Is it worth attending that ecommerce conference?

Ecommerce conference season is upon us. In the past few weeks, the Littledata team was at Shop.org in Las Vegas, Paris Retail Week, and the Google Expert Summit in Waterloo, Canada -- three very different events in three rather different countries. Then we also hit up Agile Cambridge and Technology for Marketing in the UK, the UPRISE fest in Dublin, TechDay LA in sunny Los Angeles and the BigCommerce partner summit in Austin. And while we unfortunately couldn't make ReCharge's Recur event for the subscription industry, or Hawke Media's Hawkefest, the ultimate anti-conference, many of our partners and merchants were there and had awesome things to say. But wait a second. Slow down! With so many exciting events to potentially attend during what is already one of the busiest times of year for those of us in the industry (Black Friday is just around the corner from a marketer's perspective), how do you choose? Is that conference you've been debating attending really worth it? If we've learned anything... Over the years I've had a mixed experience with conferences. But with Littledata we've found a good rhythm. Of course it helps that we're on the cutting edge of new technology, actually using AI and machine learning as opposed to just talking about it, and that we already have major customers around the world, even though we're technically still a 'startup'. This gives us a wide range of high-quality speaking and learning opportunities. But at the same time our productive conference experiences haven't happened by accident, whether for ecommerce or general tech events. We've found such a good conference rhythm -- a dance that produces a consistently high ROI on in-person events -- by looking closely at our own data on a quarterly and yearly basis. Our strategy is always evolving, but some stats have been consistent. For example, we discovered that at the right events: Though we don't necessarily have a higher win rate for enterprise leads from conferences, the sales cycle is condensed, on average 3x faster from meeting to close. This saves our sales team valuable time chasing down leads, and also helps us improve our product, pitches and processes at a faster rate. Agencies we meet in person are 4x more likely to refer us a customer within the next 30 days -- even if we never did a formal product demo. What's your company's take on conferences? Here are a few insights that might help you get more out of the conference experience, whether that means big tech industry events or smaller, focused meetups. [subscribe] There is no such thing as a must-attend conference The great irony with ecommerce conferences is that they tend to be scheduled at what are already busy times for those of us in the industry. Whether it's the shows we attended these past 6 weeks that overlapped with everyone getting back to work after summer holidays, or European standbys like NetComm Suisse's later fall events and One to One in Monaco every March, right after SXSW in Austin, it's either an embarrassment of riches or -- depending on your perspective -- a really confusing hodge podge of hard-to-classify opportunities. There are simply too many choices, and it's especially hard to decide whether to attend a tech conference or meetup if your company has never attended that particular show before. One thing I love about our industry is that merchants (stores and ecommerce managers) and vendors (apps, platforms, consultants, designers and agencies) are all in the same boat. In short, we have no time for BS. We want events that focus on real information, emerging technologies and human connection. So how do you decide? First things first, make your own list. There are a ton of blog posts out there about 'must attend' conferences, those 'not to miss'. Give me a break! Every business is unique, and you're only as viable as your buyer personas. So make a list of conferences, events and meetups that might help connect you with your prime customers and best partners. Brainstorm, look online, ask around. Make your own list and plan to review every quarter. Then once you've made that list, on paper or Trello or however you work best, go through the following checklist with as many members of your team as possible, especially if you can bring in decision makers from both Product and Marketing. A simple checklist When deciding if you should attend a conference for the first or second time, it's useful to have a checklist for quick, consistent analysis. The checklist I use is deceptively simple. It has only 5 indicators. Would one significant sale pay for itself in terms of customer acquisition cost (CAC)? If the conference did work out, is it something you would attend every year? Would it be the right place for you to speak, either now or in the future? Is this your scene, your community? Are there companies, merchants, agencies, vendors etc. attending whom you wouldn't see any other time this year? (Even just one counts, if sufficiently high-value.) In short, if you can tick all five boxes then you should attend the conference. If you can only tick four, it's probably worth attending but needs more debate. If this is the case, then considering point number one in detail -- looking at your current LTV/CAC ratio and considering how the conference could help improve or at least maintain it -- is essential. For ecommerce tech companies like our own, this generally means one big sale or partnership. For ecommerce sites it can also take the form of discovering new tech (like Littledata, Klickly or ReCharge) that will help increase sales and marketing ROI. If you can tick all five boxes then you should definitely attend the conference The checklist works even if you've already attended the conference in the past. Just consider point two already covered and proven! If you're in the ecommerce space, definitely consider platform-specific conferences. Shopify and Magento have regular events and meetups around the world, and word on the street is that BigCommerce will be really ramping up their local partner events in 2019. Shopify Unite has consistently been that rare conference that ticks all the boxes for us here at Littledata, but that doesn't mean we're ignoring others that only tick four. We've cast our net wide (using the checklist of course) and are still seeing results. If you want to get a head start on conference browsing for next year,  Veeqo has created a calendar of best worldwide ecommerce conferences for 2019. Across the board remember this: success at a conference almost never comes in the form of expected outcomes. Yes, the best outcomes will be aligned with your sales and marketing goals, but sometime the biggest benefits will not be clear for 3, 6 or even 12 months down the line. That's why we do quarterly and yearly reviews of all in-person activities, from networking events to large conferences. I suggest you do the same. Most importantly, have fun! Gone are the days of boring trade shows. Show up. Make connections. And if we're there too, come say hi! Maybe nobody can make analytics sexy, but we at least promise to make them useful. And usefulness is a good place to start...

