The six-figure fix: How clean data fueled Flux Footwear's growth
SUMMARY As a company that values both data and creativity, Flux Footwear leveraged Littledata’s plug-and-play connections to Google Analytics (UA and GA4) and Facebook Ads to capture complete first-party data across the customer journey. Littledata’s automatic tracking solution not only saved them valuable time, but primed Flux for success with highly-targeted ads and in-depth customer insights as they scaled from launch to major DTC footwear brand. THE CHALLENGE Goal: Send complete Shopify data to Google Analytics (UA and GA4) and Facebook Ads The founders of Flux Footwear launched their Shopify store in July 2021, offering a minimalist shoe that works in harmony with the natural strength of bare feet. By embracing research on the positive effects of barefoot shoes and the value of sustainability, they created designs that feel just as good as they look. But after launching their Shopify store and installing Shopify’s native browser-side pixel, Flux’s team struggled with duplicate data, inaccurate attribution insights, and large data discrepancies between Shopify Analytics and Google Analytics. Unable to get an accurate understanding of their store’s performance, they needed to implement a data layer that tracks the entire customer journey across tools and platforms. The rollout of iOS14 made matters worse, inhibiting their Facebook Ad performance and limiting Flux’s reach to their target market. Their need for first-party data to maintain deep, accurate customer insights grew stronger than before. THE SOLUTION Fixing the data Within minutes of installing Littledata’s server-side tracking, accurate data was flowing seamlessly from Shopify to GA, capturing complete first-party data at every touchpoint and stitching together multiple sessions. In addition to connecting their Universal Analytics property, Flux started sending data in parallel to GA4. By building up historical data in GA4 now, Flux will be able to conduct year-on-year analysis to understand their business’s seasonality in years to come. Flux worked hand-in-hand with Littledata’s team of analytics experts, creating filters and views in GA to better interpret their data and build custom reports in GA4 based on their unique business goals. https://www.youtube.com/embed/plg4YWdJ97o Hear from Flux's co-founder, Benjamin Loschen on how Facebook Conversions API from Littledata improved their Meta Ad Campaigns. Integrating the tools Beyond the initial setup, Littledata made it easy for Flux to integrate their existing tech stack, see crucial insights in Google Analytics, and establish a single source of truth for customer data. [tip]Don't reinvent the wheel. See the top 5 data tracking mistakes made by DTC brands[/tip] With an accurate view of their Facebook Ad performance and marketing attribution, Flux is able to spend more on channels and campaigns that are converting at higher rates, and less on those that are falling short. Utilizing Littledata’s Facebook Ads integration, Flux built lookalike audiences based on their highest-spending customers, leading to a boost in both conversion rate and monthly revenue. There were three parts to this: Making Facebook Ads data match Shopify for actual conversions (real purchases instead of just clicks) Tracking checkout funnel events Getting the right LTV data to build high-value lookalike audiences in Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads All three were accomplished using Littledata's Conversions API connection. Conversion API (or "CAPI" for short) is a powerful way to get complete, accurate data about purchases and repeat buying behavior (shoppers who come back to buy again). Lots of brands don't even know about CAPI at all, but those that do often end up hiring agencies to do expensive manual implementations. Flux Footwear took the smart route and used an automated CAPI connection instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. The results were big and fast! RESULTS Flux Footwear cites Littledata’s seamless technology for helping them launch their brand with an accurate data layer. One of the most significant results, in their experience, is having “a team of people managing the data flow—a total no-brainer.” This helped to free up their most valuable resource—time—and allowed them to focus on their product. Since Flux relies predominantly on Facebook and Instagram ads to reach new customers, Littledata’s Facebook Conversions API integration plays a key role in Flux’s growth strategy. Seamlessly sending Shopify data to Facebook Ads and building powerful lookalike audiences for targeting and retargeting campaigns has fueled their recent growth—scaling their monthly revenue by 500% in under a year. They have also estimated over 30 hours of work were saved if they were to attempt to learn and set up tracking manually. With accurate data and a reinforced tech stack in place, Flux Footwear now has a complete picture of attribution, repeat orders, and conversions from customers and their affiliates.
Product Hunt Launch: GA4 Conversions Checker!
We’re excited to announce that Littledata launched it’s second app, GA4 Conversions Checker, today on Product Hunt, a community where people find great apps and tools. Littledata has created a free GA4 conversions checker to help ecommerce managers track missing transaction data in Google Analytics 4. The tool can identify missing key conversion data and ensure that data is flowing correctly, allowing for more informed decisions and better audience building. Most importantly you can also make sure you are not missing conversion data. The tool is free to use and can be accessed through a Google account or by looking up a Measurement ID. Littledata also offers a 30-day free trial for their app, which connects Shopify and BigCommerce stores to GA4 and allows for the monitoring of customer behavior and conversion data. Product Hunt will help us bring more visibility to Littledata’s data platform—but we could use your help. Jump into our launch to engage with the community and try out the app for yourself.
