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!
GA4 Glossary of Terms: What you need to know to get started
Google Analytics 4 can be a little overwhelming for first-time users. The wealth of data and insights it provides can feel second to the wealth of new terms and acronyms you'll encounter when using it. We understand GA4 can seem confusing and difficult to navigate at first. That's why this post will offer you a glossary of some of the most common terms and acronyms used in GA4, to help you make sense of it all. With a little knowledge under your belt, you'll be able to start using this powerful tool like a pro! [note]You need to set up GA4 before July 1, 2023. Make the switch to GA4 today by following our migration checklist.[/note] Terms in Google Analytics 4 Bounce rate Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your site without taking action, like clicking a link or making a purchase. Users who bounce from your site only view a single page and do not convert. In GA4, bounce rate has been replaced by engagement metrics known as "Engaged Sessions." https://youtu.be/XFrDq6VSU5M Engaged Sessions Engaged Sessions describe the percentage of sessions where users are actively engaged with your website. A session is considered "engaged" if users meet any of the following criteria: On a page for at least 10 secondsHad one or more conversion eventsViewed two or more pages Engagement Rate Engagement Rate is the percentage of sessions that were engaged sessions. In a way, engagement rate is the exact opposite of bounce rate. Custom Audiences Custom Audiences in GA4 come equipped with two audience types out-of-the-box — All Users and Purchasers. Building custom audiences allows you to group users based on similar actions or dimensions. Custom audiences can be used for retargeting campaigns and comparisons in GA4 reports. In addition to building custom audiences of your own, GA4 offers a range of suggested audiences, including templates and predictive capabilities. https://youtu.be/6OKztfGhmX8 Events Events describe any interaction on your website or app. Unlike Universal Analytics, which tracked users by sessions, Google Analytics 4 tracks users by events, connecting the user journey across multiple sessions. Types of events include: Automatically collected events, or any basic interaction with your website.Enhanced measurement events, or interactions with content on your website.Recommended events, or events that you implement. Custom events, or self-defined events. Custom events don’t show up in most built-in reports and instead require custom-built reports. GA4 Acquisition Reports Monetization Reports Monetization Reports are similar to Ecommerce Reports in Universal Analytics in that they provide deeper insights into your store’s revenue, including revenue generated from items, ads, and subscriptions. You can use these reports to understand which products are your top performers and compare revenue with different dimensions (i.e. city, age, gender, etc.) Ecommerce Purchase Report GA4’s Ecommerce Purchase Report is equivalent to Universal Analytics’ Product Performance Report, allowing you to see the product name, item views, and purchases by item name.The Retention Report reveals how long users engage with your website. https://youtu.be/gesg5JJ2Udk Source/Medium Reports Source/Medium Report are based on the Traffic Acquisition Report, which comes built into Google Analytics 4. The Source/Medium Report identifies the origin of your traffic and the general category of that source. https://youtu.be/IsCYCHl7w8c GA4 Exploration Reports Exploration reports custom-built reports and funnels in your GA4 property, found within the ‘Explore’ section. Checkout Behavior Report Checkout Behavior Reports are funnel reports that demonstrate how users move from one step of your checkout to the next, and at what points users are dropping off during the checkout process. https://youtu.be/8rY5bq8jxR4 Google Ads Report Google Ads Reports are customizable reports that allow you to take a deeper look at your Google Ad performance, revealing the post-click performance metrics for users who clicked on your Google Ads campaigns. [tip]Google Ads traffic can also be viewed by going to Reports > Acquisition > Overview > Sessions by session campaign.[/tip] Google Ads Keywords and Queries Report The Google Ads Keywords and Queries Report shows the search terms that led to a display of your Google Ads. https://youtu.be/kfMO9D1gXTI Please note that both Google Ads Report and Keywords and Queries Report will only populate with data once you’ve linked your Google Ads account. Landing Pages Report The Landing Pages Report Identifies which pages on your site are the highest trafficked and top-performing. Like all explorations in GA4, the Landing Page Report is easily customizable. Adjust the metrics in this report based on what’s important to your business—engagement rate, total revenue, conversions, and more. https://youtu.be/9PQbcbKCIOk Sales Performance Report The Sales Performance Report evaluates revenue and sales within a defined period of time at a glance. https://youtu.be/nLaCNDgfnG0 Shopping Behavior Report The Shopping Behavior Report is a funnel report that shows users’ flow through different steps of your site’s shopping experience. Use this report to understand where customers are dropping off during the purchase funnel. https://youtu.be/1ETqZYJlMhw Social Media Traffic Report The Social Media Traffic Report provides insights into traffic generated by social media. This information helps to understand which platforms bring the most traffic to your site, what types of content perform the best, and add clarity to the ROI of social media campaigns. https://youtu.be/ffDOLFvkeAE Want more GA4? We've got you covered with our resources below: Why Google Analytics 4 is so important to your ecommerce storeLunch with Littledata: Jumping into GA4 with Google Analytics Expert Krista Seiden10 reasons to move to GA4 for ecommerce analytics [subscribe]