by Ari
2018-10-23

Categorising websites by industry sector: how we solved a technical challenge

When Littledata first started working with benchmark data we found the biggest barrier to accuracy was self-reporting on industry sectors. Here’s how we built a better feature to categorise customer websites. Google Analytics has offered benchmarks for many years, but with limited usefulness since the industry sector field for the website is often inaccurate. The problem is that GA is typically set up by a developer or agency without knowledge or care about the company’s line of business - or understanding of what that industry sector is used for. To fix this problem Littledata needed a way to categorise websites which didn’t rely on our users selecting from a drop-down list. Google Analytics has offered benchmarks for many years, but with limited usefulness since the industry sector field for the website is often inaccurate. [subscribe] The first iteration: IBM Watson NLP and a basic taxonomy Our first iteration of this feature used a pre-trained model as part of IBM Watson’s set of natural language APIs. It was simple: we sent the URL, and back came a category according to the Internet Advertising Bureau taxonomy. After running this across thousands of websites we quickly realised the limitations: It failed with non-English websites It failed when website homepage was heavy with images rather than text It failed when the website was rendered via Javascript Since our customer base is growing most strongly outside the UK, with graphical product lists on their homepage, and using the latest Javascript frameworks (such as React), the failure rate was above 50% and rising. So we prioritised a second iteration. The second iteration: Extraction, translation and public APIs The success criteria was that the second iteration could categorise 8 sites which the first iteration failed with, and should go on to be 80% accurate. We also wanted to use mainly public APIs, to avoid maintaining code libraries, so we broke the detection process into 3 steps: Extracting meaningful text from the website Translating that text into English Categorising the English text to an IAB category and subcategory The Watson API seemed to perform well when given sufficient formatted text, at minimal cost per use, so we kept this for step 3. For step 2, the obvious choice was Google Translate API. The magic of this API is that it can detect the language of origin (with a minimum of ~4 words) and then provide the English translation. That left us focussing the development time on step 1 - extracting meaningful text. Initially we looked for a public API, and found the Aylien article extraction API. However, after testing it out on our sample sites, it suffered from the same flaws as the IBM Watson processing: unable to handle highly graphical sites, or those with Javascript rendering. To give us more control of the text extraction, we then opted to use a PhantomJS browser on our server. Phantom provides a standard function to extract the HTML and text from the rendered page, but at the expense of being somewhat memory intensive. Putting the first few thousand characters of the website text into translation and then categorisation produced better results, but still suffered from false positives - for example if the text contained legal-ease about data privacy it got categorised as technical or legal. We then looked at categorising the page title and meta description, which any SEO-savvy site would stuff with industry language. The problem here is that the text can be short, and mainly filled with brand names. After struggling for a day we hit upon the magic formula: categorising both the page title and the page body text, and looking for consistent categorisation across the two. By using two text sources from the same page we more than doubled the accuracy, and it worked for all but one of our ‘difficult’ websites. This hold-out site - joone.fr - has almost no mention of its main product (diapers, or nappies), which makes it uniquely hard to categorise. So to put it all the new steps together, here’s how it works for our long-term enterprise client MADE.com's French-language site. Step 1: Render the page in PhantomJS and extract the page title and description Step 2: Extract the page body text, remove any cookie policy and format Step 3: Translate both text strings in Google Translate Step 4: Compare the categorisations of the title vs page body text Step 5: If the two sources match, store the category I’m pleased that a few weeks after launching the new website classifier we have found it to be 95% accurate. Benchmarking is a core part of our feature set, informing everything that we do here at Littledata. From Shopify store benchmarks to general web performance data, the improved accuracy and deeper industry sector data is helping our customers get actionable insights to improve their ecommerce performance. If you’re interested in using our categorisation API, please contact us for a pilot. And note that Littledata is also recruiting developers, so if you like solving these kind of challenges, think about coming to join us!

