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Episode 16 - Getting Shopify Data from Google Analytics

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Hello, Scott Austin here.  And in this episode we're going to talk about how to get good data from Google analytics. So let me take a step back and talk about the importance of data. Data about your store, about your business is really important to make informed decisions. I'm always impressed about how much savvy store owners understand about their customers. They know what they're looking at, they know how they navigate on their site, they know the thought process that goes through their customer's minds when making purchase decisions. Now, Shopify comes with its own reporting tool, but I rarely use it. I prefer to use Google analytics instead, otherwise known as GA. It's a free analytics tool from Google that provides what's more depth and insight than the Shopify reporting tool. It's also used by most websites on the internet, not just Shopify stores. Here's some of the reasons that I prefer to use GA over Shopify reports.

The first is that GA gives more information, a ton more information than you can get out of Shopify reports. The second is it can be customized much more so you can set up reports the way that you want to see them and the frequency that you want to see them, which is what this podcast is going to be about. And third, GA allows you to include other sites and apps that are a part of your business beyond your Shopify store. So if you also have a WordPress site, you can have one Google analytics instance measured the same customers across your WordPress site and your Shopify store. Or if you have more than one Shopify store, Google analytics can consolidate the data from your multiple Shopify stores if that's what you want. And number four, Google analytics integrates with search console and Google ad words. So if you're doing any SEO or SEM, Google analytics data will be essential for those operations.

Now because GA has so much data in it, it's not the easiest tool to use. There's definitely a steep learning curve behind it. So in this podcast, I'm going to demonstrate two ways that you can get valuable data out of GA. actually, it's more than a demonstration. I'm going to give you a couple of reports that you can use today in your business, in your Shopify store. This is meant to fast track you into getting useful metrics from GA and wrap your head around what Google analytics is capable of providing you. Now, this podcast is going to be pretty hands on with some detailed instructions on creating reports, so if you're listening to this in your car, go ahead and listen through. Just know that you'll want to sit down with these instructions at a later date while you're in front of your computer. If you want these reporting techniques applied to your store.

To do that, I'd recommend you go to our website, HTTP, Shopify solutions and click on the episode and there you'll be able to listen to the podcast again and at the same time easily see the show notes, which will include the relevant links that I'll be referencing throughout this podcast. Now I'm going to show you two different ways to get reports from Google analytics. The first method is dashboards, dashboards, or reports that you can make with inside of Google analytics with whatever data is important to you and your business goals. The pros of a dashboard is that you can save a standard collection of data. So if you want to look at these five metrics side-by-side every day, you can create a dashboard to do that for you. And then you can set up an email so that report gets pushed out to you on a regular basis.

So instead of having to log into Google analytics every day, you can just get an email in your inbox instead with the metrics. Therefore, you now the cons of a dashboard is you can only add up to 10 now the cons of dashboard is you can only add 11 data elements to a dashboard and you're limited in how the data can be viewed. So in the show notes, I'm going to provide a link to an example report. And this report is what I call the user funnel. And this is a great weekly snapshot of your store that will help you monitor the heartbeat of your business. It shows how deep users are getting into your shopping experience and the overall store conversion rate. You also see the top traffic drivers to your site and what are the top landing pages for your store? I've saved this dashboard in the Google analytics solutions gallery.

Once you follow the link in the show notes, you'll see the listing for the Shopify scorecard. Click the import button, and then you'll select your GA view that you want to add the dashboard to. She'll have to be logged into Google analytics for that to happen, so once you get that dashboard added to your Google analytics, go into that dashboard and check that the date range is set up for last week and then ensure that this report gets sent out on a regular basis in the menu. Select email, set it up to send out this dashboard once a week. Isley set this up for Monday morning so it's in my inbox first thing every week so I can see how my business performed in the past week. Now emails are easier maintained if you set up a distribution list for those emails to go to instead of individual email addresses.

That way people can add or remove themselves as desired from the distribution group without having to go into Google analytics and change who that email is going to. Now this example dashboard is just one type of view that you can put of the data. You can create your own dashboards and many stores have many dashboards for different teams that are looking at different parts of the business. She can set up multiple dashboards and them sent out to different groups on a regular basis for all your different business initiatives. So that's it for dashboards. Now let's move on to the second way to get Google analytics data and that is Google sheets. You're going to want to use Google sheets for your more sophisticated reporting needs. Remember I talked about some of the limits with dashboards and Google sheets gets around the limits of dashboards and Google has some great integration between analytics and sheets.

