GA4: What Shopify stores should do TODAY to keep up with the new version of Google Analytics
Setting up Google Analytics 4 (GA4) on Shopify is easy with the right tools, but there is a lot of confusion in the marketplace right now. There are apps offering "GA4 setup" that can't actually help you with tracking (getting accurate data into Analytics), and there are agencies offering detailed GTM tag setup guides for GA4 without mentioning that there are automated solutions for GA4 conversion tracking. This is all very exciting...but also not necessary. The truth is that you don't need custom tagging or reporting, just the right Shopify tracking app for GA4. What is GA4? It's Google's answer to the modern data stack, in some ways a complement to it (eg. GA4's BigQuery connection, which used to be reserved for GA 360), and in others a replacement for multiple expensive tools that haven't always worked well together. The move toward GA4 started with Google's interest in offering better cross-device and cross-channel tracking, and has been refined with a focus on user privacy -- in other words a world without third-party cookies. As a result, using the right Shopify and GA4 connection now lets you start capturing data about your Shopify store performance that is by default more complex and dynamic than what you might be currently tracking in Universal Analytics (UA, the current version of GA). GA4 can save you time and money versus a complex analytics setup, while offering visibility into the entire customer lifecycle, from organic and paid channels through complex browsing behavior and -- essentially -- customer lifetime value (LTV) and purchase count. But at the very least you need to start capturing that data. [note]This doesn't only apply to Shopify stores! If you're on BigCommerce you can use our server-side BigCommerce to GA4 integration[/note] Google has also built in data-driven models for both comparative attribution reporting and predictive analytics, such as in-app purchase probability and overall purchase probability. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. First you need to capture the data. We expect some brands to just ignore GA4 until the last minute (I'm expecting some not-so-fun Memorial Day Weekend parties next year in NYC...), but we've also noticed that the top ecommerce managers and data scientists are all doing the same thing: tracking in parallel today, so they will have at least six months of data before making the full switch to GA4. Here's a quick guide to help you make the right moves too. 1. Stop procrastinating Is Google really getting rid of the old version of Google Analytics? The answer is a definitive yes. They are sunsetting the old version of Google Analytics in 2023. You need to be ready, but what does that mean exactly? Is there anything you can do today? Track in parallel today so you will have at least six months of data before making the full switch to GA4 Google formally announced the shift to a new version of Google Analytics back in November 2020, but many DTC brands are still putting off the shift to GA4. While moving to a different version of a tool most online marketers use weekly (if not daily) might sound a bit intimidating, there are two points to remember: Google is one of the most user-friendly companies on the planet and they have already added a bunch of functionality and default reporting templates in GA4 You need to capture data before you can analyze it! As our agency partner CXL writes in their ultimate guide to GA4: "Unlike previous upgrade iterations, GA4 is a brand-new product. This means starting afresh, with a new learning curve to navigate." But at the same time, as they say, "it promises to be the future of analytics, with cross-platform tracking, AI-driven data, and privacy-centric design." We couldn't agree more. Littledata's top 10 reasons to switch to GA4 include both custom funnels and predictive insights. This is especially important for ecommerce brands that want to building shopping funnel reports and LTV cohorts in GA4 that fit their particular business model and customer base. So what should you do today to take advantage of this powerful, free ecommerce reporting? First of all, create a GA4 property! 