2018-10-16

Ecommerce trends at Paris Retail Week

Physical or digital? We found merchants doubling down on both at Paris Retail Week. At the big event in Paris last month, we found retailers intent on merging the online and offline shopping experience in exciting new ways. See who we met and what the future of digital might hold for global ecommerce. Representatives from our European team had a great time at the big ecommerce event, one of the 'sectors' at Paris Retail Week. Outside of the event, it was great to have a chance to catch up with Maukau, our newest Shopify agency partner in France. (Bonjour!) Among the huge amount of digital sales and marketing trends we observed throughout the week, a few emerged again and again: mobile-first, phygital experience, and always-on, multi-channel marketing. Getting phygital Phygital? Is that a typo? Hardly. It’s the latest trend in ecommerce, and it was prevalent everywhere at Paris Retail Week. Phygital combines “physical” and “digital” experiences in a new ecosystem. This offers the consumer a full acquisition experience across different channels. From payment providers to marketing agencies, everyone was talking about going phygital. One of our favourite presentations was by AB Tasty. They focused on how optimising client experience can boost sales and conversions in the long-term. It’s not enough to promote your products, nor to link to an influencer for social proof -- you need to create a full customer experience. Starbucks and Nespresso are good examples of how this works offline, assuring that a customer who comes in to drink a coffee will linger around for the next 20-30 minutes. By keeping the customers in the shop, they will eventually order more. The goal is to reproduce this immediately sticky experience online too, and focusing on web engagement benchmarks is the best way to track your progress here. Using the example of conversion rate optimisation (CRO) for mobile apps, AB Tasty's Alexis Dugard highlighted how doing data-driven analysis of UI performance, on a very detailed level, can help clarify how mobile shopping connects with a wider brand experience. In the end, customer experience means knowing the customer. 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for an optimal customer experience. Brands that are reluctant to invest in customer experience, either online or offline, will hurt their bottom line, even if this isn't immediately apparent. Those brands that do invest in multi-channel customer experience are investing in long-term growth fuelled by higher Average Order Value (AOV). 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for an optimal customer experience -- the statistic speaks for itself! Another great talk was from Guillaume Cavaroc, a Facebook Academie representative, who discussed how mobile shopping now overlaps with offline shopping. He looked at experiments with how to track customers across their journeys, with mobile login as a focal point. In the Google Retail Reboot presentation, Loïc De Saint Andrieu, Cyril Grira and Salime Nassur pointed out the importance of data in retail. For ecommerce sites using the full Google stack, Google data represents the DNA of the companies and Google Cloud Platform is the motor of all the services, making multi-channel data more useful than ever in assisting with smart targeting and customer acquisition. The Google team also stated that online shopping experiences that don’t have enough data will turn to dust, unable to scale, and that in the future every website will become, in one way or another, a mobile app. In some ways, "phygital" really means mobile-first. This message that rang out clearly in France, which is a mobile-first country where a customer's first encounter with your brand or product is inevitably via mobile -- whether through a browser, specific app or social media feed. [subscribe] Multi-channel experience (and the data you need to optimise it) Physical marketing is making a comeback. Boxed CEO Chieh Huang and PebblePost founder Lewis Gersh presented the success of using online data for offline engagement, which then converts directly back on the original ecommerce site. Experimenting heavily in this area, they've seen personalised notes on invoices and Programmatic Direct Mail (with the notes based on viewed content) generate an increase of 28% in online conversion rate. Our real-world mailboxes have become an uncluttered space, and customers crave the feel of a paperback catalogue or simple postcard, to name just a bit of the physical collateral that's becoming popular again -- and being done at a higher quality than in the years of generic direct mail. Our real-world mailboxes have become an uncluttered space, and customers crave the feel of a paperback catalogue or simple postcard. However, data is still the backbone of retail. In 2017 Amazon spent approximately $16 billion (USD) on data analysis, and it was worth every penny, generating around $177 billion in revenue. Analysing declarative and customer behaviour data on the shopper’s path-to-purchase is a must for merchants to compete with Amazon. Creating an omni-channel experience for the user should be your goal. This means an integrated and cohesive customer shopping experience, no matter how or where a customer reaches out. Even if you can't yet support an omni-channel customer experience, you should double down on multi-channel ecommerce. When Littledata's customers have questions about the difference, we refer them to Aaron Orendorff's clear explanation of omni-channel versus multi-channel over on the Shopify Plus blog: Omni-channel ecommerce...unifies sales and marketing to create a single commerce experience across your brand. Multi-channel ecommerce...while less integrated, allows customers to purchase natively wherever they prefer to browse and shop. Definitions aside, the goal is to reduce friction in the shopping experience. In other words, you should use anonymous data to optimise ad spend and product marketing. For marketers, this means going beyond pretty dashboards to look at more sophisticated attribution models. We've definitely seen this trend with Littledata's most successful enterprise customers. Ecommerce directors are now using comparative attribution models more than ever before, along with AI-based tools for deeper marketing insights, like understanding the real ROI on their Facebook Ads. The new seasonality So where do we go from here? In the world of ecommerce, seasonality no longer means just the fashion trends of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Online events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday (#BFCM) define offline shopping trends as well, and your marketing must match. "Black Friday" saw 125% more searches in 2017, and "Back to School" searches were up 100%. And it isn't just about the short game. Our own research last year found that Black Friday discounting is actually linked to next-season purchasing. Phygital or otherwise, are you ready to optimise your multi-channel marketing? If not, you're missing out on a ton of potential revenue -- and shoppers will move on to the next best thing.

