-party data collection comes to the rescue to save your campaign reporting. First-party data is data you collect directly from a user, and it's about to become the standard for data collection across the ecommerce landscape. To help you learn more about first-party data—and start using it yourself—we have three helpful posts covering different first-party data solutions and how they fit into your marketing strategy. 10 reasons to switch to server-side tracking for ecommerce analytics Server-side tracking is a method of collecting first-party data via a cloud-based server rather than by taking data directly from a website visitor's browser (known as client-side tracking). In addition to being a more secure way to process data, server-side tracking complies with new privacy regulations and is not disrupted by ad blockers. There are numerous benefits server-side provides, and we've got 10 of them for you to check out in this blog post. https://blog.littledata.io/2022/07/23/10-reasons-to-switch-to-server-side-tracking-for-ecommerce-analytics/ How to run dynamic Facebook ads with Facebook Conversions API While there are plenty of promotion methods available to ecommerce store owners today, PPC and social ads still reign supreme as the top option. From top DTC brands to small startup stores, ads are a great way to get your product in front of ideal buyers using personalized ads to convert leads into sales. Of course, ad blockers and tracking prevention has changed the way brands can leverage this tool. To help you learn how to keep personalized ads that return on spend, we have a guide on how to create dynamic Facebook ads using Facebook's Conversions API (CAPI). https://blog.littledata.io/2022/03/09/how-to-run-dynamic-facebook-ads-with-facebook-conversions-api/ How to build customer behavior reports in Google Analytics 4 Marketing methods aren't the only things that need changing in our new first-party data world. Reporting on your marketing efforts requires the same overhaul—and we can show you how to do it with the newest version of Google Analytics (GA). GA4 comes with tons of new custom reporting features and advanced capabilities previously only available to paid users. That includes the ability to use more custom dimensions to build detailed reports on customer behavior. One of the more helpful reports we recommend using is behavior reports. They allow you to see what customers are doing once they make it to your store, and what they do when they're at the checkout. Plus, setting these reports up in GA4 only takes a few minutes, as you'll see in our how-to video on creating shopping and checkout behavior reports. https://blog.littledata.io/2022/07/01/how-to-build-customer-behavior-reports-in-google-analytics-4/ [subscribe]
Subscribe to Littledata news
Insights from the experts in ecommerce analytics
Try the top-rated Google Analytics app for Shopify stores
Get a 30-day free trial of Littledata for Google Analytics or Segment