Lunch with Littledata: Digital Marketing 101 with Sweet Digital
Digital marketing is quite the catch-all term. Nearly everything you can think of as a necessity when it comes to promoting your business online falls under this umbrella. Of course, it's not enough to be aware of what your digital marketing needs are, though. To create a strong promotion strategy that generates a steady stream of customers, you need to know how to market within them. That's when it helps to have a bit of expert advice. In this installment of Lunch with Littledata, we sat for a chat with digital marketing agency Sweet Digital's founder Laura Hogan to talk through the current state of social promotion, uncover the secrets to winning at PR, and find out how to zero in on the right marketing avenues for your brand. Greg from Littledata: Could you tell us the story of Sweet Digital? Laura Hogan: Sweet started pre-pandemic, just over three years ago with me and my dog in the kitchen pretty much (laughs). We've since grown to eight team members and very much specialize in SEO. But that includes all parts of SEO, whether it's the technical content or digital PR side of things. Recently we merged with a bigger company here in the West Midlands called Cube, so we've got much bigger resources from their digital team. We also have a really technical, specialized development and design team too. It's a really exciting time for us—lots changing and going on, which is good. Greg: When you're advising your clients, what are the key channels you suggest brands focus on? Laura: It’s partly budget-dependent. I always say if you're looking for a longer-term strategy, then we recommend SEO because that's going to be your lowest cost per acquisition sales channel. If people want a real quick hit, then Google ads and social advertising is always a really good route. For ecommerce specifically, TikTok is doing really well. Obviously, we've had Shopify add in-app shopping with product tagging for TikTok in the last year or so. The cost per click there is still pretty low from an advertising standpoint, too, especially if your product is something that you can show off how to use in seven or eight seconds. For some of the more traditional brands, LinkedIn advertising has been doing quite well, particularly if you're very specific. You can say, “I want to target people in these companies with these job titles or these industries” and really layer on your targeting. If you just want some general brand awareness and you're going for the longevity of SEO, then digital PR is always a good shout. Not only are you building knowledge of your brand, but you’re also getting referral traffic that you can track in Google Analytics and see what sales you've got from it. Plus, you get some SEO benefits too since it helps your website rankings by adding good links. [tip]See how to optimize your site and learn more about your customers by setting up server-side tracking.[/tip] Greg: Are there any key metrics that you look at when comparing the effectiveness of social advertisements, search ads, PR, and SEO? Laura: Social's gotten a bit more difficult with the new privacy laws and the iOS 14 update. We’ve moved to pulling in more multichannel reports to see how social is performing and to find out if it’s a touchpoint in the sale. We know it might not have been the final source, but we want to know if it was involved. So we’ve given social a bit of a wider attribution than we might have done years ago. From a metrics point of view, everybody cares about money don’t they? So it's always revenue and leads first and foremost, then we start to look more at the traffic. If we don't feel like things are going well necessarily with campaigns, then we check the bounce rate on a landing page from ads. We also check if the time on site is really poor. Then we can start working from there. We've actually found that, particularly with paid campaigns, heat mapping has been a really good addition to bring in and tell if the ad landing pages are too long and where they can be optimized. Greg: How would you recommend brands create buzz around new products? Laura: If you're able to send your product out to people to review and feature, that's a really good way of getting publicity. Obviously a lot of influencers charge, so you need to have a budget in mind and be mindful of who you can afford to have promote your product. I'm a big fan of the micro-influencer side of things—or really “specialist influencers.” If you've got a tech product, for instance, there are a lot of TikTok reviewers that only review tech and they can get millions of views per video. Some of them are actually very happy to just receive product as compensation. It takes a bit of research and time to look through and find those accounts, which of course is the thing that we don't have enough of. General journalists are great as well. They often send out requests when they're looking for specific products or features. There's a tool you can purchase called Response Source that puts requests straight into your inbox and saves some of the legwork. HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a really good free version of that same type of tool. Twitter is another great way to get in touch with journalists. Many journalists just post on Twitter what they're looking for, and a lot of them actually have their email details on Twitter as well. It's just about digging through and finding the right person that's relevant to what you're after. Greg: Diving a bit more into social promotion—what's the state of things as you've seen them playing out right now? What are the best platforms and which are lagging? Laura: It's a bit of a mess, actually. Facebook's dwindling in influence for a lot of industries. The tracking prevention really hit them hard and it's made it difficult for users to know what's going on. Then from a management perspective, they're changing a lot on the back end. Rebranding to Meta, merging Instagram into the same kind of user interface as TikTok. They’re changing and moving a lot of things, but also the cost per click just isn't as strong as it used to be. They're actually tailoring on to be quite expensive what you get for what you're getting. I've never been the biggest fan of Meta’s platforms because they're targeting so broad. It's difficult to nail down a really strict demographic on those ads, compared to LinkedIn where it’s so easy to do. Even TikTok's quite good at nailing down a strict demographic. [tip]Learn how to retarget your best customers using Facebook's conversions API.