The rise of Google Analytics 4 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 for months. 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 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 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. 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. 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 will soon be able to activate both UA and GA4 connections directly from their Littledata dashboards. [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]
Is Shopify Analytics accurate?
Shopify Analytics is most Shopify store owners' first experience collecting essential data about their store. That makes sense—it's free out of the box and tracks high-level metrics like adds-to-cart, orders, and pageviews. As you dig a bit deeper, though, you'll notice that Shopify's Analytics tool is more limited than other options, plus it's got a bit of an accuracy problem. In fact, an independent analysis found Shopify Analytics tracking misses 12 out of every 100 orders. How valuable are metrics on orders, marketing attribution, and even revenue if you're not getting the full picture? If Shopify Analytics isn't accurate, what's the solution? Fixing the analytics setup on your Shopify store starts with first pinpointing where your current setup is lacking. Why is data missing? What can you do to fill in the gaps? Maybe most important of all—how easy is it to set up a better analytics system? To help you answer these questions and more, we have a full guide on Shopify Analytics vs. Google Analytics (GA). As the most used analytics solution worldwide, GA fits not only as a baseline to compare Shopify Analytics against but as a truly accurate replacement as well. This free guide explores: The main reasons why transactions go missing in Shopify vs. GA How a data mismatch affects your bottom line A comparison of different tracking methods What you can do to fix Shopify analytics Get the full ebook>>> Is Google Analytics accurate? GA's capabilities for custom analytics reporting, in-depth analysis, and overall accuracy are, in our opinion, unmatched. After all, there's a reason it's number one. But as we move away from third-party cookies and into a first-party data world, some of these metrics can be inaccurate in your final reports. We've gone over six of the most common GA accuracy issues users face and how to fix them, but in the end, getting full accuracy in GA comes down to setting things up correctly. To make sure you start things off right, verify your correct setup with our walkthrough on setting up Google Analytics on your Shopify store. which covers what to look out for after you've set up GA as well. If you want help from a pro, we've got you covered there too. Just book a demo with one of our analytics experts and they'll get your store up and running with accurate analytics in minutes. [note]The newest version of Google Analytics—GA4—is fast approaching. When you sign up for Littledata, you'll be able to track your data using both the old and new versions of GA, so you can rely on accurate data now and in the future.[/note]
How to build customer behavior reports in Google Analytics 4
Of all the changes Google is rolling out in Google Analytics 4, one that's getting extra attention is the change to behavior reports. Those used to the old Universal Analytics dashboard might be a bit lost at first looking at the new "explorations-driven" setup in GA4 and panic. Can you still get the same behavior reports in GA4 that you came to know and love in Universal Aanalytics? Yes, you can! You'll have to do a little manual report building first to see it though. To help you hit each step in the report-building process and get those vital customer shopping and checkout behavior reports up and running in GA4, we put together two detailed how-to videos that will walk you through the process step by step. [tip]Need help making the switch to GA4? Hear an expert's take on how to make the switch.[/tip] How to see customer shopping behavior reports in GA4 The shopping behavior report is the snapshot of your customers' activity as they browse your store. It's a crucial report not only for seeing where customers drop off and what product pages perform best but also for answering detailed questions about customer behavior from different referral channels. In the past, this report required the implementation of Google's Enhanced Ecommerce reporting, which adds features on top of standard ecommerce reporting like adds to cart, checkout initiation, and purchase completion. In GA4, everything you need to build the report comes automatically included out of the box. Building the shopping behavior report in GA4 leverages the new events feature, so once you've manually added the right parameters your report will be up and running! Follow the video below for a step-by-step walkthrough of the report building process: How to see customer checkout behavior reports in GA4 The checkout behavior report in GA4, like the shopping behavior report, requires building through a series of events added into an exploration report. You'll set up this report as a funnel, which will allow you to see each step where a customer might drop off before purchase. The checkout behavior report is perhaps the strongest tool you have in identifying cart abandonment and making the right decisions to minimize drop offs before purchase completion. Follow the video below to create the report in minutes for GA4: Get more on GA4 Building customer behavior reports is a key piece in your overall strategy for moving to GA4, but it's only part of the puzzle. We've got everything you need to demystify this new analytics platform, ensure you're prepared to make the move, and get the most out of GA4 from day one. Check out these helpful resources for more of everything you need to know about GA4: Lunch with Littledata: Jumping into GA4 with Google Analytics Expert Krista Seiden The rise of Google Analytics 4 and sunsetting of Universal Analytics How to start off on the right foot with GA4 [Podcast] 10 reasons to move to GA4 for ecommerce analytics Google Analytics 4: Ready to make the switch? [subscribe]