2. Create a GA4 property Google will not be allowing anybody to import historical data from UA into GA4, so you need to create a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) property today if you are serious about seeing performance over time. Luckily, adding a GA4 property is surprisingly easy. Current GA users (that's most of you) can just head to their Analytics accounts and use the setup assistant. You should add at least one data stream. (Don't worry, you can add more later.) Data Streams in GA4 replace Views in Universal Analytics, but they're a bit different . Data streams can be any website (or blog, microsite, country store, etc) or mobile app (iOS or Android), and they can be viewed in aggregate or individually. Adding a data stream might sound intimidating, but this can be as simple as adding the URL for your website (eg. "littledata.io"). [tip]Whether you're new to Google Analytics or a longtime user, we recommend turning on the Enhanced Measurement settings, which include useful defaults.[/tip] When you add a data stream, you will have the option to enabled Enhanced Measurement settings. This is highly recommended. Here's more info on what Littledata lets you track automatically in GA4 -- examples include product views, product list views, checkout funnel events and purchases -- and which events are tracked with Enhanced Measurement, such as page views, site search and form interactions. Now that you have set up a GA4 property, it's time to set up your ecommerce tracking. [tip] Use our complementary instant order checker for GA4 to check your property [/tip] 3. Track in Parallel Tracking UA and GA4 in parallel means that you can send data to both destinations at the same time. This lets you capture browsing behavior and sales performance in both places, so you can analyze the data, build comparative attribution models and start to get a sense for how Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 are different -- as well as where they converge. The most accurate way to do this is to use an ecommerce data platform like Littledata to capture ecommerce events by default, including both sales/conversion tracking and marketing attribution (stitching sessions together). We send data directly to GA4. Because we have a pre-built GTM data layer, you don't need to add tags manually! Use a pre-built data layer for GA4 so you don't have to add tags manually Littledata's tracking schema works out of the box to capture both major and minor touch points in the ecommerce journey. When you install Littledata, we instantly start tracking all of the key ecommerce events for you in both UA and GA4, so you'll have the data you need when you're ready to dive into week-on-week and month-on-month analysis. Here's a quick video on tracking in parallel. To get something similar to Enhanced Ecommerce reporting, you'll need to build reports yourselves, so we've also put together a few videos on building ecommerce reports in GA4. These reports are more flexible and dynamic than anything available in UA. It's like having Google Data Studio within Google Analytics for complete reporting. There's even more free content available for subscribers in the app :) Wait, so GA4 is pretty different? GA4 is based on a different type of tracking called event-based tracking, which is is exactly what it sounds like: a more flexible and comprehensive way of tracking everything so you can build granular reports and predictive models based on the endless flow of events and attached parameters. The UA data model focused on sessions and pageviews. GA4 focuses on events, and sessions are no longer broken by a change in campaign "source" (GA4 continues tracking the same session as well as the change in source). But those sessions will not be stitched together automatically with purchase data and Shopify customer IDs. And many Google Tag Manager solutions for GA4 are missing out on the basics, like purchase events, revenue and conversion tracking. If you aren't capturing purchases, how are you supposed to know if your marketing is working? Using Littledata's solution is quick and easy, with both low-code and no-code options. Our ecommerce tracking is deep and comprehensive. When you start a free trial you can choose to send data to both UA and GA4 at no additional cost, with server-side tracking to guarantee accurate data. [subscribe heading="Top-rated GA4 tracking for $99 a month"] Want to know more? Book a free data audit with one of our Google Analytics experts today!
Is Shopify cutting off GTM support?