[/tip] Pinterest is coming back again—there does seem to be more buzz there and the cost per click there is decent. Again, like TikTok, Pinterest is great for ecommerce because we can drive buyers straight through from a post to buying a product. But TikTok is just driving everything. If you’re working with user-generated content on TikTok, you can actually request the influencer send you a spark code so you can create paid ads of their TikTok video. Since you pay for it, the video is in your ad account, but the ad shows that it's coming from that user which makes it look a lot more organic. We're seeing a lot of big brands doing that rather than it coming directly from the brand’s page. I think that's a really cool approach to take. The influencer can license it to you for a year at a time so you can have that asset for a while as well. Greg: If a brand is working with influencers on any platform, what do you recommend for strategies they should try? Laura: Make sure you get ownership of everything and clear the ability to use content in any videos or imagery that you want. Don't forget that influencer content can go on your website, in your email marketing, organic social, paid social—you want to use it as much as possible so that you're getting your money's worth. We always recommend that people write that in when they're doing their agreements with influencers. I'd also not be fooled by follower numbers. Look at the engagement people are getting rather than how many people follow them. Because you quite often find that the bigger the following, the smaller the engagement. I'm also not a huge fan of influencers where every other post is a #ad. It makes it feel like the food's not authentic. Again, it's really down to research and spending hours trawling through social media to find the right kind of people to go after. Greg: You mentioned a few times how iOS hit a lot of promotion methods hard and really changed the whole landscape. How have you seen different brands adjusting to post-iOS, cookieless marketing? Laura: A lot of them have just had to go broader with their targeting. People have just had to go big with their audiences, but then also go quite heavy on retargeting from that. Some of the funnels we've started working with is we'll get a video and then we'll target that video quite broadly and then do a retargeting channel that hits people who engaged with that video. So then you kind of self-refine everything because a lot of the really small user groups and audiences you can't target right away anymore. Using your web metrics and retargeting from website visits is important as well. The way things are now you have to do that broad segment first to get your data in then filter it down. [tip]Combat tracking prevention and preserve customer insights by using first-party data.[/tip] Greg: What's something you see digital marketers get wrong all the time about PR? Laura: Sometimes people just go too broad. It's very much a “throw it and see what sticks” approach. Links are brilliant for SEO. We know that links are a core part of the algorithm and I'd be highly surprised if they ever disappeared from the algorithm. But how we could build links ten or so years ago—where you could put a link about puppies on a website about shoes—we can't do that anymore. We need to be a bit more specific about what our brand is about and what's related to them, then find the best sites for it. Your national press and your local press are always going to be in that mix because they are the trusted sites. They have a good Domain Authority (DA) or Trust Flow, whichever you use, and they have a good audience in them. So it's fine targeting those, but if your company has nothing to do with music and then you're suddenly trying to get loads of links on music websites, the relevance just isn't there. That's one of the biggest mistakes, brands who look at trying to get loads and loads of links anywhere they can, rather than focusing on the quality and the relevance of those links to the brand. Greg: It's similar to the influencer strategy—you want to pick something that's really relevant to your product and your message versus, like you said, putting it on something that's completely irrelevant because it has a high DA. Laura: 100%. You see it too often. I’ll say as well—we know controversy gets coverage, but just make sure you're not crossing a line and always bearing in mind your brand's reputation. There are instances where a brand has pieces that have gotten them so much coverage, but actually the message that's coming across isn't necessarily the most ethical message or the best for that brand. It's such a tough line because journalists are getting hundreds and hundreds of emails every day and you want to stand out in the inbox. Greg: When you see a brand bootstrapping their own PR, do you have any advice for them to get started? Laura: Surveying customers is always quite good because it's data that you've got ready waiting from your own customer base. Find out the pain points for your customers and answer some questions around that. If you're an HR company, for example, you might want to ask, “on average, how many sick days are employees taking a month?” Then you can spin that into stories, especially if