How to start off on the right foot with GA4 [Podcast]
In case by some chance you still haven't heard the news—the era of Google Analytics 4 is coming fast. In fact, July 1, 2022 will mark the start of the one-year countdown to the end of Universal Analytics—and brands need to be ready to make the switch. There's a lot of information floating around about GA4 right now, some good, some not so good, and some that just might leave you more confused than when you started looking into GA4 in the first place. But fear not, we've been tracking the growth and changes of GA4 since its early days, and our CEO Edward Upton knows more than most about what the newly revamped GA will offer. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Source: Google[/caption] How to get ready for GA4 Edward joined the Measeurelab podcast to shed light on what users can expect from GA4, some pros and cons of the new setup, and the best way to prepare your business to make the GA4 jump. Measurelab hosts Dan and Dara threw plenty of great questions to Ed, and his answers will help you get started on the right foot with Google's newest analytics offering. Listen to the full episode below to hear about: What GA4's measurement protocol looks like The nuances that come with moving from UA to GA4 The most exciting features newly available in GA4 #41 Littledata’s GA4 journey (with Edward Upton) Want more on GA4? We got you Make sure you're really ready to take GA4 by the reins with the GA4 guides we have for you below: Lunch with Littledata: Jumping into GA4 with Google Analytics Expert Krista Seiden 10 reasons to move to GA4 for ecommerce analytics The rise of Google Analytics 4 and sunsetting of Universal Analytics Google Analytics 4: Ready to make the switch? [subscribe]
5 apps you need to have in your Shopify Plus tech stack and why you'll love them
As marketers, we are always looking at top tools the pros use—or the ones folks with the little blue checkmarks next to their Twitter handles recommended to the masses. In my experience, while it is crucial to test new tools to help move the needle forward and find new solutions, choosing the right ones can present the biggest challenge. These are the top five tech tools that stand out to me after chatting with merchants, attending conferences, and working in the ecommerce space. Set Up Accurate Tracking Using Littledata (let's start with a shameless plug) Well, you knew this one was coming. Data is not in the WANT category of apps for your Shopify store. It is a NEED. I am all in on making decisions from experience and intuition as a marketer. But you become even more dangerous and equipped when you add accurate data to the mix. Having reliable metrics in your arsenal allows you to tear apart your funnel to see what works and doesn't. Tracking user behavior gives you an up-close look at your customer's needs. Accurate marketing attribution data gives you a predictable revenue forecast using LTV, AOV, and order volume. Before jumping into other apps, set up your tracking in Google Analytics for proper monitoring, reporting, and remarketing. Littledata makes this a breeze taking the average store about 10-mins to set up automatic tracking. [tip]Littledata also offers a 30-day free trial so you can see the difference before you spend a dime![/tip] Master Recurring Orders with Recharge You've probably heard the saying, "it's six times more expensive to win a new customer than to retain an existing one". Many merchants would probably say it's much higher than that. This is where subscription tools like Recharge come into play in a big way. Making it wicked easy for a customer who loves your product to buy it on a recurring basis can help you achieve increased sales and maintain customer relationships. Recharge works with over 15,000 brands and helps them increase LTV and customer engagement while reducing churn—two things we all talk about in the ecommerce ecosystem. They even offer a fancy-free LTV Calculator so that merchants can get an idea of how they can grow their business using subscriptions. Another perk is that Littledata integrates with Recharge! Customer Success Engaging with your customers and providing first-class support is incredibly important for any business. When you are doing it virtually, though, things can be missed. That's why automating your support workflow the best place to start. We recommend our friends over at Gorgias who pride themselves on helping ecommerce brands with their app. Recently, they worked with popular DTC fashion brand Princess Polly to improve their customer support. Gorgias reports in their recent customer success story that "Princess Polly increased their efficiency by 40%, increased their resolution time by 80%, increased first response time by 95%, and improved one-touch