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!
How to trust your Google Analytics data setup
Google Analytics is a powerful tool… when implemented correctly. I can’t even count the number of times we've had enquiries from and spoken to companies who don’t trust the data in their reports because it's incorrect or incomplete. And it all comes down to wrong configuration and setup. Checking and amending correctly the very basics of your analytics setup will provide you with data you can rely on and an accurate foundation for further more advanced configurations, like Enhanced Ecommerce tracking. So here's a list of questions you should be asking whilst checking your Google Analytics (GA) property and view settings. This is assuming you're on Universal Analytics (analytics.js) so not all setup options may apply if your site is on Classic analytics (ga.js). I'll also cover a few common setup issues at the end. GA property settings Go to Admin > Property > Property Settings. Is your default URL set up correctly? The default URL is used in Content and in-Page Analytics reports to display page previews. Do you have a correct default view picked? By default, this will be the first view created at the time of initial GA setup. If you're using AdWords Express or Google Play, then you want to check the view here is the one you want to connect to either of the services. The default view will also show you all the custom and advanced segments you've created in other views. Have you set your industry category? Pick whatever matches your property most closely if you want to be included in the benchmark reports. Have you enabled demographics reports? Demographics and interests reports give you additional insight into your users. Recently I explained how to set this up in Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager V2. Do you need enhanced link attribution? Enable this if you have pages with multiple links that take people to the same destination or a page element that has multiple destinations, eg internal search. This will help with identifying which particular elements or links were clicked. In addition to enabling this in the property settings, you also need to add a line of code to your GA tracking code, or, if using GTM, toggle Enhanced Link Attribution to true in your pageview tag under Advanced Configuration settings. Should you link with your Search Console? Link your Search Console site with your Google Analytics property to see Search Console data in your GA reports, and access GA reports directly from the Links to your site and Sitelinks sections in Search Console. GA view settings Property settings sorted? Great, now go to View > View Settings. Is your view name descriptive? Use easy to understand naming to describe what the view is for, eg excluding admin, domains included, ecommerce data only. Have you set your default URL? Similarly to the property settings, make sure you use the correct default URL here to improve your Content and in-Page Analytics reports. Have you set a correct time zone? The beginning and end of each day for your reports is calculated based on the time zone you have set. If you need to update this, you may see a flat spike in your data caused by the time shift. Do you need a default page? Setting a default page is useful when you have two separate URLs loading the same homepage. Here you can configure those pages to be considered as the same URL. This will affect your reports so make sure you do this correctly Should you exclude URL query parameters? Specify any parameters you don’t want to see in your reports. I've found a blog post from Lunametrics useful for understanding when and how to exclude URL query parameters. Is your currency correct? Especially relevant for sites with ecommerce tracking for making sure that the reports show your order values and revenues in the currency you operate in, and not in $ that it converts to by default. Have you ticked bot filtering option? Whilst this option doesn't help with eliminating all of the spam referrals, ticking this box will exclude at least a few of them. To get rid of all of your fake referrals, here's a thorough guide on how to exclude them with two filters. Get yourself a cuppa if you're going to clean up your data. Does your website have a search function? Enabling the site search is useful for understanding what your website visitors are looking for. It should be pretty painless to set up if you have a query included in the URL, and we've covered the steps to set up internal site search tracking in one of our blogs. Other common setup issues Here are also a few very common setup problems that I keep coming across again and again. Have you got an unfiltered view? It's good practice to have an unfiltered view that you keep clean from any filters and customisation. This way you can always double-check your data if anything goes wrong in another view. Is your bounce rate less than 10% whilst your pageviews have doubled? This may be happening due to pageviews firing multiple times. You can use Tag Assistant plugin for Chrome to check if that's true. Are you getting referrals from your own domain and your payment gateway? This is skewing your data so checkpoints 3 and 4 on how to exclude referrals from your domain and payment provider. Tracking multiple subdomains in the same view? By default, you see only request URI in your reports without a domain, which isn't very helpful if you are tracking more than one domain in the same GA view. You can improve this by adding a hostname to URLs with a custom filter. Check Google's guidance for how to do it. Are you filtering out internal traffic? To minimise your data being skewed by internal colleagues or partner companies you may be working with, exclude their IPs with the help of filters. Are you on top of website traffic changes? OK, so this one isn't quite about the problem with the setup but if data has an important role in your business, you can make your analysis more efficient. Google provides you with the ability to set up alerts for important changes in your data, but our software does the work for you. Instead of trawling your data for hours or spending further time on configurations, you can set up alerts and personalised reports within minutes. Have you experienced other setup problems that aren't covered above? Let me know and I'll include them. Image Credit: Images courtesy of vectorolie and ratch0013 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How to create a strategic marketing plan