you put a financial angle on it. Staying with that example, for instance, say if employees on average were taking three sick days a month, you could then work out what the average cost a year is to that business from sick pay. Then it kind of spins the story out of itself because it's usually quite a shocking figure. So use the data that you have, first and foremost. Sign up for the HAROs and things like that where you get the free journalist inquiries into your inbox, and don't be afraid to be a bit creative. Canva is a fantastic tool. There's a free version of it and you can make really professional-looking graphics from it. I'm not a designer by any stretch, but things that I've made on Canva have been in the national press in the UK. I also like to look at what the press is covering. Obviously, cost of living is a huge discussion point globally at the moment. So if you've got an angle on that and it’s going to be slightly different to what others are saying, push it out. We've just done one for a client of ours about what the most expensive appliances in your home were. We worked out how much these items cost per hour and how much that was costing you a year to use them. That got picked up quite broadly throughout national press in the UK. If you can make it relatable and factual and add your numbers, there's a really good chance of it getting picked up. Nothing in that piece I did cost any money to get that information together other than time. Greg: Right. The journalist wants to write about it because they know they'll get someone to read it. Then you're getting your promotion in there really by just offering valuable information. Laura: Yeah, and sometimes it's less about you and your business and more about the advice or information that you’ve given. I'd say the core exception to that is if you have a really quirky product, then that in itself can get the press coverage because it's just so out there that people want to read about it because it's fun. That's a scenario when you can be really “me, me, me” with it. Outside that, you'll be the credit for the information or the quote in there rather than the whole piece be about you. I think gone are the days where the press care about this company celebrating 20 years or we've just bought this MD in. Unless you're a giant-sized company, of course. Greg: That’s again similar to the SEO strategy where you want to provide value and information so people intially come to find you as a resource, engage with your brand, and then learn more about your product. Laura: 100%. It's a really nice, soft intro for people to who you are and what you do. I mean, the piece we just did about the cost of appliances in your home was actually for a homeware client. So it was super relevant to what they actually sell and it just keeps them top of mind for customers. There's definitely times we've seen, in the analytics, straight referral revenue from PR pieces. That's such a good feeling when you see that. Greg: What's the advantage of bringing on an agency versus doing it all? When would a brand know it’s time to say, “all right, I'm ready to bring an agency on board?” Laura: I think the truth is the biggest benefit is time. Time and also contacts. If we've been working with journalists before, we’ve built up a rapport with them already. So it makes it makes it slightly more likely that you might get the coverage—as long as it's still relevant to that journalist of course. Then just the time saved in researching new media lists, overseeing the data, making creative assets, making press releases and emails—it can get quite time-consuming and I 100% appreciate that a lot of business owners don't have that time to sit down and do it. When to bring in an agency is a tough one because a lot of people jump the gun too soon and want to get the agency when they don't have the logistics in order or their customer department and things like that. So I think I think you need to get your house in order fast, make sure that you can fulfill anything that comes through, and that if you're B2B, you've got your sales pipeline and structure in place so that you are chasing up leads quickly when they come in and staying on top of them. Because the last thing you want is to be driving traffic and potential customers and then have the conversions from it end up slim. Once you have your house in order and you're ready to take that next step to get some coverage out there or you've got something you want to talk about, then I think it's a good time to engage with an agency. Greg: Right—get the infrastructure ready before just trying to scale right away without a structure and plan in place. Laura: 100%. It can be as simple as making sure you've got some reviews on your products beforehand. That's a trust factor and people are more likely to buy when they see it. Also, make sure you're not just sending people to a Gmail address for contact. It can be such little nuanced things like that which can make a huge difference for conversion and trust. Even if you’re just running your business out of your bedroom, you can definitely make it look like you’re not. Greg: Is there anything on the horizon for Sweet Digital that you wanted to share? Laura: Our marriage with Cube is obviously a big one for us internally. New processes and new team members, which has been really exciting for us. Then, just keep doing good work. Keep going, keep doing, keep keeping clients happy. Keep doing some really good work and keep building. We've signed some really cool new clients recently which we're excited to get stuck into—from smartwatches to recruitment and things. So I'm quite excited to get into those and just start going. Quick links: Lunch with Littledata: Mapping the evolution of subscriptions with AwtomicSix reasons to start using Meta’s Conversions API nowGet the DTC guide to subscription analyticsLunch with Littledata: Can an agency like Blend help multiply your revenue?
