The eCommerce Growth Series – The Importance of (Correctly) Tagging for eCommerce Brands

Brittany Currieby Brittany Currie

Home | Blog | The eCommerce Growth Series – The Importance of (Correctly) Tagging for eCommerce Brands

Share this article

On this episode of The eCommerce Growth Series, we’re joined by Brad Redding from Elevar to discuss proper tagging for eCommerce brands. Some of the topics we touch on include:

1. How Elevar helps brands correctly manage their tags

2. Horror stories of incorrect tagging

3. Different types of tagging issues

4. What happens when you implement too many tags

5. Data privacy and GDPR

6. What merchants need to know about a post-cookie world

7. Using data segmentation events and attribution modeling to achieve higher performance campaigns

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach us at and Elevar is spelled E-l-e-v-a-r. Thank you and we’ll see you next time.

Ron: Welcome to the eCommerce Growth Series. My name is Ronald Dod Chief Marketing Officer and Partner at Visiture. I’m here today with another episode where I talked to Brad Redding at Elevar. Elevar, if you don’t know is a really cool company that makes sure that all your tagging on your website is implemented correctly and firing correctly. As someone who manages his own Google Ads campaigns and social advertising campaigns, having correct tagging is paramount for us and extremely important for any eCommerce merchants out there that wants to correct conversion tracking. We talked about a lot of things today; talked about tagging; attribution modeling; events; data privacy and more. If you currently manage or use an agency to manage your advertising campaigns, you’re going to really love this episode spoke about 55 minutes. And Brad just had tons of great information to share and a lot of things that I’ve never heard about in ten years of managing advertising campaigns. We talked about a few things; first talked about Elevar incorrectly managing tags and how that works; we talked about disasters with incorrect tagging and how this can really hurt your revenue and choke off your sales if you’re not doing it correctly; talked about different types of tagging issues; how to avoid different issues; talked about the balance of site speed and what happens when we implement too many tags and how to really find that balance between site speed and implementing some JavaScript and tags on your website. We talked a lot about data privacy with GDPR and what were just me to know and how to optimize for post cookieless World. We talked about using data segmentation events, and attribution modeling to achieve higher performance marketing campaigns which brad had a lot of great information great thoughts that I never heard about; so excited for you hear about it. And finally, Brad gives us his prediction for the future of eCommerce. Enjoy. All right Brad thank you for joining this show. Can you get started and tell us a little bit about yourself?

Brad: Thanks Ron I appreciate you having me on yeah so, my name is Brad Redding I’m the founder and CEO of Elevar and Elevar we really focus on on-site analytics and tagging so essentially everything before the purchase process. So, really ultimately, we ensure that brands have the right tracking in place to manage their analytics data collection, to manage their marketing analytics collections, so they can spend more time focusing on this strategizing and implementing conversion optimization opportunities versus worrying about tagging and potentially issues that arise with tagging an eCommerce site.

Ron: Yeah, it’s such an interesting need and you’re really the first company that I’ve seen really focused on it. What made you decide to start Elevar?

Brad: Yeah, it’s interesting you say that because we actually didn’t start Elevar with that focus. We started Elevar in 2017 and it was at that point it’s really a focus on automating data analysis from Google Analytics, so a lot of times you’d get into if you’re essentially managing multiple clients, you’re looking at the same data for all those clients. So, we started Elvar with that premise of let’s just create a tool that can automate the same repetitive analysis that you’d be doing to ultimately service insights. And as we evolved over the last couple of years, ultimately tagging and just problems either implementing tagging, just a lack of trust that we hear from brands quite often that they have in their data whether it’s Google Analytics data or their marketing Pixels like Facebook, Grittio, AdWords etcetera. We eventually just started to focus more on you know where our customers having the most pain and continuing to focus on solving for that pain.

We had a great quote from a customer a year or so ago and we’re presenting all this really nifty analysis and data analysis event tracking that we set up for him and said, “That all sounds great but I just need to ensure that my AdWords tags never break again and I will gladly pay you 500 month or whatever it is for the rest of my life, just to ensure that that date is accurate.” At that point it was like the chocolate and broccoli syndrome- we were presenting the chocolate of rich data and rich insights and things they could do with it conversion optimization and really didn’t even care about because the core foundation of just a marketing tracking and marketing tagging was not implemented properly it broke and it was essentially 10Xing this bike of his cost per transaction AdWords. So, that’s really where we ended up evolving to where we are now is, really focusing on accurate data collection is really just listening to our customers and working with them on a daily basis- and that’s where we are today.

Ron: I have very similar stories and its funny how many merchants out there do not correctly attribute their revenue from Google Ads. We’ve audited many accounts in the past and it’s so easy- it’s always not a great moment when we tell them, “Hey, you’re not a great account.” It actually is an achievement of 5 row as- it’s achieving it like a 2.2 row as because your analytic your tracking Pixels double counting conversions. And there’s one particular platform that was pretty notorious for doing this in the early days. It’s really sad to see all these merchants just waste so much money to a Google ads account, when all they had to do is just basically fix their Pixel.