2018-10-09

Web design fails to avoid for ecommerce success

Your website is an essential tool for attracting and converting customers. Driven by the uptake in online shopping, having a well-designed ecommerce site is no longer a luxury. It’s now a necessity -- you need to regularly convert browsers into buyers. Web design has the power to really grab your customers attention and portray your messaging. But when it goes wrong, the customers you lose will rarely come back. In this post I take a look at common web design fails that drive customers away, so you can avoid them. They may be common mistakes, but they're often overlooked! Fail #1: The CMS, plugins and theme are outdated You don’t need to modernize your website every day, or even every week, but you do need to make sure it doesn’t feel outdated. That means you should regularly update your website theme, your plugins and your content. Updating your theme and plugins will ensure you have the latest features and boost your security, while regularly updating your content will improve your SEO ranking and make your website more interesting for repeat visitors. Fail #2: Your website is not mobile responsive Over 50% of online traffic is from mobile phones and tablets, so having a website that properly displays itself on those devices is essential. If your website is non-responsive, you’ll be missing out on a massive amount of potential business. Below is the website Dribble, a powerful example of a responsive website (here's a big list of mobile-responsibe web design done well). Plus, your SEO will suffer and it makes your business look unprofessional. Common issues with non-responsive websites are text being displayed too small to read, irregular formatting, un-clickable links and images not loading. How many of your customers are shopping on mobile? Where are they falling out of the checkout funnel? Use this tool to find out. Fail #3: Stock photos and generic content Building customer loyalty and trust -- both of which are vital for repeat business -- begins with establishing credibility and authenticity. Nobody wants to read the same blog they have already read 50 times on your website, or look at stock photos they have seen on other brands websites. Good writing should be original, punchy and relevant to your target audience. And copy should be matched with credible, original imagery. Stock photos are easy to spot a mile off. Using original imagery significantly helps to build a website design that stands out and wins customer trust. [subscribe] Fail #4: It’s slow and your bounce rate is high Speed matters. If your website loads too slowly, you can say goodbye to the impatient modern-day consumer and watch your bounce rates rise. First impressions of a website are made immediately, so if your website takes more than a few seconds to load, your content and design won’t be given the chance to see the light of day. Make sure your images are compressed, limit the amount of videos and animations published within, make sure your hosting provider can handle fluctuating amounts of traffic, and disable any plugins you aren’t actually using. Then make sure to check your speed and performance rates against other sites. Benchmarking is the most accurate way to do this, so you can see how you compare to similar sites in your industry. Fail #5: Your site is unbranded and doesn’t stand out The minute a possible customer comes to your website, they should know exactly whose website they are on. Having a nicely designed logo is, therefore, critical for making a good first impression and improving brand awareness. And best of all, it’s really easy to do. Online tools are readily available to create stunning high-resolution logos in second, such as Shopify’s logo maker. Fail #6: Face it, your site's just not that interesting There is nothing worse than going on to a website and finding it incredibly boring. Content needs to compliment design, so it’s vital you have interesting content throughout to keep your customers engaged and coming back for more. Using banners, photos and graphics, along with authentic and interesting copy is the right way to grab your customers’ attention and encourage them to make a purchase or opt-in via a form. Fail #7: It’s not made for converting If your website doesn’t have clear calls to action (CTAs), then it’s not going to have good conversion rates. Plain and simple. This 'fail' can easily be eradicated by using smart opt-in offers, having clear navigation menus ('nav menus' in designer jargon), and writing relevant, targeted content. Evernote use an excellent CTA.   Without a clear CTA, how are your customers meant to know what you want them to do? Simply put, they won’t - they will leave. Every page (including your blog posts) should have a clear CTA to guide your online visitors down the buyer journey. Fail #8: It’s not optimized for SEO Optimizing each aspect of your website begins with understanding what works well and what doesn’t. The only way of doing this accurately is by using analytics to get deeper insights into how your potential buyers are using your site. You’ll be able to see which pages perform well, which keywords attract the best traffic (SEO is an area that you should be continually optimizing), which promotions work best, and which images resonate with your customers the most. As search engines become smarter, continually optimizing for SEO is an excellent way to get a clearer view of what's working and clarify anything that isn't clear. Then you'll be on the road to becoming an SEO-driven business - an easy way to improve revenue. Fail #9: It’s cluttered and noisy If your website is too cluttered, it will create a bad customer experience for any visitor. It will also distract potential buyers away from doing what you want them to do, such as making a purchase, filling out a form or requesting more information via chat. Don’t make the mistake of cramming too much into each page, or filling your web pages with in-your-face advertising. Your website should be easy to navigate, simple and concise. Customers should be able to convert with minimal effort. Conclusion The bottom line: if your ecommerce site has many design fails that impact the user experience, your company may lose out on potential profits. Use the tactics mentioned in this article to get started on improving the design of your website today!   Michelle Deery is the content writer for Heroic Search, a digital marketing agency based in Tulsa. She specializes in writing about eCommerce and loves writing persuasive copy that both sells and educates readers.

2018-10-01

Are you benchmarking your ecommerce site in the right sector?

