One of the best tools in a marketer’s toolkit? Google Analytics.
You might already be using Google Analytics, but the real question is: Are you using GA4?
On July 1, 2023, Google will sunset GA3 (Universal Analytics). So far, only a rather small percentage of brands have made the switch. Now is the time to do so! Why? There’s a learning curve. This “migration” might be a little daunting, but here at Tydo, we’ve got your back.
In fact, GA4 offers a ton of flexibility and customization. Now, you can see more data and insight than before. Plus, in GA4, app and web are in one data stream, meaning you can track and analyze customer behavior across both sources. Other exciting features? GA4 is built on a machine-learning foundation and features advanced event tracking.
To dive into all things GA4, we sat down with the Elevar team. Used by Vuori, Rothy’s, Skims, and thousands of other Shopify / Shopify Plus sites, Elevar helps merchants manage the tagging and tracking of their paid marketing campaigns. They collect and deliver data to your marketing channels, so, each one has 100% reliable data going into its algorithm.
We know the move to GA4 can be daunting, so in this blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to know to set yourself up for success and maximize GA4 to its full potential. Let’s get into it!
Setting Up GA4 for Ecommerce
First and foremost, what is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)? It’s a new Google Analytics Platform.
Right now, you’re probably using GA3 (aka Universal Analytics). On July 1, 2023, Google will sunset GA3, and you’ll have to switch to using GA4. On this date, your Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data. You’ll still be able to access your previously processed data in Universal Analytics but, in most cases, only for a few months.
So, we strongly encourage you to make the switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible!
People speak generally about going from Universal Analytics to GA4 as a “migration.” However, Elevar Lead Solutions Engineer Jonathan Cairo says it’s not a migration. It’s about starting fresh - stopping one set of tags and adding another. Tracking is managed in an entirely new way in GA4 with some new metrics.
We spoke with Elevar about a GA4 set-up. This walkthrough will help you configure your GA4 property to the right standards.
Plus, save this audit and configuration doc.
Common Questions about GA4
How do I start using GA4?
All you have to do is make the switch to GA4. Per Google, at a high level, you’ll need to:
- Figure out your account structure.
- Create a GA4 property and data stream.
- Collect website and app data.
- Turn on Google Signals.
- Set up conversions.
- Add users.
How is GA4 different?
There are a few key differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics.
Here are some key differences between GA4 and. Universal Analytics:
- In GA4, all hits are tracked as an event. See the image below for reference.
- Some metrics are different. For example, page views and sessions are calculated differently. Bounce rate exists in GA4, but it’s calculated differently. You can see key differences between metrics in UA vs. GA4 here.
- GA4 is built on a machine-learning foundation.
- You can export your data to BigQuery.
- In GA4, you can also combine multiple data streams (web and app) into one property.
- In GA4, the reporting interface is different. You can leverage pre-built and custom reporting. These reports use event-based data, not session-based data. You can also create custom funnels.
Can you transfer your UA data to GA4?
You can’t transfer your data from UA to GA4. However, if you’re a Tydo Platform user, you’ll continue to have access to your UA data. If you’re interested in getting started with the Tydo Platform to see UA data, you can sign up here.
Can I transfer my custom dimensions and metrics to GA4?
Yes, you can, but they will look and function differently in GA4.
How is attribution different in GA4?
Here’s the short answer: Attribution was all about last click in UA. In GA4, in the monetization report, you’re now looking at it through the lens of data-driven attribution, which takes a much smarter approach to distributing credit than last-click attribution in Universal Analytics.
The GA4 Dashboard:
You may notice that the GA4 dashboard looks a little different than your UA dashboard. Don’t fret! It’s straightforward.
On the home page, you’ll see:
- A search bar, where you can find reports and content
- Product links, help, and account management
- Navigation panel, featuring “Reports,” “Explore,” “Advertising,” and “Admin”
- Edit and share options: You can add data comparisons, share, and export reports, see insights about your data, and customize reports
In GA4, there are some pre-built reports, but you can also build out custom reports to track anything you want as well.