4 Reasons to use Littledata's Facebook Conversions API connection
Meta is pushing all ecommerce brands to implement the Facebook Conversions API. But what is it exactly? And what is the benefit of using an ecommerce data platform to push data back to Facebook? If you're running a Shopify store and you're not using Meta's Conversions API via Littledata, you're missing out on a lot of benefits that can help you drive more sales, grow your business and most importantly run higher converting Facebook Ad Campaigns. As Meta explains, the Conversions API can get you “closer to your customers” and help you “take advantage of first part data” from your Shopify store. But what does that all mean? Can’t you just add some extra code and be done with it? In fact, it’s not so simple. As with GA4 implementations, there are a lot of soft apps and integrations for Facebook Ads that work ok for very small merchants (less than $500k GMV). But serious brands need complete data in Meta — whether you’re focused on retargeting the checkout funnel, building better audiences, or just improving your overall top-line ad spend. Littledata has worked with several of the top DTC brands on Shopify and BigCommerce. Here are the top 4 reasons why you should reconsider your tech stack for advertising on Meta. These are the top benefits our most successful brands have seen after installing our Facebook Conversions API connection. 1. Better targeting of potential customers Meta's machine learning algorithm uses conversion signals to understand what type of people on their platform are likely to purchase products from your shop. By sending conversion event data to Meta, you're helping them understand your audience better and allowing them to target the right people with your ads. This can result in cheaper impressions and conversions for you. Think of this like training the platform to understand your ideal customer profile (ICP). Because Littledata tracks both one-off and repeat purchases (including subscriptions from apps like Recharge, Smarter and Stay Ai), you get complete data for both targeting and audience building (lookalike audiences with a higher LTV). 2. Improved ad performance Meta uses conversion signals to optimize your ads and find the highest quality potential customers within their user base. By sending Meta conversion complete event data and using it as the optimization event for your ads, Meta can show your ad to the right people at the right time, increasing the chances of them becoming your customer. This will cut down on wasted ad spend and increase overall conversions. 3. Better marketing attribution Meta's Conversions API allows you to send conversion event data to Meta from your backend systems instead of directly from the browser. This means that even if the user leaves the page quickly or has an ad blocker, the data is still being sent to Meta’s event manager. Using the Conversions API can improve the attribution of your conversions to your ads, which can result in better ad spend performance and audience building in the future. 4. More data to work with When you use the Conversions API, you can send personally identifiable information (PII) like email address, phone numbers back to Meta/Facebook. This allows Meta to match the user with their internal database and get a better understanding of who is converting on your site. It means that shoppers get better, personalized ads that fit their interests. You can also send Meta pseudo-anonymous data like IP address and user agent, as well as Meta's own cookies from the frontend. This gives Meta more data to work with and can help improve their targeting and optimization algorithms. How it works Littledata is the most advanced solution for Conversions API, but we didn’t get there by accident. Our Google Analytics integration has been the industry leader since 2017 and we used a similar framework to support CAPI so that brands can get complete, accurate data in Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads. In addition to the server-side tracking that’s automatically added by Littledata to capture everything that happens in your online store’s “lower conversion funnel”, such as checkout funnel activity and purchases, Littledata's integration with the Conversion API is superior to other solutions because of the way it sends the fbp and fbc cookies, which are crucial parameters for the event match quality score. Littledata ensures that an fbp is always available and automatically generates one in the event that the fbp parameter cannot be retrieved due to ad blockers. Additionally, the fbp and fbc parameters are passed with server-side events to ensure the highest event match quality. Why are the fbc and fbp parameters crucial for Meta CAPI? The event match quality score is an algorithm used by Meta to price impressions, choosing the right users within their user-base to target and provide you with the cheapest impressions and conversions. If the fbp and fbc parameters are not sent, the event match quality score will be negatively impacted, and Meta will not be able to optimize your ads to target the right users effectively. To overcome this, Littledata's integration with Meta Conversion API ensures that the fbp parameter is always available, even if it cannot be retrieved due to ad blockers. The fbp is automatically generated, and the user is attributed to it to ensure that the event match quality is not negatively affected. When using Littledata's integration with Meta's Conversion API, Shopfiy and BigCommerce brands can expect to see a boost in the number of conversions that Meta is able to attribute to their ads, resulting in significant ad spend performance and improvements to the overall ad campaign. Still wondering how these four reasons work out in action? Check out how Flux Footwear used Littledata to support multiple data destinations. A shoe brand that embraced data when they kicked off their business, Flux saw amazing six-figure growth by making data-driven decisions with data they could trust. On Shopify Plus? Book a Littledata Plus demo today. We’re happy to audit your Facebook data for free in advance of the call.
