7 Min. Read

For ecommerce retailers and more specifically, Shopify retailers competition is fierce, every small advantage can bring a disproportionate improvement in website traffic and sales.  Installing Advanced Google Analytics is the simplest and easiest way to learn about your customers, which in turn enables you to improve what you offer to your customers. 

But why use GA over Shopify’s own analytics? Keep reading to learn why.

Below you will find a brief overview of the two options for installing the Google analytics code to your Shopify Store.  The first method is the DIY method, for those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty with setting up reports and analyzing data.  This is the road most often taken but is not the best option, unless you have a lot of time on your hands and a fondness for data.  

The second method is for those who don’t mind spending investing a little to save a lot, both time and effort.

This article is meant as an overview and introduction to this complex topic.  At the bottom of the article you will find a link to our Advanced guide to setting up Google Analytics for Shopify.

Why Add Google Analytics to Shopify?

Simply put, your Shopify analytics data is limited by Shopify plan and therefore if you are not on a higher Shopify plan, then you will only get some of the reports you need.  The more you pay to Shopify the more reports you get.  By adding Google analytics you can generate your own reports via GA.  While far from ideal its often better to do this than pay the higher Shopify fees for the more expensive plans.  

In addition, while your Shopify analytics is much faster updating than Google Analytics,  there are limitations to its use.  

For example at the time of writing, the maximum number of customers that Shopify analytics can provide data for is 250,000 customers, and so for anything more that this GA must be used.  Granted, for most stores this is not a problem.

Another important reason to use GA is that although you might like Shopify now, what if something better comes along in the future and you wish to switch?  

By using GA you ensure an interrupted data supply using tracking method that is independent of Shopify that continuously accessible and directly comparable before and after any switch.

The more data you have about your customers, the better.  

Understanding what your customers are doing on your Shopify website is the first step in understanding how to improve what you offer, your goal should be to give them what they want in terms of customer experience and in terms of the products and service you supply.  In order to do this you need track what they are doing, enter Advanced Google Analytics.

One important reason to use Google Analytics vs any other alternatives is that it is popular.  Popularity brings certain benefits, such as lots of other users needing the same functionality as you.  Consequently, features get added.  Google has added features specifically designed for monitoring ecommerce products and sales, and managing goals, thus supplying a wealth of data about your customers.  

Many other 3rd party tools like conversion rate optimization tools or AI tools utilize GA data, usually using the same set of data as Conversific, and so its far more useful than Shopify’s own data.

Where possible use 3rd party applications that use GA for the supply of analytics data to insure integrity of your data.  You will always retain access to your data source even if you leave your 3rd party provider. 

How to Install Google Analytics to your Shopify store.

Google Analytics

Pretty straight forward right!  You might well wonder how anyone can go wrong here, well often its because they don’t do point no.5 above (and shown below in the image).

Method 1 might be simple and straight forward but the analysis of your data is far from being straightforward.  It literally takes years to become competent at data analysis. You might consider the above option the “DIY option” or the option of last resort. It takes a lot of time and effort to manage your Shopify data interpretation, time that if you actually calculated into your annual profit calculation would put most stores in the red.  

Therefore we recommend the second method, which requires some additional explanation.

There are several different ways of adding GA to your Shopify Store.

METHOD 1: The choice of last resort.

  1. Add new account via Google Analytics account.
  2. Website Name of the Website should be your brand.
  3. Add your Shopify URL to the website URL box
  4. Choose an industry.
  5. Tick all the boxes below
  6. Click to get Tracking ID,
  7. Accept Googles Terms and conditions
  8. Copy the entire GA code supplied
  9. Switch over to your Shopify Store Dashboard
  10. Navigate to Online Store > Preferences > Scroll down and paste the code into the Box supplied for Google Analytics and save.

Method 2: The preferred method.

There are numerous Shopify add-ons that can supply your Shopify Store with detailed analytics, some better than others, biggest benefit is the insights and analysis they supply over an above what Shopify provides in the package you are on.  

While METHOD 1 is a “free” option, you need to figure out everything yourself at huge expense in both time and effort (using GA, creating reports, interpreting data etc). 

METHOD 2 – The preferred Method to Adding GA to Shopify – use Conversific.

This approach to adding analytics to Shopify uses the Conversific Shopify application which also has a free plan.

Why its so much better than method 1 is that in the first method you will be stuck with two sets of data in different locations, making it difficult to interpret your data.  

Conversific solves this problem by merging and displaying the data in a handy set of dashboards and KPI reports that utilize both sets of data.  Conversific simplifies and contextualizes the data making it easy to interpret in order to help you make decisions quickly. 

Filters enable the comparison of campaigns and segments year to year or event to event. It even makes suggestions of how to improve your conversion, just implement for better results. 

Thus your time is better spent on managing improvements, campaigns, additional sales (via conversion rate optimization) and order fulfillment.

Another benefit of Conversific is that is cross platform, its not limited to Shopify, and so even if you do switch from Shopify in the future you can still use Conversific on most of popular alternatives.

A few words on Shopify Analytics Applications.

Shopify analytics apps can be split into two groups, those that use their own tracking technology and those that use GA.  For the sake of uniformity of data, stick to addons that use GA. Remember if you ever chose to switch apps for some reason, you can feel secure in the knowledge that your tracking data source will be the same, – thus maintaining consistency of data.

Adding GA to the Shopify add-on of Conversific is just as easy as adding it directly to the Shopify Dashboard, but with literally no copy-pasting required. 

Just as with adding GA to Shopify directly, everything is free.  You can still visit your GA dashboard to analyse data manually, – if for some reason you would want to (can’t think of a reason why you would want to, however).  The difference, of course, is that by installing it through Conversific you provide the app with the access necessary so that Conversific can provide the data KPI reporting you need.  

Don’t forget here that Conversific has a FREE plan, and so there is no downside to using it over Method 1. In fact, there is only upside, because even for free, the Conversific setup process makes sure you get GA it working correctly.  

Conversifics Dashboard provides a wealth of information about your Shopify Store, – conveniently, – without the need to log into Google’s ugly complicated dashboard.  You also avoid the cost of upgrading to a higher Shopify plan if you sales volume doesn’t warrant it.

How to add GA to Shopify via Conversific.

 

  1. Add new account via Google Analytics account.
  2. Website Name of the Website should be your brand.
  3. Add your Shopify URL to the website URL box
  4. Choose an industry.
  5. Tick all the boxes below
  6. Click to get Tracking ID,
  7. Accept Googles Terms and conditions
  8. Install Conversific to your Shopify Store via the Shopify App Store.

As part of the installation step, you will need to register your Conversific account.  To do this you must use the google account that you just used to create your GA account (where you want your Shopify data to reside). 

 

Note:  Only one Conversific account is needed per GA account.  Therefore, there is no limit to the number of stores you can use with it as long as they all use the same GA account.

Here’s how.

Conclusion

Adding GA and interpreting data from GA and Shopify combined has become much simpler with Conversific.  Gone are the days of trying to interpret two sets of data independently. GA and Shopify both have their own data, and tracking differences.  Conversific takes the data differences into account and provides a set of unified analytics reports. It goes much further as well, providing insights on product performance helping you to improve what you offer.

Actionable Analytics for Shopify Stores

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