Using Google Analytics 4 as a true marketer

Simply put, in the world of e-commerce, being data-driven is more important than ever before. Allowing data to be at the centre of your organisation’s decision making and embracing data provides you with the opportunity to pivot quickly to what the data is telling you. Today we speak to Analytics and Marketing guru Dan Coleman, to bring you his thoughts on how and why marketers should be using GA4.

Where to begin.

Since it’s inception, many blogs have been written, advising brands on the features and benefits of GA4: improved customer journey tracking, more powerful audiences for your ad campaigns, simplified goals and event setup, the list goes on. So, with many agencies now actively encouraging their clients to move to GA4, why have the floodgates yet to open?

Dan suggests this might be down the level of work involved in making the change. “GA4 introduces a completely new measurement methodology so it’s not simply a case of seamlessly migrating your old processes to a new interface. If you think logically, with many brands there are so many users from IT, Sales, Marketing from Director level all the way through to Executive level, who all need a piece of analytics to perform their roles. It is quite clear that moving to GA4 could cause a huge amount of disruption.”

It is also important to point out, that many agencies don’t have the internal skill set to move their clients to GA4. They will often push these requirements onto the client, essentially saying ‘Move across to GA4, then we can help you,’ which in addition post risks.

“If GA4 isn’t set up correctly for your brand, this could pose huge risks.” States Dan. “You start by potentially collecting unreliable and invalid data. Which could leave you vulnerable to making incorrect decisions. Even more so if you switch off your universal analytics at the same time.

In addition, currently there don’t appear to be any killer application for GA4 which may be putting people off making the shift. Although Dan believes you should be ready as it won’t take long for these to come around once agencies start requesting them.

What is the solution?

Dan suggests that even if GA4 is not a focus for this year. Now is the time to think about implementing it alongside your current universal analytics. “Forward-thinking retailers can start now and begin filtering it slowly into the wider ecosystem. As this is a new property you need to allow it to build up some data history before you can begin to use it. It is inevitable that GA4 will become a core part of our digital marketing landscape soon but if you wait until you want to start using it before implementing it then you’ll have a long wait as you build up historical data in the property. Essentially implement now so that it’s there when you need to use it. Because you will need to use it before long.”

“It’s an evolution not a revolution”

Dan confirms that all the reported benefits are true and although the out of the box data is pretty raw, it will allow you long term to ask more sophisticated questions of your data and pull together the information efficiently to give you the answers, and with customer journeys getting ever more complex. The key to unlocking your marketing team’s potential in 2022 is sat there in GA4.

Whereas universal analytics was all about sessions (i.e a single visit to the website), and largely unconnected to any other visits. GA4 ties in all your user activity and helps you understand more about how your audiences move down your funnel. Thus, supporting everything from your PR team generating the first view, to your PPC team monitoring last-click attribution.

“You can now understand how each interaction with your brand is contributing towards your goals.”

There are other key reasons why launching your GA4 should be considered at this stage. Firstly, you can structure the data that you are looking at in GA4 which will allow you to understand more about how your customers interact with your brand. If your first land on the site was from an organic visit to the homepage, triggered by PR or offline campaign. You could then build a custom funnel that allows you to track this effectively.

Finally, it is important to clarify that if you have already implemented GA4 using the server-side Google Tag Manager (GTM) container there are already solutions that will take the GA4 events and refactor them for the Facebook conversion API, allowing you to maintain your remarketing audiences through Meta social accounts.

Whilst there is no indication that Universal Analytics is going away, we believe there is an emphasis to be placed on launching your GA4 account and whilst many guides exist to support you, the tracking is a lot different from UA and the set-up isn’t one size fits all. If you would like to discuss support in activating your GA4 then please reach out.

If you would like to discuss support in activating your Google Analytics 4, get in touch today. 

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