You know marketing is essential but have you specified what makes you different and unique, your objectives and how you are going to achieve them? Recently I went to a workshop, organised by Innovate UK and Enterprise Europe Network, to do just that: learn about achieving business goals by using strategic marketing. Strategic marketing is essentially a structured plan that helps you achieve competitive advantage or other business goals through a set of defined activities that are most appropriate for your aims. We were taken through a number of exercises that helped us define how we position ourselves and what we are trying to accomplish, whilst aligning the marketing efforts and tactics with overall business goals. It was especially useful to bounce my ideas off others so if you’re going through similar exercises, I recommend you do the same. It really helps to sense-check your thoughts and how you describe your business with someone outside your company. Below I'll go through my top takeaways and methods that I found most useful when devising a strategic marketing plan. Define the purpose/mission of your business Think about what you are trying to achieve as a business – is it clear or does it need further refining? Why are your services and products needed or wanted, and who are your customers? If you have a clear purpose or a definition of what you’re trying to achieve, it will help you plan your marketing activities and inform other business activities. Having an easy to understand idea of your purpose also helps guide your resources and avoid spreading them too thinly, which is especially valuable if you’re a small business where resources are limited. Define your value proposition A value proposition is what you promise to deliver to your customers through your services or products. Here you need to think what makes you unique, better or different from your competitors. If you struggle to offer a reason why your offering is more valuable than your competitors, then you may get stuck competing on price only. I found the Geoffrey Moore’s model particularly useful for defining the value proposition. It goes like this: The ____________ (product name) Is a ____________ (product category) for ____________ (users/customer segment) who ____________ (statement of desire/problem) that ____________ (compelling reason to use) unlike ____________ (the next best alternative) allows ____________ (the main difference). And here’s an example we were given: The iPod is a portable music player for music lovers who want to listen to their music anywhere, anytime unlike portable cd players or MP3s with less storage the iPod allows easy access to all your music Define your marketing goals We used SMART method to define 3-5 marketing goals for the next 12 months. Being specific about the number of goals you’re trying to achieve within a year helps to focus on specific outcomes you’re trying to achieve. It also helps to measure your success after 12 months or another timeframe you set for yourself. Specific - clearly defined and specific goal rather than a generic and vague one, eg increase signups Measurable - quantifiable goal, eg how much or how many Achievable – realistic to complete within a set timeframe, eg a few months Relevant to you and your customers - choose what matters or matches needs Time-bound - that you have the time, money & resources to achieve your goals within a specific timeframe Define your segmentation, targeting and positioning Segmentation is an activity where you divide the broad market into specific customer segments by their common characteristics, and devise your tactics around targeting each segment. A few ways you could segment your customers are demographics, geography, psychographics, lifestyle, behaviour, etc. Once you have a clear idea of different customer groups, you will be better placed to pick the most attractive or suitable segment to target. When selecting your target segment, see if there are segments that are the easiest, cheapest or quickest to reach, whilst being realistic about your capabilities and resources to target those segments. Positioning your business gives you a distinct image of your benefit(s) to the target audience that you are going to communicate. If you have a number of segments you can target, then define your positioning for each segment. Same applies to the Geoffrey Moore’s value proposition model – write it out for each customer segment. Define your marketing tactics Once you have a clear idea of the customer segment(s) you’re targeting, why they would use your services or products, and what you’re going to communicate to them, you can pick specific marketing tactics that are going to help you do that. Some examples of tactics are producing ebooks, using online ads like PPC, sharing data findings via blog, and organising webinars. If you need inspiration or ideas, there are plenty of resources online when you search for marketing tactics, marketing strategies, growth tactics and similar. Define your marketing KPIs Decide on a set of metrics that you are going to use to measure the success of your marketing efforts. By having the right KPIs, you can evaluate if you’re on track towards your goals, and adjust your activities if necessary. To give you a few examples of what you could measure: Cost per lead or enquiry Average order value Landing page conversion rate Customer lifetime value Impressions / clicks / visits I hope this has helped you to start thinking about defining your business and marketing activities more strategically and in line with the over-all goals. There are lots of great templates online that you can use to assist with outlining your plan - for example, check out Smart Insights resources bank that has lots of useful PDFs for marketing planning and more. If you'd like to discuss further, comment below!
