Shopify Analytics And Metrics

under Shopify SEO.

SEO and digital marketing success is heavily dependent on knowing how your marketing impacts are affecting your performance. In this post, we talk about Shopify's built in analytics and metrics, as well as how to add Google Analytics to the platform.

Shopify Analytics

One of the great things about Shopify is the fact that it is a cohesive platform designed entirely with ecommerce in mind, with in depth tracking built into the platform to help you measure the success of your marketing efforts and make decisions about how best to capitalize on your users based on their behavior.

Let's review Shopify Analytics and the capabilities that it has to offer us as marketers.

Shopify Overview Dashboard

The Shopify dashboard gives you an overview of how your store is doing:

shopify analytics dashboard

To reach the dashboard, navigate to Analytics > Dashboard in Shopify's left sidebar navigation.

You can click the Today button in the top left to change your date range, which by default covers data for today compared with yesterday.

The dashboard lists several important ecommerce metrics to help you track how your business is doing.

  • Total Sales: This is a dollar figure for the amount of revenue your site has earned over the selected date range. It adds gross sales, shipping, and taxes, and subtracts away discounts and returns.
  • Online Store Sessions: This is the number of visits your store has had. This includes repeat visits from the same customer. This metric also reports a separate visitor count, which will not double count visitors with multiple sessions (unless they visited from mobile devices and have no account with you). The number of online store sessions will increase if the same user comes back to the store again, but the number of visitors will not change. Sessions are considered to end after 30 minutes of user inactivity, or upon midnight UTC.
  • Returning Customer Rate: This is the percentage of your customers who have bought from you more than once. It is the total number of returning customers divided by the total number of overall customers. The higher this number is, the more repeat business you are getting from people. This number will fall if marketing promotions capture business from new customers, so a falling returning customer rate isn't always a bad thing.
  • Online Store Conversion Rate: Tracks the percentage of visits that lead to a sale. Conversions on the way to a sale are also tracked:
    • Added to cart: the percentage of visits that led to a user adding at least one item to their cart.
    • Reached checkout: the percentage of visits where a user added at least one item to their cart and then entered and submitted their contact information.
    • Sessions converted: the percentage of visits that led to a sale, restating the value up top.
  • Average Order Value: This is the total value of all orders divided by the number of orders. This value incorporates discounts, shipping, and taxes, but doesn't include returns, and does not count gift cards as orders.
  • Total Orders: This is exactly what it sounds like, the number of individual orders placed over the time period.
  • Top Products By Units Sold: This tells you which products are most popular by the number of products bought. This doesn't necessarily mean that these products had the most orders (if users bought more than one product in an order) or that these products generated the most revenue (if the volume is high but the price is low).
  • Online Store Sessions By Location: Shows the number of visits sorted by which country they came from.
  • Online Store Sessions By Device Type: Tells you which devices (such as mobile, desktop, and tablet) users are accessing your site with, and how many visits from each type of device.
  • Online Store Sessions By Traffic Source: This especially useful metric tells you how many of your visits came from where. The common sources are search, direct, social, and email. Often the traffic source can't be determined, and the number of visits from unknown sources is also included here.
  • Sales By Traffic Source: This tells you how much revenue is being generated by each of your traffic sources, to let you know what is working and which sources of traffic may not be effective or aren't being properly taken advantage of.
  • Online Store Sessions By Social Source: Tells you how many of your store visits came from which social network such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.
  • Sales By Social Source: Lets you know how much of your revenue is coming from each social network.
  • Top Landing Pages By Sessions: Tells you which pages were the most popular entry point for users coming to your site, based on number of visits, not visitors.
  • Sales Attributed To Marketing: Attributed marketing sales are sales associated with a marketing effort that you are managing under Shopify's Marketing section, as well as sales from any URLs with a UTM parameter to track campaigns, which you can easily generate using this Google tool. Do not make the mistake of thinking the only attributable sales are associated with your marketing efforts, however, since SEO efforts and other inbound marketing efforts can generate traffic with no UTM parameters or Shopify tracking capabilities.
  • Top Referrers By Session: This tracks the number of visits from other websites that are not a search engine, email inbox, or social network, and tells you which websites sent the most visits. This figure is based on visits, not number of visitors. It counts users who clicked on links from other sites, not users who typed in your URL directly.

Live View

The Shopify Analytics Live View shows you what is happening on your store right now:

shopify analytics live view

To open Live View, go to Analytics > Live View in the Shopify left sidebar.