Get the DTC guide to subscription analytics
The subscription ecommerce industry has soared in recent years, allowing customers to routinely receive the products they love and opening up possibilities for merchants to build predictable, recurring revenue streams. Once a small subset of the ecommerce industry, the global subscription ecommerce market is set to be worth $478 billion by 2025. Subscription offerings we see winning today have changed over the past few years, from innovative, new recurring revenue engines to legacy brands like BMW offering exclusive auto features by subscription. But there's one area where ecommerce subscription brands fall short time and time again — their analytics. Thanks to today’s plug-and-play subscription solutions, DTC merchants can start selling by subscription in just a few clicks. When it comes to optimizing their subscription model, though, many merchants run into a bit of trouble. While ecommerce subscription platforms have made strides in recent years, their native analytics are sub-par, making it difficult to understand product performance, measure customer lifetime value, and attribute subscribers’ sales to marketing campaigns. The DTC Guide to Subscription Analytics If you’re already running an ecommerce store, chances are you have already noticed some major data discrepancies between Shopify or BigCommerce and Google Analytics. From missing sales data to undifferentiated subscription vs. one-off orders, subscription tracking adds another layer to the madness. We sampled a set of larger DTC stores, processing over 50,000 orders a month through a standard Shopify checkout, and found that, on average, only 88% of Shopify orders were tracked in Google Analytics. Looking at a set of stores with non-standard checkouts, including subscription checkouts, we found that between 9% and 70% of orders were tracked in Google Analytics. Data mismatches that big lead to unattributed marketing spend and failed retargeting campaigns that doom your future decision-making. So, what causes data mismatches? How can you solve it? And how can you master subscription analytics? In The DTC Guide to Subscription Analytics, we uncover: The state of subscription ecommerce How to fix your subscription tracking Metrics to grow your recurring revenue Tools to fuel your ecommerce subscriptions Download The DTC Guide to Subscription Analytics >>>
Six reasons to start using Meta’s Conversions API now
One of the biggest marketing areas hit by iOS14 updates, and tracking prevention in general, is social ads. As Meta’s main moneymaker, the company of course wasn’t going to stand by and have their best feature for brands become unusable. Enter Facebook's Conversions API (CAPI), a solution that complies with new tracking and privacy laws by letting Facebook and Instagram Ads users share customer actions from the servers directly to Facebook. Facebook Ads via Conversions API work alongside Facebook Pixel to help you improve the performance, measurement, and data collection of your campaigns for Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads. But Facebook CAPI isn’t a replacement for Facebook Pixel. Instead, it’s an enhancement that enables deeper first-party data to help you understand performance in more detail and run more effective ads. Using Littledata to set up CAPI on your store makes this data more accurate and reliable so that your campaigns reach the right shoppers at the right time. When using Littledata and Facebook CAPI together, you can: Automatically improve Event Match Quality Score Run dynamic product ads based on accurate shopping data Make revenue data in Shopify match revenue data in Facebook In this post, we’ll share six reasons why you need to add this powerful advertising tool to your toolbelt ASAP. Why use Facebook CAPI? 1. Facebook CAPI solves for VPNs and ad blockers Originally, Facebook Pixel provided us with all the information we needed to build powerful audiences for our ads. Then, VPNs, ad blockers, and other privacy software began causing some discrepancies in the data. This is where the Facebook Conversions API came in. Facebook CAPI sends events “server-side” instead of “client-side” through the third-party browser a customer is using to access your site. That means they aren’t interrupted by the web browsing and privacy trends mentioned above. Even better, you can share almost 100% of purchases from your store with Facebook via CAPI. [tip]Learn how to use Facebook CAPI to run dynamic Facebook ads and target your top buyers.[/tip] 2. Facebook CAPI is iOS14-friendly With iOS 14 privacy changes, we’re not just dealing with discrepancies in the data, but gaps. Those gaps negatively impact Facebook ad targeting because iOS 14 limits what data advertisers can collect through client-side (pixel) tracking and allows users to turn tracking off entirely through app tracking transparency (ATT). Facebook CAPI sends user data directly from your server (not the user’s device) to Facebook instead of relying on the cookie and browser data the Facebook Pixel collects. Even if the customer has opted out of marketing cookies — meaning the purchase cannot be attributed via Facebook’s Pixel ID — Facebook CAPI can send some extra user identifiers like email address, physical address, and phone number. These give Facebook a better chance of linking the purchase to a user, and from there to the ad the user clicked on. We’ll talk more about user data below. 3. Facebook CAPI captures important lower-funnel activity Facebook CAPI allows you to send more than just website behavior to Facebook. Not all server-side events happen and/or are recorded directly on your site. They may happen on your app, a free tool, a third-party payment tool, a support hub, or offline (like through phone calls). If you record this data in your CRM, you can send additional data to Facebook through Facebook CAPI. Events in payment and shopping cart tools are often lower-funnel, making them particularly important to track. 4. Facebook CAPI will be necessary when cookies are gone Perhaps most importantly, when third-party cookies are gone, Conversions API will be our only source for conversion tracking and ad performance data. Google has already announced the phase-out of third-party cookies, and as the market leader, every other service using them will almost surely follow suit. Enabling Facebook CAPI on your store now protects the accuracy of your data, even after third-party cookies have been thrown out. 5. Get a complete picture of your conversion data Facebook Conversions API helps you to see information that the Facebook Pixel can’t see as a result of ad blockers, iOS 14, ATT, and cookies. This includes website events, offline events, and ad CRM data. On the other hand, Facebook Pixel helps you to see information that Facebook CAPI can’t, such as demographic, psychographic, and other behavioral data from around the web. That’s how they work together and why each covers gaps the other has. 6. Get more out of your budget With both Facebook Pixel and Facebook CAPI working together to give you the most accurate data possible, you can: Understand exactly who is interacting with your ads Better understand the customer journey Build strong audiences and generate leads on Facebook, even with iOS 14 Make data-driven optimizations and allocate the budget accordingly Now that you know why you need Facebook CAPI, it's time to get it set up on your store. Get in touch with our data experts and they’ll help you set it Facebook CAPI, show you how to track events, and ensure you get accurate data on your ads in the new age of first-party data. [subscribe]
Fire up the boosters—Littledata launched today on Product Hunt!
