Google Analytics 4: Turning Tracking Into Growth Hacking

Google Analytics is a tool that you are familiar with in your quest to build your brand. Now, Universal Analytics, the platform you are familiar with, is slowly giving way to something new. In this episode, Chris Mercer stops by to discuss Google Analytics 4.

Google Analytics 4: What Is It and Why Should You Be Paying Attention?

Google Analytics 4 is the search engine juggernaut's attempt at recreating an analytics platform from scratch. This new service aims to model what the online world is going to look like tomorrow.

You want to pay attention to this innovation because of what the world of tomorrow will bring. Google Analytics 4 exists for a future with new devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), and technical challenges.

Furthermore, Google Analytics 4 is attempting to deal with a constantly changing ecosystem. For example, the iOS 14 update and the tug of war between Apple and Facebook will alter the playing field. The Analytics 4 platform hopes to bring a degree of flexibility that will render future paradigm shifts innocuous to your marketing efforts.

Legal framework is being rolled out and users are mindful of privacy concerns regarding Big Tech overreach. As a marketer, you need a platform that's able to model conversions in a world where not everything is measurable. Google Analytics 4 makes sure that marketers have a reliable tool they can use as a predictive tool.

In effect, Google Analytics 4 is future-proofing analytics. There is a big learning curve to deal with because the shift requires a great deal of rethinking. However, as with anything in business, the faster you adapt, the greater the advantage over your competition.

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How Did We Get Here?

Hit counters is how it all started with the advent of the internet. Urchin was the hit counting service that Google bought and later developed into Google Analytics.

Analytics evolved to offer measurement of data across domains. While the evolution of Universal Analytics reached great heights, the demands of a rapidly changing ecosystem call for something else.

This is where Google Analytics 4 comes in. Google already has its Google Ads platform that provides know-how on which analytics derive. Combining their vast amount of data with ever-evolving algorithms naturally leads to what you see before you today: Google Analytics 4.

What Are Some Good First Steps?

Chris Mercer suggests that the first step is to plan things out. What questions are you trying to answer? What information will you need to measure to get those answers? What actions will you need to take based on the answers you get?

The second step is to build. This is done by asking yourself:

  1. Who is sending you traffic?
  2. What type of traffic are they sending you?
  3. Why is that traffic coming in the first place?

After you answer these questions, you set up your results. Making sure that you're measuring results properly is key. You won't be focusing only on leads but also on how you're getting those leads. For example, what pages are users going through during their conversion journey?

You need to tie the metrics together in a way that tells a story. Measure awareness of a specific journey. All brands have a journey and paving the road is your route to success. When do users become aware of the journey, engage along the way, and when do they complete it?

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How Much Data Should You Collect Before Taking Action?

When starting off, you won't be able to make reliable decisions based on a few data points. The challenge lies in understanding that the numbers are not what's important. You need to look for the trends. This translated to collecting data sufficient data that will give you a meaningful picture of what's going on.

As a general rule, Chris Mercer uses 100 of the thing that for which he is looking. For example, try to have 100 sales or other conversions before starting to make conclusions about how something works. This isn't a steadfast rule but trends seem to form if you allow for at least this amount of data points. It may take several hours or several weeks to obtain enough data to determine a trend depending on your traffic.

Chris Mercer shares with us that he usually builds a forecast and measures the number of people that see the offer page. He then looks at the number of people that see the 'thank you' page. A simple division will give you the completion rate. Chris also measures how many people view the cart page to obtain a better breakdown of the consumer's journey.

If the percentages are lower than expected, changes need to be made. Using Google Analytics, you can conduct A/B testing to determine the best solution.

Kinds of Decisions Chris Mercer Makes Based on the Incoming Google Analytics 4 Data

As Chris shares with us, he's been doing very little in the realm of decision-making using Google Analytics 4. The platform is still in its infancy and Mercer still depends on Universal Analytics for his business.

His strategy currently is to use Universal Analytics but to obtain synergies by using the new Google Analytics 4 features.

A good way to look at Google Analytics use is seeking to measure a conversation that's happening between the user and your website.

Chris closes the conversation with a gem of a conclusion. Making your reports simpler will give you the answers to the questions you're trying to answer. If you're spending time digging deeper into the data, you're doing it wrong and wasting time. Your analytics should be structured in such a way that insights jump off the interface at you.

About Chris Mercer

With a background in mortgages and human resources, Chris Mercer has built a thriving service that helps businesses leverage data. He offers a ton of value at Measurement Marketing where you can find many tools built to help marketers measure conversions and any other kind of metric you can think of.