The Live View gives you the following metrics:

  • Visitors right now: the number of people who have done something on your store in the past five minutes
  • Today's totals: The number of sessions (visits regardless of user), orders (checkouts), and sales (revenue) for the day.
  • Customer behavior on your store: Shows you the number of active carts (shopping carts with an item added in the past 10 minutes), the number checking out (users who have submitted their contact info during the checkout process in the past 10 minutes), and completed (users who have made a purchase in the past 10 minutes).
  • Real-time pageviews per minute: The total number of pages on your site viewed by any user for each minute over the past 10 minutes.

Finance Reports

Shopify provides several useful financial reports to help you track how your business is doing monetarily.

To access this, go to Analytics > Reports in the left sidebar of Shopify, then scroll down to the Finances section of the Reports screen. You will see the total sales (revenue) earned from the start of the month. Under REPORTS here, click the Finances summary link to see your reports.

shopify finance summary

The Finances screen is broken down into four sections:

  1. Sales: Lists the components that go into calculating total sales, as well as the total sales. Each of these components also has its only link you can click on for a more in depth report.
    • Gross Sales - Products sold multiplied by the price for each product
    • Discounts - Money lost on each sale as a result of discounts for customers
    • Returns - Money lost due to products being returned
    • Net Sales - Gross sales subtracted by discounts and returns
    • Shipping - Total spent by customers on shipping for orders
    • Taxes - Total spent by customers on taxes
    • Total Sales - Net Sales plus Shipping and Taxes
  2. Payments: Lists how much customers are spending using which methods (bank deposit, cash, check, store credit, etc.) each of which can be clicked to view an individual report
  3. Liabilities: Shows gift card sales and the outstanding balance on gift cards (the amount of cash customers still have left on their gift cards). Also lists any money earned from tips.
  4. Gross Profit: Calculates profit earned on products where the cost of the product is recorded at the time of the sale. Products sold without a recorded cost aren't included in the calculation, but are listed in the section as Net sales without cost recorded.

Remember that you can click on any figure from the finance summary to see a report about that figure.

Acquisition Reports

This section of Shopify Analytics is only available for Shopify accounts on the Basic or higher plan.

You can see an acquisition summary report by going to Analytics > Reports in the left sidebar. It lists sessions over time (visits over the time period), sessions by referrer (lists the number of referrers that sent visitors to your site), and sessions by location (lists the number of locations that sent visitors).

Clicking each of these gives you a report.

Behavior Reports

You need Basic Shopify or higher to access this, also listed under Analytics > Behavior.

From here you can access reports for:

  • Online store conversions over time - Conversion rates by day
  • Top online store searches - search terms people are using when they use your site's internal search
  • Top online store searches with no results - searches people are performing with no products found, suggesting that you should add these products to your store, or update your product search terms so that the right product can be found using these searches
  • Sessions by landing page - Shows how many visits are starting on which pages of your store
  • Sessions by device - Shows how many visits are coming from which devices
  • Website cart analysis - Shows pairs of products that users have bought together

Marketing Reports

To get all five marketing reports you need to be on the Shopify plan, the Basic Shopify plan only gets you one of them.

Also accessible from Analytics > Reports, the Marketing Reports section includes five reports:

  1. Sessions attributed to marketing - visits attributed to marketing via a URL parameter or because it was set up in the Shopify Marketing section.
  2. Sales attributed to marketing - revenue attributable to marketing efforts in the same manner.
  3. Conversion by first interaction - shows which traffic sources sent users to your site who ultimately ended up making a purchase. Good for helping you understand the top of your funnel.
  4. Conversion by last interaction - shows which traffic sources sent users to your site who made a purchase on that visit. Good for helping you understand the bottom of your funnel.
  5. Attribution model comparison - Shows sales by first and last interaction side by side.

Additional Reports

Additional reports, all of them found under Analytics > Reports require the Shopify plan at minimum.

These reports include:

  • Sales reports (only 10 of 11 reports included without Shopify Plus)
  • Retail sales reports
  • Profit reports
  • Customers reports (only 5 of 7 reports available for the Shopify plan)
  • Custom reports (requires Advanced Shopify plan or higher)

How To Add Google Analytics To Shopify

Shopify Analytics Vs Google Analytics

While Shopify Analytics offers very useful ecommerce metrics, making the most of your SEO strategy will require you to use Google Analytics for its comprehensive tracking capabilities.

Shopify does not have Google Analytics already set up, but there are easy settings available to help you set up Google Analytics. Google Analytics is essential to the success of virtually any online store you might create. To install it and start tracking traffic and sales, take the following steps.

Make Sure Analytics Isn't Already Installed

Before installing Google Analytics, you want to make sure that it isn't already installed, since duplicate Analytics JavaScript will cause tracking conflicts resulting in untrustworthy data.