tickets by 15%. This allows the brand to quickly connect with customers on a personal level and strengthen customer loyalty." A foundation built on a great team of people combined with customer success tools can help protect and grow the brand you've worked diligently to create while providing a great customer experience. A solid SMS tool Engaging your prospects and customers using SMS is a must in my opinion. There are many stats on how open rates of SMS far exceed email, but as many marketers know, we use different channels for a range of outcomes and communications. A stat that recently caught my eye was from our friends over at Attentive. Recently they shared a case study reporting a 900% increase in year-over-year SMS-driven revenue for their new client, Thrive Market. The basis for this growth was implementing a few things you can easily try with your ecommerce business: Text to join or sign up Welcome Campaign Free gift with purchase Custom landing pages for direct SMS Check out their integrations page to see how you might be able to leverage their tool for your brand. Drive Reviews for Social Proof Getting reviews can be a huge pain in the neck and often is an afterthought for ecommerce brands. Outlining and creating a “review strategy” is a healthy place to start. Start by asking yourself questions like "What products do I want reviews on?" or "Should I frame the request to highlight a specific product or attribute about the brand?" These are among the most important things to consider when asking for a good review. Once outlined, pair that “review strategy” with Okendo, which is built to capture high-impact customer reviews and showcase them on your site to build trust and drive conversions. These reviews help create social proof, which often means an action taken in light of one seeing the action of another. In this case, a purchase from another would impact the likelihood of someone trusting but then also desiring to make a purchase themselves. Reviews are also an amazing way to secure user-generated content from your customers. Seeing your product in action in everyday life is heartwarming as a merchant, but can also impact those looking to buy—which can lead to better conversion rates. Conclusion The bottom line when it comes to tool selection? Don't stress too much. These are the top tools I've found merchants recommend (and ones I stand by myself), but in the end it's most important to make sure that your tools not only fit your overall product vision, but fit with each other as well. That last point can be a bit of a sticking spot if you aren't using the right connector to bring everything together. Littledata does this very well. In fact, we have a whole case study you can check out to see how apparel brand johnnie-O leveraged our analytics app to do just that.
We're partnering with Dwight Funding to help brands scale the smart way
Littledata is excited to announce a new partnership with Dwight Funding, a leader in the DTC funding space, to help brands scale faster with flexible funding and hands-on support. Founded in 2015, Dwight provides capital to growth-stage ecommerce businesses to build out inventory, bridge gaps in the cash conversion cycle, and extend runway ahead of an equity raise. Having worked with brands like Cleancult and Chubbies, Dwight has remarkable industry knowledge and relationships, making it a natural fit with Littledata's customer base, which includes brands like Athletic Brewing and Laundry Sauce. What’s more, Dwight and Littledata both take a data-driven approach to helping brands scale. "For best-in-class businesses, being well-funded and spending sustainably go hand in hand. Littledata shares our commitment to data-driven growth and has been successful in giving DTC brands an accurate view across Shopify, GA and Facebook so that their marketing yields the best results." - Ben Brachot, Dwight Funding Co-Founder & Managing Director As privacy standards and the economic environment shift, Littledata and Dwight are here to help. Our shared mission is to empower growing DTC brands to thrive by providing them with seamless access to the tools they need—whether it be capital, expertise, or data to drive decision-making and growth strategy. Whether or not you're already a Littledata or Dwight Funding customer, contact us to learn more about: Optimizing marketing ROI with server-side tracking to "beat the ad blockers" and syncing Shopify data with GA Shoring up your financing in today’s economy How to create a high performing, data-driven culture “We're delighted to welcome Dwight Funding to the Littledata family as we team up to bring thriving DTC brands the tools they need to reach new heights. Littledata itself is in part financed by debt, and we understand the value of borrowing against tomorrow's revenues to fund growth today. Equally, these same fast-growing brands need accurate data to make decisions — accurate data that Littledata can provide for any brand using Shopify or BigCommerce.” - Edward Upton, Littledata CEO We're especially looking forward to collaborating with the Dwight team on resource development around best practices for optimizing cash flow across the balance sheet, from inventory management to marketing spend, including paid channels like Facebook Ads and email channels like Klaviyo. In the coming months, we'll be sharing updates on the blog and in our email newsletter. Ready to scale the smart way? Learn more about Littledata and Dwight Funding.
