Shopify CRO Strategy: How to Get More From Google Analytics in Less Time
Learn how to build confidence in your data, why event tracking is so powerful, and types of events to track at different stages of your funnel.
There are typically three types of companies who do Shopify conversion optimization:
- Those who implement experiments based on gut and intuition without leveraging data.
- Those who use some of their data to drive experimentation but rely on standard reports in Google Analytics or Shopify.
- Those who follow a structured approach to collecting, analyzing, and acting on the right data to make improvements.
If you’ve been running conversion optimization experiments (e.g. a/b testing) this year but haven’t seen a measurable increase in conversion rate then chances are you’re in cohort 1 or 2.
The main issues with running a conversion optimization program without a clear data collection strategy are:
- You waste time testing changes to your site that have a low overall revenue opportunity
- You don’t have a true understanding of what is actually impacting your user experience leading to conversions
- You focus on purchase conversions only, skipping over awareness, consideration and comparison stages
In this article I’ll show you how to get more from your Google Analytics data to power your Shopify CRO strategy that can help alleviate the issues above.
Below you’ll learn how to build confidence in your data, the tools to help with CRO, why event tracking is so powerful, and types of events to track at different stages of your funnel.
Let’s start with the building block of a solid Shopify CRO strategy – trusting your data.
How To Build Trust In Your Google Analytics Data
The most common approach to conducting GA audits to “fix” analytics setups prior to beginning conversion optimization projects is to:
- First, review and update the settings inside of GA against a checklist.
- Then analyze some of the basic reports like acquisition channel and enhanced ecommerce for accuracy.
- Finally, (if there is time) audit the existing event tracking and provide feedback on these.
Events or event tracking are the non-pageview interactions that happen on your website.
At the most basic level, event tracking is what drives your enhanced ecommerce reports, even when using the native Shopify <> GA integration which you can see here:
Other examples of events are banner clicks, main navigation clicks, video plays, viewing size guides, filtering collection pages, viewing thumbnail images, etc.
The problem with starting on basic GA configurations first is you run out of time to implement tracking that is ultimately going to provide you the insights you need to increase conversion rates.
The better approach is to start with event tracking that will provide you with the most value to your business.
In the steps below I change the concept of “event tracking” into deriving questions you need to answer from your website regarding it’s performance.
You might be wondering what event tracking has to do with building trust in your data?
When we hear the phrase “we don’t trust our data” from new customers, it typically originates from the tidal wave of data available in GA.
And with some of this data originating from a place of uncertainty (e.g. why is there so much traffic in the “Other” channel grouping) then it leads to a general sentiment that the majority of the data is inaccurate.
In many cases the data that is inaccurate is low value data.
Here is what what we’ve discovered from Elevar customers like Vuori, Rothys, and Raycon:
When you measure the right data that is most impactful to your business then you tend to ignore the “noise” that can surface in GA.
And in turn keep a much closer pulse on the day to day accuracy of your analytics data that drives value that results in incremental conversion rate growth over time like this:
For a detailed breakdown of all of the checklist settings in Google Analytics that improves data collection accuracy, read our detailed GA audit breakdown here.
Tools to Power Your Shopify CRO Strategy
Tools needed for CRO fall into quantitative data collection, qualitative data collection, and experimentation tools.
The most successful campaigns use a mix of all three of these.
Here are the tools we see used to get the most out of analytics and CRO programs.
No further explanation needed 🙂
Google Tag Manager
To enable custom event tracking across the website. This includes event types like clicks, impression, video plays, scroll, timers, and more.
GTM Event Builder Chrome Extension
This is our own tool that we built at Elevar (and has a free version which you can try out here).
You can point and click through your own website to create events that are automatically imported into Google Tag Manager.
It’s great for anyone who is not a GTM guru.
GA Debugger Chrome Extension
Need to know if something is tracking and firing properly?
Download this extension to see exactly what events are firing Google Analytics events to your property through your browser console.
Hotjar / Fullstory / CrazyEgg / Lucky Orange
These are the most widely used qualitative analysis tools in the market. You can use most of them to create heatmaps, surveys, polls, view click-tracking, watch video replays of users, and create form funnels.
The reason for using quantitative data (like Google Analytics event tracking) in addition to qualitative data like the Hotjar’s of the world is: conversion and revenue metrics.
For example, a click map can tell if attention is focused (or not focused) on your main navigation or specific promotion blocks on your homepage.
But you don’t know if that behavior is converting. You just see the click (or lack of) activity.
This is where event tracking comes into play.
We recommend spending more time on creating strategies for polls, surveys, and other qualitative data collection with these tools.
Talking with your customers to extract friction points and brand feedback is something Google Analytics won’t ever be able to provide.
Let’s dive into the benefits of event tracking and how it helps you get more out of Google Analytics.