Geologie drives 25% increase in retention with subscription data [Case Study]
Geologie is an award-winning DTC brand that has set a high bar for using only clean, safe, and clinically-proven ingredients in their skin, hair, and body care products. Don’t just take our word for it—they have over 6,000 five-star reviews! But an impressive product line and dedicated customer base were just the beginning. Sometimes you need to be inspired by data. Like many skincare brands online today, Geologie sells by subscription. With a large subscriber base, it was vital for them to find a solution that would send accurate, unified data from all of the tools they use to a central data destination. Littledata’s out-of-the-box solution gave them visibility to their recurring payments and the lifetime value (LTV) of their customers, directly in Google Analytics. The Challenge: Getting unified data out of siloed tools The team at Geologie needed key customer metrics to help grow their subscription business. Founded in 2018 to improve well-being through dermatologist-recommended products, Geologie offers personalized routines focused on their skin, hair, and body needs. This hyper-personalization is perfect for creating a subscription program. Still, they needed to track these customers’ recurring payments and ongoing LTV (adjusted for recurring orders, returns, subscription upgrades, and other changes). When Geologie’s Head of Growth and Head of Ecommerce banded teams together to look for a solution to this tracking issue, they realized it would take extensive work. A noteworthy pain point was the time and energy it would take for their development to learn Shopify’s API in detail, not to mention developing a complete tracking solution, implementation time, and deploying ongoing maintenance. [note]Download the full case study to see how Geologie unlocked data-driven growth [/note] Like many fast-moving DTC brands, their desire was for core metrics to be clean and accurate without the ongoing costs of maintenance. The rollout of Google Analytics 4 did not make things easier; the sunsetting of Universal Analytics created another roadblock! Geologie needed to set up GA4 to continue tracking and sending events to Google Analytics, and was hoping to find a way to track in parallel, sending complete data to both Universal Analytics (the old version of GA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) at once. The Solution: Setting up Littledata's Google Analytics and Recharge connections Geologie leveraged Littledata’s plug-and-play Recharge integration to capture recurring payments in Google Analytics and pull in additional user data from Shopify — unified data they did not have before. Stephen Racano, Geologie’s Head of Growth, was at the helm of this implementation. Racano says that Littledata was extremely easy to install, and the customer support provided from start to finish was exceptional. Since they were early to GA4 thanks to Littledata, Geologie will be able to conduct year-on-year analysis in the future. They can also start building custom free-form reports in Explorations using this data. This connection also allows them to warehouse and send data to BigQuery and track Cohort Performance in real time. Results: More subscribers, higher retention, and three years of over 150% growth Since implementing Littledata, Geologie has successfully grown its subscription business with three consecutive years of 150%+ growth without seeing an increase in customer acquisition cost. In addition, their data-driven strategy has simultaneously helped improve retention rates by 25% year-over-year. With accurate data flowing and correct data being sent from Shopify and Recharge subscriptions to Google Analytics, Geologie now has a complete picture of attribution, recurring orders, and LTV from customers. [subscribe] “I had always looked at Littledata as a temporary solution," said Racano. "But given the complexity of bringing the development of our analytics in-house compared to the pricing and high level of support of Littledata, that really wouldn't make sense”. Racano estimates that by implementing Littledata, they save over 50 hours per year in analytics implementation time. Sometimes automation is a good thing ;) About Littledata Littledata is the top ecommerce data platform for modern DTC brands, tracking the entire customer lifecycle, unifying touchpoints across tech stacks, and sending data to the most popular data destinations. Connect sales, marketing, and customer data for action and analysis. [tip]Are you tracking subscriptions correctly in Google Analytics? Learn how by downloading the complete DTC Guide to Subscription Analytics[/tip]
Littledata now integrates with Klaviyo SMS!