Start by going to Online Store under Sales Channels in the left sidebar, then go to Preferences under that section. From the Preferences screen, scroll down to the Google Analytics section and verify that the Google Analytics account field says "Paste your code from Google here" and does not contain any Google Analytics code:

shopify google analytics code

Unfortunately, this isn't the only way to install Analytics, so you will also need to check the theme code itself to verify that there isn't any Analytics JavaScript present there either.

To do this, go to Themes in the left sidebar, under Online Store in the Sales Channels section, then click the Actions button on the Themes screen, and click Edit code from the Actions drop down menu:

shopify edit theme code

From the Edit code screen, click the theme.liquid link from the inner left sidebar, under the Layout section:

shopify code theme.liquid

Now run a Ctrl+F search for each of the following Google Analytics-associated code elements:

  • ga.js
  • analytics.js
  • gtag.js
  • dc.js

If none of these are present in your theme.liquid file, and the Google code wasn't pasted into the Preferences section as discussed above, then Google Analytics is not installed and you will need to add your code.

Getting Your Tracking ID From Google

To get your Google Analytics code, you will need to go to https://analytics.google.com/.

If you aren't signed in to a Google Account or don't have one you will be taken to Google's "Sign in" page. If you have an account, enter your email address or phone number and click Next. If not, click Create account and follow the prompts to create an account.

sign in to google account

Once you're signed into your Google Account, if you don't have an Analytics account, you will be taken to a sign up page. If so, click the Sign up button:

google analytics sign up page

If you do have an Analytics account, go to Admin in the left sidebar:

google analytics admin

From the Admin screen, click the + Create Account button in the Account column on the left side of the page:

google analytics add account

From here, whether you clicked Sign Up to create your first Google Analytics account or you clicked + Create Account to add an additional account, the process is the same.

From the New Account screen, make sure the Website tab is selected. Enter an Account Name that will be used to access any stores associated with your Shopify account. Enter a Website Name to refer to the specific store. For the Website URL, make sure to select https or http from the drop down menu for the correction version of the URL, and add the rest of the website address in the text box:

google analytics create account fields

Select an appropriate Industry Category from the drop down menu and a time zone that matches your clock. Leave the four data sharing check boxes checked (Google products & services, Benchmarking, Technical support, and Account specialists) unless you have a specific reason not to. Finally, click the Get Tracking ID button:

google analytics get tracking code button

You will be asked to agree to a service agreement, then you will be taken to the tracking code screen for your store.

Scroll down to the Global Site Tag (gtag.js) section of the screen and click in the text box below it. The Google Analytics code inside will be automatically selected. Press Ctrl+C or right-click and select Copy to copy the text to the clipboard.

google analytics code

Now, in Shopify, go to Sales Channels > Online Store > Preferences in the left sidebar and scroll down to Google Analytics in the Preferences screen. Click inside the Google Analytics account text field where it says "Paste your code from Google here" and press Ctrl+V to paste the text with your keyboard, or right click and select Paste from the drop down menu. Don't forget to push the Save button to make sure that the Google Analytics code is saved to your Shopify store.

shopify paste google analytics code

Activate Ecommerce Tracking

To make the most out of Google Analytics, you will need to start tracking sales and other important ecommerce metrics, and to do that you will need to activate ecommerce tracking.

To do that, in Google Analytics, return to the primary Admin screen by clicking the Admin icon in the left sidebar, which is collapsed to a gear icon if you are still on the Tracking ID screen. Next, under the View column, click on Ecommerce Settings. 

google analytics ecommerce settings

Now, from the Ecommerce set-up screen, make sure that the Enable Ecommerce toggle is switched to the ON position, and then click save.

google analytics activate ecommerce tracking

Basic ecommerce tracking is now active, which will allow you to track transaction and revenue data. However, we recommend turning on enhanced ecommerce reporting to get more comprehensive user data that will allow you to make more targeted marketing decisions in the future.

To do so, within Shopify, verify that you are still navigated to Sales Channels > Online Store > Preferences and under the Google Analytics section of the Preferences screen. Just make sure that the Use Enhanced Ecommerce checkbox is checked, and click the Save button after ticking the box if needed:

shopify advanced ecommerce tracking

Now, in Google Analytics, make sure that you are still navigated to Admin > View > Ecommerce Settings, and switch the Enable Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting toggle to the ON position, and then click the Save button.

google analytics advanced ecommerce tracking

And that's it. You now have Google Analytics up and running for your Shopify store, with enhanced ecommerce reporting enabled for more in depth information.