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Google Analytics for Shopify: A Crash Course

Information is power and as an Ecommerce store owner, you are receiving a huge amount of useful information about the thousands of people who access your site every day. Customers leave behind a treasure trove of valuable data whenever they come into contact with your store, it is up to you to convert this data into information and exploit it to make business boom. This is where analytics comes in, analytics extract insights from your overflowing data to determine your customer's preferences so you can make the right decisions. With analytics, you can turn your risky decisions into informed ones and invest in the right efforts to reach the top.

Google Analytics

You may be wondering, how can you leverage the true power of analytics as a Shopify store owner? While Shopify has a built-in analytics solution it is limited in a number of ways and demands something extra. Enter Google Analytics, a powerful and robust analytics software that lets you monitor your traffic, advertising ROI and customer trends across multiple channels.

While many Shopify owners already use Google Analytics with Shopify Analytics, about 88% of them have Google Analytics set up incorrectly. So whether you are a Shopify storeowner who is new to Google Analytics or someone who already uses it, we will help you brush up on some basic concepts to get you started and improve your Shopify experience for the better.

Here are some things that you'll learn in this article:

  • How to Set up Google Analytics for Shopify
  • The Basics of Google Analytics – Common terms, goals and funnels, Analytics reports.
  • How to Use the Insights
  • Use Google Analytics the Right way

How to Set Up Google Analytics for Shopify

Here we take an in-depth look at how you can set up Google Analytics for Shopify. So follow these steps and get started!

Analytics on mobile

STEP 1: Check if Google Analytics is Enabled Already

Ensure that you have never enabled Google Analytics before with the following steps:

  1. From the admin go to Online Store > Preferences.
  2. Check if the box in the Google Analytics section is empty or not.
  3. If you have some code inside that box, it means you already have Google Analytics enabled. You can jump to Step 4: Turning on Ecommerce tracking!
  4. If there's no code present, go to themes and then Actions > Edit Code. In the layout section click on {/} theme.liquid.
  5. Look for tags such as js, dc.js, gtag.js, oranalytics.js,if any of these tags exist then Google Analytics is already enabled. Skip to step 4.

If your box was empty and you didn't find any tags then you don't have Google Analytics Enabled yet.

STEP 2: Create a Google Account

If you don't already have a Google account then you need to create one in order to use Google Analytics. Create a Google account now and move on to the next step.

STEP 3: Enable Google Analytics for your Shopify Store

Follow these steps to enable Google Analytics:

  1. Go to Google Analytics and Sign Up with your Google Account.
  2. Choose Website and fill the required information such as your store's name and website URL. Choose the industry you work in.
  3. Click 'Get Tracking ID'.
  4. Accept the terms and conditions by Google.
  5. Copy the Global Site Tag.
  6. In the Shopify Admin, go to Online store > Preferences and copy paste the Global Site Tag in the Google Analytics Account field.
  7. When you see a code beginning with UA- under the Google Analytics Account field you'll know that it is enabled.

STEP 4: Enable Ecommerce Tracking

Basic Ecommerce Tracking

Basic Ecommerce tracking just provides transaction and revenue data. Here's how you can turn it on:

  1. Go to the Admin page.
  2. Locate the View menu and click Ecommerce Settings.
  3. Click Enable Ecommerce to turn it on.
Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking

If you wish to fully utilize the power of Google Analytics for your ecommerce store then enhanced ecommerce is the way to go. Enhanced ecommerce enables Google Analytics for your Shopify checkout page which can help you track the entire customer journey. Follow these steps to turn it on:

  1. Go to Shopify Admin and then Online Store > Preferences.
  2. In Google Analytics section check the Enhanced Ecommerce box.
  3. Upgrade to the latest version of Google Analytics if needed.
  4. Go to your Google Analytics account Admin page.
  5. Go to View > Ecommerce settings and enable Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting.
  6. Hit save.