We're excited to announce that Littledata launched today on Product Hunt, a community where people find great apps and tools. While Littledata is not by any means a new product, we’ve built something pretty special and powerful over the last several years we can't wait to share—accurate ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics 4. [tip]Get the scoop on the rise of GA4, the sunsetting of Universal Analytics, and what we recommend to make the switch.[/tip] Recently when we surveyed an audience of about 40 Shopify stores, only 16% said they had enabled GA4 and will be ready for the sunsetting of Universal Analytics this July. We’ve now made it our mission to help more ecommerce stores set up a GA4 property and build out the next steps for their data layer. Our promise to you is no code, accurate data, courses on ecommerce like GA4, and top-notch customer service. Product Hunt will help us bring more visibility to Littledata's data platform—but we could use your help. Jump into our launch to share your experience with Littledata and check out what we have going on. [tip]Need some help setting up your GA4 property? Book a demo with our analytics experts and they'll show you how in just a few clicks.[/tip]
4 ways to future-proof your business by using the right subscription tools
No one can predict the future. But as economic uncertainty and major data tracking changes loom, now is an important time for brands to prioritize future-proofing their businesses by developing strategies to minimize the effects of any potential downturns. Recurring revenue from subscription models can be a great way to generate predictable, long-term income. As a best practice, focusing on maintaining solid relationships with customers and ensuring a superior customer experience will help retain them in the long run. During hard times, it will be the most loyal customers who stay committed to your brand. Plus, with acquisition costs rising, focusing on retaining current customers is a much more sustainable option. In this post, we’ll share how you can future-proof your business by building a strong subscription model that attracts subscribers and show you the tools you need to do it. 1. Focus on Subscribers First, rely on subscribers, as they are the most loyal and valuable customers who chose your brand over numerous competitors. Keeping these customers is critical for brands, as it is much less resource-intensive than acquiring new customers. Build your growth strategy around gaining subscribers’ trust, delighting them with exclusive membership perks, and allowing them to advocate for your brand. Throughout the subscription experience, provide flexibility and transparency to establish trust with customers. Specifically, demonstrate transparency by displaying details of what the subscription program entails, emphasizing that customers have the authority to change, skip, or cancel their subscription at any time. You can offer the most relevant subscription options by analyzing customer buying behavior data; for instance, monitor your customer’s average frequency selection when deciding which subscription option should be defaulted on the product page. Offer flexibility from the beginning by allowing customers to adjust the cadence in which they would like to receive the product and how much of it. Letting customers choose the quantity and frequency of their subscriptions solidifies this trust. Your customer won’t feel like they have to fully unsubscribe because they can mold the subscription program to their specific lifestyle, ultimately increasing your retention. That way, you’ll avoid losing valuable customers just because they needed fewer products during a certain month. [tip]See how brick-and-mortar staple Grind scaled DTC sales 50x in 3 months through subscription selling.[/tip] 2. Create a Brand Engagement Hub Transform your brand’s customer account portal into an engagement hub to increase retention and lifetime value for subscribers. Providing access to a consistent, branded customer portal helps develop strong relationships with customers which plays a critical role in retaining them long-term. Customize your customer’s account portal to adhere to your brand guidelines and craft an experience that aligns with the products that you are selling. Intuitive, straightforward tools built directly into the portal empower customers to serve themselves independently and make them more likely to continue doing business with you rather than switching to a competitor. Frictionless account management gives customers the opportunity to manage their subscription journey the way they see fit with intuitive options to gift, skip, swap, or send now. Having an easy customer support function within the customer account portal is mutually beneficial for your brand and your customers, as it saves your Customer Service team’s time and leaves customers satisfied. Typically, customers would rather solve an issue on their own without needing to contact a customer service representative. So saving them time and avoiding any frustrations further decreases the likelihood of them churning. 3. Build Brand Champions Take your subscriber’s loyalty and expand on it as much as possible with customer loyalty features that give customers a reason to come back. This includes subscriber-only promotions and discounts, exclusive gifts, early access to new products, and one-time add-ons. As a best practice, use retention data to create a strategic subscription program. For example, use a retention cohort analysis to determine if you are offering too high of a discount on first subscription orders. Merchants may find customers canceling their subscriptions after the first order when the subscriber discount is too high. By keeping a pulse on these metrics, merchants are able to course correct by getting rid of large, upfront discounts and instead, reward subscribers based on loyalty. Help improve average order value by placing strategic upsells based on data that identified top-performing products or products commonly purchased together. Then recommend these products for a tailored customer experience. Offer early releases of new products and allow loyal subscribers to give feedback, making them feel even more special and valued as customers. Try giving subscribers “X% off of their X order,” free products with orders, or birthday gifts. Create brand awareness with referrals and gifting features built directly within the account portal. Aim to get loyal customers to continue to buy your products, buy more products, and gift products so that your brand awareness extends to friends and family. Many brands take advantage of referrals like “Give X, Get X,” where if you refer a friend, you each receive a discount. Not only does this ensure that subscribers directly benefit from their referrals, but also that friend now has the ability to try your product and later on subscribe themselves. This creates champions of your brand who continue to spread the word and love to friends and family. 