So the functionality we're going to get by using Google sheets is we can compute and display custom calculations so you can take two data entries and do math on them. So you may want to look at traffic from SEO and SEM and combine that. You couldn't do that easily inside of Google analytics, but you can in Google sheets we can also create charts and embed those charts right into a Shopify store. That way we can put our content, our reporting content on the store for our store admins to easily access that without having to have access or knowledge of how to use Google analytics. We can also schedule reports to run an update automatically and we can query and report data from multiple Google analytics views. So you could actually have a chart that shows data from two different stores side by side said illustrate the power of using sheets to display Google analytics data.

The example report we're going to look at will compile data from your store for the last two years. If your store has been around that long with Google analytics implemented and we'll show the trend of the conversion rate by week over those past two years, but even better than that, it will compare the traffic that you receive by computer and mobile and also compare the conversion rate by computer and mobile. So many stores when they look at this report, realize that mobile is 80% of their traffic, but that mobile converts at a significantly lower rate than computer and we're going to do is place all that data right onto a page in your Shopify store. That way anyone in your team will be able to view the data. They won't have to have access or knowledge of how to use Google drive or Google analytics.

To get started, you'll need Google analytics and Google drive links to both of these are included in the show notes. You're going to need to add Google analytics, add on to Google sheets. It's pretty easy to do. You go into Google sheets and under the add on dropdown select get add ons. The Google analytics add on should show up. If it doesn't search for it and then install it into your Google sheets. Now that add on will be available inside of any Google sheet that you're using inside of your Google drive. From now on. To get the example weekly conversion, there'll be a link in the show notes. Click that link and access that report. You'll be looking at a shared version of the report that you only have view access to. You'll want to make a copy of that report for yourself and add it to your Google drive so you can edit it under the file.

Pull down menu. When you're in the report, select make a copy, save the copy in your Google drive. Now that you've got a copy of this Google sheet report in your Google drive, go into the inputs tab and put your Google analytics view ID in the highlighted cell and let me explain what the Google analytics view ID is in Google analytics admin. When you're inside your Google analytics, you click on the admin bugs function. There's three tiers, account property in view. The view ID is under the view settings, which is that third column for views. So go over to the third column, your admin views and select the view ID in the view settings. Copy that and put it into the Google sheet under the GA view ID highlighted cell. Then inside Google sheets you're going to want to go to the ad-ons pull down menu and select Google analytics, which will now appear because you've added that add on to your Google sheets and click on run reports.

The Google sheet will now update with data from your Google analytics instance. If you go to the charts tab, you'll see that the data from your business now shows up for the past two years. So now that we've got the Google sheet connected to your Google analytics instance and generating reports based on your store's data, we now want to add the charts from that sheet to your Shopify store. And we do that using Shopify pages. We're going to restrict access to those pages so that only store admins can see them because you don't want all of your customers looking at your business analytics. And the logic of this is to allow only admins to see content on the page. Now admins is a notion that we're creating, it's not like your Shopify store admin in your Shopify admin. We're talking about on the front end with your customer records.

So your store users are going to have to create front end customer records. And then what you're going to do is you're gonna tag those records as admin. So the logic on the page in liquid code is to check to see if the customer's logged in. And if they're not logged in, they'll seal log-in message. If they are logged in, we're going to then check to see if their account is tagged admin, if they're tagged admin, they'll get access to the page content, which is the Google analytics charts. And if they're not, admin will put whatever error message you want in there. And in the show notes, I'm gonna include a linked to some liquid code that I use for an example page template that allows admin access to that page. So once you create a Shopify page for your add that new page template to it, we're now going to embed our charts from our Google sheet into that Shopify page.

Now on a chart in Google sheets, there's a three dot icon in the upper right hand corner of a highlighted chart. Click the icon, then select publish chart from the menu. Select the embed option and copy the code that you can add to your Shopify page. You'll need to be editing your Shopify page in HTML view to add that code. Once you've got the charts embedded in your Shopify pages, you want the reports to run automatically to refresh the data on a regular basis. You do that within the Google sheet. Go to the ad-ons, pull down menu and select Google analytics and select run reports and follow the instructions. I actually set up my reports to run once a day. Now just walk through a whole bunch of steps for you to get this all set up and it is a little bit complex. You've got to go from Google analytics to Google sheets to Shopify with a custom page and creating admin tags and all that good stuff.

But once you get all that difficult steps set up, the power of these reports are well worth the effort. So I highly encourage you to look at the sample report and look at the data that's there. If that level of data interest you, go through the steps to embed this into your Shopify store. And then also investigate how you can make your own Google sheets with even more Google analytics data that's of interest to your business. So now you've got two different ways to regularly get Google analytics data on your business. The first is to set up dashboards and have them emailed regularly. The others use Google sheets that are embedded right into your Shopify store. I hope this gives you some useful new tools for running your business.

Thanks for listening.

JadePuma is a certified Shopify Expert. If you need any help with your Shopify store, we can help.