Brad: Yeah. I definitely empathize with any brand like anyone that has to manage their Pixels or tags or events and just listen to way I described it is, it’s every single platform whether it’s Facebook Google and then when you get into affiliates and Grittio’s and display networks and everything else everyone have their own naming conventions. So, if even if you just look at most people listening to this probably have the Facebook Pixel help or Chrome extension to help them debug their Facebook Pixel, they have the GA tag assistant they might have Snapchat Pixel helper. It’s like even the way that the platform is a name so if just Facebook versus Google, Google is tag or event depending on which the Google tool you’re looking at and Facebook is Pixel pix a little event. So, that alone just creates a lot of confusion as are you implanting a Pixel what’s the difference between a Facebook Pixel on Facebook event. And then what you get in the weeds of all the different ways to send data and the collect data, it’s it is very confused it can be very confusing if you are not focused on it all the time. So, that’s why there’s so many brands out there that just have a very foundational tracking issues just because it’s hard to understand the nomenclature and and things are evolving so fast right now in the way to implement tagging is changing. So, it’s yeah, it’s a headache for sure and it’s the things that aren’t fun to do. It’s not fun to work on your Pixels but more fun to think about what type of campaigns and where to optimize you know leads or at the cards etc.

Ron: Yeah and so funny I I’m very lost when it comes to tagging it in Pixels I view myself as a really good marketer but funny enough yesterday. I was in my Google tag manager trying to figure out how to implement this stupid Pixel connector Salesforce and us at our website in Google Analytics. I went through this whole rabbit hole of going through support, Q&A chats and then finally the chat guy said, “You have to hit publish in your Google tag manager.” Then I go up there it sure enough there’s no publish button, but it’s like save or something and then the next button is, publish. It’s funny how complicated it can be and how sometimes simple the solutions are for tagging correctly.

Brad: Oh yeah and we still make our own mistakes today we’re having even for our own site and a lot of the tools that we offer the monitoring Analytics tag and all that. It really just comes down to you have engineers so you have engineers and marketers. Marketers aren’t the greatest at thinking through from a technical perspective and can’t understand some of these very complex requirements for implementing tagging that generally are written by someone technical. And then you have the technical folks, so engineers, developers etcetera, where they don’t live in marketing and so they don’t understand like, why do you need to have a catalog ID tied to an Add to Cart and a view content and purchase event? They don’t live in that world, so they don’t understand the need for the remarketing and how that can really boost and overall return on Adspend across all platforms or how it’s used for look like audiences etcetera. So, that’s just like two opposite ends of the spectrum, but send there needs to be that bridge to to connect those two so things are implemented and the technically sound way and it obviously meets the needs of the marketer.

Ron: Yeah. Do you feel that you kind of deal more with IT manager compared to the marketers nowadays?

Brad: That’s a great question. Our primary persona is as typically like the brand owner so a Shopify brand owner. But we have three personas that we generally try to apply some of our marketing around and one is the business owner though essentially the business or marketing owner that owns the entire marketing implementation. But one of them is the is the technical lead and especially with the growth and headless sites single page apps and everything in between. We’re definitely working more with the technical leads or architects or IT managers on the implementation because at that point it’s just way outside the realm of any documentation that even Shopify might have and implementing various Pixels and tags. So, we do work with technical team members but that’s that still today we’ve worked more directly with again the marketers or the business owners that’s generally. I feel the people that are really managing these campaigns.

Ron: It’s funny I’ve been reading all these articles throughout the past year on how marketers need to adapt into being more data specialists and understanding how to use data. And I think it’s just becoming more prevalent to be able to understand how to use Google Ads and tracking Pixels. And I know there’s a lot of markers I don’t want to do it, but it’s the world we’re facing now.

Brad: Yeah, it’s the battle of having of wider breadth so do you want to have a wide breadth of skill sets or do you want to go very deep in something. So, we are seeing more and more marketers that are educating themselves I’m trying to become savvy with Google tag manager. But there’s still that fine line of you know enough to basically GSD and potentially get yourself in trouble. But the is that limitation of not having the dedicated time to go really deep on Google tag manager and all the possibilities that can afford you on the marketing side. So, that is great. There’s a ton of free education we have a ton of free videos on Google tag manager and how to implement Facebook tracking AdWords etcetera; so, there’s a lot of DIY types out there. But there’s still that the limitation of you know if you end up spending 80% of your time on data collection, that means you only spending 20% of your time an actual campaign implementation- which you’re the expert in this realm so I’ll let you determine what that percentage should look like, but that’s where you know we’re trying to do as much as we can just to help you know on board and simplify the whole process for that tagging the different marketing tagging across channels.