GA4 E-Commerce Reports: Get the most out of your ecommerce tracking in GA4
Guest Post by Maryam Oseni, Content Manager at Narrative BI GA4 E-Commerce Reports allow online businesses to track their website's e-commerce performance and optimize their sales strategies. Learn how GA4 can help you make data-driven decisions and grow your business. Google Analytics is a powerful tool for e-commerce business owners. With the release of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), e-commerce tracking has become even more sophisticated. GA4 E-commerce Reports are a set of reports specifically designed for e-commerce businesses, providing detailed insights into customer behavior, product performance, and revenue metrics. In this article, we will explore GA4 E-Commerce Reports in detail and explain how e-commerce business owners can use them to gain valuable insights into their customers' behavior and optimize their sales funnel. What are GA4 E-Commerce Reports? GA4 E-commerce Reports provide detailed insights into e-commerce transactions, customer behavior, and product performance. The reports are specifically designed for e-commerce businesses and offer various metrics and dimensions highly relevant to online retailers. These reports provide a wealth of information, including: Total revenue Total purchases Conversion rate Revenue by product Revenue by traffic source, and much more. GA4 Ecommerce Reports work by tracking specific user actions on an e-commerce website. These actions might include: Viewing a product Adding a product to the cart Starting the checkout process Completing a purchase By tracking these actions, GA4 can provide detailed insights into the customer journey on an e-commerce website, including where customers are dropping off and where they are converting. To start analyzing GA4 reports, you need to enable Enhanced E-commerce tracking when setting up your GA4 property. This will allow GA4 to track specific user actions on your website, such as product views and purchases. Enhanced e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics provides additional information about visitor behavior for specific products at different stages of the purchasing process (for example, the ratio of product views to purchases). It is highly worth it for you to have that additional granularity because you are operating an online retail business. Now that you are acquainted, let's get into some important Google Analytics 4 E-commerce reports. Monetization Overview Report The Monetization Overview report summarizes all monetary transactions on your website, including total revenue, number of purchasers, average revenue per user, products bringing in the most revenue, and so much more. This will help you identify trends or patterns in your website performance and make data-driven decisions to optimize your sales funnel. This report also shows data on the most viewed products, most sold items, and revenue from any active coupons. Each section has a link that allows you to drill down on the data displayed. You can access the monetization overview report by clicking Reports on the left-hand side and selecting Monetization under the Lifecycle tab. E-commerce Purchases Report The E-commerce Purchases report provides information on how often your customers viewed, added to the cart, and purchased the items on your website, with a total of the generated revenue from each item. This information helps you measure sales and your customer's interests. For instance, if an item was added to a cart 200 times but was only purchased five times, it can indicate that the price is too high and they don't love it enough to pay that much even though they want it. It also displays data for up to 5 product sub-categories with the dimension item category 1 to 5. For example, as a fashion store, you categorized women's purses on your website as Women's Fashion > Accessories > Bags > Purses; GA4 will label all four categories respectively and display data on how many items were added to the cart, viewed, and purchased in each category. This extra granularity helps to fine-tune the customer experience. It is important to note that the data in this report comes from the e-commerce events recommended by Google Analytics 4. If you want to add extra events, you must manually create one unless you are using Littledata’s GA4 connector. User Acquisition Report As an e-commerce marketer or business owner, it's important to understand how new users find your website or app for the first time. This is where the User Acquisition Report comes in handy. Analyzing this report lets you gain valuable insights into the channels driving new user acquisition. Each dimension in this report contains the text "First user," which denotes how the user visited your website for the first time. For example, selecting the First user default channel group shows how many users were acquired via direct search, organic traffic, social media, paid ads, etc. It also displays metrics like the engagement rate, conversions, average engagement time, and total revenue of each channel. Analyzing the User Acquisition Report lets you identify which channels drive the highest amount of new users. This information can help you optimize your marketing efforts and allocate resources to the most effective channels for new user acquisition. For example, if you notice that many new users are coming from social media, you may want to invest more resources into your marketing efforts. On the other hand, if you see that very few new users are coming from paid search, you should reevaluate your paid search strategy. Traffic Acquisition Report The Traffic Acquisition report is a section of Google Analytics that provides information about how users get on your website. It shows you the different channels driving traffic to your site, such as organic search, social media, email, and paid advertising. The report also provides data on the behavior of users who come to your site from each channel, such as bounce rate, pages per session, and average session duration. This information can help you understand which channels drive the most engaged traffic to your site. It's important to note that the User Acquisition Report differs from the Traffic Acquisition Report. While the Traffic Acquisition Report focuses on where new sessions are coming from, regardless of whether the user is new or returning, the User Acquisition Report looks explicitly at how new users find your site or app. To find the Traffic Acquisition report, select Reports from the menu on the left. Click to expand the Lifecycle section and select Acquisition. Conversion Paths Report The Conversion Paths report in Google Analytics 4 provides valuable insights into the different touchpoints that lead to a conversion and how different attribution models distribute credit on those paths. This report is divided into two sections: the data visualization and the data table. The data visualization section provides a quick overview of the channels initiating, assisting, and closing conversions. This information is crucial for understanding which channels drive the most conversions and where to focus your marketing efforts. The data table section provides a more detailed view of users' paths