Why Use Google Analytics For Shopify?

7 Min. Read
Let’s start with a dose of reality here, understanding your customers takes time, and data.  If you want to beat the average conversion rate you need to segment and personalize what you offer.  When it comes to data,  Shopify has its own analytics, so why use Google Analytics for Shopify?

Table of Contents

Two key problems with Shopify Analytics.

  1. Shopify reports are limited by plan making it difficult to scale up and understand customers – ergo it limits your growth potential.
  2. Relying on Shopify analytics keeps you locked to their platform.  Perhaps a better eCommerce platform will arise, – do you really want to be trapped?

Why Google Analytics for Shopify is Problematic

Even though GA provides independent data and is free, it is complicated and inconvenient to use, not to mention difficult to setup and manage without long term professional assistance highlighted by the fact that most DIY Shopify store owners make mistakes in GA setup, resulting in missing data or incorrect data.  

Even if GA+Shopify is correctly setup, ultimately the analytics data is split across two platforms making it difficult to interpret (Conversific solves all the problems mentioned above).

The problem is with GA is that even with GA dashboards, data is difficult to interpret because most Shopify merchants/owners are not data analysts.  

If you are relying on Shopify analytics, and not paying for Shopify Plus then you are stuck with either the basic Shopify reports which are very basic, or the Standard Shopify reports which are just a little better for the cost of $79 per month, none of these options is particularly palatable if you want to segment your customers and grow your store fast.  By using GA and Conversific you can get around this problem, enabling you to scale your Shopify store so that you can leave upscaling your store until you are ready.

To grow your Shopify Store fast and be successful in eCommerce you need advanced reporting.

Advanced reporting enables you to better understand your customers and enable you to improve what you offer through personalization.  Luckily there is a third option that provides the best of both worlds but I’ll come back to this later.

The Shopify Journey

No matter if you are just starting out selling online, new to Shopify, or a Pro with mulitple Shopify stores, there is an endless list of tasks to carry out before your new Shopify store can go live.

And yet, this is the easy bit, just follow the great step by step setup guide provided by Shopify, switching features on or off, adding the third party Shopify apps for the features you need.  Even adding the products is straight forward (usually – if you do your research first, there are even apps to bulk add products), and then the refinement of your product descriptions and display.  Even the connection of your social channels is a breeze.

If you are a pro you know the drill and be the first to admit that the problem is for beginners and Shopify pros alike, is that without additional steps relying on your interpretation of data, all that work will only bring a tiny 2-3% conversion rate (the average).

Just average - not acceptable. Grow or fail

Just Average

This journey of Shopify discovery and improvement will ultimately lead you to try Facebook advertising and Google Adwords, here lies both a path to success but also to failure.  If you are a novice, both paths ultimately lead to the same place, either you will blow a lot of cash and fail, or get lucky and have success which then you will want to improve upon. Either way, this leads to something called conversion rate optimization or CRO for short. 

A good proportion of every dollar spent on PPC prior to carrying out CRO is wasted, it is a missed opportunity for conversion and sales. 

Even with an expensive bespoke Shopify theme on one of the higher Shopify plans will bring only bring around 3.5 – 5% conversion rate, and this is in the best case scenario.

To achieve anything above this figure, you need to A/B test your content and optimize what you offer and to whom and regularly communicate with your audiences. To know what to communicate and to whom, again CRO is the only answer.  

It is your interpretation of your analytics data that provides the insights that make CRO effective or not.

While the basic Shopify plan is an affordable $29 per month, the real costs of launching a store is the hidden costs related to the time and effort it takes to make your Shopify the best it can be – high converting so that you can optimize your advertising spend.  

Understanding how to personalize your content through your data is key to success, helping you know who to target and how.  Steps that all require analytics data include :- 

  • Segmenting your audiences (demographic + psychographic data)
  • building up your search engine rankings 
  • building trust in your brand 
  • building a loyalty system
  • Increasing conversion through conversion rate optimization.

