Q4 Updates: The Only Google Analytics 4 Advice you need with Dan Coleman (episode 111)

by April Buencamino-dy

Dan Coleman is a Google Analytics specialist and Ecommerce Wizard

He’s accredited by both the Chartered Institute of Marketing AND the Institute of the Data & Marketing Association! And via his consultancy Coleman Marketing he’s worked with many household names and startups over the last 20 years including Phase 8, Virgin, Hotel Chocolat, and Cath Kidston. Wow that is some broad experience!

Dan Coleman Coleman Marketing

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5 Steps to Get Set for Success with Google Analytics 4

  1. Get clear on the events and conversions you want to track
  2. Install GA4 on your website, alongside Universal Analytics (ideally using Google Tag Manager aka GTM)
  3. Tidy up your UTMs – GA4 uses default channel groupings you CANNOT change – so you need to comply
  4. Wait 90 days for the attribution window to fill up. Then you can start looking at the data.
  5. Ninja Tip – start working on your “User Properties” to super charge your advertising audiences (and track performance of different customer groups further)

Shifting to GA4

Dan says the challenge with GA4 is that it’s a major shift and not a gentle evolution. When people first took a look at it, it was lacking in features and difficult to set up which is why majority did not bother with it. 

When Google announced they were getting rid of Universal Analytics, they set a hard deadline for it. And since Universal Analytics stopped collecting data since that announcement, there’s been a real incentive to move to GA4.

But the most important thing is GA4 is an attempt to create an analytics package that’s more relevant and appropriate to how we use the web today, which means more accurate data for users.

The Need to Implement Today

Put GA4 in place today alongside Universal Analytics and there are several reasons why you should.

For those on the free version, there isn’t a direct comparison between the data you had in Universal Analytics and that data in GA4. If you need year-on-year data, you actually should have implemented GA4 by end of June.

GA4 also uses default channel groupings you can’t modify, so making sure your UTM parameters are a match for what Google is expecting should be done and this can take time.

One other reason is we’re not on last click attribution in GA4. The default attribution model is data-driven attribution, which has a 90-day look back window. You need to get it up and running for at least three months before you see the right flow of data.

The Benefits of GA4

While it’s still not perfect, there are benefits to using GA4 now:

  • It’s been built to address the challenge of session-based analytics.
  • There’s a lot more you can do with audience building in GA4.
  • Provides much more accurate data.

Don’t resist moving to GA4 and work closely with your developers. It’s meant to give you a better understanding of your business and how to improve.

Insider Tips

Newbie advice: If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

Dan says make friends with your digital marketing manager and ask them what reports they generate and use.

These will help you understand what the business cares about, and how the metrics and KPIs are measured.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! What’s your favourite way to improve performance?

Three things Dan mentions are:

  • Get a mindset shift – from a reporting mindset to an analysis one.
  • Get out of the last click mindset.
  • Don’t forget about user properties.

If someone listening wants to learn more about this is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

Dan recommends two resources:

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for?

One thing coming up that Dan mentions is the deeper integration between GA4 and Google Ads.

Next is the amount of regulatory items between the US and the EU and how businesses can access and process the data of EU citizens.

Lastly, Dan says users are going to get nudged towards server-side tag containers soon.

Interview Links

Dan on Social media:

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