to complete conversions. This section includes metrics such as Conversions, Purchase revenue, Days to conversion, and Touchpoints to conversion. Analyzing this data lets you gain insights into the customer journey and identify areas to improve your marketing strategy. By analyzing the Conversion Paths report, you can identify the most effective channels and campaigns to drive conversions. This information can help you allocate your marketing budget more effectively and optimize your campaigns for better results. To access the Conversion Paths report, select Advertising on the left, expand the Attribution tab, and select the report. Using Explorations for Custom Reports Google Analytics 4 Explorations go beyond the basic e-commerce reports. It helps you create custom reports to analyze purchase paths, shopping behavior, product/sales performance, and checkout behavior. To find GA4's multiple exploration templates, click Explore on your dashboard's left side. Here are some ways to customize Explorations reports for your eCommerce business to maximize GA4 benefits. Analyze purchase path Use the Path Exploration template to create a custom report of your customers' purchase routes. This report helps you see which traffic sources drive the most revenue and identify any drop-off points in your funnel. You can also see which events drive towards purchases or abandonment and optimize accordingly. You can use this report to identify any drop-off points in your sales funnel, identify any fields in your checkout process causing friction for your customers, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your checkout process. You can also use this report to identify which traffic sources are driving the most revenue and allocate your marketing budget accordingly. Observe Shopping Behavior The funnel exploration report is excellent for observing shopping behavior. It shows your users' steps from their first visit to purchase. You can also see the average time it takes for a customer to make a purchase and identify any patterns in their behavior. It can also help you uncover seamless purchase funnels on your website. Let's assume you are running a 10% discount, and you offer it to your buyers during checkout. You can use the funnel exploration feature to observe what behavior spurs from that action. Do your buyers go ahead and complete the purchase? Or do they go back to add more products to their cart? Optimize Checkout Process You can also use the funnel exploration reports to optimize your checkout process. First, you have to customize this report by adding all the checkout steps your customers must take. For example, your customer has to complete four steps to make a purchase, and these steps are: click to checkout, add a delivery address, add payment details, and complete the purchase. A high abandonment rate after they add their payment details can signal a technical difficulty with your payment gateway. Or if there is a high abandonment rate after delivery details, it can indicate that the delivery rates are too high. This will help reduce your checkout abandonment rate and improve your e-commerce performance. Analyze product performance GA4’s path exploration lets you know the top pages that new users open after landing on your homepage. You can display product banners leading to different product catalogs on your homepage and use path exploration to know which one is getting more clicks. Automate Google Analytics 4 Reports Now that you know about GA4's reports for your e-commerce business, here is an extra tip for ease, especially if you are just starting with Google Analytics: Connect your GA4 property to Narrative BI. This lets you receive GA4 automated reports on essential metrics directly in your inbox. There are many metrics and dimensions in Google Analytics 4 reports; some do not translate into actionable insights that can help you optimize your e-commerce business. With Narrative BI, you can focus on the key metrics and see how they are performing at a glance.
Are you missing ecommerce conversions in GA4?
We’ve heard it said over slack, in-coffee break areas, and on countless community threads, “are you missing orders in Google Analytics 4?” Ecommerce managers know that measurement of data can be a compass for a brands overall marketing strategy from annual planning to one off campaigns. Unfortunately, we’ve seen nearly 20-30% of transaction data missing from merchants' stores in GA4 when they aren’t using Littledata – even if they’re using another Google Analytics app or Shopify’s Google sales channel! When this happens to key conversion data on orders it can create quite the problem for optimizing ecommerce marketing campaigns, let alone dealing with CAC constraints and increasingly competitive marketplace. And let’s face the facts: if you don’t know which campaigns actually lead to sales, there’s no way your site will scale. While we’ve already solved the tracking bit to capture these events using the Littledata app we know that broadly many merchants and brands are still not aware they are losing data through their native ecommerce platform connections, or client-side tracking that can be easily blocked (and misses out on checkout funnel events, purchases, subscriptions, refunds, etc.). Which we can report is 100% annoying all of the time—so we created a solution, a tool, and a magical GA4 conversion checker that you can use right now, totally free. Yeah—we know, it’s basically the wizard school of free GA4 apps. If that wasn’t enough, you can sign in with your Google account and check any properties or if you are unsure you can look up your Measurement ID to check if your data is flowing and correctly being tracked. Why is this important you ask? Because we’ve seen brands like Geologie grow year over year by operating off of accurate data and analytics. You will be able to make more informed decisions, compare performance across channels and devices, build way better audiences in Google Ads, and get a complete picture of who your most loyal customers are, whether you’re targeting subscribers or just high-LTV customers. No longer will you be asking the questions about if your conversions are being tracked correctly in Google Analytics 4 nor if what is in Shopify matches what you can see in GA4 reporting. Most importantly, you will not be wondering if your revenue is being tracked correctly—our checker works automatically with just a couple of clicks. Note: Did we mention the price? It’s free-ninety-free 🙂 Try out our GA4 Conversion Checker now and let us know what you think! And if you need help along the way during your data conversion journey the Littledata team is standing by to help out or you can get started with a 30 day free trial—no strings attached by signing up. During this trial you will be able to connect your Shopify or BigCommerce store in a few clicks to Google Analytics 4, monitor that your customer behaviour and conversion data is flowing correctly, and even build granular retargeting campaigns for customers dropping out of your checkout funnel. After that it's only a matter of time before you join the Littledata family as a monthly subscriber to our app that you can cancel anytime if you feel you are not getting ROI for our technology.
