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Subscription Analytics: Everything You Need to Know

Subscription Analytics: Everything You Need to Know

Why measuring subscription analytics is crucial for eCommerce businesses.

Every subscription business owner wants to run a successful shop — and it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that one of the most important components of finding success is understanding your subscription analytics. Knowing what is and isn’t working well is vital in order to optimize your Shopify brand.

We know the concept of measuring and understanding data can seem complicated — so we’re taking a deep dive into subscription analytics and covering why it’s important, which metrics you should monitor, and the Shopify analytics tools to know. 

Let’s dive in.

What Is Subscription Analytics (And Why Does It Matter)? 

When we talk about subscription analytics, we’re referring to the act of both tracking and displaying any data related to your subscription offering. This can include measuring your number of subscribers, your average order value (AOV), your churn rate, and much more (which we’ll review shortly). 

As for why this matters, these metrics are paramount for effectively optimizing and growing your subscription business. 

Here are just some ways powerful subscription analytics can make a meaningful difference: 

  • You’re able to predict the future of your business. Yes, you can’t ever really know the future with complete certainty  — but you can make meaningful predictions with stellar analytics. The great thing about subscriptions (and the reason they’re known for being recession-proof) is that you can achieve accurate sales forecasting by monitoring your monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and measuring your customer lifetime value.  
  • You can increase your AOV. By leveraging data about your best-sellers as well as products that often get bought together, you can strategically product bundle, cross-sell, and up-sell to your subscribers to boost your AOV. 
  • You can get personal. Personalization is key in both retaining and engaging your subscribers. Studies show that 75% of US consumers report that they’re loyal to companies that understand their individual needs. The secret to being able to get personal? Data. In addition to collecting zero-party data through quizzes and surveys, analytics can help you delight subscribers with specific product recommendations tailored to each individual subscriber. 
  • You can monitor and reduce churn. Subscription analytics can help you keep a close eye on your churn rate which, in turn, can help inform key retention strategies. For example, if you notice a consistent drop-off after month three, that could be a prime opportunity to offer a discount to encourage subscribers to stick around. Enabling cancellation reasons is another effective way to understand why subscribers are leaving and make changes to optimize your business.

The Key Metrics Subscription Businesses Should Measure 

Knowing where to start with analytics can feel overwhelming. There’s a reason why it’s called analysis paralysis. 

Setting clear goals and knowing what you want to measure are smart ways to avoid this paralysis. As you’re figuring out what’s right for your eCommerce brand, here are the important subscription metrics you should know about: 

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

Your monthly recurring revenue, otherwise known as the gold standard for subscriptions, can help you keep track of the success of your subscription program, make improvements, and accurately forecast future sales. 

Of course, great analytics should measure more than just MRR — but they’re still the necessary baseline for any subscription analytics.  

Average Order Value (AOV)

Average order value measures exactly what you’d think: the average amount of money customers spend per order. Maximizing AOV is a great way to drive revenue. 

Churn Rate

Churn rate tracks how many customers who have purchased with your brand have opted to leave. The goal is to use your data to minimize your churn as much as possible. 

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Another metric with a self-explanatory name, your customer acquisition cost measures how much it costs to acquire a new customer. Even though the name of the subscription business game is retention, acquiring new customers is still important for any business — and understanding your most effective marketing channels can help reduce these costs. 

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)

This is one of the most important metrics for subscription businesses, as it measures the amount of money an individual subscriber is projected to spend over the course of their entire relationship with your brand. Boosting your LTV results in a healthy and strong subscription business. 

🧠Smartrr tip: The best way to maximize your LTV is to equip your business with an LTV toolkit. With Smartrr, you can drive engagement with a variety of touchpoints like loyalty rewards, referrals, one-time add-ons, trending upsells, and more. 

Number of Subscribers

An obvious but necessary metric, your number of subscribers is always a great figure to know — especially as you measure your growth over time.

The Problem With Analytics

So let’s say you’ve started your Shopify subscription business, set your goals, and are ready to start monitoring your data. What choices do you have when it comes to analytics? 

Currently, Shopify Analytics will give you baseline data. And for merchants that utilize Shopify’s native Google Analytics connection, there is so much technical nuance required — especially with the GA4 deadline approaching. 

Our friends at Littledata conducted a study of bigger DTC Shopify brands that process over 50,000 monthly orders via Shopify Checkout and discovered that only 88% of the processed orders were correctly recorded in Google Analytics. That’s a substantial amount of data that goes unaccounted for. 

To make matters more complicated, subscription businesses typically experience bigger data gaps. Because of the purchase-without-customer-interaction nature of subscriptions, Google Analytics sometimes struggles to accurately track orders. On bad days, it’s been reported to miss up to 93% of Shopify orders. Yikes.

It goes without saying that it’s nearly impossible to make informed business decisions if you’re working with inaccurate data — which is why it’s essential to find the right analytics to monitor your subscription business.

Shopify Subscription Analytics Tools

🧠 Smartrr’s Advanced Analytics

Smartrr Advanced subscription Analytics

Because we know how important analytics are for subscription success, Smartrr equips your brand with Advanced Analytics so you can track the necessary metrics you need to grow. Powered by Looker, our dashboard gives you real-time information about the state of your business.

Here are just some of the metrics that Smartrr’s Advanced Analytics gives you access to:

  • Number of Active Subscriptions
  • Upcoming Subscription Volume
  • Upcoming Subscription Revenue
  • Revenue By Order Type
  • Revenue By Product Type
  • Subscriber Locations

Plus, with advanced retention data and customer insights, you can find the patterns you need to better delight and serve your audience. 

Additional Shopify Analytics Apps

Let’s get one thing straight: Smartrr can cover everything you need for an effective subscription business; however, we know there are many data options in the Shopify ecosystem and that there’s often more to growing your brand than just subscription data. Here are just some tools to consider for an even more well-rounded data set:


Operating as a supplemental resource to Smartrr’s analytics, Littledata is a tracking solution for Shopify brands. Littledata connects directly with Google Analytics to help improve your marketing attribution. 

Triple Whale 

Triple Whale is another supplemental resource to Smartrr’s analytics. Triple Whale provides you with an analytics report card to give you a high-level overview of all of your data in a clear, easy-to-digest way.


If you’re looking for a more robust data option for a deeper dive, Peel offers “All-in-One Retention Analytics” to cover any kind of data your Shopify brand might want. 

Effectively measuring and analyzing your subscription data will make a meaningful difference as you scale your Shopify brand. And if you’re looking for a reliable partner to help you maximize your subscriber engagement and take your subscription offering to the next level, send us a note.