Ron: You guys suggest using Google tag manager?

Brad: Correct. I mean, essentially, it’s in the world of data collection it really boils down to Google tag manager versus segment versus just having everything directly hard-coded in the theme. Google tag manager and Segments this doesn’t get talked a lot of or much about these two together but they’re really accomplishing largely the same thing. With Google tag manager with Elevar as a company, we essentially wrap a lot of the Google services to help it be more of a like head-to-head comparison to segments. And if you’re not familiar with segment-segments like you tagged your site once and then you handle all the you know sending data server-side potentially to different platforms. Google tag manager is coming out with their own server-side data collection process, so again you can start sending data outside the browser to these different channels. But for us Google tag manager it’s free, it’s easy to get started. There is a ton of how-to’s out there, it allowed you with it just gives a ton of control that can help either with things like site speed, with monitoring which we have again wrapped around Google tag manager implementations and just all of the pre-built tag templates that are out there. So, I think three or four times. But there’s probably a hundred if plus tag templates where you, just need to go into Google tag manager find that tag template plug in your account ID and it’s done. You don’t need to worry about define it going through and implementing the script and the code base and you know worry about deployments and things going to wipe that etcetera.

Ron: Yeah Brett that makes sense with you know GTM becoming so popular, but I do hear of disasters like me not be able to publish tags and more. Something I want to ask you is, what are kind of like the biggest disasters you’ve seen from you know tagging etcetera and more so I want to know like are there any real pitfalls that merchants need to know about when utilizing tagging correctly?

Brad: So, the probably four or five top tagging mistakes that we see ultimately because wasted ad spend, they’re not necessarily specific to just Google tag manager these are more general. But the first one is duplicate conversion tracking firing or even lack of conversion tracking firing. So, the duplicate conversion tracking firing, I think you’ve had this happen in your past as well. I mean, this this essentially is inflating the conversion values so it’s going to throw off your OEZ and everything else that you might have tied to that. So, that’s definitely a big clinical disaster that we see.

The flip side of conversion tracking is not firing this can either be just in general where they’re not firing at all and obviously that that has the opposite effect of OEZ, so that everything will tank. There’s also the hidden with Shopify specifically with Recharge and Bold and many of the other third-party payment platforms is- when you’re implementing or launching a site, you might put a lot of focus on the conversion tracking for Shopify. And we’ve seen these other third-party payments where subscriptions can be a large percentage of orders 30/40/50 percent of all orders and they’re just left out; so, you’ll see some conversions coming through from it from the one-time purchases, but you’re missing out on those subscription purchases. So, that is in general like disaster number one that we see happen quite often.

Another one other one is mismatched product catalog IDs. Again, this this really comes from its really focus on a dynamic product remarketing. So, as you know within Facebook and AdWords and others you have to have a catalogue within the platform, but then you have your Pixel essentially or the tag that fires has to have that matching Product ID or catalog ID. And usually the catalogs when someone has it unified like eudemonics or something that’s sending that same catalog to all platforms you might have SKU as the primary Product ID and AdWords and you might have varying ID inside of Facebook. But all the tags are set up for one or the other. So, that leads to product catalog mismatches and essentially that really impacts your dynamic product remarketing campaigns is you’re not able to show the user the product that they viewed or potentially added to cart.

A couple others that maybe not as large of an issue, but we see them quite regularly would be inside your tags. So, think about your purchase conversion where you need your order ID and revenue and potentially different customer data; there will be undefined variables in those tags. So, for example, a customer email might be undefined and in their Facebook conversion Pixel, but you are wanting to utilize the email for advanced matching or potentially other rules and platforms. We’ve seen undefined cart totals so if your if you have a mark in the audience based on a cart total size of greater than $100, if that cart total variable is undefined then you will lose out on that opportunity. So, that’s one that we see fairly often.

Another one the conversion tag firing on non-purchase pages, so this would be a transaction that actually fires like at the cart or a cart view. So, again that can happen and cause OEZ to go haywire.

Then the other one I would say is, the just lack of customer behavior event tracking. So, this would be getting deeper into not sending video plays or not sending email subscriptions things of that nature to these platforms that you can then leverage for more personalized remarketing audience campaigns- remarketing campaigns excuse me.

So, those are what I consider the five like biggest mistakes that we see on a fairly frequent basis.

Ron: Yeah, the last one firing on the wrong page is definitely near and dear to my heart we are running a really aggressive LinkedIn campaign and social campaign. And conversions were through the roof and I was like, “Man this is working great, like what are we doing here?” I was looking at the pages converting on, that I realized we were tracking it by putting the Pixel on our thank-you page, but we have a thank-you page from our form submission page and then our careers contact form submission page. So, we’re basically just getting resumes or paying to get all these people to submit jobs at Visiture- no.