Tracking Meta Conversions 2 Years After iOS Privacy Changes: What We Know
Written by Nima Gardideh, Co-founder, President, CTO at Pearmill It’s now been two years since iOS 14.5 was launched. If you’ve been advertising for a while, you may have noticed the significant shifts in the performance of your ad spend on Meta and other performance-focused ad platforms. In this post, we’re going to discuss the best practices companies are using in 2023 and beyond to ensure they’re able to achieve the best results. The recommended approach at the end of this post is what we use with clients for whom we manage $100M+ of yearly ad spend aimed at acquiring profitable customers. Where is the industry headed? iOS 14.5, and the marketing industry in general, are moving towards a more privacy-centric approach to tracking consumers’ behavior on their platforms. At a high level, this means that platforms like iOS, Android, and even browsers like Chrome and Firefox are going to prevent ad networks like Meta and Google from getting per-user conversion details through automatic means. iOS 14.5 was the first shoe to drop, as Android added a similar approach in 2022, and 3rd party cookies are next (estimated 2024). The future of the industry doesn’t include stopping tracking altogether, but instead to moving toward anonymizing the data as much as possible. Ad networks should know “some number of people converted because of these campaigns”, as opposed to “these exact people converted after seeing this exact ad on your platform”. Meta’s Conversions API and Google’s Enhanced Conversions are solutions to this general shift in the market. They’re tools to help companies continue sending signals to these ad networks to help enable performance and decentralize tracking permission gathering to each company. Why is it important to send conversion data to Meta? Sending conversion signals to Meta is important because they use these signals to understand: What type of people on their platform are likely to purchase a product on your shop? Which of the ads, campaigns, and audiences in your ad account are bringing in paying customers? Which ads people are finding valuable in general (i.e. engaging and useful)? They want their users to enjoy the ads they see, and continue using their platform. Meta uses a machine learning algorithm to help price impressions, choose which users on their platform see ads you’ve produced, and look for the cheapest impressions for you automatically. This algorithm uses the conversion signals you’re sending to Meta as one of the most important factors to choosing the right people within their user-base to target. Meta is incentivized to give you the cheapest impressions (and cheapest conversions) because, if your unit economics are working from spending on their platform, you’re likely to spend more. When you send Meta conversion event data and, in a more technical sense, use that event as the optimization event for your ads, Meta does the work within its systems to find the highest quality potential customers within their userbase. It then shows them the ad you’ve produced at a time that they believe they’re most likely to become your customer. What are Meta Pixel and Meta’s Conversions API? Why should you use both? At the moment, there are two ways you can send events to Meta: using the Meta Pixel, and/or Meta’s Conversions API. Meta Pixel is a way to send conversion event data to Meta when the user is interacting with your site on the browser. For example, when someone adds a product to their cart, you can have the Meta Pixel send an AddToCart event to Meta to track that event. Or when they finish making a purchase, you can send a Purchase event to Meta. Meta’s Pixel sends the data from the browser itself. This comes with a few disadvantages: Since the data is being routed directly from the browser itself, there are ad blockers that sometimes prevent that data from being delivered to Meta. The data transfer requests sometimes fail. This can happen is if the user leaves the page very quickly, or if they have internet connectivity issues when the events are being sent to Meta. Meta’s Pixel tracking is also affected by iOS 14+ changes, since iOS has mandated that Meta request permissions for tracking the user when advertising through their usual methods. While the impact on desktop web is minimal (as of this writing), it still affects mobile web users, which is the majority of people who engage with ads. Meta uses the Pixel conversion events to attribute which ads, as sets, and campaigns the user has seen or clicked on before each conversion event. They generally do this by matching a first-party cookie that they generate to a unique ID they pass to your site when the user clicks on an ad (in a query parameter called “FBCLID”). These are all areas where Meta’s Conversions API can help! Meta’s Conversions API enables companies to send conversion event data to Meta from their backend systems instead of directly from the browser. For example, when someone makes a purchase on your site, you can send a purchase event to Meta from your backend even if the user closes their browser very quickly, has an ad blocker, or has disabled tracking on iOS. Similar to Meta’s Pixel, they use this data to try to attribute each conversion to an ad, ad set, and campaign that the user has previously seen or clicked on. Unlike the Meta Pixel, the way they attribute the conversion is beyond just the unique ID that they pass along: You can send them personally identifiable information (PII) like email address, phone number, etc., which they use to match the user with their internal database. You can send them pseudo-anonymous data like IP address, and User Agent (browser details). You can send them Meta’s own cookies from the front-end, which are generated by Meta’s Pixel. When using Meta’s Conversions API, it’s common to see a boost in the number of conversions that Meta is able to attribute to their ads. The attribution improvement can be as high as 10-25%, which can come with significant ad spend performance improvements. Meta even gives you a scorecard on how well they’re able to match conversions, and if the meta-data you’re sending them is useful: Screenshot of the Event Matching score in Meta’s Events Manager for events being enriched with Conversions API. How should you implement Meta conversion tracking for your e-commerce shop? Our recommendation is to use Meta’s Pixel and Meta’s Conversions API simultaneously. This approach ensures that Meta receives the maximum amount of conversion events to attribute to users and ads on their platform, which will ultimately help your brand achieve lower acquisition costs. There are a few technical implementations that are critical to get right when using this approach: Deduplication – sending conversion events from both the front-end (Meta Pixel) as well as the back-end (Meta’s Conversions API) means that Meta can double count conversions! For example, if you send a purchase event form the front-end and supplement that event with a purchase event from the back-end, Meta would accidentally count two purchases even though in reality there was actually one! Passing Metadata – Meta’s Conversions API needs metadata like email address, fbp/fbc (Facebook’s cookies), User Agent, IP Address, etc. to properly attribute conversion. This isn’t as technically simple as implementing the Meta Pixel. Freshness – when sending Conversions API events, it’s important to send events as soon as they arrive. The sooner Meta has the conversion data, the better the machine learning feedback loop for your ad spend will work. While these may be complicated technical implementation issues to handle, companies like Littledata have made the implementation of Meta’s Pixel and Conversions API much simpler by empowering marketers to simply enable these destinations on their platforms. If you’re looking to start implementing this strategy, sign up for Littledata and set up Meta’s Conversions API through them (Littledata's integration works automatically for Shopify and BigCommerce merchants!). Next stop, you’ll want to hit us up at Pearmill if you’re thinking about scaling up your advertising efforts. We can help you with growth marketing, ad creative production, conversion rate optimization, and attribution modeling!