3 resources to set your BigCommerce store up for success
If you're running a BigCommerce store, you know that data is key to making decisions that will drive revenue. But we can all use a little help sometimes when it comes to analyzing our data setup to ensure we're getting truly accurate insights. To help you make the most of your data, we're sharing three resources that can help set your store up for success. BigCommerce Analytics: The key metrics you need to grow When we're talking about data-driven decision-making, of course we need to start with the right metrics. CAC, ROAS, LTV—the acronyms are endless. But which metrics are actually valuable for you to know and which are just noise? We broke down five key metrics you need to be paying attention to in order to fuel your BigCommerce store's growth so you can stay focused on the numbers that move the needle. https://blog.littledata.io/2021/11/05/bigcommerce-analytics-key-metrics-you-need-to-grow/ [tip]Running campaigns on Facebook? Capture data on every step in the customer journey using the first-party-data-powered Facebook Conversions API, now live in public beta from Littledata![/tip] Do you need to process customer data in-house to be truly data secure? Data security is right alongside data accuracy in terms of importance in your overall setup. Many stores these days, when faced with the many data security options available, are weighing the cost of outsourcing vs. handling everything in-house. The right solution depends on a number of different factors about your store, your team, and your long-term growth goals. To help you choose, our CEO Edward Upton breaks down the different paths you can walk and lends his advice on which way to go. https://blog.littledata.io/2022/06/01/processing-customer-data-in-house-data-security/ A plug-and-play solution to get you accurate BigCommerce subscription analytics Subscription sellers know that gathering metrics on recurring purchases is a different ballgame than one-off sellers. And, as with any unique game, subscription selling also demands a unique set of tools. To help you get granular data about online subscription orders, marketing channels, and subscriber behavior, we launched a simple solution—the Littledata and ReCharge BigCommerce integration. Adding this powerful tool to your tech stack lets you: Track browsing behavior Track shopping cart events, orders, recurring orders, and refunds Improve marketing attribution Differentiate one-off orders, first-time subscriptions, and recurring orders in Google Analytics Read the full post to learn how you can set this integration up on your store today. https://blog.littledata.io/2021/12/21/new-recharge-integration-for-bigcommerce-stores/ [tip]Think you can work with Littledata to help BigCommerce merchants get the most from their metrics? Join the Littledata partner program today.[/tip]
How Littledata Helps Velir Shorten Time to Value and Improve the Odds of Project Success
3 ways to better your subscription sales
Subscription selling has taken over the collective focus of ecommerce selling in the past couple of years. Yes, the pandemic accelerated our newfound obsession with getting products delivered regularly right to our doors. But, in truth, this boom had been brewing long before now. Whether you're brand new to the subscription ecommerce business or a veteran looking for ways to get a new edge, we have three blog posts to help you better your subscription sales. Tracking Subscriptions in Shopify Checkout: Everything You Need to Know Ah, the mighty checkout. It's where the most important part of the shopping experience happens—and where you as a store owner get rewarded for all your hard work. A lot goes into creating the best checkout experience, especially if you're selling by subscription. The best way to ensure you're getting the most out of your checkout is data-driven decision-making. So to help you out, we broke down the most common questions merchants have about tracking subscriptions in the checkout. The post has everything you need to know, including: Why Shopify moved to a unified checkout The state of subscription ecommerce Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) in the subscription industry Tracking subscriptions in the Shopify checkout Subscription apps supported by Littledata https://blog.littledata.io/2021/09/02/tracking-subscriptions-in-shopify-checkout/ How to take a "Smartrr" approach to subscriptions The subscription ecommerce industry's growth is nothing short of staggering. With sales on pace to hit $246 billion in worth by 2025, it's no wonder there are so many merchants entering the arena. Before you can grab your slice of the subscription ecommerce pie, you need to follow the right strategies to build a dependable customer base and get the recurring revenue flowing. To get you started on the right foot, we called up our friend, Smartrr Founder and CEO Gabriella Yitzhaek Tegen. She's seen it all when it comes to subscription businesses of many sizes. In our Lunch with Littledata interview, she broke down how merchants can best retain customers, what the future of subscriptions holds, and how to leverage data to become a subscription-selling superstar. https://blog.littledata.io/2022/03/21/lunch-with-littledata-smartrr/ How to win with subscription selling on BigCommerce Customer retention is key to the success of any ecommerce merchant. For subscription sellers relying on recurring revenue, however, it’s essential. If you're using BigCommerce as your ecommerce platform, we have just the guide you need to drive strong recurring revenue and win repeat business. It starts with having the right sales tools in your tech stack—so to walk you through the setup you need, our friends at ReCharge put together a post on how to win big with subscription selling on BigCommerce. https://blog.littledata.io/2022/02/11/how-to-win-with-subscription-selling-on-bigcommerce/ [tip]Looking to do an audit of your tech stack to optimize for subscription selling? Chat with one of our analytics experts to see where you can improve your setup[/tip]
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