Congratulations! You have now set up a Google Analytics framework to work in tandem with your Shopify Analytics. Read on to find out how to fully leverage this powerful tool for the best results.

The Basics of Google Analytics

Now that you have finally enabled Google Analytics, it's time for you to learn what it's all about. You might not be interested in perusing spreadsheets and charts but getting a hang of Google Analytics can really help you in running a successful ecommerce business. There are many useful guides online that help you get into the details of Analytics but we will just go through the basic concepts to create a firm base you can build your knowledge around.

website analytics

Here are some important terms you'll see on your Google Analytics dashboard:

Sessions

Sessions tell you about the number of customer interactions with your website under 30 minutes. For example if a customer visits your website, buys a product and leaves in under half an hour then that counts as a single session.

Users

Users are visitors who have completed at least one session in your store.

Average Session Duration

The length of the average session in hours, minutes or seconds.

Bounce Rate

As the name suggests, bounce rate is a measurement of how many people visit your site and leave (bounce) without interacting with it. For example, a user enters a page on your site and hits back to leave it, this counts as a bounce.

Percentage New Sessions

The percentage of sessions initiated by first-time visitors.

Goals and Funnels in Google Analytics

This is where Google Analytics gets interesting. Goals and funnels are a way to track your conversions based on your unique business goals. In Google Analytics, a goal is any action that a customer must complete during a session. When a customer completes a goal, it is counted as a conversion. Goals are normally based on business objectives which you wish to meet. For example, a goal can be a certain page you want your customers to reach. You can learn all about setting up a variety of custom goals from Google's handy guide.

A funnel is a path of URLs that you want your customers to follow in order to reach a goal. Funnels can help you track the entire customer journey to the goal and give you useful information about your conversions. With funnels you can find out where customers abandon a path and which paths they prefer.

How to Use Insights from Google Analytics

Now you have Google Analytics and a valuable mine of data ready to be taken advantage of. What next? The overwhelming amount of information provided by Google Analytics can be a bit confusing at first. But don't worry, start from the basics and slowly work your way up to the top. Here are some interesting decisions Google Analytics can help you make:

Analytics review

  • If you find out that most of your customers are centered around a particular geographical location, you can choose a distributor with warehouses near that area to reduce delivery times.
  • If most of your customers are accessing your store through a mobile device then you can easily take the decision to invest in mobile optimization of your website to enhance customer experience.
  • If you notice an unusually high bounce rate for any of the pages, you can surmise that there's something wrong in the content, design or offerings of that page and fix it easily.

Use Google Analytics the Right Way

Having Google Analytics is not enough if it's configured incorrectly. There are some areas which you might want to review in order to use Google Analytics the right way. Here are some common tracking problems and errors made by Shopify storeowners:

  1. Understand the Discrepancies:

It is common to see different tracking results in Shopify Analytics and Google Analytics, some reasons for that are:

  • Difference in counting page reloads.
  • Different definitions of sessions.
  • Google only counts visitors with JavaScript and cookies enabled.
  • Customers can block tracking of sessions and purchases through browser extensions.
  • Discrepancies due to time zone.
  1. Track Product List Performance

Analyze metrics for product lists to tweak your page layouts and see how products perform in conjunction with other products. Enable product list performance report with enhanced ecommerce tracking.

  1. Enable Demographics Tracking

Enable demographics tracking to tap into the full potential of analytics by gathering data about user interests based on age, gender and other various factors to make fruitful marketing and advertising efforts.

  1. Track Checkout Steps

Track checkout steps from delivery to payment options to see which factors lead to abandonment.

  1. Track Cart Details

Keep track of the products added to carts so you can retarget cart abandoners through strategic advertisements.

Conclusion

The sudden onslaught of information from Google Analytics might be a lot to process at first but with some experience and experimentation you can channel all that useful data into lucrative decisions. Opt for Google Analytics for your Shopify store now and transform the way you view data for the ultimate success of your Ecommerce store.