Brad: Yeah, we’ve all those experiences and the goal is just to limit them limit the frequency of them or catch them quickly before they go on for several weeks or months.

Ron: Yeah, it’s tough and a lot of times you have to really think through it too you can’t just be a robot and just you know kind of go through a process that we did where we just put all of our Thank You pages. You have to really think through like do we have other contact forms like what are the purchase passes with those and just have to be really strategic with your attribution on your timing.

I feel then this can be totally debunked by you, but I feel like I need to ask you. Putting more tags effect on site speed?

Brad: Yeah, it’s a fact. Any tag I mean you script for that matter that you’re placing on the site it is going to add some cases very small or potentially very large incremental load. And it’s important to look at, it’s not just marketing Pixels or tags per se so not just your Facebook tag or AdWords, but you also think about other third-party scripts like live chat like Zendesk or any other really third-party feature. Think about Yopo or Dynamic Yield or Google Optimized or whatever it might be. Those are all additional scripts that essentially when you’re adding a script to your website your site is having to load their JavaScript library. So, I’ll use Zendesk as an example. Since we had this on one of our blog articles for most people when you’re loading Zendesk kind of site you’re only using which is simply for the live chat. But they’re having to load because you are just embedding the script in your theme, you’re essentially loading that entire library which will weigh down the site. There is a balance- if you had a site with no third parties tracking and no third party features the site’s not going to last. So, it’s a balance of you fighting to have that 0.5 second page load or 1 second page load compared to having a 1.1 seconds or 1.05 seconds which reality is, for the most part of marketing scripts that’s going to be a difference in the page load. The revenue difference is not worth it. You have to have your marketing tracking in place.

So, there’s so many different ways around like optimizing site speed with especially with Google tag manager. So, just going back to that and that’s example something that we do pretty much with all of our tags that are not like what we consider critical tags that that have to fire right away, you just have them fire on a timer. So, you don’t need a live chat right when the page loads. So, just have live chat fire like 3 to 5 seconds after the page is done loading. At that point that script is no longer where you won’t will get dinged in your lighthouse score. And we’ve seen this we’re just having Zendesk load on a normal all pages trigger versus loading 3 to 5 seconds after the page is done, the lighthouse score was like 15 points different. That’s the getting going when I was talking earlier about going deep in GTM is, that’s where some of that knowledge can really help yes marketing tracking isn’t boring, yes you need it for prospecting remarketing etcetera. It’s just determining you know what ones need to fire right away and determine that order and then that way you can defer some of these non-critical scripts, so they’re not loading initially when that user is starting to navigate the page they can kick in and load after the fact.

Ron: Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up and I think we could talk all day about the balancing act between scripts and you know site speed. It’s so interesting so many especially clients at Visiture asked us throughout the years, “How do we approve site speed?” Improving your site speed is kind of like building a race car. You know you take a car, you strip out the AC, you strip out the radio, you take out the seats all with the goal of getting it lighter so it goes faster right- and the same thing with a website like, yeah you can make your site better, but you have to take out your like you said live chat take out your Help Center take out this and eventually you just got to have a blank white page website that’s really boring and then you’re going to be less likely convert because you don’t have those additional features. It is kind of like hard to find that balancing act. I’m glad you said that implementing that lazy load you know where it loads it when it’s ready to load those certain aspects of the website instead of loading all at once because I think that’s critical for merchants out there.

Brad: It achieves the technical hurdle of Engineers that you know they don’t want to weigh down the site with all of these heavy third-party scripts and then it meets the marketers condition well it’s still there it’s just loading a little bit later, so it’s a great it’s a great middle ground that we found in our experience.

Ron: Yeah especially, if you’re running like a new platform there’s so many plugins you can install to do lazy loading automatically. Even on the Visiture site we use WordPress and we have a lazy loading plug-in and Shopify has you know a lot of this capabilities and a lot of different apps that you can utilize.

Brad: Yeah and there’s the timer-based trigger like fire this tag after five seconds of page load that’s a native trigger inside of Google tag manager, so anybody can implement it.

Ron: So, something that has nothing to feed but I’m really excited to talk to you about it because I think it’s such a huge you know hot topic right now is data and privacy. I’m kind of interested how this is all really going to affect tagging and what we need to do. So, obviously there’s been a lot of need for opt-ins in the European Union and now that’s going in California. Can you speak a little bit more to that and how that’s going to affect tagging what merchants need to know about?