Littledata launched benchmarks for websites two years ago. They quickly became a key feature of our app, and as customers became more engaged, so did ideas for how to improve our benchmarking and the algorithms that learn from those benchmarks. In response to customer feedback and deeper research into industry sectors, we've made some really exciting improvements over the last few months to make the comparisons even more useful -- and even more dynamic. The changes are five-fold. Detailed sectors and sub-sectors. Almost every customer we talked to said the benchmark comparison was most useful if it was for very similar sites. Previously we only had 50 high-level sectors to compare with; now we have hundreds of low-level sectors. You can visualise the full range. Smarter auto-categorisation of your website. Our machine learning process now has a 95% chance of finding the best sector for your website, meaning you can compare against the most useful benchmark without filling in a single form! Ability to manually change industry sector. And of course, if you're in that 5% that needs human input, then you (or your Enterprise account manager) can pick a better sector in the general app settings page. You might also want to change sectors just to see how you compare. No problem. Benchmarks for technology stacks. Want to see if you are making the most of a technology such as Shopify or Yieldify? Now you can compare with other sites using the same technology, making our ecommerce benchmarking even more powerful for agencies and web developers. Benchmarks for starter websites. Previously we only generated benchmarks for sites with at least 500 monthly visits. We dropped that to 200 monthly visits, so starter websites can see a comparison - and see more detail as they grow. We've launched a live visualisation of how our AI-based website categorizer is mapping a range of industry sectors. It offers a full overview of website categories and segments. And you can drill down to see more details. For example, we've seen a big rise in wine, coffee and health shake retailers this year, many of whom are using our ReCharge integration to get insight into their subscription business models. As our algorithms learn about ecommerce businesses selling beverages of many varieties and automatically categorises sites accordingly, you can now look closely at a particular segment to see how your site compares. Littledata is an Agile company. We're constantly iterating, and continuously improving the benchmarks to make them more actionable, so please give us feedback if you'd like to see more. Happy benchmarking! [subscribe]

2018-09-25

What's the real ROI on your Facebook Ads?

For the past decade Facebook’s revenue growth has been relentless, driven by a switch from TV advertising and online banners to a platform seen as more targetable and measurable. When it comes to Facebook Ads, marketers are drawn to messaging about a strong return on investment. But are you measuring that return correctly? Facebook has spent heavily on its own analytics over the last three years, with the aim of making you -- the marketer -- fully immersed in the Facebook platform…and perhaps also to gloss over one important fact about Facebook’s reporting on its own Ads: most companies spend money with Facebook 'acquiring' users who would have bought from them anyway. Could that be you? Here are a few ways to think about tracking Facebook Ads beyond simple clicks and impressions as reported by FB themselves. The scenario Imagine a shopper named Fiona, a customer for your online fashion retail store. Fiona has browsed through the newsfeed on her Facebook mobile app, and clicks on your ad. Let’s also imagine that your site -- like most -- spends only a portion of their budget with Facebook, and is using a mix of email, paid search, affiliates and social to promote the brand. The likelihood that Fiona has interacted with more than one campaign before she buys is high. Now Fiona buys a $100 shirt from your store, and in Facebook (assuming you have ecommerce tracking with Pixel set up) the