Every day billions of people browse the internet, shop online, and send emails. They also track their health, monitor their finances, search for jobs - and a whole lot more. Digital marketers and app developers have secretly tracked this activity across applications and websites for years because it was a useful way for brands to collect invaluable data about their target audiences.
To do this, they have relied on cookies, which are little bits of code that follow your behavior across your browser. The two main third-party cookies are Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) on the iOS and Android’s Google Play Services ID for Android (GPS ADID).
By default, cookies on your iOS device tracked you across apps, however, in 2021 Apple released App Tracking Transparency (ATT) as part of its iOS 14.5, which gives customers the choice to opt-in to being tracked for marketing purposes. Most tellingly, it appears that when given the option, the majority of consumers do not consent to their behavior and data being tracked by third parties for advertising purposes.
What does this mean for store owners and Shopify? Many old-school digital marketing techniques are slowly becoming redundant. As a consequence, many marketers and business owners are turning to first-party and second-party data. What this means is that any information a store owner collects about a customer comes directly through the software that the store owner owns rather than from cookies that track them. So data comes from in-store or website behavior, from chat interactions, from the purchase history, and from newsletter sign-ups and any information voluntarily submitted by the customer.
Luckily Shopify users have access to lots of this information through Shopify analytics! Shopify analytics
From the moment your customer first encounters your brand, to the point they’re excitedly telling their friends and family about what they bought from you, your customers are on a journey. You help them walk this journey, getting to know them better as you do. The first thing you need to know about your customer is who they are and how they’re finding you. What kind of social media do they use, what devices do they carry in their pockets, what kind of communities do they thrive in, etc. To this end, all successful businesses develop customer avatars to develop a clear picture of their audience.
ENGAGEMENT: How Your Customers Find Your Store When you have a clear idea of who your customer is, you can then begin to test that idea against the evidence. Using acquisition reports you can check out how visitors are finding your site, through what channels, and from which countries.
Sessions over time - shows the number of visitors and sessions for a chosen time range, which allows you to compare different periods and check for patterns. Are there days, months, or seasons that your site sees more traffic?
Sessions by referrer - The method that a customer uses to get to your store is called the referrer. A referrer can be a search or can be a link from an ad, email, or website, for example. By knowing the referrer, you can attribute sales to the referrer that the customer used. This is a standard way of analyzing and attributing sales. So this helps you know which are coming to your website directly, from a Google search, or by a referral like Facebook
Sessions by location - what countries are visitors accessing your website from? Are some countries clearly more popular than others over, say, the timeline of a month?
Sessions by device - shows you the type of devices used to access your website, which is useful if you want to know how technically adept your customers are, and whether they’re more inclined to use their mobile or laptop. It can also help with UX design decisions like whether to optimize for one device over another.
So you know where they’re coming from, and how they’re reaching you. You know what devices they’re using and what social media. You even know which seasons are most popular. But what are they actually doing on your site?
ON YOUR SITE: What Does A Visitor Do When They Reach Your Site?
What do your order reports tell you about your inventory and customer interest?
If you are on the Shopify Plan or higher, you can utilize the Online Store Cart Analysis reportto understand what your visitors are adding to their carts, and therefore get a sense of which products you should be pushing more or less in your marketing.
THE BOTTOM LINE With regulations tightening on third-party data, most store owners know that ultimately, you cannot trick your customers into trusting you. So there is increasingly a shift from third-party data tools and cookies towards a focus on better marketing techniques and first-party data.
To gather first party data, think of your marketing strategy as being like a good conversation. A good conversation encourages trust, it intrigues you from the very beginning and leaves you wanting more. A good conversation also depends on more than mere words, it relies on being able to read each others’ behavior and being able to respond to the relevant signals.
Shopify analytics is a window into how and why your visitors arrive at your store and helps you shape the conversation to ensure they keep coming back.
You need to develop a comprehensive marketing plan and content strategy that engages your target audience. The more engaged your audience is the more likely they are to trust you, and the more they trust you the more comfortable they are sharing first-hand, first-party information with you.