Knowing where your customer has been and where they’re going is invaluable information to have for your business. So, mapping your customer journey should be a huge priority. You don’t want to go in blind and bumble around making decisions that aren’t backed by anything other than a gut feeling. That’s why so many companies have been using Google Analytics for years. Google Analytics can be used in conjunction with your websites to track precious data and analytics and it’s free.
One of the places people turn to often for building out their websites is Shopify. Its user-friendly way of representing sales, products, and more is a great asset and makes it easier for business owners to manage. So, naturally, many people have wanted to integrate their Shopify accounts with Google Analytics. In Google’s newest update to their analytics toolbox, they have created an easy way to integrate their latest tool, Google Analytics 4 (or as many call it GA4) with Shopify. This integration can be a complete game-changer. Let’s talk about why and how to best utilize GA4 with Shopify.
What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
Google Analytics has been a very popular tool for many years simply because it’s free and the Google name carries a lot of reliability with it. The general idea is that Google Analytics collects data from websites you’ve connected to it then takes this data, analyzes it, and then gives you a visual representation. While many people think they can understand raw data, it’s tedious and hard to see the big picture without the analysis and visualization that GA4 can provide.
How Is It Different From Past Versions?
So, how is GA4 different? Well, the short answer is that it’s more powerful and more user-friendly than past versions of Google Analytics. Google Analytics 4 allows you to track across the web and apps in the same place which is amazing since these had to be looked at separately in past versions. In addition, GA4 allows you to collect enhanced measurements based on events, more easily. You used to have to do this manually, but not anymore.
In addition, like in past versions of Google Analytics, you can still create custom events with Google Analytics 4. However, this version collects and allows you to utilize more measurements as well as outbound link clicks, scrolling, etc. So, it gives you even more ways to track your customers in a simple way. If you’re wanting to look at pathways, GA4 helps you better visualize the customer journey and it helps you optimize the steps to get there! It does this by allowing you to work backward from your conversion points to create a conversion journey. Another way GA4 is different from past versions is the custom reports you can generate are way more user-friendly. You can also add metrics and dimensions after you use segments!
Lastly, one of the most exciting updates is that GA4 offers Big Query Export for free. In past versions of Google Analytics, you had to pay for Google Analytics 360 to get access to raw data. This has been super expensive to do, in the past, but now with GA4, you can export all of your raw data for free. All of this can help you with your KPIs.
Why Should I Switch From Universal Analytics To GA4?
So, why use GA4? That’s a good question. The biggest thing you need to know is if you currently use Google’s Universal Analytics tool, it will be phasing out. Google has said it will stop processing new data on July 1, 2023. So, transitioning over the next few months to GA4 is key to a smooth transition. You don’t want to have gaps in your data.
Another thing to keep in mind that has been mentioned by YouTube channels such as Funnel and Analytics Mania it’s important to run Google Analytics 3 and 4 for a while concurrently. As time goes by, of course, GA4 will surpass older versions because Google is pouring its money and resources into GA4 only. So, just keep that in mind and know when it’s time to phase out Universal Analytics.
How to Get Started With GA4
To get started, go to the Google Analytics website, and it’ll ask you to make a new account. If you already have an account, you can create a property. You can then enter a URL for where you’d like to use it. Answer the questions they give you, then it’ll be set up. It’s pretty simple! As far as setting up tracking, there are some great how-to tutorials on YouTube that go more in-depth. Don’t get overwhelmed, though. It might take you a minute to get everything going, but since GA4 is more user-friendly, it should be easier and more powerful than in the past.
How Do I Use It With Shopify?
You can utilize Google Analytics 4 by inserting the GA4 code into your Shopify pages. It is important to note that GA4 works differently with different versions of Shopify. If you have Shopify Plus, you can add GA4 to all of your pages. However, if you’re using regular Shopify, you’ll only be able to add GA4 to your store pages and order confirmation page. So, you won’t be able to add it to your checkout pages, unfortunately. If you’re looking for a good tutorial that shows you how to set up Shopify with GA4, this video from Loves Data is a good resource.
If you find that Google Analytics isn’t working with Shopify, you need to ensure that you haven’t already tried to enable Shopify access. You’ll just need to go to Shopify, click on “online store” and click “preferences.” Then look to see if the Google Analytics box is checked. If it is, it’s already enabled. If you’re having issues with troubleshooting any GA4 and Shopify, it’s best to find a good YouTube tutorial to walk yourself through fixing issues.
Why is Tracking Data and Analytics Critical For Your Ecommerce Business?
Why should you care about tracking data and analytics? Tracking data and analytics helps give you information that you wouldn’t have simply by watching your sales. It goes so much deeper than that. This kind of data and information wasn’t as available before the birth of eCommerce because it was harder to track people without the internet. Now companies big and small use data to their advantage. If you’re not using it, you’re already putting yourself at a disadvantage.
The breadth of data and information that you can collect these days is so vast, that it’s almost a bit scary. That coupled with machine learning and the intelligence of Google platforms such as Google Analytics 4 is powerful when it comes to making the best decisions for your direct-to-consumer business. Some companies have gotten so good at tracking trends and personal data, that they might know when something big is about to change in your life before you do–such as finding out you’re pregnant, getting engaged, etc. If you want to stay ahead of the game, you need to be tracking everything on your website. Ten metrics you need to be tracking include:
- Customer Acquisition Cost (and Target CPA)
- Return on Ad Spend
- Customer Lifetime Value
- Average Order Value
- Returning Customer Rate
- Website Conversion Rate
- Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate
- Email/SMS Opt-In Rate
- Email Open Rate
- Email/SMS Click-Through Rate
If you need more information about what these metrics are, and how to calculate them, check out our blog 10 Critical Metrics to Know & Understand When Marketing your eCommerce Business. You probably know many of them, but we do a deeper dive into each one within that post
If you’re looking to start using Google Analytics 4, it’s a great tool that’s much more user-friendly than past versions have been. It’s also more powerful in that it offers newer features that you didn’t get with past versions, as well. However, if you’d rather get some help with your analytics tracking, SEO, paid search, and paid social, let’s talk and see if Stryde might be a good fit for your business.