sale is linked to the original ad spend. Facebook's view of ROI The return on investment in the above scenario, as calculated by Facebook, is deceptively simple: Right, brilliant! So clear and simple. Actually, not that brilliant. You see Fiona had previously clicked on a Google Shopping ad (which is itself powered by two platforms, Google AdWords and the Google Merchant Center) -- how she found your brand -- and after Facebook, she was influenced by a friend who mentioned the product on Twitter, then finally converted by an abandoned cart email. So in reality Fiona’s full list of interactions with your ecommerce site looks like this: Google Shopping ad > browsed products Facebook Ad > viewed product Twitter post > viewed same product Link in abandoned cart email > purchase So from a multi-channel perspective, how should we attribute the benefit from the Facebook Ad? How do we track the full customer journey and attribute it to sales in your store? With enough data you might look at the probability that a similar customer would have purchased without seeing that Facebook Ad in the mix. In fact, that’s what the data-driven model in Google Marketing Platform 360 does. But without that level of data crunching we can still agree that Facebook shouldn’t be credited with 100% of the sale. It wasn’t the way the customer found your brand, or the campaign which finally convinced them to buy. Under the most generous attribution model we would attribute a quarter of the sale. So now the calculation looks like this: It cost us $2 of ad spend to bring $1 of revenue -- we should kill the campaign. But there's a catch Hang on, says Facebook. You forgot about Mark. Mark also bought the same shirt at your store, and he viewed the same ad on his phone before going on to buy it on his work computer. You marked the source of that purchase as Direct -- but it was due to the same Facebook campaign. Well yes, Facebook does have an advantage there in using its wide net of signed-in customers to link ad engagement across multiple devices for the same user. But take a step back. Mark, like Fiona, might have interacted with other marketing channels on his phone. If we can’t track cross-device for these other channels (and with Google Marketing Platform we cannot), then we should not give Facebook an unfair advantage in the attribution. So, back to multi-channel attribution from a single device. This is the best you have to work with right now, so how do you get a simple view of the Return on Advertising Spend, the real ROI on your ads? Our solution At Littledata we believe that Google Analytics is the best multi-channel attribution tool out there. All it misses is an integration with Facebook Ads to pull the ad spend by campaign, and some help to set up the campaign tagging (UTM parameters) to see which campaign in Facebook brought the user to your site. And we believe in smart automation. Shhhh...in the past few weeks we've quietly released a Facebook Ads connection, which audits your Facebook campaign tagging and pulls ad cost daily into Google Analytics. It's a seamless way to pull Facebook Ads data into your overall ecommerce tracking, something that would otherwise be a headache for marketers and developers. The integration checks Facebook Ads for accurate tagging and automatically pulls ad cost data into GA. The new integration will normally only be available in higher-tier plans, but we're currently offering it as an open beta for ALL USERS, including Basic plans! For early access, just activate the Faceb|ook Ads connection from your Littledata dashboard. It's that easy! (Not a subscriber yet? Sign up for a free trial on any plan today.) We believe in a world of equal marketing attribution. Facebook may be big, but they’re not the only platform in town, and any traffic they're sending your way should be analysed in context. Connecting your Facebook Ads account takes just a few minutes, and once the data has collected you’ll be able to activate reports to show the same kind of ROI calculation we did above. Will you join us on the journey to better data?