Top 5 data tracking mistakes to avoid as a DTC brand
First-party data and server-side tracking is no longer an afterthought for DTC brands and ecommerce managers—rather, it is a centrepiece to their tech stack. But how do you make sure you aren’t “reinventing the wheel” when it comes to 1st party tracking? With the increasing number of “data platform” options it is often challenging to know what is truly needed for accurate attribution. With over 1500+ stores using Littledata’s Shopify and BigCommerce tracking app, we’ve learned a thing or two about the mistakes brands can often make. Allow us to help set the record straight and be a helping hand as you scale up your efforts in 2022. 1. Making data a lesser priority when launching We’ve talked to entrepreneurs across industries and one thing is certain—all are motivated to grow their business and many are managing multiple efforts across the business. One that often gets skipped in launching and updating a Shopify store is setting up data as an afterthought or using default or native tools that miss the mark. Some of the common replies we receive from customers that find out they have a data problem is that they planned on getting to it later or we thought we were getting all the information with pixel tracking (client-side) and the classic it just wasn’t in the budget. The first two we understand, because until folks know this can be automated with a tool like Littledata, the time for learning APIs, implementation, and maintenance can be overwhelming. However, we’ve seen brands give Littledata a shot as a temporary solution and report hours of time saved in an increase in their retention efforts like skincare brand Geologie. When it comes to budget we know the difference between those who do not prioritise data and those who truly can’t add this additional line item. That is why our Client Services team launched a new Littledata Startups program specifically for those just getting going. We have already offered a generous 30 day trial for merchants but realised some teams need a longer runway after seeing companies like Flux Footwear soar in the first year of getting started. 2. Thinking that fancy reporting will fix your data issues There are a lot of nifty reporting and visualization tools out there. But none of them actually fix your tracking. When reviewing how the platforms work be sure to ask about how the data is tracked and reported. While many reporting of these tools offer merchants a great UI/UX experience or insights they can also miss on the most important step, tracking. We are excited to see Google Analytics 4 offer free reporting tools and improved user experience in explorations. This will allow merchants to get more granular insights in GA4 which many consider their single source of truth. Littledata isn’t the new kid on the block. We got our start helping brands first hand get up and running with their data solutions. Then in 2017 we launched our app on Shopify that solved a big problem merchants were facing—accurate data and attribution. The issue we are hearing from partners and customers is that newly launched data tools are not fixing the tracking and analytics but rather they are pulling the data (which is likely inaccurate) and reporting through visualisation tools. We know this because our customers who use these other tools do so after fixing the tracking and attribution issues they are facing with Littledata. Then they use these reporting tools and dashboards in order to analyse the data or generate reports from the insights and recommendations of these tools. Or focus on fixing the tracking and conversion data. Nearly 1 of 5 orders is missed using Shopify’s native tracking tool. Littledata’s engine stitches together client-side and server-side tracking, without server setup and fees needed by merchants, to report end-to-end tracking. This includes important events like add_to_cart, one_time vs. recurring subscriptions, refunds, purchases, and more. We also calculate from these events Lifetime Value (LTV) and Average Order Value (AOV) so that merchants can understand what is really happening in their business—right in Google Analytics. If that wasn’t enough we also work out-of-the-box with many of the SMS, Subscriptions, and post-purchase upsell apps merchants are already using in their store or checkout. Making it easy to find out which channels or tools are working or not. 3. Short-term thinking about setup costs and maintenance This one is self explanatory but often gets missed. Because of our deep integrations with Shopify and BigCommerce our team is always making updates, improving the product, and implementing best practices for the Littledata app. Supercharging your store and functionality without having to outsource which often leads to scope creep. When you get started with Littledata you know exactly what you will be paying month to month with our tiers based on your order volume and not the revenue you bring in. Meaning you are paying for the data you are using and getting access to the same tools 100M GMV companies are using. This predictability makes it easy for merchants to budget for data tracking without having to account for surprises of outsourcing on your own. The best part is that Littledata has partnerships with some of the top agencies in the ecosystem like Swanky, Underwater Pistol, and Ragnarok. Recently, Steven Aldrich the Co-CEO of Ragnarok said on this topic: Merchants not aligning their tracking plan to their actual use cases; building your tracking plan on common sense and legacy schemas with no application is a surefire way to get little to no value out of your tools We don’t think there should be surprises when it comes to pricing. You can learn more on how we structure pricing here or by booking a chat with our Client Services team. 4. Missing the golden opportunity of creating audiences Creating audiences has to be one of the top priorities of any marketing team for retargeting and creating lookalike audiences. We know when you can understand your audience demographics through reporting and build and target your audience by metrics like LTV and AOV it can do wonders for brands. We’ve already seen Google Analytics 4 improve this by tightening up the relationship between Analytics and Ads. Now using event based tracking vs. session based tracking we will be able to understand customer behaviours even more and develop effective strategies to run ads and reduce wasted spend on the wrong audience. One area we are excited to see expanding within our own customers tracking portfolio is the implementation of Meta Conversions API which enables browser and server side tracking of your events in Facebook Ad Manager. Here you review events and create new campaigns based on this advanced implementation of server-side. The best part is Littledata reports many of the most needed ecommerce events right out of the box that you would have to set up manually through other means of connection. 