Home Commerce Will Triple Whale Continue To Be A Popular Analytics Vendor If It Makes Money?

Will Triple Whale Continue To Be A Popular Analytics Vendor If It Makes Money?

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TikTok is a dancing fly in the FTC’s argument ointment.

Howdy! Welcome to the AdExchanger Commerce Media weekly newsletter.

I’m James Hercher, senior editor, and this week’s dispatch will examine one specific ecommerce analytics company, Triple Whale, and whether there’s finally room to grow in a category that has been utterly dominated by Google Analytics.

A whale of a tale

Triple Whale was founded long, long ago in May 2021.

It successfully slid into a fast-growing organic niche as a first mover on TikTok ads and analytics, and it did so by recognizing the busy intersection between TikTok engagement and Shopify ecommerce. In January, Triple Whale raised $25 million, including a stake from Shopify Ventures, which invests in tech startups built on the Shopify stack.

But TikTok will only take you so far.

Triple Whale has also built a web-pixel-based business and now pulls in all the major ad platform APIs. And this week, it announced a new suite of Shopify app services called Founders Dash, which blends metrics and real-time sales from Shopify, Google Ads, Meta, TikTok, Microsoft, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest and Klaviyo (a ubiquitous email marketing service).

The big opportunity now, according to Triple Whale Co-Founder and COO Maxx Blank, is for the company to become a replacement or bridge for Google Analytics. He said that GA is responsive to publishers and advertisers overall, but not ecommerce sellers. GA is also in the midst of forcing a messy (and unpopular) migration from its original service, Universal Analytics, to an entirely new system, GA4.

“We’re trying to make an ecommerce-focused version of analytics that is easy to get off the shelf and start using on day one,” Blank told AdExchanger.

The popularity paradox

In just two years, Triple Whale became a popular tool for Shopify merchants and social-based ecommerce sellers. But it did so by getting its data visualization and analytics service into people’s hands at ridiculously low rates.

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Companies using a pricey attribution vendor and another analytics platform would test and then use Triple Whale on top of their existing partners because it was cheap or had useful free features.

The new Founders Dash Shopify analytics tech is also free, but a paid version is coming out soon that will support extensions to Amazon and sales on other marketplaces, Blank said.

The jump from freemium to paid is a very tough transition – especially when GA4, the purported opportunity in the market, is free. It’s like convincing people to pay for a search engine when Google has the whole world primed to believe that web searches don’t cost a dime.

Triple Whale underwent a painful business model change just last month when it stopped charging in a modular, one-off way for certain tools and instead began setting more consistent subscription price tiers.

It didn’t go well.

“WE SCREWED UP OUR PRICING ROLLOUT,” tweeted Triple Whale Co-Founder and CEO AJ Orbach at the time, because so many customers thought their rates had suddenly multiplied.

Triple Whale is in a tough spot. It’s probably the first analytics tool many ecommerce operators or marketers check on a weekday.

But that goodwill doesn’t earn Triple Whale much money.

So, where does that leave the company?

The post-honeymoon phase

Ecommerce marketing and analytics startups have been in a kumbaya phase for the past few years. Against a backdrop of massive ecommerce growth during the pandemic, Google Analytics managing to tick off its entire customer base and nearly every brand resetting their tech vendors, there was a lot of organic traction for new players.

But now Triple Whale and other ecommerce mar tech startups are getting into a sort of postcoital praying mantis phase where they start eating each other – and not in a good way.

Last month, during Triple Whale’s pricing change rollout, Cody Plofker, CMO of the DTC cosmetics company Jones Road Beauty, tweeted that people should instead try Peel Analytics, a newer Shopify ecommerce analytics startup that somehow undercuts Triple Whale on price.

Plofker was a Triple Whale adviser once upon a time, but ditched and took an advisory role at Northbeam – Triple Whale’s primary competitor in the field of what you might call TikTokalytics.

Triple Whale’s goal with its new products and its laser focus on ecommerce, according to Blank, is to democratize the data and analytics that legacy enterprise brands have access to, but geared specifically for ecommerce merchants and marketers.

“A lot of our clients don’t have these big teams of analysts and data warehouse services,” Blank said. “How can we democratize that system?”

It’s a good question, but an incomplete one. The real question is: How can Triple Whale democratize data access – while also getting paid for it?

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