We're excited to announce that Littledata now integrates with Klaviyo SMS. The integration is designed to help merchants uncover revenue opportunities in their data -- whether you're doing 100 orders per month or 100,000. The enhanced functionality extends our Klaviyo connection to track SMS messages and campaigns in addition to Klaviyo email campaigns and automations. The best part? It works for any Shopify or BigCommerce store using Google Analytics: Get complete conversion tracking for Klaviyo SMS campaigns in Google Analytics Compare Klaviyo performance against other channels, such as Facebook Ads Improve marketing ROI with granular LTV data and checkout funnel tracking Works with GA4, the new version of Google Analytics Klaviyo has long been the most popular email solution for Littledata's customers, and we couldn't be more excited to support SMS tracking for a complete Klaviyo integration. As Klaviyo notes, 1 in 3 consumers prefer texts over emails from their favorite brands, and combined email and SMS campaigns can drive ridiculously high revenue for data-driven DTC brands. Being able to see what campaigns are performing well as an Ecommerce Manager, PPC Manager, and Founder was crucial to our current customers and the continued evolution of Littledata's core offering of proving accurate data for DTC brands. To really unlock that revenue potential, merchants need data they can trust across every customer touch point. That's where Littledata comes in. With first-party tracking that works automatically, it's an advanced Google Analytics connection that can be set up in less than 5 minutes so you can get back to business. The most popular app stack we see is Shopify + Klaviyo + Recharge, and with this extended Klaviyo integration we now support granular tracking across that stack. Popular app stacks like this give merchants increased visibility and control over their campaigns, alongside a single source of truth in Google Analytics thanks to Littledata's smart tech. The new SMS integration works with both Universal Analytics (GA3 or the "old version" of Google Analytics) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4). It's been optimized for GA4 because a) that's where everything is going, and b) the channel groupings and data-driven attribution reporting in GA4 are much more powerful and flexible. [tip]Follow our Klaviyo SMS tracking guide to ensure that your SMS campaigns are tracked correctly by Littledata in Google Analytics[/tip] What is Littledata? Littledata is the top ecommerce data platform for modern DTC brands. Our first-party tracking solution makes it easy to send complete, accurate, unified data to destinations like Google Analytics, Segment and Facebook Ads. We've partnered with Klaviyo, the top ecommerce marketing automation platform, to help you do more with your data. Learn more >>>
How to use GA4 for ecommerce analytics [Podcast]
With BFCM behind us, it’s time to push forward and begin planning for 2023. One of the biggest changes 2023 has in store for ecommerce brands is the deprecation of Universal Analytics and the rise of Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Many merchants are still struggling with their migration from UA to Google Analytics 4, and we get it — change is hard. Especially when it comes to a vital tool that your business relies on. [tip]Get the free ebook on 10 reasons to switch to GA4[/tip] The good news is that switching to GA4 doesn't have to rack your nerves. Littledata’s Head of Client Services, David Pascu, shares his expert advice on building a strong foundation in GA4 on the Infinity Nation podcast. Whether you’ve been tracking in parallel for months, or you’re pushing off your migration until the last minute, you won’t want to miss this episode. Sending Shopify data to GA4 David joined Al Keck on the Infinity Nation podcast to discuss all things Shopify and GA4. David answers many of the most common questions users have about migrating to GA4, including: Myths and facts about GA4 for DTC brands Why Google is deprecating UA in change for GA4 When should you get started with GA4 How to start sending ecommerce data to GA4 Listen to the full episode >>>
Littledata's BFCM Holiday Shopping Guide
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner. And what better way to get into the Christmas spirit than by shopping for some great gifts? That's why we've put together Littledata’s Holiday Shopping Guide, with some of our favorite merchants from all over the world. These direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands reach thousands of happy customers — some even offer subscriptions for the gift that keeps on giving! Whether you're looking for the perfect present for your significant other, family member or you're just trying to find a work colleague's Secret Santa, we've got you covered. So take a look at our guide and find the perfect gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list. Happy holidays, and happy shopping! Grind As a remote-first company, it’s no surprise that Grind is at the top of our list! Over the past two years, Grind has quickly grown from a handful of London-based cafes to an international DTC brand, shipping their famous house blends across the globe. This holiday season, learn how Grind skyrocketed its online sales from $10k to $500k monthly in just three months. And be sure to check out our top gift picks from Grind below. Treat your coffee lover to Grind’s Nespresso-compatible Coffee Pods. If they’re looking for a new favorite blend, they can explore up to three different flavors and find their new favorite to sample before purchasing in bulk. If you’re looking for something a little more luxurious, opt for Grind’s French Press Gift Set. The set includes Grind’s classic tin in silver or pink, the Grind house blend ground coffee, and a limited-edition tote bag, featuring a Shoreditch Grind illustration. For the aspiring mixologist, be sure to pick up the Espresso Martini Gift Set. A cocktail kit that comes with everything a person needs to make their favorite caffeinated cocktail at home this