How To Marry Up Your CRM With Google Analytics

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Your company’s internal database, such as an ERP or CRM system, may store a lot of valuable information that you can use to increase sales. In this blogpost, we cover how you can benefit from combining the data from your CRM system with the user behavior data from your website.

What is there in your CRM and ERP systems that is missing in Google Analytics?

Firstly, CRM systems can be used to store the detailed information about your customers: their gender, age, interests, marital and parental statuses, pets, car ownerships, and a lot more. One could argue that Google Analytics also provides information about the age, gender and interests of website visitors. That’s true, but this information isn’t bound to a particular user, their Client ID or User ID. In addition, you can use the information in your internal system for RFM analysis Analyzing customer value in terms of the recency of the latest purchase, frequency of purchases over a period of time, and total monetary value of purchases and create customer segments based on the recency of their latest purchase, buying frequency, and the total amount of money spent by each customer.

The additional data about the customers and the results of RFM analysis can be sent into Google Analytics and used to create new custom reports, segments, and remarketing audiences. For example: you can offer a loyalty program or special discounts to your best customers who buy often and spend a lot; send out some interesting promo emails to return those who haven’t bought from you for a while; and offer accessory products to those who often make small purchases. Speaking of segments, take a look at how boodmo, India’s largest online marketplace for auto components, managed to optimize advertising spend and improve the LTV thanks to cohort analysis.

Secondly, a CRM stores the detailed information about the products you’re selling: an internal classification that is often different from the one you have on the website, suppliers for particular items, and other product specifications. By adding this data to your Google Analytics reports, you’ll be able to track, for example, how many purchases you’re getting for products from each particular supplier, via different traffic sources. It’s also clear that you’re not showcasing your product margins on the website. However, having this information brought into Google Analytics and structured in reports, you’ll be able to quickly compare profits with revenues and understand which channels are driving the most profitable traffic.

It’s also important to remember that the information about purchases in Google Analytics may not coincide with the information in your ERP system, as Google Analytics does not provide any information about order cancellations, returns, offline transactions and purchases made over the phone. Also, Google Analytics may fail to track some of the purchase and transaction data on website pages, because of the JavaScript not rendered in the browser. If sent from the CRM directly into Google Analytics, this data may be distorted, as Google Analytics doesn’t support data reprocessing. In other words, once the data is processed, it cannot be modified — you can’t change any numbers or add transactions from previous periods.

Sending data about customers and margins into Google Analytics directly from your website is not the best option either, and here’s why:

  • Business information from your internal system may be disclosed to website visitors in the page code.
  • Google Analytics prohibits collecting any personally identifiable information of website visitors.
  • It may take lots of time and effort to tell your IT specialists exactly what data, and where to send.

How can you tackle this problem and use for analysis all the data that is stored in your CRM? Here’s the solution: upload the data from your internal system into Google BigQuery, and transfer the data from Google BigQuery to Google Analytics using OWOX BI Pipeline.

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We’ve been using OWOX BI Pipeline for a while now and we’d like to note the convenience of the setup in the service interface, the stability of operation and a wide variety of data sources. The service helps us automatically enrich our data, benefiting us with fully fledged analytics and better marketing strategies.

Aleksandr Tychinsky,
Web analytics manager of M.video
Aleksandr Tychinsky

How to send data from CRM / ERP systems into Google Analytics

Step 1. Set up data transfer from your internal system into Google BigQuery

There’s a number of ready-made libraries and applications you can use to send the data from your CRM into Google BigQuery (see our documentation for more details). The upload can be automated, i.e. the data in Google BigQuery will always be timely and relevant.

Another benefit is that your company’s IT specialists won’t have to make changes to the website, as there are ready-made integrations. In addition, you can retrieve all the necessary information, instead of having to choose what you need now and redo the settings every time you need something else.

Step 2. Make the necessary settings in Google Analytics

In Google Analytics, create user-level custom dimensions for the information you need. To do this, navigate to Admin — Property — Custom Definitions — Custom Dimensions, and click +New Custom Dimension. Make sure to select the User scope in the dropdown list. To learn more about setting up Google Analytics, take a look at our tutorial blogpost. To see how you can import the RFM analysis results into Google Analytics, see our documentation.

Step 3. Create an SQL query

The query will retrieve the data you need in the "key — value" format. For example, user number 2346 — owns a car. Save this query in your OWOX BI project — you’ll be able to simply select it when automating the data transfer into Google Analytics.

Step 4. Set up the automatic data transfer from Google BigQuery to Google Analytics using OWOX BI Pipeline

OWOX BI Pipeline allows you to automatically import the data retrieved by the query into Google Analytics. You only configure the data transfer once, and all the future data uploads will be performed without your direct participation (see our documentation for more details). The detailed information about the data transfer will be available on the pipeline page in the OWOX BI interface.

table

As a result, your data will be integrated as shown on the flowchart below:

Integrating CRM Data with Google Analytics

Benefits of the solution

  1. The data can be uploaded to Google BigQuery in the structure you need, saving the time of your IT specialists.
  2. You can pre-validate the data before sending it to Google Analytics, which makes it quicker and easier to pinpoint possible errors.
  3. OWOX BI Pipeline monitors the limits of the Google Analytics Management API. Should anything go wrong during the data transfer, the service will notify you and provide recommendations on how to fix the issue.
  4. Upon uploading the data from your internal system into Google BigQuery, you can not only import it into Google Analytics, but also create any custom reports you need, based on this and other data you have in Google BigQuery.
  5. You can control the data you send, without ever having to involve the IT department. For example, you can easily add a new field to the table in case you only uploaded color specifications for a product, and now also need to upload materials. Or, you can add another Google Analytics property if you decide to collect data simultaneously in multiple properties.

As a result, you’ll obtain additional data in Google Analytics, which will allow you to create custom reports and segments of your visitors. You’ll also be able to create remarketing audiences, using detailed information about your customers, and never offer irrelevant products to your customers. Showcase diapers to families with babies, and cat food to cat lovers. Just don’t get those two mixed up :)

How do you create remarketing audiences? Comment and share your experience and thoughts about this post!

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