Connect Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to your ecommerce platform

1 July 2023 is fast approaching came and went, just as fast as we expected.

As at mid-August 2023, I’m still seeing data being tracked in most of the UA properties I have access too but that doesn’t mean it’s not going away. You still need to act.

If your ecommerce platform supports Google Analytics 4, you should connect it as soon as possible.

Do not remove Universal Analytics from your shop. Track with both tools until UA is fully deactivated. You’ll see this referred to as “dual-tagging”.

Keep reading to find instructions for your ecommerce platform (or leave a comment if yours isn’t yet covered).

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Backup your Google Analytics data before it disappears

On Some time after 1 July 2023, Google Analytics Universal Analytics (UA) stops recording data. (Or already stopped, depending on when you’re reading this.)

The future is Google Analytics 4. Well, maybe it’s GDPR-friendly analytics instead. But it’s certainly not the same tool we’ve used for all these years (decades?) and it’s not the same set of data.

What do we do with all the data in our Universal Analytics Properties? Can we keep it? Can we move it? Can we continue to use it at all?? Is it only an option for big business (i.e. comes with a hefty price tag) or is it something boutique ecommerce shop owners can DIY?

We have until July 2024 to figure this out, when Google will actually delete all our properties and reports.

Let’s take a look at the options…

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The Unexpected Value of Organic Search Traffic

Years ago, almost all of my clients also partnered with a Search Engine Optimization agency.

Google was king and SEO was strategy #1.

Then social media marketing took over as businesses discovered the value of free exposure on Facebook and Twitter. The results were faster and it was no harder than SEO.

Now it’s 2018 2023. Organic reach on social media is still a shadow of its former self. Advertising costs on the major networks (AdWords and Facebook) are doubling every year. And AI chatbots are loudly heralding the return of the king: search is back – and this time, it’s smarter!

If your marketing strategy is getting more complicated and expensive every month, it’s time to re-discover the value of organic search traffic.

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Google Analytics 4: the what, when & why

Google Analytics 4 is a brand new version of this powerful tool. When I say “brand new”, I mean it is completely different! There are some exciting, really powerful features. And some missing features. There’s also the important question of whether it works with Etsy!

So let’s get a quick overview of what GA4 means for boutique ecommerce sellers.

👋👋 Universal Analytics is going away in late 2023

DEFINITION: “Universal Analytics” is the name of the old version of Google Analytics that we used for many years. From here, I’ll refer to it as “UA“.

On March 16, 2022, Google announced that Universal Analytics (UA) will stop processing new data on 1 July, 2023 and reports on historical data will only be accessible until 1 July 2024.

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What does your Bounce Rate really mean?

We all know it:

A high bounce rate is bad! Right??

Well, that depends. On a lot, actually.

And even if you decide you need to “get your bounce rate down”, you first need to have a deeper understanding of what causes bounces than just “bounce = bad”.

Let’s have a look at what a bounce rate really is and what a “bounce” means for different parts of your online shop.

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Advanced: Find Etsy buyers in Google Analytics

One of the more frustrating parts of using Google Analytics with Etsy is that we cannot see ecommerce metrics.

That’s right: Etsy does not tell GA when a sale occurs, so we get big fat zeros for everything from Transactions to Average Order Value to Ecommerce Conversion Rate, no matter how many actual sales you’re making in Etsy. It’s not just a matter of enabling Ecommerce Tracking in your GA settings; Etsy simply doesn’t send the data to be tracked.

Luckily, all is not lost!

If you make regular sales on Etsy and have had GA connected for at least a few months, you can use an Advanced Segment to identify a slice of your buyers in your GA reports. The most useful thing this lets you see is general trends around the traffic sources that send you buyers.

⚠️ These instructions are for GA Universal Analytics and are no longer applicable. Etsy now supports GA4.

Google Analytics 4 has similar segment capabilities as those used in this technique. You should be able to use this technique in GA4 once you have a few months’ of data.

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Track your ads with a Paid Social Channel in Google Analytics

You pay good money for your ads on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest! So don’t let all that valuable traffic get lumped in with your other visitors from social media, in the general “Social” Channel.

It’s important to clearly separate social media traffic you’ve paid for (advertising) and organic traffic (from your own and others’ posts). In this guide, we’ll create a new Channel called “Paid Social” that will automagically capture all our social ad visitors, where they can be analyzed separately.

IMPORTANT: These instructions are for Universal Analytics. Google Analytics 4 comes with a Paid Social Channel built in, so you can start using that right away by simply tagging your links with the correct Medium value: paid-social

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Change to Google Analytics on Etsy shops (2021)

In June 2021, Etsy stopped running our Google Analytics tracking code on our shop home pages. (Our listings are still tracked normally.)

This might sound like a big deal but let’s look at the effects in some detail before worrying too much.

First of all, it’s been well over 6 months at the time you are reading this. So if you haven’t noticed anything unusual in your reports yet, that’s a pretty good sign that you aren’t being impacted.

This does not mean that your numbers haven’t changed at all! Your visitors were (and still are) viewing your shop home. And now those views are not tracked in Google Analytics. That’s a fact.

The question is whether the impact of these views disappearing is visible in your reports or if it’s been buried by other effects & changes over the past months or year? Are the trends you saw this year actually a result of this tracking change or other things going on with your marketing and buyer behaviour?

Luckily for you, I have crunched the numbers – looking at Google Analytics reports for five different Etsy shops – and the answer is:

There is (probably, most likely) no or minimal noticeable impact on your reports!

Wonderful! Relax and carry on as you were!

If you want to learn more, keep reading to understand more about what impact this change could have and how I came to my no-stress conclusion. Along the way, you’ll get an insight into the thinking behind a real-life analysis.

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Getting started: Set up Google Analytics for your Etsy shop

If you’re ready to harness the power of numbers to optimize your Etsy shop but haven’t installed Google Analytics yet, don’t wait any longer!

Here are my instructions for connecting Google Analytics the right way, with up-to-date steps and screenshots.

⚠️ These instructions are for GA Universal Analytics and are no longer applicable. Etsy now supports GA4.

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Hide Related Listings from Other Etsy Shops

A few years ago, Etsy started showing products from other shops on our own listings. It went over about as well as you can imagine, but they’ve stuck with it and Etsy shop owners have learned to live with it.

Here’s how they look today:

(That is a very eye-catching background behind those other listings, Etsy!!)

NOTE: I’ve blurred visible listing photos throughout this article, that are copyright to other Etsy shop owners.

There is a solution!

By making a small change to the links you share, you can send visitors to product listings that focus on YOUR product, not other Etsy shops.

Here’s my same listing with this modification:

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