Brad: Yeah, this is this is another one that we could talk 24 hours on, so I’ll try to keep it somewhat high-level. So, essentially you have GDPR that rolled out a little over a year, year or two ago- actually has it been two years already? It’s been a year and then you have CCPA which went into effect July 1st 2020, even though CCPA has been talked about a lot. I think CCPA is going to grow. it’s not something right now that I think many brands have wrap their head around like how important is to make sure they are complying. And I believe it’s going to be a potentially policy that will see rollout across other states or just US or Canada or other countries that aren’t tied to EU directly in the future. It is going to make a big impact. The biggest difference with CCPA is, it’s more of like an opt-out versus an opt-in. So, you don’t have to necessarily force users to physically opt-in to tracking. You have an opt-out submission where users can opt out essentially from having their data collected and sold etcetera. And essentially once that happens then if somebody just submits a form on the site saying, “Hey, you know I live in California and I don’t want to be tracked.” Then you are no longer as the owner of the website, allowed to collect and Pixel that person and send that data to other marketing channels like Facebook.

So, just for the first 30 days to use an example of what Facebook is doing is, they’re giving you essentially 30 days to comply where they are basically taking the burden for you saying, “We know if someone’s in California so we’re not going to send the user specific data. We’re not going to allow that data being sent to your Pixel. But after that 30 days grace period then it’s up to you to essentially figure out how to control this and if you don’t, then you will be subject- Facebook isn’t stating this, but this is the reality- if you are not complying, then you potentially putting yourself at risk of breaking some of the CCP regulations which defines… I know GDPR fines are substantial like seven-figure plus and CCPA.  I don’t recall what the fines are but sure it’s not like a $50 fine, it’s going to be something much more significant. So, that’s not long answer but the middle ground of it is going to drastically change the way that brands are required to collect data and send it to marketing platforms. Again, not easy to understand.

The two big things we see CCPA are you have either need to be doing twenty I think twenty or twenty five million annual revenue or have 50,000 user sessions from the state of California and a year period. I may need to double check those stats, but that’s not a lot of users. Most people if you just go into Google Analytics you can see how many people you have in the last year from California. If you’re over 50,000, then I believe that puts you into the realm of you need to be complying with CCPA regulations.

Ron: Is this all due to data breaches? Why is this GDPR compliant needed now?

Brad: Yeah, I think GDPR again, it’s been a while since I’ve read a ton about it when it first initially rolled out. But that was part of your data breaches and just I think general privacy user privacy groups for big pushes for you know a more private web and browsing experience. So, I would imagine and certainly played a part in you know the push for GDPR and just regulating it, especially if the GDPR guidelines are very strict in terms of what you’re able to do with user data and you have to delete if someone requests it etcetera. So, GDPR I feel like is a was largely around a lot of the data breaches that we were continuing to see happen and still do. CCPA, it might have something to do with that it might just be a little bit more like on the privacy and just general privacy side of everyone just really living their lives through the web now and so much tracking and third-party tracking and a third-party script thing going on it; might not be as directly related to data breaches as GDPR was in my opinion.

Ron: Yeah, it’s kind of like the old can’t spam Act you know being enacted; so, it’ll be interesting to see if that kind of an accent a federal way but it’ll be interesting to see how marketers adjust to it. I’m sure there’s going to be you know software and SaaS, they’ll come out they’ll make it a lot easier to manage all the different compliance issues.

Brad: Yeah that’s another one. It could spend you spend a month trying to figure out untangle the web of everything in between GDPR and CCPA and now you add on browsers. So, with browsers are you having GDPR, you have CCPA and then you have browsers and specifically I’m sure those have heard ITP [intelligent tracking protocol]. And that is like a three-headed monster the way I look at it because again, it’s very easy for those three to blend into one another and trying to understand like what do what do they all mean and how is it going to affect me. The easiest example with browsers and giving the example, there was a quote unquote scare or a false article that came out or false reporting that came out that Apple’s latest version of Safari was blocking Google Analytics by default. So, you weren’t getting any Google Analytics data for any user using Safari that was incorrect, false and just a misinterpretation of the most recent Apple measure event or some event that they were they had where they’re going through some of the latest improvements in ITP. So, even if you’re you have everything in inline-four GDPR and you’re in a good place with CCPA, you could still be at risk of browsers really impacting your ability to collect data and use it for things from conversion optimization and a/b testing to attribution and everything in between. And essentially what browsers are doing is just they’re blocking any third-party cookie data collection, which is really for in your or our world extremely impactful to remarketing.

Ron: Yeah that was going to be kind of my next question really is, what merchants going to be doing in a post cookie list world? How are we going to run retargeting other campaigns? Do you have any ideas there?

Brad: Yeah, I mean you may have heard and another’s listening may have heard the word “server-side”. I think you have to be careful in just assuming a server-side is going to fix everything because it’s really not. But it’s basically it’s going to be you’re going to I still have some data and potentially users that have opted in to data collection. So, you’ll still be able to send that, but what you’ll likely will have to do is get more creative and there’ll be more products and services and maybe and some of that we get into is allowing more data to go directly from your platform. If you are running a server, if you’re on Magento or something like that where you own the server, it’s much easier to access that data and send it to wherever you want. With Shopify the limitations will be a little bit more than have if you had full control over the server; with the advent of like easy server to server API integrations. That is likely going to be the first wave of backfilling some of that missing Pixel data that that you might you might lose out just from browsers cutting down on some of the tracking that you’re able to do.