5. Regular data health checks When maintaining your data stack it is important to know your data is flowing properly from your store to Google Analytics or Segment from your decisions like Shopify or any third party apps you use like Recharge Payments. Manually checking and testing these connections outside of Littledata can be a hassle and time consuming. With Littledata we show your live processed orders and connection details are active. This can help with any troubleshooting that might occur and as a normal check that the data is flowing properly. Merchants can often overlook this small detail but it can be a good habit to instill for any size organization. Any missed orders or transactions could amount to a lost opportunity for merchants or missed insights in your analysis. Recently, we caught up with Littledata’s Head of Client Services, David Pascu, who shared how this plays out in action for brands: Imagine it's the end of the quarter, and you're preparing to analyze a new product's purchase activity compared to a similar product launched in the previous quarter—only to find that the new theme you launched a couple of months ago broke the event tracking on the product detail pages, it went unnoticed, and you don't have the right data to work with. Frustrating, right? I stopped counting how many teams at top DTC brands have voiced their frustration about such situations. This is why tools like Littledata are valuable so that you have complete data without any unpleasant surprises. Let's be realistic, mistakes can happen within any business but it's our responsibility to limit those mistakes where possible. At Littledata we pride ourselves on building an app that can help your business thrive and grow through accurate data and analytics. Don’t make another mistake by missing out on 30 days with no strings attached to try our app with your store. P.S. Worried your conversions are not tracking well in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)? Use our GA4 conversion checker to see in a few clicks if your property is set up properly.
A deep dive into Shopify's Google channel for GA4
You might have seen the message below in your Shopify store settings about setting up the Google Channel app. What should you do when you see this message? Shopify offers a number of sales channels to make it easy to sell products on different online channels like Facebook and the Shop app. The Google sales channel is a bit different, since 1) it now also includes Google Analytics 4 (GA4) tracking, and 2) it is now managed directly by Google. Although we work with larger merchants at Littledata, who typically use external apps and agency partners to manage sales channels and analytics, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about the recent updates. Here’s a first look at what the Google Channel app does, and how that compares with other ways to set up Google Analytics 4 (GA4). What is the Google Channel app? Shopify launched the Google Channel app back in 2017 to provide an easier way for stores to sell on Google, using Google Ads and Google Shopping. It’s free to install, though of course you pay for the Ads ;) “Sync your products to Google Merchant Center, list products for free on Search, YouTube and more and even run paid Performance Max campaigns.” In the relaunch in March 2023 Shopify/Google added tracking for GA4, along with better support for Google PMax (Performance Max) campaigns. Shopify wants to offer you with a no-code install process for GA4, but adding the Google Channel won’t “avoid any data disruptions” for all stores. [subscribe] Why Shopify is moving GA4 tracking to the Google Channel Universal Analytics - the previous GA version - will stop collecting data on 1st July 2023, so Shopify was under pressure from customers to offer in-built GA4 tracking ahead of that deadline. GA4 is also Google’s preferred way of tracking conversions in Google Ads, and PMax campaigns need conversions (purchases) tracked to maximize Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). I also think Shopify wants to push support for GA4 onto Google by moving all of the Google connections out of their core platform and into a ‘third party’ app. What’s included in Google Channel tracking? The Google Channel app allows a store to pick a GA4 property and copies most of the ecommerce event tracking available from Shopify to Universal Analytics: Page views Product views (including product name and price) Add to cart Checkout started Purchase (Order completed) [note]Are you tracking conversions in GA4? Find out in 5 minutes with our free order checker app[/note] What are the limitations of Google Channel for tracking GA4? Firstly, the Google Channel is built to work with Google Ads. However, there’s many other reasons to use Google Analytics other than for Google Ads targeting: tracking all marketing channels, understanding on -site conversion, checkout conversion, product performance and more. Shopify hasn’t optimized the tracking for that. So there are some limitations with the events sent to GA: No tracking of product list views or clicks No checkout steps, beyond begin_checkout * No currency field on Product Detail views No reporting on product SKUs No tracking of coupons and discount codes No server-side tracking for accurate orders and revenue No Enhanced Conversions for cross-device tracking of Google Ads * Theoretically, an event is triggered when users add payment info, but we couldn’t get this to fire in multiple tests. See a full comparison with Littledata tracking. Secondly, the GA4 tracking is tightly coupled with the implementation of Google Shopping feed (which has some bugs, judging by the thirty 1-star reviews from the last month) so while you can just use the GA4 part of the Google Channel app, you run the risk of disrupting Google Analytics when you edit Google Ads settings. Thirdly, there are no settings to adjust the Google Channel tracking - so if you want only certain events tracked, or integrate with third-party apps, your hands are tied. "There are no settings to adjust the Google Channel tracking. So if you want only certain events tracked, or integrate with third-party apps, your hands are tied." Lastly, Shopify does not provide full support for GA4 tracking