4. Littledata and Smartrr Having subscription management software that fits with your main data reporting tool is critical in subscriptions. Google Analytics and server-side tracking give you the first-party tracking you need to understand your buyers and make data-driven decisions that benefit your store. You can use a subscription tracking service to see complete sales data, including one-off purchases, subscriptions, and refunds. Using Littledata and Smartrr as your subscription management and analytics stack allows you to: Calculate marketing attribution for all transactions, including recurring orders Set up custom dimensions to calculate LTV Use information to strategically use upsells, gifting, add-ons, and more Send Smartrr subscriptions data to Facebook Ads via the Facebook Conversions API Conclusion Each of these strategies helps to build a solid foundation to retain customers and ultimately, future-proof your business. Make strategic business decisions by tracking the key performance indicators that drive your business, such as average order value, sales by specific product, churn over time, lifetime value, and subscription revenue growth. Retain customers by crafting a seamless experience through a consumer-focused subscription program with an intuitive account portal that includes features to engage subscribers and build brand champions. Retaining your highest lifetime value customers will help solidify recurring revenue from subscription models and ensure predictable, long-term income. This is a guest post from Anna Jacobson, Marketing Associate at Smartrr—the premium subscription app for DTC Shopify brands. Built with your end consumer in mind, Smarter increases brand engagement and LTV with a variety of out-of-the-box subscription models, a beautifully branded subscriber account experience, member-only benefits, and more.
How to create monetization reports in Google Analytics 4
Monetization—at the end of the day, this is what it's really all about for ecommerce brands. You need to know what's making you money and what isn't so you can continue to make improvements and grow. For many of us, when we think of analytics for our brand, monetization reports come to mind first. In Google Analytics 4, you can use these reports to see overall revenue from items, ads, and subscriptions, as well as what things specifically are generating revenue for you. While some of these reports are similar to the ecommerce reports in the old Universal Analytics, many are brand new in GA4. They're also not difficult to build and start using, so let's jump in and show you how to set them up for your store. [tip]Hear former Google's former Evangelist for Google Analytics Krista Seiden talk through everything you want to know about moving to GA4.[/tip] How to create monetization reports in GA4 When we talk about monetization reports, specifically this includes Overview reports, E-commerce Purchase reports, and Retention reports. GA4's new interface has a whole dropdown section dedicated to monetization reporting in the reports view, and this is where we'll start when building the report. After you navigate to this dropdown menu, selecting Overview will show you total revenue, total ad revenue, and ecommerce revenue. This report also shows your total number of purchasers (and first-time purchasers) along with the average purchase revenue per user. Comparing monetization for users based on demographics GA4 also allows you to use custom identifiers to create comparisons of different buyers so you can see revenue based on unique shoppers. To do this, click the 'Add comparison' icon in the top right of the report screen, then choose the specific identifiers you want to compare by. Watch the full walkthrough video below to see how to build ecommerce purchases and retention reports. How to use monetization reports Aside from the obvious usefulness as an insight into which of your products sell the most, monetization reports help you dig deeper into the nuances of where your revenue is coming from and what's really driving it. These reports will help you judge ad campaigns by attributing revenue, and help you zero in on your best buyers using custom identifiers to compare purchases made by different customers. The ecommerce report shows things like item views, purchases, purchase-to-view rate, and item purchase quantity—all of which will help you judge your product offerings and make changes if necessary. The retention report shows returning users compared with new users on your site, and even shows them by cohort, so you can determine how well you're doing at attracting repeat buyers—and what profile those buyers fit. Get more GA4 Making the move to GA4 is a process, but we've got you covered every step of the way. Use our resources below to make the switch painless. How to start off on the right foot with GA4 [Podcast] How to create source/medium reports in Google Analytics 4 How to create sales performance reports in Google Analytics 4 How to build customer behavior reports in Google Analytics 4 [tip]Want an expert's help setting up GA4 for your store? Book a call and talk to our team about how you can make the leap with just a few clicks.[/tip]
How to recover more failed payments with detailed ecommerce analytics
