In its simplest form, Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. If you're interested in finding out who came to your site, what they looked at, and how they behaved, Google Analytics is the place to do that. It can be accessed by navigating to the URL below:
It's free to set up an account, and we encourage everyone to do so. It's an incredibly powerful tool. Plus, if you're planning to do any online marketing (such as running ads, behavior-based email marketing, etc.), you're going to need to have Google Analytics set up. You will also need a Google Tag Manager account, which is where you will install your Google Analytics Tag.
Google Analytics & the Run Free Project
The Run Free Project allows you to track site usage in Google Analytics just like any website builder or eCommerce platform. However, it's a lot easier to add the right tracking codes in Run Free than it is to get it right on your website.
All you have to do is log into the Run Free Project platform (a.k.a. the admin area of your eCommerce store), click the settings icon in the upper right corner of the browser window, then choose "Store SEO" from the drop down as shown below:
From there, you will be taken to the SEO Settings page of your Run Free platform, which will look like the screenshot below:
There are a bunch of sections to add tracking codes on the SEO Settings page, but when it comes to Google, you should add your Google Tag Manager (GTM) tag. The Universal Analytics tag is optional, since Google stopped supporting Universal Analytics in mid-2023.
(Optional) Your UA tag should be pasted into field #1 as shown in the image above and should begin with "UA-". If it begins with any other combination of letters, it's the wrong tag.
Your GTM tag should be pasted into field #2 as shown in the image above and should begin with "GTM-". If it begins with any other combination of letters, it's the wrong tag.
The examples below illustrates this concept.
In this example, the Google Tag is "G-67890" and the Google Tag Manager ID is "GTM-12345". The Google Tag Manager ID should be placed in your Run Free Project eCommerce store and in any other platforms where browsing data is collected and sent to Google Analytics. Your Google Analytics tag (also known as Google Tag) should be placed within Google Tag Manager, not on each platform/website as shown below:
If you're unfamiliar with connecting your Google tag to Google Tag Manager, please follow Google's instructions here.
You will only be able to see traffic data that occurs after the tag is added to your site.
Confused? Read This
Google is notorious for having overly complex products and confusing user experiences (UX). In fact, Google Analytics and its surrounding ecosystem of products is a banner example of how they earned that reputation. It is important that you understand the differences and relationships between the Google products as you trudge ahead.
When you're setting up Google Analytics in your Run Free Project admin area, you'll be exposed to three Google products:
Google Analytics (GA or G)
Google Universal Analytics (UA) (Universal Analytics stopped processing data July 1, 2023)
Google Tag Manager (GTM)
What is Google Analytics (GA)?
Google Analytics (commonly referred to as GA or GA4) is the platform that other Google products send their data to. Think of it like the storage building for all your website traffic data.
As the run specialty retailer, you simply visit https://analytics.google.com/ to access GA and use it to view, slice, and dice your website and eCommerce traffic data.
You'll likely see references to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) when setting up your tracking codes. This initialism refers to the newest version of Google Analytics that is designed to work with Google Tag Manager (GTM) discussed below. You may notice that the user experience on the https://analytics.google.com page changes when you switch between UA and GA4 under your account. That's because you're switching between the old version of Google Analytics (UA) and the new version (GA4). Google deemed the older version end-of-life on July 1, 2023 and stopped using it to send data. If you used a UA tag in the past, you will need to set up a G tag within Google Tag Manager to continue to collect data. Here's an example of a G tag, also known as a Google Tag:
Many marketing agencies, their tools (think email marketing software), and even Google Ads plug into Google Analytics to function, however this is NOT the tag you add to your Run Free account.
Google Tag Manager (GTM)
For all intents and purposes, Google Tag Manager, commonly referred to simply as GTM, is (sort of) used in place of Universal Analytics.
Why would Google want to replace UA in the first place?
Great question! To frustrate you into paying someone a lot of money to sort it all out for you because it's too confusing. Just kidding!
See, before GTM, if you wanted to track site visitor behavior using your UA tag and your Facebook Pixel, and your marketing agency wanted to track behavior for their email automation software, you would have to put three tags on your website and eCommerce store (along with a few lines of code in many cases). One tag would send UA data to Google Analytics, your Pixel would send info to Facebook Analytics, and the third tag would send data to Klaviyo (your marketing agency's email marketing platform).
That's a lot of tags to keep up with. It turns out that over time, websites that aren't carefully curated end up with a bunch of old tags (and tagging scripts) peppered all over them, slowing them down and making it nearly impossible to accurately collect data and understand where all the different tags are sending it.
That's where Google Tag Manager (GTM) comes in!
With GTM, all you have to do is add a single tag (unsurprisingly referred to as your GTM tag) to your website and eCommerce store. It looks a lot like this:
After you add that tag in Run Free, you just log into your GTM dashboard at https://tagmanager.google.com/ and add the Google Analytics tracking code (aka G Tag, which begins with "G-") there, along with (optionally) Facebook Pixel, and your Klaviyo tag instead of onto your actual website.
GTM acts as the single dashboard where you manage tracking codes from different places. Basically it makes it a lot easier to keep up with all your tracking codes and it lets you see all of your data from various tracking codes in one place, Google Analytics. That's it! Simple right?
What is Universal Analytics (UA)?
Just to be as confusing as possible, Universal Analytics (UA) technically refers to the previous generation of Google Analytics which is now end-of-life. As of July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties stopped processing data. Here's an example of a UA tag:
Universal Analytics also reported on eCommerce triggers to give you visibility into every action a shopper takes in your online store. To see that historical info, you must have enabled the Enhanced Ecommerce feature from within Google Analytics.
Finding Your Google Tag Manager (GTM) Tracking Code
First, we'll presume that you have already created a Google Tag Manager container and just want to get the GTM tracking ID.
Log in to your Google Tag Manager account and open a container. In the top right corner (next to the Submit and Preview buttons) you’ll see some short text that starts with GTM- and then contains some letters/numbers. That’s your Google Tag Manager ID.
The same ID can be found in the Google Tag Manager container’s code snippet. Click that Google Tag Manager ID (as shown above) and you’ll see a popup with two code snippets. Both of them will contain that very same Google Tag Manager ID.
That’s it! Copy and paste the GTM tracking ID into the Google Tag Manager section of the SEO Settings page of your Run Free platform (or anywhere else you need it!).