holiday season. Last but not least, we have the ultimate gift for the coffee lover in your life: a subscription to their favorite coffee shop. Give your friends and loved ones the gift of their favorite house blends from the comfort of their homes all year long! Abbott Lyon If you’re looking for an indulgent & unique gift, then look no further than Abbott Lyon. Their beautiful personalized jewelry is the perfect way to add a little sparkle to your recipient's life this holiday season. Not only are their products highly personalized, but their site experience is too! By utilizing server-side tracking to capture complete first-party data, Abbott Lyon unlocked opportunities for personalization and identified key areas for improvement in their website to optimize the user journey. Gifting someone who loves to travel? The Mini Raffia Pearl Resort Bag is the perfect accessory for them. This lavish little bag will add a touch of class to any outfit and can be customized with their initials. The Sphere Chain Anklet is a great gift for someone special and is different from the usual gifts you see. The spheres create a delicate and eye-catching design and are available in silver and gold. This charming and budget-friendly anklet is a great way to show your loved ones how much you care. Johnnie-O For all the fashionable guys in your life, Johnnie-O captures the perfect mix of style, function, and high-quality materials. Shoppers can receive unique offers, including personalized product recommendations, discounts, and loyalty perks by enrolling in Johnnie-o’s SMS and email newsletter. By seamlessly sending Shopify data to Segment with Littledata’s plug-and-play connection, Johnnie-O opened up endless opportunities for omnichannel engagement and messaging with their customers. Ready for the ugly Christmas sweater parties? You can’t go wrong with Johnnie-O's festive collection! Their use of color and patterns is spot-on, and the quality of their pieces is second to none. Christmas sweaters are perfect for those who want to show their holiday spirit but sometimes it’s a little too much for your recipient and they would be happy with a baseball cap instead. A red baseball cap is a more subtle way to show your holiday spirit and it’s also a lot more practical. You can wear it all year round and it won’t take up as much space in your closet. Joshua Tree Coffee Gifting subscriptions are on the rise this holiday season, and we can understand why — it’s the gift that keeps on giving! Joshua Tree Coffee offers personalized subscription gifts, in which recipients can choose their favorite roasts, frequency, and quantity. Joshua Tree Coffee isn’t alone — subscriptions are the fastest-growing area in ecommerce. Whether you’re selling coffee, snacks, or skincare products, you name it, now is the time to launch your subscription service! And with the subscription ecommerce market set to be worth over $478 billion by 2025, what time is better than now to learn the ins and outs of selling by subscription? The sooner you start, the sooner you will perfect your subscription model. [tip]Discover the keys to building data-backed subscriptions with The DTC Guide to Subscription Analytics[/tip] Among our top picks from Joshua Tree Coffee are the Variety Sample Pack and Mug Bundle. Including four different kinds of coffee beans, the coffee lover you're shopping for will be able to sample a quality mixture of light, medium, and dark roasts and discover their new favorite while drinking from their new mug. Robert Goddard If you’re not keen on shopping around multiple stores this BFCM, Robert Goddard is your one-stop shop for all your designer fashion needs! With up to 50% off, their Black Friday sale has already begun! Offering a variety of products, SKUs, and brands, Littledata’s Shopify source for Google Analytics plays a crucial role in helping the Robert Goddard team understand which products are their top performers, identify which campaigns lead to the most conversions, and get a complete view of the customer journey. As winter sets in, many of us are looking for ways to stay warm, one great option is to gift the Barbour Mallory Beanie Hat and Scarf Gift Set. This delicate cream colorway is an excellent choice for any winter wardrobe. Not only will it keep you cozy and warm, but it will also make a great fashion statement. When it comes to giving a practical and cozy gift to the fashionable men in your life this winter, why not try a pair of Barbour Navy Porterfield Slippers? Made from a suede and cotton blend, these slippers are sure to keep feet warm and comfortable all season long. Plus, they're stylish with Barbour's classic tartan lining. Geologie Whether you're on the lookout for practical gifts or are looking to treat yourself this holiday season, Geologie has got you covered. Geologie’s Shopify store is running Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in parallel, so they can not only understand this year’s BFCM performance but also run year-over-year analysis in the years to come. A great starter set full of fresh scents including their signature bergamot and juniper scent, the Signature Body & Hair Gift Set is a great way to try out the brand. This set includes a Superclean Body Wash, a Natural Deodorant, and a Hair Co-Wash, all of which are made with highly effective formulas that promote great skin care. The award-winning Allstars have been put