The Power of Accurate Subscription Data (And Knowing Your Channels)

Having access to and analyzing accurate subscription data is key to improving customer retention, boosting engagement, and elevating your eCommerce brand.

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    ✍🏽 Written by Blake Wisz, Head of Marketing at Littledata

    Every eCommerce manager wants to improve engagement and retention, but where should you start? Well first, let’s consider this: do you really know which channels lead to long-term subscribers?

    Reimagining subscriptions — this is the call to brands and eCommerce managers from the Smartrr team to encourage merchants to pursue the best possible way to use subscriptions. The goal, of course, is to drive long-term customer engagement, retention, and empower existing customers over their buying experience. In this article, we will go over why subscription data is important, how Smartrr and Littledata enable better retention, and how UNREAL® has grown their DTC brand using subscription data in their campaigns.

    Accurate Subscription Data: A Single Source of Truth

    Knowing your channels as a brand fuels clear intentions, as author Seth Godin says about “who it's for and what it's for” when marketing to customers. Brands are well educated and informed when it comes to the importance of offering subscriptions in scaling up their customer base and charting course to sustainable revenue. Brands are doing this by using key eCommerce indicators like Lifetime Value (LTV) and subscriptions as a mechanism to retain and engage customers, which Smartrr recently shared could be up to 25x cheaper than acquiring a new one.

    Littledata Cloud Workflow

    At Littledata, we have a large cohort of users being Smartrr with their data and analytics. With Littledata, you can click-to-connect your Shopify store and Smartrr subscription app to Google Analytics 4. From this, we have seen brands increasing their knowledge around which channels are driving customers with the highest LTV or which channels may be driving one-off-orders. So why is this important for brands?

    Having accurate subscription data can really be an indicator for marketing and growth leaders to do many things, but here are a few fan favorites: 

    • Determining or planning a financial budget for paid media or campaigns
    • Getting accurate subscription data in GA4, the powerful new version of Google Analytics and or Twilio Segment
    • Creating custom exploration funnels on the steps users take prior to conversion including crucial checkout steps
    • Separating one-time vs. recurring orders 
    • Segmentation by payment source, subscription plan type, and product category

    This serves up data for brands to take action and dive into analysis for key subscription lifecycle events like first-time subscriptions, recurring orders, one-time orders, and refunds. Popular checkout events include contact information, shipping information, and thank you/confirmation pages. Having this information gives brands the ability to improve ROAS by analyzing the LTV by marketing channel. 
    With this information, you can easily: 

    • Build more targeted audiences
    • Improve Google Ads or social channels like Facebook Ads, Pinterest Ads, etc. 
    • Analyze demographics for creative or campaign development based on channels that perform the best 
    • Get full marketing attribution of events through server-side tracking that may have been previously lost due to iOS updates or ad blockers 
    • Trigger campaigns based on events in Klaviyo or Iterable
    Unreal Peanut Butter Cups

    The Results Taste Great! 

    When you know your channels, you are equipped with accurate attribution and all the eCommerce touchpoints of your ideal customer. One brand we’ve seen grow subscribers through data is UNREAL®. 

    UNREAL® created a better for you candy with better ingredients that boast nearly 51% less sugar than mainstay alternatives out there. While the demographic for chocolate is vast, they were able to capture attention on shelves and online from parents who want their kids to enjoy sweet treats without the unnecessary sugar. 

    Knowing how busy people are, UNREAL® made the Smartrr move by jumping into subscriptions for their customers. Sure, you can grab their products at your local Target — but if the item gets missed or not added to the list, folks may have to grab an alternative that isn’t as healthy. 

    Giving their customers the option of using subscriptions to always have a healthy chocolate candy option on hand has grown and optimized their business. When chatting about this growth with Leah Greenberg, DTC Manager at UNREAL®, she said:

    “These days, there are many sources of customer interactions, and therefore opportunities to extract insights. It is important for UNREAL® to have tools at our disposal to aggregate and analyze this data and leverage the insights to further understand our consumers and grow the business. 

    One goal of ours this year is to learn more about the lifetime value of our online consumer and use this data to continue to provide value to our customer through experiences like subscriptions. Littledata and Smartrr are both important tools in this project.” -- Leah Greenberg, DTC Manager at UNREAL®

    Unreal Healthy Snacks

    Their team also has a single source of truth when it comes to data and which channels are driving subscriptions, like their social channels (e.g., Facebook or Instagram). Understanding these channels also helps them to develop campaigns that drive excitement and engagement from their top customers by releasing special promotions and flavors.

    Unreal Nostalgic Bliss Campaign

    One example we like is a piece of social creativity UNREAL® developed as a tribute to all those 90s kids out there! Knowing that this generation would pick up on the nod to the pop-culture and tech of their day, the team cleverly paired up iconic images with their different chocolate colors. This is one creative way to target the right demographic on a known channel and drive engagement and purchases.

    Wrapping It Up

    We know that in 2023, brands are working harder than ever before to retain and engage their customers. Consumer confidence hit a lull, and growing without accurate subscription data can make efforts even more difficult. Here are a few takeaways we want to leave you with for the rest of this year: 

    1. Buyers may be more sensitive to prices, and what is most important to them is seeing “clear intentions” in your marketing.
    2. Brands will need to continually communicate the value of their product to retain and nurture their current customers. 
    3. Knowing your channels is key to being more strategic with acquisition spending or retention marketing.
    4. Focus on Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) by channel to increase retention on those channels (paid, organic, or both). 
    5. If there is even a slight increase in consumer confidence and competitors are pulling back, then that may be a good time to increase spend.

    This post is a product of a partnership between Smartrr and Littledata. Try Littledata for 30 days free to track and access your subscription data from Smartrr in Segment or Google Analytics 4. Just learning about Smartrr to level up your subscription offering and increase customer engagement? Check out their product page to learn more.