Know who converts on your site with Google Analytics goals
Wouldn't you want to know how well people convert on your site? Setting up basic conversion goals will enable you to measure site engagement – based on time on site, destination page or particular events - and what drives that. Below I’ll cover the reasons why you should set up goal tracking in your Google Analytics, different types of goals available, goal value, and then explain how to set them up. So why should you track goals? Goals are great for tracking important actions that are crucial for your business and understanding how people convert on your site. Once you set up goals, you will be able to analyse conversion rates in the Goals reports. Conversion data will also appear in other Google Analytics reports, like the Attribution and Acquisition reports. This will help you identify which marketing campaigns and channels get users to complete the goals you have previously defined. The destination goal also allows you to set up a funnel to visualise the path people take through your site towards completing a purchase, signing up or another conversion. Seeing how people navigate through your site in a visual way makes it easier to identify where they drop off. If you see a lot of exits on particular pages, then review those pages to see if you can improve them to minimise the exits and guide more people towards converting. If you see a lot of people skipping certain pages, then your path to conversion might be too long or contain unnecessary steps. For more info on flow visualisation reports, check Google’s help pages. What kind of goals can you set up? You can set up a destination goal to track how many users reached a certain page, eg thank you, purchase confirmation or pre-order request pages. Then there’s a duration goal that tracks how many users stayed for a specific amount of time, eg for at least 15 minutes. You can also set up a pages/screens per session goal to see how many users view a specific number of pages during a session. An event goal is for when a user triggered certain events on the site that you have already set up, eg clicked on an ad, submitted a form or saved a product. What else should you know about goals? Goals have a few limitations in Google Analytics: You can set up only 20 goals per view. If you need more, you can either create another view or repurpose existing goals. Goals apply to the data after you’ve created them. Goals can’t be deleted; but you can turn them off if you don’t need them. Use names that make sense so that anyone using your Google Analytics data can understand what the goals are for. Keep track of when you changed the goal by adding annotations to your reports. Do you need the goal value? Setting up a goal value is optional. You should set a monetary value for your goal when you want to track how much you earned from converting users and you’re able to calculate the worth of each lead. If you know that 5% of people who sign up on your site end up buying your service, and the average value of your service is £1000, then you can set £50 as your goal value (5% of 1000). When setting up a goal value, make sure the currency corresponds to what you use on the site or are familiar with. You can do this in Admin > View > View Settings. Are you an ecommerce site? If you’re an online retailer, then instead of using goal values you should be using Ecommerce or Enhanced Ecommerce tracking for Google Analytics. These reports will be much more insightful for tracking your store performance. So how do you set up goals? You need to set these up at the view level. Go to Admin > View > Goals, and click New Goal. Google has added some goal templates that you can choose from if you’re happy to use their naming. Alternatively, select 'Custom' at the end of the list and click ‘Continue’ to the goal description. For your goal name use something that is easily understood by others using your Google Analytics account, and the goal details will depend on the type of goal you're setting up. Setting up destination goal You can follow the blog I've previously written on setting up the destination goal and funnel. Setting up duration goal Click ‘Continue’ and specify the minimum amount of time you want to track. Setting up pages/screens per session goal Here you specify the number of pages someone viewed per session. Setting up event goal Set the event you want to track as a goal by using exactly the same category, action, label and value as in the event. If you want to use a goal value here, you have the option to use the event value you’ve already set. Verify your goal - click ‘Verify’ to check if it works. If the goal has been set up correctly, you should see an estimation of the conversion rate your goal would get. If you’re not getting anything, check each step carefully and Google's help pages on why your conversion tracking might not be working. Once you’re happy with the setup, click ‘Create goal’ and check the results in your analytics reports after a few days or weeks, depending on the amount of traffic you get. If you need help with the setup above or have another way of using goals, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
A win for the UK digital sector: UK sites perform better than US sites in benchmark