Ron: Yes. I think more and more merchants eventing need to move towards you know more email marketing and other ways to really drive you know revenue. I know that there’s a couple tools up there. I know list rack just put in a new growth platform that they’re doing where they’re able to basically track users out of the cookie. I believe it’s about a little bit over my head, but it was pretty cool to see that these merchants are going to have to adjust and utilize different tools and tactics to be successful without retargeting.

Brad: Yeah really anything that’s sending a direct link out to users’ email, SMS, etcetera they will have they’re largely going to benefit, but also have a bigger responsibility now in tracking. And that just it goes back to the point of whether it is an email, Facebook campaign, Google, it doesn’t matter it’s your link on your just on your your Facebook page everything you need to be tracking with UTM parameters. And that’s just you have to do that. You have to just tag your with very specific data, so not just source medium, but getting on the campaign and campaign content, so you’re able to leverage that in your analytics, in your Google Analytics which you’ll still be able tracked like that’s not going anywhere that’s all first party. But leveraging more of your campaign data to interpret a little bit more and where the user is and their journey is going to become even more critical than it is today.

Ron: Yeah. So, with that something very interested in is, boosting you know advertising performance obviously. Something I always love to ask is- what are your kind of thoughts on using data to be able to boost advertising performance and paid media, social, YouTube, Google etcetera?

Brad: Yeah, it’s a great question. So, there’s what we call “event tracking” where you can you know tag your site and send that event data to Google Analytics. You essentially can do the same thing for Facebook AdWords- any really any marketing channel that can that will accept custom event data and most do. So, let’s use Quizzes as an example. Quizzes are the rage and they’re popular and they work for a reason, but you’re asking very you as the brand are asking very specific questions in that quiz about the customer and they’re answering them telling you about them or their likes or dislikes; and then you can use that to better leverage and curate marketing messages. So, one example would be, a customer of ours Coverfx, they have a three or four question about matching you to the right foundation color. So, once they know those three or four answers about you know their skin tone and etcetera, they can then use that in their emails and their remarketing that’s a very specific and curated image content – what I answered when I filled out the quiz- versus something that is just in a mass marketing message regarding just between the 20 different foundation colors that they might have available for a single foundation or shades- I think it’s foundation shade. So, that that’s one example

And another one is again if we’re using event data or tracking user behavior on a website. So, think about the filter, someone is looking at a handbags category page and they filter by like a color or size or any other unique characteristic of it- that same data that we’re sending it to Google Analytics, we also send that to AdWords as a like a unique property to an event that we send AdWords. And then again this is getting into you and your teams world- and I believe you guys do this as well, but you use you can use if conditions in your advert statements. So, you basically take the behavior that someone is doing on the site you add it into an if conditions when creating in AdWords just like an ad. So, then when again if it’s a potentially if it’s a remarketing audience, they are going to see in that ad for the brand you know the title of the ad, but it’s going to be appended with essentially some behavior that they so let’s say they filtered by black in bags. So, it could be your pending it with like the color black or something else specific that the user did on site. We’re not getting too much in the weeds on that specific use case. Those are two examples of you collect the data like the behavior-based data- not paid you base data you collect that data and then you can leverage that in Clayview and Facebook and AdWords and others.

Ron: I love it. I appreciate how you go into that kind of detail because I think it’s really good to hear I think a lot of us out there when it comes to use data is like, “Oh just you know take your data and segment it.” There’s not really a whole lot of kind of actual items. I love the quizzes- I’ve never honestly heard of it. So, that’s really impactful and I like it. Speaking of another rabbit hole I want to go down with you is attribution modeling. I know we could talk about all day we do this, but you know I kind of would just kind of get it sense like why do you think attribution modeling is important and what do you think is the best way to use attribution modeling nowadays?

Brad: Oh man that’s a loaded question. Depending on the way answer I could get lots of pitchforks coming my way. The attribution it’s like the Holy Grail and most are never going to get there and honestly it for most it’s not worth the effort. I think there’s answering the question as we are in today in 2020 that the attribution, there’s [more than three] three ways that were most involved in. I see is you have the Google Analytics customer attrition model where you can customize it. It’s very click-based depending if you are upgraded analytics plan you, they can actually send an impression data from AdWords. But essentially it allows you to move around attribution. So, if you are very heavy on new customer acquisition and less on profit you might give higher weight like 80% to the first touch and then maybe spread out the rest between the middle and the last touch or there’s so many different combinations in there. But with a custom model that you can create inside of analytics, you can do things like zeroing out any revenue attributed to direct. So, if you have a path to purchase where somebody comes in through a Facebook prospecting ad and then they are they click on the display retargeting ad and then they potentially come back direct to the site- with this rule you can set up an analytics, instead of direct having revenue attributed to it and your standard source meeting reports, that revenue is then taken away from direct and then it’s redistributed out to Facebook and Google in that example. And that is something when we set that up, it’s super simple to setup it we usually see anywhere from like a twenty to fifty percent drop in revenue that’s attributed to Direct which is critical when you’re starting to measure and evaluate ROI for different marketing channels. So, hat’s like the easiest one to get set up- easy as in relative. You don’t need new software to do it you just need to make sure you have your traffic tagged with UTM parameters and then just know how to create a custom model inside of analytics.

