According to Statista, 6.9 billion web searches occur each day on the most popular search engine: Google. Thousands—if not more—of these searches could represent potential customers for your business! But you’ve got to understand how web traffic works and how to use it for your benefit. Being able to gather and interpret that data is a key part of this process.
One of the most popular tools for understanding website traffic is Google Analytics. In recent years, the service has become essential for merchants who want to optimize their Shopify stores, view the effectiveness of their ad campaigns, and even track complex sales metrics. Let’s take a more detailed look at the importance of Google Analytics for ecommerce merchants. Then, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide for setting up a Google Analytics account and linking it to your online store.
What is Google Analytics?
Simply put, it’s an analytical tool that provides statistics and data for a website. It’s a free service powered, of course, by Google. It collects data from people who visit your website and consolidates that information in one place. That way, website managers can easily view things like sources of web traffic, visitor insights, and website performance. Many businesses also use Google Analytics to examine customer behavior by viewing data on things like the landing pages people visit, the number of unique new visitors, and the conversion rates from different traffic sources.
As most of your marketing efforts will lead potential clients to your website, having a clear breakdown and analysis of all the traffic there is crucial. Analytics tools like Google give you the functional data dashboard that’s key to providing you with a holistic view of your efforts to attract more customers.
Here are a few more benefits of using a tool like Google Analytics:
#1. Free, instant data collection
Google Analytics is completely free to anyone with a Google account, making it easily accessible to online merchants of all sizes. Also, all data it collects is updated in real time as you get traffic to your website. That means you’ll always have current numbers in front of you, so you can make accurate decisions regarding your ecommerce business.
#2. In-depth customer analysis
The more data you have on your prospects and customers, the more you can cater your website to their needs and desires in order to win maximum conversions. To this end, Google Analytics allows you to see the age, gender, and location of website visitors. You can then incorporate what you learn about them into your marketing and advertising strategies for best results.
#3. Internal site-traffic statistics
In addition to showing where your website visitors come from, Google Analytics can also show you where they go once they get there. Seeing a ranking of how much traction each of your website’s pages get can give you deeper insights into your audience and help you optimize your site accordingly.
#4. KPI tracking
Google Analytics can even help you keep track of your business goals. Since metrics are updated in real time, you can view how your business is performing in relation to your expectations at any moment. Always having a handle on how you’re doing can help you pivot quickly and try new things if you’re not hitting your expected metrics on time.
What is Google Analytics used for?
While the individual uses of Google Analytics may vary, most small- to medium-sized businesses primarily use it for customer behavior analytics. Here are some key functionalities that help with this:
- Data filtering. You can easily customize the exact data you want to view on your dashboard. Google Analytics has intuitive buttons that allow you to adjust the time period of the data you’re viewing, and to see it broken down by website page. You can also customize your data to meet your specific needs by using advanced filters, custom channel groupings, content groupings, and calculated metrics.
- Channel grouping. Google Analytics comes with pre-built channels to help you analyze where your web traffic comes from (eg: organic search, referrals, etc.). As a result, you can more easily pinpoint the strongest areas of your marketing activities as well as the ones you need to improve on. Google Analytics also gives users the option to customize channels, essentially redefining how traffic is analyzed. This feature may be useful if you have new ad campaigns you want to isolate and analyze.
- Predictive analytics. Google Analytics also offers a machine-learning based system called Smart Lists. It can be used to segment similar customers that frequent your store, making it easier to analyze their buying behavior. Seeing top visitors listed this way can help you identify the type of people who are most likely to shop at your store. Smart Goals, a related tool, helps you determine which ongoing sessions at your store are most likely to result in conversions. Both are useful for improving future conversion rates.
- Conversion reports. In ecommerce, how many people visit your ecommerce store isn’t as important as how many actually convert. Conversion reports allow you to analyze how each marketing channel drives conversions on your site. Google Analytics gives users the ability to view each of the individual parts that play a role in conversions, from referrals to ads to other types of interconnected data.
- Data visualization. It can be difficult and time-consuming to try and extract meaning from a big block of data. That’s why Google Analytics provides simple widgets, to give users an overview of key reports and metrics. Users can also create custom dashboards and share graphs with others.
How to add Google Analytics to Shopify
How to Link Google Analytics to Your Shopify Store
Directly integrating Google Analytics with Shopify is the easiest way to have all your shop’s data synced and at your fingertips. Fortunately, synchronizing the two is a simple process.
Since Google Analytics is powered by Google, you’ll need to create a free Google account and a Gmail to get started. Then, there are two ways to integrate the two platforms. The first involves inputting store information directly into Shopify, while the second simply requires an app from the Shopify app store.
Integrating directly through Shopify
Integrating with Google Analytics this way is easy. On the Google Analytics admin dashboard, create a new account for your Shopify store. To do this:
- Enter your store’s name.
- When prompted to enter your Shopify store’s URL, make sure you copy it from your Shopify dashboard. It should be [yourstorename].myshopify.com.
- Select the industry your business falls into, and check all the Data Sharing Settings. This will ensure you get the most accurate information possible.
- Accept Google’s terms and conditions.
- On the next page, copy the Global Site Tag.
Now, log into your Shopify dashboard. Then:
- Select Online Store from the Sales Channel list.
- Go to Preferences and find the Google Analytics segment. Paste the code you previously copied.
Finally, make sure you hit save to begin syncing data. You’re now all set up! Note that it may take up to 24 hours for store information to populate in your Google Analytics dashboard. But once it does, the data will automatically, instantly update at all times from then on.
Using a Shopify app
If you’d prefer to use the Shopify app store, many companies offer Google Analytics integrations that automatically synchronize the same data. Both methods yield the same results.
Enhancing Data Visualization for Your Business
While Google Analytics is a fantastic tool, it has certain limitations. For example, advanced KPIs like the purchase rate are difficult to monitor in Google Analytics. To enhance your data visualization capabilities, consider Shypyard as a powerful alternative.
Shypyard’s newest Unified Analytics dashboard allows you to connect sales channels and other data sources to a larger dashboard, giving you the power to view all data and measure any KPIs at any time. You can then connect this dashboard to any existing reporting system too, such as Oberlo, Klaviyo, Facebook Ads, or Google Analytics.
Some key features of Shypyard’s data dashboard include:
- Analytics and comparison across multiple sales channels (eg: Shopify, Amazon, Walmart)
- Cash forecasting for easy decision-making
- Enhanced customer analysis through the segmentation of customers into cohorts, to allow for better targeted campaigns
- Advanced inventory automation—including focused individual SKU analysis—and constant updates
- Custom features to suit the specific needs of your business
With the Unified Analytics dashboard, you can feel more confident about your business decisions and market position. Sign up for a free trial of our Unified Analytics platform today!
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