Why Event Tracking is Key for Powering Shopify CRO Strategies
Event tracking provides you click and conversion data that you can slice and dice by channel, campaign, etc.
If you are completely new to event tracking then I suggest watching this video overview as well.
Each Shopify website has numerous micro-conversions that can be optimized against.
- Getting a user from your homepage to a collection page
- Getting a user from a collection page into a product page
- Getting a user to watch a video
- Getting a user to engage with shoppable UGC
- Getting a user to refer a friend
- Getting a user to use your size chart before purchasing to limit returns
- Getting a user to opt-in to an email or SMS
These are behaviors that you can’t measure out of the box with GA.
Now think about what questions you have about your website:
- What is my most popular FAQ?
- Is my homepage doing a good job as a landing page? What about for returning users?
- What filters and sorting are being used on my collection pages?
- Is my about page helping or hurting conversions?
- What are users doing on my cart page that is preventing them from proceeding to checkout?
- What errors are users encountering in the checkout?
- How do pre-order products perform against normal products?
Event tracking addresses all of the above.
It may sound complex to add all of this event tracking, however we’ve found that using the event builder Chrome Extension is the fastest way to add this type of data to analyze.
Funnel Tracking With Event Data
CRO should focus on the biggest opportunities on your website.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of: “lets redesign our homepage”.
Or “if we just fixed our checkout”.
But these lead to head scratching results – and frustration.
Here are examples of how to analyze your funnel in a more granular way.
Top of Funnel Analytics Tracking
This includes behavior like:
- Time on page
- PDF downloads
- Video plays
- UGC integration (e.g. are users interacting with your UGC and if so does it lead to higher conversion rates)
With this type of event data created, you can then create goals and calculated metrics in GA to power reports like this:
In fact if you want to see top of funnel tracking in action check out your Facebook Pixel helper Chrome Extension on this page you are reading right now.
See those time on page events?
If you’ve made it this far into my article then chances are you are much more likely to be a fit for what we offer as a company vs someone who lands on this page and exits within 10 seconds.
This type of event tracking can be leveraged in Google Analytics, Facebook, etc.
And this is where CRO blends into marketing optimization.
CRO should not just focus on Google Analytics only.
If you simply improve the quality of remarketing campaigns by utilizing budget on users who are more likely to be a fit for what you sell, then that alone will lift your website conversion rate.
Without doing anything else on your website!
We have a pre-built container you can use for this Facebook time on page event tracking here.
In this video I go through 5 steps you can take to add this type of event tracking to your own website:
Middle of Funnel Analytics Tracking
Middle of the website funnel is similar to the consideration phase.
- What features are people using?
- What aren’t they using?
- What are the conversion differences between feature interactions?
Bucketing this type of event tracking by page is something we like to do with Elevar customers.
- What product page features are leading to more add to carts?
- What is the potential revenue lift if you increase the % of sessions with add to carts?
A simple way to start is by looking at your overall shopping behavior funnel to determine your biggest drop off.
For example if less than 50% of sessions are viewing product pages but your add to cart to initiate checkout is 70% then start digging into your landing pages and collection pages.
Bottom of Funnel Analytics Tracking
The dreaded checkout funnel %.
No, the checkout funnel % isn’t the only thing to look at in your bottom of funnel analysis.
Here are events we recommend tracking to help with bottom of funnel analysis:
- Cart pageviews
- Minicart pageviews
- Each step of the checkout
- Form errors in checkout (are people getting stuck?)
- Alternate payment method events (does Paypal or Amazon Pay really provide a lift)
Understanding the conversion rate for each of these interactions can help surface problem areas as well as interactions that drive higher conversions.
Then narrow down by the customer type. A new vs 5 time purchaser is in a much different mindset.
New might be looking for more trust. Are they interacting with your social proof or store policies?
Whereas a repeat purchaser might want to know more about speed of shipment or the latest sale.
Consider the source of your traffic to cart and checkout pages as well.
Take this example: your checkout funnel dropped from 40% to 30% within a week.
You spend time analyzing checkout, using polls to gather more data, etc.
But no silver bullet.
During this same time period your abandoned cart emails were still sending people to the checkout, but the cart was empty when they arrived.
So abandoned cart email conversion rate tanks and thus brings down your aggregate checkout funnel %.
What To Do Next
We covered a lot and making this transition to really leverage event data consistently takes time.
If you are a do-it-yourself type then I recommend watching my full suite of videos on GTM and event tracking. There are 25 in total. They will help walk you through what to tag, how to tag, and how to analyze the data.
If you are more interested in speed and would like to fast-track your sitewide event tracking then I invite you to watch a demo/or book a call with us to learn more.
We offer plans that start less than $100/month to fast track your event tracking.
Plus we offer “done for you” plans as well. Some of our customers include Rothys, Thrive Causemetics, Vessi Footwear, and Vuori.