Facebook has there an attribution tool as well where you can push data into Facebook and then that allows you to get more view through. So, everyone if you’re listening to this, it is a high likelihood that you are advertising on Facebook so it’s important to look at view through and seeing how view through impressions are impacting. So, that’s one that it’s fairly new for some and most don’t have them implemented. And then there’s other third-party attribution tools like, a Rocker Box, I’m having a Brain Bucket Reports, I think. Anyway so there’s the other third parties and essentially with what I know some of them are doing they’re just ensuring that you know all of your traffic like every campaign link is tagged and then they have the software that’s helped match  back to that users journey in different tags, clicks and packs that they came through to the site.

So, with that one to two years out when all third-party cookie tracking is blocked and just general like cookies and browsers in general have locked down a lot of that historic like record for, a user attribution as we know what today is going to be it’s going to be even more difficult to manage. Because you if at just in Google Analytics. you won’t have that user that one single user who’s been cookie for 60 days and you can see their entire path to purchase and analytics. More than likely that one user like you Ron, would potentially look at look like three to four unique users inside of Google Analytics because essentially all of your data is reset from these browsers cracking down.

So, again we can talk all day about it. So, I think it’s important looking at it now seeing what you’re able to do and use it to help you know understand what channels are performing better on top of the funnel. So, attributing to email signups or product views etcetera and then what campaigns or channels are performing better at the bottom of the funnel and initiating checkout and purchases.

Ron: Yeah. And its so funny how many merchants out there will only use the last click attribution because it’s default in Google Analytics. There are some better ways to look at your attribution modeling especially when you have an item that is a high price point, you’re going to have a lot of multiple check points until you convert them into a customer. And really what happens these merchants just focus on their kind of high retention retargeting email kind of channels. It really chokes off their acquisition channels from SEO-PPC because they think it’s not making them as much revenue. And ultimately hurts their growth and really stunts it.

With that the last rabbit hole I want to go down with you is event tracking, because I’m honestly very unaware about event tracking and how to leverage this. I’m really curious you know we talk pre-show a lot about it you had a lot of great ideas about event tracking and how to leverage that better. So, what are kind of some key ways that you help merchants better use events?

Brad: So, the first thing is we help merchants with we help enable the possibility of event tracking most don’t do it because it’s too technical or takes up too much time. So, we built a Chrome extension that we launched in January this year actually we launched last year, but it’s a point and click on your website and we automatically create the tag and a trigger for that event. So, if you wanted to track main navigation or people clicking on your reviews or downloading or watching a video or downloading a PDF, those are what I define as events and that’s what our Chrome extension that we have can help enable that; so you don’t need us potentially or someone technical to do that for you.

Event tracking again, it goes back to her oh my earlier statement just in regards to how the different marketing platforms how they just named things. Again, you have the Facebook Pixel, the Google tag, Twitter called is something in between, it’s really all events it’s the non-page view behavior that someone is taking on site. And what we help some examples of brands that we helped implement event tracking and leverage it is. If you just think about a landing page so you have a big campaign whether it’s your product launch or a new product line and you’re driving all the traffic to maybe one or two landing pages. And it’s not likely to you know be a direct response purchase so some example events that you could collect on that page to evaluate performance would be how long are they on the page and don’t rely on the native time on page metric in GA, it’s false it’s accurate- I won’t get into why, but I’m actually having a timer based trigger so you can send an event to analytics into Facebook of someone’s been on here for 10/20/30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes. So, if you have that one single event and you go down the Facebook remarketing rabbit hole. If you know that a user just in a cohort if you know that yeah 20% of users are on the page for 10 seconds or less, but then you had you know a 30% of users are on that page for more than two minutes, they’re digesting that content, it’s more likely to be a higher value remarketing audience; so that’s just one event or example. And how you can leverage that in your marketing campaigns and then just other events as you think about a landing page watching a video so that’s an event. You can track people are watching that and that’s you know that’s a signal of intent essentially, you can even track how long they’ve watched a video. Do you have any call to actions or any FAQ? FAQ is actually one that we use all the time, it’s amazing you track graphic use and track what people are expanding or reading, you can see the conversion rate for those. And it is an easy way to help optimize the site because again, you users are telling you exactly what they are interested in or what they’re wondering. You see the conversion rate from that and you basically use that data to improve the site experience. PDF downloads etcetera, but essentially you let’s say you have five to eight or nine events that are set up on that landing page for the campaign is you can pull that back and then look at those campaigns in analytics or Facebook or AdWords or whatever it is and you can just think about like a table row report where you have your dimensions at your campaigns. And then each column is number of sessions number of people that you know we’re on the page for 30 seconds, number of people that watch the video that signed up for an email that eventually viewed a product or performed some other activity. We’ve seen that just make huge dividends and tweaking landing pages tweaking messaging etcetera.