You can do this in GA4 because it leverages event-based data (distinct user interactions, such as clicking a link or making a purchase) instead of session-based data. So, now you can track specific actions customers take on your ecommerce site in a more free-form way using “Explore reports.”
Now, in GA4, you can access funnel reporting (think of it as a customer journey map). You can see the steps a customer takes before converting and where they typically drop off.
It’s up to you to pick which funnel steps you want (i.e. add-to-cart), whereas previously in Universal Analytics you didn’t have control of funnel steps. You can also add custom steps that are specific to your store.
UA tracks last-click attribution. In GA, it’s data-driven, which means Google leverages your conversion event data to correctly attribute each interaction.
Now that we’ve highlighted some key aspects of GA4, here are some tips to set you up for success:
- Ensure you have Google Tags Manager set up.
- Make sure the currency and time zone match.
- If any custom events are important to your user journey (i.e. a free sample), find a way to send that to GA4.
- Remember that all your events need to be formatted correctly and according to the Google Analytics schema.
- Don’t send duplicate events.
- Set your data retention from 2 months to 14 months in the GA4 settings.
To ensure your tagging and tracking are set up to capture the maximum of first-party data and to ensure your marketing channels and GA4 have this data, feel free to reach out to Elevar. Their fully-managed server-side tracking will surely help improve ROAS.
- What to pledge
- How to improve
- Which tools will set you up for success
I think the most important thing brands can do in 2023 is to better manage their customer data—both ethically and effectively. There’s an opportunity for brands to know their customers better than ever before—a clear benefit for both the customer and the brand. When you manage your data correctly, you’ll create stronger and more personalized ads, creative, site experiences, and so much more.
This is a classic: Let the data guide you. Go where the buyers for your products are and communicate with them on a personal level (i.e. by persona and funnel position) and nurture those relationships (past, present, and future customers). It’s possible—all through data.
We recommend that Shopify brands analyze and update their websites using data-driven decisions. Using analytics tools such as heatmaps and scrollmaps can help brands better understand how customers are interacting with their store.
Store owners tend to make assumptions about the way customers interact with their website. Most never go back and analyze their design choices to find pain points or areas of opportunity. By using heatmaps and scrollmaps, they can see where real customers are clicking and concentrating their attention. Leveraging this data, brands can start to iterate on design and make their online store experience streamlined and intuitive.
Hotjar provides a simple way to implement heatmaps, scrollmaps, and recorded user sessions on your site, helping you acquire incredibly informative user data. Additionally, it gives you the ability to create on-site surveys, which allows you to obtain direct and often critical feedback from users about their experience.
Test various attribution models and analyze the impact on your business. At Fifty Six, we are always here to help our clients identify and optimize their approach—a critical step in any successful marketing strategy.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times–Customer Lifetime Value. And even more importantly, Future Lifetime Value (FLTV). With the ever-growing importance of first-party data, it is crucial that brands take a good look at their CRM and FLTV metrics.
OrderlyEmails is our go-to tool for transactional emails. It helps us level up our brands’ email aesthetics with customizable, quick-to-implement Shopify templates.
Lately, I’ve been really interested in Smile.io’s loyalty platform. Their UX is fantastic for teams with low bandwidth!
Stop allocating budgets to low-hanging fruit that doesn’t move the needle on conversion. Think about what’s really going to improve your CX and the return of undertaking different initiatives—not just on what’s top on your list of bugbears on the site!
One of the best ways to understand your customer behavior is by using HotJar. Their heat-mapping and screen recording tools shine a light on where customers are navigating to and from on your site, where they're rage clicking and experiencing frustration, and where conversion is dropping off within real life customer journeys and flows!
Understanding your customers’ pain points via data and analytics , will allow you to work with your CRO/CX Agency to solve customer frustrations and improve conversion.
Rewind backs up all product, customer, and order data for Shopify sites—essential since Shopify itself doesn’t provide this solution. It's saved so many of our clients time and money from administrative accidents.
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33% of customer service inquiries are pre-sale questions. What does this mean? If you’re not investing in customer service, you’re missing out on revenue-generating opportunities.