together as the Geologie Bestsellers Gift Set that includes a Hair Co-Wash, 2 Salicylic Acid Face Washes, and a Dark + Puffy Under Eye Cream. This is the perfect gift for anyone who wants to start and finish their day feeling refreshed. Living.Fit For the fitness gurus on your list, Living.Fit offers everything they need to get their at-home gym up and running. With a range of gym equipment and apparel available, you can start your fitness journey at home with ease. For those that prefer guided workouts, Living.Fit’s got you covered there too! Give the gift of Living.Fit’s exclusive membership is powered by Recharge Payments subscription service. Living.Fit leverages Littledata’s out-of-the-box integration with Recharge to get a complete view of the subscriber journey, differentiate between one-off, first-time, and recurring orders, and optimize the subscriber experience. If you’ve ordered your equipment but aren't quite sure how to use it properly to get the best results, don't worry - Living.Fit has a wide range of workout plans that you can purchase online and follow along with at your own pace. A great way to learn without paying the price of a gym membership. Flux Footwear Flux Footwear is the ‘world's most adaptable footwear’, with incredible flexibility that allows you to feel as if you are walking barefoot without sacrificing style or comfort. With a simple design and commitment to quality. Flux is fine-tuning its Facebook and Instagram campaigns to help shoppers find the perfect pair for their loved ones. With Littledata’s Facebook Conversions API integration, Flux built dynamic product ads to retarget abandoned carts and target potential customers. One year after launch, Flux scaled its revenue 600% and powered its growth primarily through paid social. There is no occasion too big or too small for Flux Footwear. Flux’s Adapt Trainers are the perfect gift for anyone on your list. Their limited-edition colorways won't last long, so grab them while you can! So you’ve got your equipment and workout plan sorted with Living.Fit, but you need a trainer that offers durability, increased flexibility, and uncompromising grip. Then look no further than the Adapt High-Top with Graphene. These sneakers are great for any workout and will help you get the most out of your training. A must-have for any fitness enthusiast. Happy shopping! In this holiday season, why not take advantage of these fantastic businesses that make use of Littledata to make their data work harder and treat your loved ones (and yourself!) to something special!
Littledata’s Google Analytics connector featured in BigCommerce app store
It’s been a banner year for Littledata on BigCommerce. Our Google Analytics app for BC has been highlighted and recommended by BigCommerce merchants and account managers, and we were recently honored with a multi-week feature in their app marketplace! Our data experts work with thousands of DTC Brands and know what brands are looking for in their advanced Google Analytics integration for their ecommerce store. At the core our customers care most about getting accurate and detailed information about customer behavior, from finding the best organic marketing channels to understanding granular details like how to improve checkout conversion rates and build better retargeting audiences. Our fast growth on BigCommerce hasn’t come by accident. With full support for both GA3 (Universal Analytics) and GA4 (the newest version of Google Analytics), we’ve met a major need for BigCommerce brands to have accurate, unified data in the tools they are already using – while preparing for a world without cookies. Our first customer review on BigCommerce app store might still say it best: “Google Analytics is a monster, and overwhelming to new users like myself. When the data in GA does not match the data in BigCommerce, making proper marketing and ad budget decisions becomes an even more difficult task. The Littledata Connector for Google Analytics and their All Website data configuration in GA opens a whole new world of clarity….confirming the true conversion value of Google (cpc), Bing, Social Media as well as referral revenue and conversions” The announcement of Google sunsetting Universal Analytics and the implementation of GA4, have some people in the industry confused and worried. But have no fear, Littledata is the first app to offer automated server-side tracking for Google Analytics (UA + GA4) including subscription analytics (Recharge) and Facebook Conversions API (BETA). We’re seeing especially strong growth from BigCommerce merchants on enterprise plans, which now drive more than 70% of BC’s ARR. What’s driving that growth? A big part of it seems to be multi-storefront capabilities. This feature is super slick and makes it easy to run several different storefronts in sync, whether different country stores for different regions/locations or different microsites for unique customer segments, such as separating out men’s fashion from women’s fashion or just overall clothing from accessories. The best part is that Littledata tracks any number of BigCommerce storefronts, allowing you to have a global overview of your business while still being able to segment through each storefront's data in Google Analytics. So if you’re making data-based decisions and looking for an easy to implement solution for your BigCommerce store, reach out to us to learn more!