UK-based websites are 5 percentage points better than their US peers at keeping mobile users engaged (with a lower bounce rate), and 2.5 percentage points better at keeping the users from desktop / laptop computers engaged. For bounce rate from email marketing, the difference was also 5 percentage points (a 14% better performance from UK websites). The comparison is based on the Google Analytics data from 209 UK companies and 95 US companies collated by Littledata. The British web industry has benefited from earlier smartphone adoption in the UK (81% vs 75% in the US; source: MarketingLand), and overall greater internet usage from UK consumers (source: Econsultancy). That should put UK-based developers in a great position to sell their experience to other countries with increasing internet adoption An example is MADE.com, a London-based furniture retailer which has used superior online customer acquisition to drive growth across the UK and continental Europe. Littledata founder, Edward Upton, explains: “It’s usually hard to get a hold of industry data to compare digital product performance against similar companies, but Littledata’s benchmarks provide a simple way for companies to find website features that are underperforming.” If your website beats those benchmarks that should not stop you improving. Whilst it’s great to know you’re doing well in a particular area, there are many comparative metrics you can check with our benchmarks to fully understand your performance overall. If your site is struggling with engaging users, then check out our suggestions on improving your bounce rate . Want to know how your site performs? Head over to Littledata Benchmark page and click 'Benchmark your site' to check your performance against others. How Littledata benchmarks work? We gather data from thousands of Google Analytics profiles, and anonymise them in a series of benchmarks, to give insight into how your marketing efforts are paying off. With this benchmark data, you can stop being in the dark about how your website performs and sign up to see how your site compares. Our customers also receive daily insight into site or app performance with our actionable trends reports. You can explore these and other benchmarks via Littledata Benchmark index page. How would you use benchmarks in your daily work? Leave your comments below.
Why should you tag your campaigns for Google Analytics?
Google Analytics custom campaign tracking is essential for measuring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Let's say you were promoting your new ebook across social media and emails, how would you know which social post or email blast was the most effective? That’s where Google campaign parameters come in (also referred to as UTM). You simply add them to your URLs, which are then used in your web-based, email or ad promotions. When someone clicks on them, the custom information linked to these URLs via parameters is sent to your Google Analytics reports. If you don’t tell Google the specifics of your campaigns, then they will be rolled into existing buckets without the ability to identify them. This most commonly happens with emails and social posts that by default get classified as referrals. But once you start tagging your campaigns, you will see those social initiatives and email newsletters separated by campaign names and other information you provided. Tagged up links can also be used in email signatures, listings on other sites and social media profiles. By using campaign tagging you will understand better which URLs have been most effective in attracting users to your site or content, for example you'll see which: Email newsletter brought you the most traffic Ad was best at bringing you converting visitors Facebook post engaged the most users If you have goals set up, then you will also see how visitors from individual campaigns convert on your website. Using custom campaign data in reports You can access custom campaign data in Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns report, where you will see your various campaigns based on the parameters used in URLs. You can also switch between viewing your campaigns by source and medium tags that you’ve used. Another report you can use is the Assisted Conversions (under Conversion > Multi-Channel Funnels) that summarises how your channels, or campaigns, contribute to your conversions. To see the campaigns, you need to click on 'Other', find 'Campaign' and select it. Now you will see data related to your campaigns only. Check Google's guidance on understanding the Assisted Conversions report. Be consistent Consistency is very important in campaign tagging so make sure that the parameters you use in your campaigns are exact. For example, if you use email, Email and E-mail, Google Analytics will record them as three different mediums in your reports. So, set your naming conventions and if you have a bigger team, then agree on what they are and make sure everyone is aware of them. What tags can you use in your campaigns? There are five types of information you can pass on with the tags/URLs. Three of them should always be used: Campaign source (utm_source) - identifies where the traffic comes from, eg newsletter, google. Campaign medium (utm_medium) – advertising or marketing medium, eg cpc, email. Campaign name (utm_campaign) – what the campaign is called whether it's a promo code or specific promotion, eg winter sale. The other two, whilst not required by Google, are useful for tracking additional information: Campaign term (utm_term) - identifies paid search keywords if you’re manually tagging your paid keyword campaigns, eg red shoes. Campaign content (utm_content) – helps differentiate between same type of content or links, useful when doing AB testing or using multiple calls to action, eg logo or text link. How to tag your campaigns? It’s easier than you might think. You can do it manually if you know how, but the available URL builder tools online make it super simple to tag your links correctly. But if you're using Adwords or Bing then you can enable auto-tagging so you don't have to worry about tagging them. For websites use the Google URL builder tool to append URL parameters. For Android, use the Google Play URL builder tool to append URL parameters. You also must have Google Play Campaign Attribution set up in your Android SDK. For iOS, use the iOS Campaign Tracking URL Builder to append URL parameters. You must use Google Analytics iOS SDK v3 or higher for this to work. For manual tagging, you need to enter a question mark after the URL and before adding your parameters. Then pair up the parameters with their values, eg utm_source=newsletter, and separate campaign parameters with an ampersand. After the question mark, parameters can be placed in any order. You'll end up with a link that'll look something like this: http://www.littledata.io/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=welcome, which is ready for use in your promo activities. Auto-tag your campaigns To make campaign tracking and tagging simpler, we have created a tool in Google Sheets that automatically creates a tagged up link. You'll need to fill the values for parameters and the formula will do the rest for you. To use it, you'll need to make a copy to store in your own Drive (via File option). Get campaign tracking sheet with URL builder Got questions? Comment below or get in touch!
