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
If your ecommerce platform supports Google Analytics 4, you should connect it as soon as possible to maximise the year-on-year comparisons you’ll have in your reports from July 2023 (when Universal Analytics stops tracking.) Install GA4 to the level it’s currently available, even if it doesn’t track as much as UA does right now!
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).
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 (current?) version of Google Analytics. 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 for a period of time after that (at least 6 months… but not forever).
This means that you must have GA4 connected to your ecommerce shop by 1 July 2023 to continue to collect data. And ideally, have it connected by 1 July 2022 to access year-on-year comparisons, which are important for monitoring trends.
If you’ve hung around here for a while, you’ll have heard a little about UTM Campaign Tags. They are the magic ingredient for making sure that visits from Instagram, Pinterest and anywhere else show up in your Google Analytics reports correctly.
Why doesn’t this happen right in the first place??
To know where a visitor came from, Google Analytics has to listen in to the conversation happening between the visitor’s browser and your website. Often this conversation includes information about the last page the visitor looked at (their traffic source).
This is called “referral” information.
But sometimes, for a whole bunch of technical reasons, it doesn’t have this information or it’s wrong. In many of these cases, the visit will be attributed as “direct” traffic – the catch-all black hole bucket of mysterious visits! – and you’ll never know if your marketing actually worked.
Campaign tags let us control all the information about the source of the visit and leave nothing to chance.
Keep reading to find out how and where to use campaign tags for marketing your handmade shop!
Before you start creating or testing things with Filters in Google Analytics, it’s important to take some steps to keep your data safe.
What’s the danger?
Whenever you make changes to your GA settings for things like Goals, Filters, Content Groupings etc. — all the things I describe in my articles — the changes to your data are permanent. You need a backup without any of these changes, just in case you get something wrong…
Like accidentally creating a filter that removes ALL your traffic and you don’t notice for a week… right during a big ad campaign!
A Testing area takes it one step further to let you test out these settings first, then apply them to your main set of data only when you’re sure they’re working correctly. It’s up to you to decide how risky you think a change is and whether you should test it out first.
How do we do this in Google Analytics?
In Analytics, you can have multiple ways of viewing the same data. These are called, appropriately, Views.
In this guide, we’ll create a backup “Raw Data” view to preserve everything with the default settings, and a “Test” view for trialing more complicated Filters before applying them to your main View (normally called “All Web Site Data”).
IMPORTANT: These instructions are for Universal Analytics. Google Analytics 4 comes with a built-in method for testing filters without needing to maintain separate Views. (In fact, the concept of “Views” no longer exists!)
Sound familiar? Yep, they’re the bleating calls of a million businesses rushing to ask you to consent (again) to their email marketing.
Whether you all it re-consent, re-subscribe or re-permission, it’s all the same: an attempt to get your consent to their marketing in a form they didn’t already have.
Why get re-consent?
This is related to the GDPR, which is making consent more strictly defined. Businesses who bundled marketing consent into other services or that didn’t give enough granular information on their sign up form might decide that the consent they have now won’t be good enough on May 26th.
It also reminds us that we need a good “audit trail” for our consent. Businesses that have moved contacts between systems might have lost their original consent records – even though they know they got them – and might choose to re-permission, just to be safe.
Finally, it’s a good idea to ask for re-consent from inactive or old contacts, regardless. You might run re-consent campaigns regularly, or even have them automatically go out when a contact is a certain “age”.
You run a business… does this mean YOU need to get re-consent!?
The definitions and requirements for consent is a legal topic. I’m not a lawyer and none of the information in this article should be interpreted as legal advice. Please do your own due diligence to determine if or how much of this information is relevant to your circumstances, and whether you should seek professional legal advice.