Question for the day: If your subscription business could recover failed payments, how much would that add to your monthly revenue? Ah, failed payments—the bane of subscription businesses and membership sites. Unfortunately, these happen more often than one might think. In fact, a 2020 study from LexisNexis Risk Solutions reported that failed payments have cost the global economy an estimate of $118.5 billion in fees, labor, and lost businesses. Pretty alarming, right? When a payment fails, it means your business just lost revenue. Right there and then. Plain and simple. However, here’s some good news: not all failed payments are lost causes. Read on to learn more about how your brand can recover failed payments. Why do payments fail? Did you know that you’re losing 10% of your revenue due to failed payments? Let’s take a look at the most common causes behind failed payments: The credit card has already expired The customer’s credit card is already at the maximum spending limit The credit card used or payment method doesn’t have a sufficient balance The payment gateway has detected suspicious or fraudulent activity and blocked the card or payment method from being used Human errors such as incorrect card number typed or typographical error All of the reasons listed above have one thing in common: they are all involuntary. The customers didn’t do this on purpose. In fact, there’s a big chance that they may not even be aware that their payment failed. How can you recover failed payments? Since most of the reasons for failed payments are involuntary, the possibility of recovering your lost revenue is high—if you play your cards right. Here are three strategies to help recover failed payments. Set up a dunning email automation Dunning emails are the automated emails sent when customers’ payments fail. These emails remind your customers to settle their pending payments—usually in sets of three to five emails. There are also various dunning software options that can help bigger companies set up and monitor their dunning attempts. But while dunning emails are a good attempt to recover failed payments, some business owners are not comfortable with this strategy—mostly due to their own bad experiences of receiving badly written dunning emails. Here’s a tip: Create a personal approach, and avoid sounding too generic or even robotic. Personalized emails can give you higher transaction rates (up to six times). Plus, badly written dunning emails can result in customer complaints after multiple follow-ups instead of the desired outcome of recovered revenue. Reach out via outbound recovery calls and emails Some businesses prefer doing manual outbound calls or emails instead of setting up an automated system. For example, start-ups and smaller companies usually do this because their outbound specialist can still handle the number of “lost” customers. Though it can be tedious and time-consuming, the greatest advantage of this strategy is the amount and quality of personalization you can put into the customer experience. If you are considering this strategy, here are some quick tips for outbound calls and emails: Identify the customers to reach out to and familiarize yourself with their profile and their customer journey so far. Review the individual customer’s subscription and payment history. Take note of two things: why the payment failed and the last dunning email the customer received. Use this information for a super personalized conversation when you call your customer or when you send out an email. Use the opportunity to build an actual conversation so you can guide your customers through the process of payment. [tip]If you can’t reach your customer via phone call and if they are not responding to emails either, try leaving a voicemail message. Don’t forget to leave a number they can call back if they want to.[/tip] Outsource failed payment recovery specialists As your business grows, the instances of failed payments will also go up. While reasons will vary from technical issues, involuntary churn, or suspicious acts—it will get to a point where it will be too tedious for you to handle. At the same time, you can’t just ignore the slew of failed payments. So what should you do? Consider hiring a failed payment recovery specialist who can solely focus on handling the entire recovery process. They can also implement outbound communications via email, chat, or phone to expand and complement your existing dunning system. Because a specialist can focus on recovering failed payments, you can focus on other aspects of your business such as strengthening your customer retention strategies, product development, and operations. How to use ecommerce analytics to recover more failed payments Regardless of the strategies you choose to execute, you will need to assess, monitor, and evaluate the results by looking at the numbers. That way, you’ll know what’s working and what’s not so you can figure out the payment recovery strategy that works the best. Here’s where data tracking and ecommerce analytics come in: Check your customers’ purchase and engagement history so you can further personalize your approach. Review recurring charges and subscription product performance to pinpoint the exact instance of the failed payment. Access demographics of your churned customers to have a better understanding of how to reach out to them. For example, their location will give you an idea of the best times to call them. One important thing to note: data tracking and analytics are not limited to the recovery process. With access to powerful and comprehensive data, you can set up your entire customer lifecycle strategy to be data-driven. You’re not just moving around blindly trying strategy after strategy. You’ll be moving along efficiently with strategies that are backed by data. Here are some examples of how you can maximize a data analytics platform: Study your churn rate patterns by comparing numbers from different time periods. Pinpoint the reasons for churn to see if there’s a recurring reason that you can tackle. Analyze demographics, purchase behavior, and marketing channels to determine where revenue comes from. Connect the platform with your other tools. Littledata, for example, integrates with Shopify, BigCommerce, and even Recharge. Get an overall view of how your eCommerce store is really doing—so you can act accordingly depending on what’s needed. The better your customer experience is, the less you’ll have to worry about customer churn. While failed payments may still occur, your brand already has an established relationship with your customers. Recovering your lost revenue will be a much smoother process. Wrap up: Use eCommerce analytics as your strategy’s foundation Data is literally power and knowledge at your fingertips. Start making better business decisions with accurate data across all touchpoints and channels. Combine Littledata and Recover Payments and start recovering more failed payments—you’ll be surprised at how much more revenue there is. This is a guest post from Regina Ongkiko, content writer at LTVplus. She is passionate about creating content that provides value and impacts businesses. You can read more of her work at reginaongkiko.com. She loves getting her inspiration and ideas from the great outdoors.
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