How to set up demographics and interests reports in Google Analytics
Demographics and interests reports in Google Analytics give you additional insight about your users, allowing you to do analysis based on age, gender and interest categories. You get a much better idea of who your users are and the setup is so quick to do, there's no reason not to. To get this information, you need to do minor tweaks to your Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Those changes will allow Google to share anonymised data about your site or app visitors, and once set up, you can use this information to understand the behaviour patterns of your users by different profiles. You will be able to see: If a particular age group converts more Whether you get more visits from males or females from a particular country or city If your users are more into travelling, movies or social media You'll also be able to: Build remarketing lists Build segments for more detailed information about your users Target your ads to specific users What reports will you get? Demographics Overview: snapshot view of your users by age and gender Age: Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversions metrics by age group (below 18 are not included) Gender: Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions metrics by gender Interests Overview: top 10 interests of your users in 3 areas: Affinity Categories, In-Market Segments and Other Categories Affinity Categories (reach): view of users by their lifestyle with Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversions metrics broken down by Affinity Categories In-Market Segments: view of users by their product-purchasing interests with Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversions metrics broken down by In-Market Segments Other Categories: more specific view of users with Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversions metrics broken down by Other Categories How does Google get this data? Google collects demographics and interests data from the third-party DoubleClick cookie for web traffic and anonymous identifiers for mobile app activity, like the Android Advertising ID and the iOS Identifier for Advertisers. But Google is unable to collect this data if the cookie or anonymous identifier isn't present, or if there's no profile information available. As a result, this data may only be available for a subset of your users. This will be shown on the report as a % of traffic the report represents. When is threshold applied? There are occasions when data is withheld from your reports to ensure the anonymity of users. For example, this might happen when you don’t have enough data for a particular age range or gender. When the threshold has been applied, you will see a notification below the report title. 3 simple steps to set this up 1. Enable the feature in Google Analytics Go to Admin > Property > Property Settings. Scroll down to Advertising Features, and set the option to Enable Demographics and Interests Reports to ON. Now save. 2. Enable the feature in Google Tag Manager Go to edit your GA pageview tag > Configure Tag. Under the tracking ID, tick the Enable Display Advertising Features box. Save the tag, and you've got one last step to do. 3. Enable the report in Google Analytics For this go to Audience > Demographics > Overview report. Click Enable, and you're all set. You should see your demographics and interests data within 24 hours of enabling the feature. We also provide consultancy services if you need help with more advanced setup. Further reading: Tracking registered users with Google Analytics and GTM V2 How to use demographic targeting in AdWords
7 ways to reduce your bounce rate
Wondering why your bounce rate is so high and people are not sticking around? Here are some methods you should consider to improve user engagement with your content, conversion rates and sales. Bounce rate is the percentage of single page sessions or visits where the person didn’t engage further than the one page within your site. You shouldn't worry about the high bounce rate if your site visitors are meant to find what they were looking for on a single page. But if it's important for your site that users stick around for either reading more content or going through further pages that lead towards conversion, then you should review your options for reducing the bounce rate. By decreasing the bounce rate you can improve your ability to engage more users and eventually get them to convert. There are a few reasons why you would have a high bounce rate: Single page site or landing page Incorrect setup Wrong audience Design Usability User behaviour Low quality content You can identify your worst performing content by looking at the bounce rate in the Landing Pages report (under Behaviour > Site Content). If there is a high percentage of people leaving the pages without continuing their journey, then review those pages with the suggestions below. You should also check the average time spent on those pages. If users are leaving after a short amount of time, then you should look