2018-09-20

Should you outsource your ecommerce operations?

After you've created an ecommerce startup, the initial goals are all about recovering costs and expenses. As soon as the profit margins rise and you've broken even, you face some big decisions that will decide the growth of your online business. First of all, should you start outsourcing? Because many first-time entrepreneurs think it's more cost-effective to do everything on their own, it is a common mistake to pass on hiring freelancers. In this post I’ll highlight the core benefits of outsourcing your ecommerce operations. Focus & growth There are many aspects to promoting your product, and ecommerce operations is an integral component of your company's growth. By outsourcing your ecommerce operations, you have the time to focus on the goals and growth of your company. When hiring a freelancer from a reputable marketplace such as FreeeUp.com, your contract will protect both parties. The roles are clearly defined and you get expert advice in key areas. Your time is valuable, and when you free up your days to re-focus on growing sales, the sky is the limit. Short-term & long-term options First of all, this isn't an all-or-nothing decision. Hiring freelancers can be short-term or long-term depending on the needs of your business. By delegating specific tasks to various experts, your business has the opportunity to grow and flourish as you originally intended. You also have the unique opportunity to scale as needed without the commitments that traditional employment requires. And experts are exactly that - experts! Why reinvent the wheel? The need for a skillset As your company grows, your knowledge grows. Creating an ecommerce startup has a steep learning curve, however, and outsourcing for expert advice makes a lot of sense. Coaching a freelancer is not required as they are already specialized in their skillset. By hiring freelancers, your business can grow outside of your core expertise. For instance, why spend time learning about optimizing landing pages for conversions when you can just hire an Optimizely expert? Furthermore, professionalism is a must when running a business. Your company will gain a professional profile with experts at your side. Until you've gained the expertise, winging it is just bad business. If you've spent countless hours (or possibly weeks) researching ecommerce operating skills, it is time to consider hiring outside of your skillset. Freelancers are highly knowledgeable in their specific niches, and outsourcing your ecommerce operations (and other important roles such as social media and marketing), will benefit your business. Working at full capacity Being more efficient with your time is a smart business decision. When you're stretched too thin or feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks of the company, hiring a freelancer is a no-brainer. Avoiding business burnout is key. As the owner/founder/boss (and probably CMO/CEO to boot), your business needs you to be working at full capacity. Making a list of the tasks that need to be completed is a smart business move. The next step is to start outsourcing as needed. You can learn from these experts and expand your business while optimising your time in the areas you already know -- while maintaining a clear overview of your ecommerce site. [subscribe] Excellent customer service (doesn't necessarily start with you) There's no question that customer service is a key component for the success of your business. Platforms like Shopify have emphasized this to their merchants to help them grow. Today's consumers are demanding, and catering to your customers’ needs can quickly take all your time and energy. Remaining professional requires focus and support, which is why hiring freelancers to maintain exceptional customer service is a key component to the growth of your company. Upgrades & maintenance Ultimately, the goal is to keep everything running smoothly. When you regularly hit profit margins and your goals are being met, upgrades and maintenance will be an ongoing issue. You might want to expand your server capacity due to increased traffic, for instance, or revamp your blog. It's no surprise that the top benchmarks for growing a Shopify store include page load speeds and server response time. Even though upgrades and maintenance to support growth are positive issues, it can be time-consuming to keep everything afloat. Moreover, once you meet your goals, you’ll want to expand. Hiring freelancers allows you to make sure that everything runs smoothly as you venture out into new areas or even new businesses. The bottom line is that one person cannot do it all. Outsourcing for various skillsets will make a world of difference for your company -- and your peace of mind. Start outsourcing your ecommerce operations The benefits of outsourcing your ecommerce operations to freelancers are countless. By outsourcing your ecommerce operations, you free up valuable time to remain focused and goal-oriented. Your business started from passion -- it is important to maintain that vision and hire freelancers to help meet your targets and objectives.   This is a guest post by Connor Gillivan, CMO and co-owner of FreeeUp, a rapidly growing freelance marketplace making hiring online simpler (check out their info on hiring for ecommerce). He has sold over $30 million online and hired hundreds of freelancers himself to build his companies.