How To Use Server Side Tracking On Ecommerce Sites [Podcast]
Edward Upton, Founder & CEO at Littledata, was recently featured on the Ecommerce Coffee Break Podcast. Watch the interview above as he discusses how to use server-side tracking on ecommerce sites and the changes it has brought to the ecommerce world. In this episode you will learn: How to use server-side tracking on ecommerce sites What's the difference between first and third-party cookies The benefits of server-side tracking How to choose the right attribution model for your business Listen to the podcast or watch it on YouTube Still, have burning questions after tuning in? Explore our recently published white paper on First-Party Data, "A World Without Cookies" where our experts share about these new changes to data and tracking.
Insights from GA4 experts on our webinar
With Universal Analytics’ deprecation date quickly approaching, merchants and agencies alike have been looking to ecommerce platforms, like Shopify and BigCommerce, to lead the way in integrating their stores with GA4. But little progress has been made by ecommerce platforms, leaving merchants to their own devices. But one thing’s for sure: with the right partners, you’re not alone. Last week we joined forces with some of the best and the brightest in the ecommerce analytics world to answer merchants' biggest questions about migrating to Google Analytics 4: What’s different between Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4)? What exactly is event-based tracking? Why hasn’t Shopify offered a plug-and-play solution for GA4? Whether you’re working with an ecommerce agency like Irish Titan, an ecommerce reporting tool like Daasity, or an ecommerce data platform like Littledata, data should be at the core of every business decision you make. Up until this point, 87% of Shopify stores have relied on Universal Analytics as a trusted reporting tool for their store’s sales and revenue, marketing attribution and campaign performance, and for a complete view of their customer journey. And that’s why we held last week’s webinar: to gather the top GA4 experts in ecommerce analytics to answer your most asked questions about GA4, provide some clarity around your migration, and arm you with the tools you need to succeed in the next generation of Google Analytics. Watch the full webinar on-demand>>> Key takeaways Custom reporting Merchants have grown accustomed to the 50+ built-in reports that UA offers, and are understandably uneasy with GA4 providing only a fraction of those reports out-of-the-box. But the good news is that all the reports you’ve grown to know and love in UA can be custom-built in GA4, offering the opportunity for you to zero in on the metrics specific to your business’s unique set of goals. In a matter of minutes, your Source/Medium Report or Sales Performance Report can be up and running. Find out how to build custom reports in GA4 with our series of free GA4 courses on YouTube. Once you’ve set up your GA4 property, the next step is crucial. Ensure that all your events are set up properly, including any custom and ecommerce events that you’re tracking in UA. Your events set the foundation for your reports and ensure that your custom-built reports work seamlessly. The easiest way to do this is with a GA4 connector Shopify app. [tip] Whichever GA4 connector you choose, make sure it takes advantage of server-side tracking. Otherwise, your data discrepancies will just get worse! [/tip] New data model GA4’s tracking is fundamentally different from UA’s. Previously, Google captured data based on hits or sessions, whereas GA4 uses event-based tracking. Similarly, Google has shifted away from its last-click attribution model and has turned to data-driven attribution instead. What exactly is event-based tracking, and what does this mean for many of the metrics you’ve relied on in UA? Some of the metrics merchants have used to monitor their store’s performance have changed in meaning or are no longer available. ‘Events’, for example, track actions within a page in UA, including video views, widget clicks, and downloads. In GA4, ‘events’ measure every user interaction with your website or app, including loading a page, clicking a link, and completing a purchase. With GA4’s event-based tracking, merchants are no longer limited to UA’s predefined hit types and can create custom events to track any action or piece of information that they like. [tip] Stay in the loop on GA4’s new terms, metrics, and reports with the GA4 Glossary.