closely at what may be driving them away and if there are any improvements you can make to keep the visitor on the page for longer, or how to encourage them to visit other pages. Guide users through your website with additional links Users might leave your site after seeing a single page that contained the information they were looking for. If they got what they wanted and don’t care about actively exploring your website, then think about similar pages within your site that might be of interest to your users, and link to them within the content. You could link to: Another blog post covering similar topic from a different angle A case study to increase the credibility of your work Related blog post that the reader might like Best practices of using your product Case studies on how others have achieved results with your product Your product demo or webinar This can be applied to any pages from product and features to blog and about your team. Blog posts on Moz Blog are a great example of providing additional links that are useful and relevant. Improve your page load Your page loading time has a major impact on how quickly people will leave your site, which should be obvious to everyone. Slow site speed can be very discouraging to your potential customers and drive them away. How long would you wait for a page to load, before going elsewhere to a quicker website? A study from WP Engine found 32% of online users will leave a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. What's more, the study found websites that load in under 2 seconds convert at a rate three times higher than those which take 5-10 seconds to load. In cases where the page load takes 5 seconds or longer, bounce rates increase by 90%. Check Google PageSpeed Insights for more detail on why this matters and how to improve your page speed. Make content readable It is difficult to read large chunks of text that consists of long paragraphs, too much jargon and bad formatting. With our shorter attention span and higher impatience, the more user friendly you can make the text, the better for your site performance. There are a number of ways you can improve the readability of your content: Large headings Bold subheadings Bullets and lists Shorter sentences and paragraphs Less or no jargon Write like you talk Use images Bold keywords where appropriate Add a relevant call to action on the landing page If you have a landing page for converting visitors, whether it is for getting them to enquire or sign up, you need a relevant and prominent call to action (CTA). At Littledata we use CTA in two places on the landing page - top and bottom - to help the user enquire about our services much quicker. I also like Intercom product pages, which have some awesome animations and illustrations, and a call to action that fits the theme. Your CTA could be focussed on getting your users to: Call the company to talk about the product Fill out a form Sign up for a trial Click on banner ad Watch video Subscribe to a newsletter Visit another page within your site or external site Econsultancy has collected examples of some awesome calls to action so check them out for inspiration. Check your landing pages meet visitor expectations If people expect to sign up for a free trial of your software product, but are instead taken to a homepage without a visible way of doing so, then expect a lot of bounces. Invision uses Adwords to promote its free platform plan. Once you click through, you see immediately the content you expect and the option to sign up. If you purchase some of your traffic, make sure you check what information visitors see on your partners’ site before clicking on the link. When we recently ran a number of tests to improve the bounce rate for our client, we were baffled by some of the improvements not having much effect. After further investigation it came out that the visitors on the partner sites were getting the wrong information about what they were clicking on. No surprise then that they were leaving the site so soon. For search engine results, review your page titles and meta descriptions, and make sure they match what the person will see on the page when they click on it. Set external links to open in a new window By providing an external link that opens within the same window, you are forcing your users to leave your site. This will not only affect your bounce rate, but you will also be increasing your exit rate. Instead of interrupting their journey this way, set any external links to open in a new tab. Avoid distracting users from the content Whilst some popups can be relevant to the content of the page and important for your aims, a badly timed popup can be very off-putting for your site users. Your landing page is there to convince the visitor to stay so if your popup displays instantly, you're not letting them see your content that they came for in the first place. Test different timings to see what works best for your users, but I'd be surprised if quickly displaying popups reduce your bounce rate. Autoplaying random songs can also be highly annoying. Especially when it's not the kind of song you listen to, on full blast, and hidden somewhere so it takes you ages to find the music to pause it. Just no. There are no quick wins when it comes to improving your bounce rate. Keep making the improvements with your reader in mind and testing which changes work for you best. So I hope this has been helpful. If you have any experiences with methods mentioned above, do share in the comments below. Further reading: A win for the UK digital sector: UK sites perform better than US sites in benchmark 5 common Google Analytics setup problems to look out for How to accurately track time on site with Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager Stuck with reducing your bounce rate? Contact our certified Google Analytics specialists for help with your bounce rate or other advanced tracking.
