Horseshoes & Hand Grenades: Shopify’s New Google Analytics 4 Integration
Shopify just released its native GA4 integration, as part of its Google Channel App. It almost meets merchants’ needs…
With Google’s announcement that it is sunsetting Universal Analytics this coming July, Shopify merchants have been scrambling to implement Google Analytics 4 on their storefronts.
Up until this month, Shopify has not had a built-in solution for GA4 tracking. As a result, free solutions like Fueled’s GA4 Attribution Suite have seen rapid adoption.
But now Shopify has a solution, and it’s…well…meh.
Don’t get me wrong, Shopify has released some absolutely phenomenal features over the last year. Shopify Audiences in particular is a salvation.
And as a developer, I couldn't be more excited about their acquisition of Remix.
But in this case, Shopify has gotten close to building what merchants need for GA4, but isn’t quite there. (And close only matters in horseshoes and hand grenades…)
Limitations of Shopify’s Native GA4 Integration
With Google Ads moving more and more towards machine-learning driven conversion optimization, merchants need to send Google as much event data as possible. But Shopify’s App only covers part of GA4’s event specification.
Missing eCommerce Events
For some reason, Shopify’s native Google Analytics 4 integration doesn’t track the following standard eCommerce events:
View Item List(which should fire on Collection pages)
View Cart(super weird that this is missing, as it’s key to funnel analysis)
Search Products(which should fire when someone begins a product search)
Misnamed Event Parameters
For some reason, Shopify has chosen to use its own naming convention for certain eCommerce event properties.
For example, on
View Item events, Shopify uses a parameter called
ecomm_totalvalue rather than Google’s canonical parameter for this:
Breaking with Google Analytics 4' standard naming conventions breaks GA4's default reports. It also makes it near impossible to blend events from different sources, like other Google Analytics 4 data streams that use the correct naming conventions.
Missing Event Parameters
Shopify’s integration is also missing basic event parameters. For example, on
Item View and
Add To Cart events, it’s missing the
Shopify’s GA4 integration also requires the installation of its full Google Channel App, which includes many other features which a merchant may, or may not want. A personal preference, but I like smaller applications that do just one thing well.
Moreover, because how the Google Channel App works, to install this integration, you have to first authenticate your Google Account with the app. This can create unforeseen issues down the road, if that authentication is revoked.
Lack of Documentation and Support
Admittedly, this app is still new and Shopify will obviously catch up in terms of documentation. But for now, there aren’t a lot of resources for understanding and extending the application.
More importantly, it can be difficult to get support for this application, as Google Analytics tracking is a complex and nuanced subject. Personally, I’ve spent 20 hours/week with Google Analytics for the last year. I consider myself an expert, but I’m still learning things about the platform.
It Will Get Better…
All of this said, Shopify is an incredible company that builds great software. I’m sure that Shopify will improve upon this app over time. But for now, it’s just not there yet, and (biased as I am…) I’d recommend you check out our more feature-rich free app.
Fueled’s Upcoming Paid Features
Before wrapping up, I would also like to point out a few new features that we’re releasing as part of Fueled’s Advanced Attribution Suite this spring. (These features are available for private beta now, if you’d like to contact me.)
A True First-Party Pixel for Google Analytics 4
The big feature we’re launching is what’s called a “domain proxy” that allows merchants to run Google Analytics 4 as a true 1st-party pixel.
The details are nerdy, but with our paid offering, you can capture 10–15% more Google Analytics 4 data in a privacy-forward way.
Customer Lifetime Value Reporting
With our paid app, you can send a unique, non-PII identifier for your customers to Google Analytics 4, for better reporting across website sessions. Generate customer lifetime value reports in GA4 with this unique feature.
Google Ads Enhanced Conversions
Our paid app provides a Google Ads integration for passing hashed customer information to Google for better matching of customers. With better matching, you can improve conversion rates and reduce acquisition costs.
Facebook Conversion API Integration
Our paid app will include a Facebook Conversions API integration. Set up attribution tracking with Fueled once, and send the same events and data to both Google and Facebook.
Own Your Own Data
Finally, with our paid solution, you can send all of this valuable attribution data to your own data warehouse. Own your own data, report on it however you need! Activate it across all of your sales and marketing tools!
Fueled is a 1st-party Attribution Platform for Shopify and BigCommerce. We make it easy for DTC merchants to collect, analyze, and activate attribution data.
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