I could go on all day. I love event tracking obviously, it’s what we do, it’s what we specialize in, but there’s just so much that you can do with it.

Ron: Yeah, it’s very powerful data. It’s interesting too we’ve been in a lot of kind of like the video tracking as well and it’s really interesting we can do with it now; can really help you measure performance. Last question I’d love to ask everyone is, what do you see as a future of eCommerce?

Brad: Oh man that’s a loaded question. You put me on the spot here. Number one, Shopify is not going anywhere. I don’t see any new platforms that are going to be able to take a big chunk of their just stranglehold and growth that they’ve had over the e-commerce platform just the market in general they to me it’s just very clear they’re continuing to go deeper and deeper on fighting Amazon whether it’s intentional or not the steps that are taking in terms of fulfillment and really just removing every boundary or every friction that an entrepreneur might have in creating and scaling an eCommerce brand. They’re really making position themselves as though any other great competitor to Amazon. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if they start getting- I mean the fulfillment that they rolled out that was really a really smart move it’s not- I don’t even think it’s technically out of beta. But I could see them doing something similar to or Amazon was going with Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, enabled a whole different business segment for them. So, I would say probably one big prediction I’d have is actually a pretty big acquisition that Shopify might make in the next couple of years to- I don’t know who will be or potentially what it will you know what it will be but I could see something big like that Whole Foods purchase to position something that some direction that they want to take whether it is like more local food based distribution or just making their ability to for merchants on Shopify platform to meet that one day – same day – two day shipping turnaround time the Amazon has.

Obviously, the coronavirus that’s throwing a mix in everything if in on some hands as in eCommerce its people are just have blown past their goals. So, I think with anything coronavirus has actually forced a change in e-commerce we’re just thinking about like just restaurants alone that they had to essentially by temporarily five to ten years, move up their whole thought process around ecommerce. Most didn’t have eCommerce didn’t have any way for pickup online, unless there were other third-party services. So, just that segment alone I think it’s going to be a just a huge growth in e-commerce and all the different businesses that’ll spin off of that that growth and need to support restaurants. So, it’s going to be things like you know pickup time and everything in between. But as a side, I can see that that being a pretty big growth as coronavirus not to make this political. but it’s its forced and is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Being like big picture things. tracking and privacy are obviously going to evolve. People are just going to have more confusion on where attribution is, so it’s like, “Why is Instagram not reporting or why am I not getting success out of Instagram?” So, it’s funny it we might ultimately go a full circle of wanting that attribution and seeing how all the different channels and how that multi-touch attribution looks I can actually see everyone going back to just rely on last click. So, you just rely and last click because we don’t have the ability to do, we won’t have the ability to do a lot of that, but it’s very much last click attribution, but being more intent driven on looking at last click attribution for those other steps in the journey. So, something like signing up for an email or adding the cart or initiating checkout and using that to help make some decision. So, yeah let’s talk about attribution now I’m back like, yep everyone’s going back to last click and it’s going to be very focused on different aspects of the funnel, and then just relying on some of that reporting within each platform you know versus on more robust multi-touch-multi-platform attribution tool.

Ron: Well speaking of reporting, I just got our monthly marketing report this morning. I looked at and all my APIs are broken. So, I’m going to go jump into that hell after this. Cool Brad great man, I love what you said about Shopify. I couldn’t agree more. I feel like you know these SaaS platforms are really growing and competing against Amazon. And I think as brands get fed up with Amazon, they’re going to connect more on social media and really try grow directly through consumers, so I think you’re spot on on that.

Brad: Yeah, thanks Ron. I appreciate it.

Ron: Thank you for joining the eCommerce Growth series. And a big thank you to Brad Retting at Elevar. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach us at and Elevar is spelled Elevar. Thank you and we’ll see you next time.

Join 150+ Leading eCommerce Brands

And see how Visiture can grow your revenue online through award-winning transactional focused marketing services.

Stop Waiting!

Receive a Free eCommerce Marketing Audit Today!

Audit Emails

  • Submit Email

Popular Articles.

Data-Driven Marketing + Creative Commerce = Results.

Let’s Bring Our Teams Together and Connect You to Your Ideal Customer.