7 quick wins to speed up your site analysis techniques in Google Analytics
Analysis and reporting are the most time-consuming aspects of site or app performance tracking in Google Analytics. If you ever wished or thought if only it was quicker, then this post is for you. There are a number of techniques you can implement to speed up your data analysis and number crunching. Here I’ll cover 6 of them. Schedule email reports Google Analytics dashboards are a great way to monitor metrics that are important for your business. But instead of logging in every day or week, or however often you tend to check them, schedule automated email reports instead. At Littledata, we have a select few metrics that we keep track of on a weekly and monthly basis. The whole team gets an email report on a specified day, allowing everyone to get the latest stats without someone on the team having to get those numbers manually every time. To set this up, go to the dashboard that you want emailed to others (or yourself), click ‘Email’ and fill in the details. If you're scheduling the email to go to your team on a regular basis, why not add a nice message in the email body. To edit the scheduled emails you've set up previously, go to Admin > View > Scheduled Emails (towards the bottom of the list). Access your reports quickly Shortcuts in Google Analytics allow you to quickly view the reports you use most often. Even better, they remember the settings you applied to any report. So if you apply an advanced segment or another customisation to the report, saving it as a shortcut will remember your preferences. Except for the date range - that won't be remembered. You can find the shortcut option just below the report title, and once added, you'll find your shortcut reports at the top of the reports list in the left panel. Search for reports you can’t find If you find yourself wondering where a particular report is, use the search found at the very top. Instead of having to go through an extensive report list trying to find something you vaguely remember seeing last month, you get suggestions of what you might be looking for as you type. So you only need to remember or guess part of the report title that you're looking for. Use keyboard shortcuts Did you know Google Analytics has keyboard shortcuts? They allow you to move around the report much quicker and the date range keyboards make a big difference to a workflow. Picking date ranges can be tedious and annoying so I've found these to be the best. If you're already using keyboard shortcuts on your devices, you won't need convincing of their usefulness. To view this complete list of shortcuts in Google Analytics at any time, use a shortcut: ? Set up goals to understand your website visitors Goals are valuable in understanding how well your site or app helps you achieve your objectives. Unfortunately, we see a lot of businesses who either find it too complicated to set up or have done it incorrectly. Speaking from personal experience, it only takes a little practice to get the hang of it, and once setup, you get essential conversion data in your reports. You'll be able to evaluate your marketing efforts and campaigns much more effectively. Check out Google's guidance on goals and my guide on how to set up a destination goal funnel. See trends quickly with Littledata reports We have a clever tool that looks through all of your Google Analytics data and finds the most interesting changes to report on. There are over hundred of GA reports so getting automated summaries that you can act upon will save you hours of work. Littledata tool doesn't require installation and it's quick to set up - all you need is an existing Google Analytics account to sign up with for free. The reports you'll get are also great for presenting to colleagues in meetings, as other users have said. To get your reports, go to Littledata homepage, enter your website into the box and click 'Get started.' We're also working on bringing you benchmarking information, customised tips on how to improve your Analytics setup and what you should be tracking. Pro tip: Manage complex data with query explorer tool Whilst, not the quickest to get used to, Google's query explorer tool can be powerful for those working with large and complex datasets. Some of our biggest clients' websites get millions of hits a month, which can cause discrepancies in data analysis (especially when data is sampled). So I use the query explorer tool to verify the data that clients ask for. To use this tool, you will need to know your metrics from dimensions and learn more about how to use segments, filters and query building. If you've got questions on any of the above, don't hesitate to comment below or get in touch!
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