Shopify Conversion Tracking 101: Begin tracking your marketing performance

Shopify Conversion Tracking 101: Begin tracking your marketing performance

Many new Shopify store owners focus on making the first sale without performance tracking. You should include conversion tracking in your setup plan for your new shop. This article will point out benefits of Shopify conversion tracking and basic tracking metrics. I will also provide some small steps to help you begin building your conversion tracking flow.

First, let’s explore the magic of a conversion tracking flow to your online store.

Benefits of conversion tracking

Conversion tracking is a vital step in your new Shopify store setup.

A Shopify conversion tracking flow makes a big picture of your revenue, or how much money you make every day. You can still calculate order manually, but it is too time-consuming and not advisable hereafter.

A constant tracking flow also helps you diagnose your marketing channels’ efficiency. Based on that, you can choose to increase the budget for some productive channels. You can also stop ones that bring no conversion or reduce concentration on weak ones.

Moreover, you can spot which product items carry the highest percentage of revenue. Thus, you can either keep importing monetary products or reduce or remove inactive ones.

The biggest value of a tracking flow lies in an insightful buy flow. From the monitoring dashboard, it'll be easier for you to conversion-boosting activities.

So, based on which criteria can you start your performance tracking?

Primary tracking metrics 

Tracking metrics on Shopify goes beyond total revenue or number of the successful transaction. Below are some must-have tracking metrics. 

  • eCommerce transaction: the total amount of online eCommerce transaction
  • Order value
    • Minimum order value: the smallest sum of money that a sale can make
    • Average order value: the average amount of money for a transaction
  • Total revenue: total sum of money from online transaction
  • Conversion rate: the percentage of total amount of online sale over total traffic
  • Product SKU (or Product ID): unique code for a product/ product set.
  • Quantity:
    • Total quantity: total sales for a product item/product set
    • Average quantity: average sales for a product/product set
  • Average product price: average price of a product/product set
  • Product revenue: total revenue granted from a product/product set

Types of Shopify conversion tracking

Default Shopify Reports dashboard

By default, Shopify has its “Reports" dashboard. You can find this dashboard by going to Admin > Reports.

The biggest advantage of default Shopify Reports dashboard is that it handles sales data much more accurate than any other third-party integrated tracking platforms.

On your Shopify dashboard, there are 2 types of report: default report and custom report

  • Default report: default report is divided into 3 main sections Sales, Acquisition, and Behavior. You can have an overview of your online shop, but it's hard to dig into details for each section by using this default report.
  • Custom report: Shopify allows you to create a custom report based on Sales, Payments, Taxes, Visitors, Customers. With this report, you can dig deeper into statistics for a particular section of your online Shopify store. You can also pick up criteria for your custom report via report filters and dimensions.
default Shopify admin dashboard

In the default Shopify reports dashboard, you can view default reports, or create your custom report based on your business goal.

Default Shopify Reports dashboard is a great start for new Shopify stores. You can instantly have an overview of your store performance without too many configurations. But as the store gets expanding, it'll become much harder for you to get detailed insights. Besides, both default and custom Shopify reports are often fragmented, and there is no way to connect custom reports together. Thus, it's hard to of track the entire customer buy flow from site visiting.

Facebook tracking pixel

You can add your page's Facebook Pixel ID to begin the monitoring flow by going to Admin > Online Store > Preferences. Then you can add the tracking pixel code for your Facebook marketing activities. To insert the right pixel code, you have to know how to set up conversion tracking on Facebook.

Google Analytics tracking code

Similarly to Facebook tracking pixel, it's simple to connect Google Analytics to your Shopify store via the Online Store dashboard. A strong plus of Google Analytics tracking code is that you can track the total marketing performance across multiple channels, including Facebook. But if you want to audit your Facebook marketing effort thoroughly, you should look into your Facebook dashboard, starting with installing Facebook tracking pixel.

Google Analytic tracking code

There has been official Shopify documentation on Google Analytics tracking code. In the following articles, I’ll write more details on how to setup Google Analytics tracking.

There are 2 levels of Shopify conversion tracking in Google Analytics:

  • Basic eCommerce tracking: if you only want to track revenue and transaction data
  • Enhance eCommerce tracking: if you want to dig deeper into customer's behavior

Depending on your online shop status you can choose to get started with basic tracking, or get into details with the enhance one.

Google Adwords Shopify conversion tracking tag

Unlike Facebook and Google Analytics, you have to use a brand new Google account to run Adwords ads. Only after you have paid the first Shopify monthly fee, you will receive few bucks of Adwords credit to begin running ads, as confirmed from Shopify. (The amount of credit can be differed based on country)

Some typical problems in a tracking flow

Even when you have got an automatic system to track your marketing efforts, some problems might still happen.

Performance data discrepancies

The sales data between Shopify Reports and third-party tracking platforms doesn't always match. There are also some problems in performance data matching among different tracking platforms. You can track transaction statistics better in the default Shopify Reports, but it'll be easier for you to track the overall marketing effort via Google Analytics tracking dashboard. And vice versa.

Moreover, because of the omnichannel marketing, a customer now has more reference places to consider and make a purchase decision than a few years ago. But not all tracking platforms aren't ready for that integration.

data problem in Shopify conversion tracking

(An illustration on how the last click is made. Image credit:

There are many reasons for this discrepancy:

  • View-through conversion: a customer view a product on your Facebook sponsored ad. He finds it interesting, but he makes the purchase on your Shopify store.
  • Cross-device conversion: a customer checks your product on mobile device, but he makes the final decision on desktop

Facebook tracks the last click action (the click that makes a transaction) which a customer has made on a Facebook ad or Facebook post. On the other hand, Google Analytics tracks the last paid click regardless of the marketing channel. Therefore, conversion on Google Analytics is often lower than on Facebook.

Unorganized dashboard

Any performance tracking platform is messy until you make something with them. In other words, if you just make basic setup and don't organize your dashboard well, you cannot make the most of the performance tracking. Similarly to getting the first sale, constructing a coherent Shopify conversion tracking flow requires a serious time and effort investment.

Order duplication/cancellation/refund

In eCommerce, you cannot avoid order duplication, cancellation, or refund. The problem is, no conversion tracking platform can automatically detect order mistakes.

Here are some methods to deal with this tracking noise:

  • Make the final thank-you page accessible once only after the customer has finished the order payment
  • Double check your order data match between Shopify and third-party performance tracking platforms (preferably weekly)
  • Set up an order reverse function (in following blog posts, I'll explain more details on how to setup this function)

Final words

In sum, Shopify conversion tracking is essential, and it should be implemented right when starting your online store. But whether free or paid, there is no perfect tracking platform. And there might be some problems happen when you are doing tracking for your store. My recommendation is that you should notice problems as soon as they happen, and try to find quick solutions to avoid inconvenience in the future.

Do you have any lesson learned on conversion tracking? Please share with me right in the comment section below.

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