2018-08-30

New help center articles on Shopify tracking and ReCharge integration

We recently launched the Littledata Help Center to make it easier for customers to find the most relevant answers to their analytics questions. You can think of it as the more formal, technically-minded cousin of our popular analytics blog (which you're reading right now). With detailed new articles on Shopify tracking and how our ReCharge integration works, the Littledata Help Center is a go-to resource for current customers and ecommerce managers looking for a clearer view of how to use Google Analytics effectively. About our Help Center Like many startups, we began by using our blog as the main support resource, with articles on everything from Google Analytics to GDPR. Yet as we've grown, so have the number of setup guides and technical details we feel we should provide for a seamless user experience. In short, our support articles have outgrown the blog! Not to worry, blog fans. The blog will continue to be a resource for anyone interested in ecommerce analytics. We've been honoured at all the industry attention our blog has received, and we look forward to growing both resources side-by-side in the coming years. Shopify tracking Until you know what to look for, choosing the right Shopify reporting app can seem like a daunting process. There are a number of apps that are good at tracking just one thing, or helping you visualise some of the tracking you already have set up. Littledata's Shopify app is different. It's become especially popular with Shopify Plus stores and medium-sized Shopify sites on the enterprise growth path because it fixes your tracking and provides a full optimisation suite, including automated reports, benchmarks and buyer personas, to help optimise for dramatically higher revenue and conversions. New support articles help break down how this all-in-one solution works, including what you can track with our Shopify reporting app and setup guides for basic and custom installations. [subscribe] ReCharge integration Advanced Google Analytics integration for stores using ReCharge is one of our most popular integrations. It's a streamlined way to get accurate subscription analytics, including marketing attribution and LTV reporting. New support articles break down how ReCharge integration works with Littledata. You'll find guides on everything from how to check if the integration is working, to FAQs and more technical articles about tracking first-time versus recurring payments with GA views. We hope you take full advantage of Littledata's Help Center. Of course, you can always reach out to our support team directly from the Intercom popups on our blog, public site and app. We're available Monday to Friday in time zones around the world. Don't hesitate to get in touch, and remember -- your success is our success!

2018-08-21

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