[/tip] Some other small but impactful changes have been made to metrics that many merchants are familiar with, including ‘sessions’ being redefined. ‘Bounce rate’ and ‘session duration’ are no longer available in GA4, instead, they have been replaced with engagement metrics. ‘Bounce rate’ can be understood with its inverse, ‘engagement rate’, which measures the number of engaged sessions divided by the total number of sessions over a specified time period. While these new metrics may cause some confusion, Google’s new engagement metrics help merchants uncover a detailed look at how customers interact with their website or app more accurately and will empower merchants to identify their conversion rate optimization areas with ease. https://youtu.be/XFrDq6VSU5M Google’s data-driven attribution model provides a holistic view of all of the touchpoints that contribute to a conversion and distributes credit for the conversion based on data for each conversion event. GA4 allows merchants to funnel in multiple data sources, including your website, app, email marketing platform, and advertising platforms, like Meta, to properly attribute sales across your marketing efforts. Google’s data-driven attribution model will help brands maximize their marketing efforts and budget, which is especially important in today's uncertain economic climate. Merchants can now leverage Google’s machine learning capabilities with predictive audiences, providing insights into what users are likely to purchase are doing on your website, and comparatively, what users who are likely to churn are doing on your website. Built on first-party data In a way, GA4 is Google’s response to increasing privacy regulations and tracking prevention. With the growing absence of third-party cookies, we’ve seen accuracy in client-side tracking slip away over the past few years. Unlike UA’s reliance on third-party cookies, GA4 is built on first-party data, offering merchants accuracy in tracking and in-depth insights into how users interact with their website and app. Exporting GA4 data into BigQuery Many of the features that were previously limited to GA360 users on UA (for the hefty price of $100k+ annually) are now available to all GA4 users, free of charge. This includes the ability to export raw data from GA4 to BigQuery, and from BigQuery to any destination of their choice. GA4’s automatic BigQuery export not only relieves merchants of the tedious and costly manual data export, but also opens up opportunities for data transformation and analysis outside of GA4’s interface and API constraints — the possibilities are endless! Watch the full webinar on-demand>>> What you should do now As echoed by all of our speakers, you should start tracking your ecommerce analytics in GA4 now! And with the right tools, getting complete Shopify or BigCommerce insights in GA4 is simple. If you haven’t started already, now is the time to start tracking in parallel with UA and GA4. You won’t be able to export UA data into GA4, which is why it’s so important to get as much overlap as possible, especially if you’re serious about understanding your store’s performance year-over-year. For a step-by-step guide to creating your GA4 property, read GA4: What Shopify stores should do TODAY. “Make a data plan. Determine which are your brand’s most important marketing and business questions, and build exploration reports to answer those questions with data. In doing so, you’ll be surprised with how quickly you become an expert in GA4!” —David Pascu, Head of Client Services at Littledata Once you have created your GA4 property, ensure that you’re tracking your ecommerce analytics in parallel, or sending data to both UA and GA4. This lets you capture browsing behavior and sales performance in both places, so you can analyze the data, build comparative attribution models, and start to get a sense of how UA and GA4 are different — as well as where they converge. https://youtu.be/oqGAX1xgZGE The easiest (and most accurate) way to do this is with an ecommerce data platform like Littledata. Littledata automatically captures ecommerce events in UA and GA4 and links them to the original touchpoint. Book a demo to learn more. Join the Littledata and Daasity teams for another GA4 webinar! Our analytics experts will be answering merchants' top questions about migrating to GA4 in a live AMA (Ask Me Anything) style webinar on December 6 at 12 PM EST. Register here >>>
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