The benefits of elevating your customer experience:
- 10% to 25% increase in AOV for customers who engage with live chat pre-purchase
- 21x higher conversion rate for customers who reach out via Live Chat or SMS compared to other site visitors
- 87% of customers who have a great customer experience will make another purchase
- 72% of customers share positive experiences with 6 or more individuals
Gorgias is our favorite Helpdesk platform. They can reduce costs by 35%, primarily by decreasing the average ticket handle time. Their machine learning algorithms are trained on millions of ecommerce-related interactions across Gorgias’ customer base and provide accurate, automated replies for the most common ecommerce inquiries. This helps our agents resolve tickets faster, which provides the customer a seamless experience.
Trust your agency! Agencies do the same things across multiple brands and niches, so we see the trends and have the practice and experience!
Don't be afraid of data and insights. If customers aren't clicking on your emails, try a new CTA. If your ads are driving good metrics at a small spend, start scaling. If your customers are complaining about a product, look into QA! If the data tells you something isn't working, let it go and try something else!
I'm supposed to say Tydo, right? 😉
Double down on differentiation. There will be a lot of headwinds this year and standing out from the crowd will set you apart.
A picture is worth 1,000 words. A video? Probably millions. In ecommerce that value translates into engagement, acquisition, and retention—everything you need to impact your bottom line.
At soona, we've seen the we've seen the impact of creative and the continuous split testing of it yield results. Our resolution is to challenge ourselves and double down on innovation and creative optionality so that each brand we work with can distinguish themselves in a crowded sea of D2C ecomm. We'd love to see our brands share this resolution and keep pushing the creative limits.
Klaviyo. We're using it to power our email and newsletter at soona too!
Optimize your returns strategy! This can lead to valuable customer insights, enhanced user experiences, and increased revenue and customer loyalty.
Brands need to dive deeper into understanding their customers to set themselves up for success. Conduct research to gain insights into customer needs, preferences, and behaviors. By doing so, you can develop targeted strategies that will enhance customer experience and boost overall retention.
Right now I would say Gorgias. Having a good customer service tool is crucial to building strong customer relationships.
Start paying heavy attention to data, specifically around retention. We see a lot of effort put towards acquisition with the assumption that once someone buys, they are your customer forever. Instead, get to know your customer, understand their needs, and analyze their behaviors once they are on-site and judge their sentiment after they have visited. Work with a retention focused and data-driven agency to implement tools that contribute to repeat business and customer delight. It will pay dividends.
When surveyed, about 80% of ecommerce merchants think that they are delivering a great experience to their customers. However, when the same customers are surveyed, only 8% of those customers think that they are getting a great experience from the merchant. Now, more than ever, retaining loyal customers is an essential part of any online business and you should spend time with your customers to judge their experience with your website and products and offer improvements based on that feedback.
Tydo's report cards are an essential tool, along with Klaviyo for email and SMS, Recharge for subscriptions and memberships, Okendo for reviews and surveys, Rebuy for AI driven collections and upsells, Loop for self service returns... each tool is great on their own, but their strength as the ultimate tool comes from when they are used together!
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Report Cards is a customized glimpse into your business, delivered to your inbox for free.
Report Cards consolidates all your key metrics across platforms for an at-a-glance pulse of your business.
Discover metrics for every team member so they can stay updated with the right data on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
It's free because we believe everyone should have access to the basics.
Portfolio is a hub for analytics across multiple Shopify stores. The perfect tool for agencies.
See an aggregate view of all your data for all your stores in one place.
Make real time assessments on marketing initiatives across every storefront you manage.
Analyze the performance of one store versus another in seconds.
More about the project
Here at Tydo, we try to highlight DTC founders who run their business in various ways. And, that's because there's no "right" way to run a DTC brand.
This project illustrates exactly that. Whether it's how a founder supports their team or how they talk about mental health in the workplace, every founder has a different approach. How do they discover these different approaches? One way: reading. Discover the greatest books that have changed the way 15+ founders think about or operate their business.
You can also listen to these book picks on Spotify or Anchor.fm.