via the Google Channel app. The app is theoretically supported by Google, but Google only provides technical support if you pay $50k+ a year for Google Analytics 360. Other than that you’d need to pay a consultant to check the set up for you. What is the best way to set up GA4? You need to start getting data into GA4 by July this year - not just for analysis, but also for building audiences and retargeting your own customer base in Google Ads. So beyond this app, you have two options: 1. Add Google Tag Manager to your store theme Pros: Reliable page view tracking, simple to customize settings, free to run Cons: No tracking of the checkout steps (even for Plus stores), revenue in GA won’t match revenue in Shopify, lots of time (and developer cost) required to set up all the shopping behavior events 2. Use a proven, highly rated app like Littledata Pros: Reliable tracking of the whole customer journey in GA4, 100% match between orders and revenue in Shopify, no implementation effort, no developers needed, instant data quality; and Littledata is optimized for Shopify Plus, including headless tracking, Shop App tracking and multi-currency tracking in GA4 Cons: Ongoing app charge to maintain data quality [note]Are you tracking conversions in GA4? Find out in 5 minutes with our free order checker app[/note] Why server-side tracking? The basic limitation of the Google Channel is client-side tracking -- which means all the events to Google are sent from the end user’s browser. This isn’t a reliable way to attribute sales to marketing campaigns in an age when many browsers and ad blockers limit tracking. The world of web analytics has changed a lot since Shopify added GA via the Shopify store preferences back in 2014 - but Google Channel isn’t changing how the event data is actually tracked. In contrast, server-side tracking allows apps like Littledata to hook into what is happening on Shopify’s servers from the add to cart onwards. This means 100% of revenue can be tracked and the vast majority (~90%) of that can be linked to a pre-checkout user journey and marketing campaign. There’s many apps that promise to ‘fix’ marketing attribution (Rockerbox, Northbeam, etc), but the only way to get truly reliable tracking of orders and revenue is server-side tracking. What your store should do today While I understand that Shopify wants to provide an out-the-box integration with Google Analytics for smaller stores, this Google Channel won’t be suitable for any scaling brand spending heavily on online customer acquisition and retention. You DO need to start tracking in Google Analytics 4 ASAP! If your brand turns over less than $1M a year, and you don’t have the time to dive into marketing attribution and targeting, then the Google Channel may be enough right now. And that's great! But if you are doing $1M+, or need to dive into the details of what drives customers to purchase, then I don’t think the Google Channel will be robust enough for you. If you're ready to be truly data-driven this year, consider applying for a Littledata Plus plan so we can support you fully with higher SLAs and analytics training for your team. Shopify has reason to launch limited free apps (eg reviews, email and geolocation) to address the concern that their sticker price doesn’t reflect all the paid app add-ons you need to run a store. Yet professionals at growing brands know you need paid apps to guarantee quality and support. Littledata’s Google Analytics connection is no exception -- try it for free in the Shopify App store today!
How to create segments for subscription orders in Google Analytics 4
The key to growing your ecommerce subscriptions is understanding your customers — why they subscribe, pause, churn, or upgrade their subscription. Accurate subscription tracking has always been a challenge for Shopify and BigCommerce stores, and that hasn’t changed in the newest version of Google Analytics, GA4. Shopify’s newly released GA4 integration tracks “certain ecommerce events” after applying tags, but subscription events are missing. Luckily, first-party tracking has come a long way since the early days of Shopify. For brands interested in capturing data across the entire customer journey, the solution is easier than you may think. No, you don’t need custom GTM — that can be time-consuming and costly to maintain — you just need the right app that tracks subscription events in GA4 automatically. [tip] Try our free GA4 Conversions Checker to make sure your GA4 property is tracking complete conversion and transaction data. [/tip] Once you’ve successfully tracked your recurring orders in GA4, you’ll need to build out reports to understand your subscription sales performance over time. Building segments in GA4 sets the foundation for deeper analysis. In the latest installment of our GA4 courses, we walk you through how to build segments for first-time and recurring orders in GA4. How to create segments for subscriptions in GA4 GA4’s segments feature allows users to slice and dice their data into smaller subsets, empowering data-driven brands to understand trends between customers with similar characteristics, including whether or not they’re subscribed to your product. This is true whether you’re selling individual products by subscription, or product bundles. Get started by creating a new custom dimension in your Google Analytics 4 property — ‘affiliation.’ By adding ‘affiliation’ as a custom dimension, you’ll be able to analyze subscription data and answer specific questions to your business’s needs. Add these custom dimensions to a copy of your sales performance report with custom event segments, and you’re off to the races! Use the insights from your first-time orders and recurring orders segments to understand your subscription sales performance, analyze the real return on investment (ROI) of your subscription sales, and build out in-depth reports with actionable data. [note] Users can also use the custom dimension for affiliation in a filter and apply it to a custom report. [/note] Follow our step-by-step guide below to take a deep dive into your subscription sales performance: https://youtu.be/aLRsAp3EhWM Get more GA4 With GA4’s deadline quickly approaching, check out the rest of our free resources to jumpstart your GA4 journey: Extending our Recharge integration to work with GA4 and Facebook CAPI GA4: What Shopify stores should do TODAY to keep up with the new version of Google Analytics How to track ecommerce conversions in GA4 10 reasons to switch to GA4 GA4 Glossary of Terms: What you need to know to get started
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