What are the Shopify Analytics Options?

Shopify analytics options

Shopify Analytics Alone

One option is to stick with the Shopify dashboard and Shopify reports and upgrade to access better comprehensive reports, however this is not for everyone in terms of scaling up.  Shopify does offer an alternative, – the installation of the free to use Google Analytics, but this option is far from ideal because it requires that you do your own data analysis and interpretation, a costly, time consuming scenario where mistakes can easily be made.

Shopify Analytics + Google Analytics

Google Analytics is great, accurate and free but complicated. As mentioned above using Shopify alone has its limitations.  But even together the real problem is these are two separate data sources, silo’d in a different locations and sourced with different tracking methods, therefore, there is no integrated visualization of your data making this particular option of limited use for interpreting the data needed for decision making.

Setup is complex, and doesn’t track everything, then there is the alternative option of using GA through Google tag manager, but once again it’s complex.  

Consequently, we do not recommend doing this step yourselves because there is an infinately more simple, professional method of setup, – which we will cover next.  The video below explains the hard way, but it is useful for understanding if you require non-typical usage tracking.

Shopify Analytics + GA + Conversific

It’s not just about having the data, but rather knowing what to do with it.  Conversific are Shopify experts but also Google Analytics experts and have used their knowledge to combine these data sets so you don’t have to.  Avoid costly mistakes in tracking code installation and data interpretation and gain valuable insights to your customers that neither GA or Shopify alone can provide.

Setup is a breeze, distilling the video above into a 30 second install, and Conversific has a free plan, that alone is invaluable, enabling you to setup GA for Shopify professionally for free.

The free version of Conversific is nice, combining Shopify and GA for display for optimal understanding in the Conversific dashboard in your Shopify admin.  Make decisions in moments instead of taking days or weeks and leverage your insights for conversion rate optimization.

While the free version is nice, the paid version of Conversific is invaluable, bringing GA data into your Shopify administration along with the advanced tips and recommendations it supplies, providing insights that you most likely would otherwise miss.  Generate reports and filter, for literally anything.

What is a Shopify Analytics App?

Luckily you don’t need to rely on your own GA skills, or pay for Shopify Plus because 3rd party Shopify apps such as Conversific supply a best of both worlds scenario, sitting between your Shopify store and GA, it provides reports and insights that are easy to understand, – even for a new starter.  All you have to do is install the app and follow the simple step by step installation and setup guide to adding your GA code to the 3rd party app.

It is also great for users with lots of Shopify stores and don’t want to upgrade to Shopify Plus just for better analytics on each one.  In the case of Conversific, one great price, one account for all your Shopify stores.  

In addition, in this way you retain your independence of data and gain the simplicity of great reporting with clear insights from a combined Shopify/ GA dashboard.

Why Choose Conversific?

There are numerous third-party Shopify analytics apps, Conversific is just one of them, but unlike Conversific, many of them have their own tracking system, the downside to using an add-on with its own bespoke tracking system is that they lock you in to the use of their tool, making it difficult to switch to other best in feature niche tools later.  Also that tracking data is incompatible with any other data provided by other Shopify Apps making it difficult to interpret.

In all likelihood, you will install GA for the purpose of using Google Adwords advertising anyway, so its best to just use GA, why use anything else?  Consider, at a time of GDPR and privacy, why would you want to add un-necessary additional tracking when you are already using GA anyway?

From 2022, Google has confirmed that it will stop all support for 3rd party tracking cookies, potentially rendering all 3rd party Shopify apps not using GA tracking – obsolete.  

To future proof your Shopify store and get consistent reliable data from GA, enabling you to segment and personalize content which in turn increases conversion adopt Conversific.  

Don’t feel forced to upgrade to the more expensive Shopify plans until you are ready to do so, get the data you need by installing Conversific.

Ultimately it all boils down to making better decisions and consequently, earn more profit, and keeping it.

Insights available via Conversific along with a detailed account of use can be found here.

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