July 07 2023

5 Reasons GA4 is a Game-Changer for Performance Marketing

The sunset of Googles Universal Analytics on July 1st 2023 has accelerated the adoption of the new analytics platform, GA4. For many marketers and businesses, Universal has been an ever presence in how they attribute traffic and conversions on through their website, so it’s not a huge surprise that businesses and marketers are facing challenges when adapting to the changing in reporting, data accuracy and attribution of website traffic and conversions.

There’s been a great deal of focus on discrepancies in reporting, we’ve been working with our GA4 for over 18 months now and believe it has huge benefits and opportunities for business engaging in performance marketing campaigns. It’s packed with enhanced features designed to give businesses a competitive edge, from enhanced user journey tracking and improved conversion tracking to data-driven attribution and seamless integration with Google Ads.

Through our firsthand experiences, I wanted to share my thoughts on the key new features GA4 brings to your performance marketing campaigns.


1. Enhanced user journey tracking

One advantage of GA4 is enhanced user journey tracking. It provides a comprehensive view of the user journey across multiple devices and platforms. With its event-based model, GA4 allows you to track specific user actions to understand how users engage with your marketing campaigns at a granular level. This level of tracking empowers you to identify patterns, improve your campaigns, and user experiences. By gaining insights into the user journey, you can identify the most effective touchpoints and make data-driven decisions to enhance your performance marketing efforts.

GA4’s enhanced user journey tracking provides valuable information for building remarketing audiences. By analysing customer journeys, you can identify where users are falling off after visiting your website from a paid search ad. For example, you can create tailored ads for specific audience segments. If users frequently add products to their basket but fail to complete the purchase, you can create a “non-purchasers” audience and target them with ads to remind them of your business, encouraging them to return to the website and complete the purchase.


2. Enhanced conversion tracking

GA4 has the ability to use enhanced conversion tracking. It offers a more robust and flexible ecommerce tracking system compared to Universal Analytics. GA4 provides improved tracking of both Primary and Secondary ecommerce metrics such as product views, add-to-cart events, and purchase conversions. This level of granularity allows you to gain deep insights into user behaviour throughout the ecommerce funnel. You can understand how users interact with your products, improve your offerings, and identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. GA4 also supports enhanced measurement capabilities, allowing you to track subscription sign-ups, upsells, and cross-sells. These features enable you to optimise your ecommerce performance marketing efforts by understanding the effectiveness of different product offerings, identifying upsell opportunities, and improving overall revenue generation.

Having enhanced conversion tracking in place within GA4 gives you more clarity on your internal conversion touchpoint process. You can work out conversion rates between each touchpoint, from the initial conversion from a paid ad to becoming a revenue-generating customer. This opens opportunities to use value-based bidding strategies within your Google Ads campaigns, even if you’re a B2B business and your primary conversions are contact form submissions or PDF downloads for example. By utilising the full conversion touchpoint process, calculating the conversion rate and value of each touchpoint, and assigning an average order value to the final conversion touchpoint, you can apply that value to the conversion in Google Ads. This allows you to see estimated revenue numbers you are driving for both ecommerce and B2B campaigns, giving you insights into the level of profitability you are generating for your client.


3. Data-driven attribution

Data-driven attribution is another valuable feature of GA4. Unlike Universal Analytics, which used last-click attribution, GA4 utilises advanced attribution models that use machine learning to assign credit to various touchpoints in the customer journey based on their contribution to conversions. This approach provides a clearer understanding of data patterns and user behaviour, leading to more reliable insights. For example, when looking at GA4 for the number of conversions from the default channel group, ‘Paid Search’ the conversion number is much more reliable compared to the figure that Universal Analytics would show. GA4’s data-driven attribution aligns closely with Google Ads’ recommended attribution model, reducing discrepancies and providing more accurate conversion numbers. While data-driven attribution requires enough data to produce reliable results, as your data set grows, the accuracy of the attribution model improves, providing actionable insights for your performance marketing efforts.

It’s worth noting that the implementation of data-driven attribution may take some time to generate meaningful insights, especially with limited data or with a new website or app. However, as you accumulate more data, the attribution model becomes more accurate, resulting in more reliable and actionable insights for your performance marketing efforts. This is why we recommend rolling out GA4 for sites while Universal Analytics is still running. By importing Google Analytics 4 conversions and allowing them to run as secondary conversions for at least 15 to 30 days before switching to primary, you can ensure there are no major discrepancies and smoothly transition from bidding on Universal Analytics to bidding on Google Analytics 4 conversions.


4. Attribution reporting

The attribution reports provided by GA4 offer a comprehensive understanding of the contribution of each touchpoint in the customer journey, enabling you to make data-driven decisions in allocating your marketing budget and resources. These reports go beyond simple last-click or first-click attribution models and provide valuable insights into the impact of different channels, campaigns, and specific marketing efforts.

By analysing the attribution reports in GA4, you can identify the touchpoints that are most influential in driving conversions. This allows you to prioritise and make changes to your marketing efforts based on their effectiveness. For example, you may discover that certain channels or campaigns have a higher conversion rate or contribute significantly to the customer journey. Armed with this knowledge, you can allocate more budget or resources to high-performing touchpoints to maximise your return on investment (ROI).

With a clear understanding of the attribution reports, you can make informed decisions about budget allocation. You can confidently invest your marketing budget in channels, campaigns, and initiatives that are proven to drive conversions. Conversely, you can identify underperforming touchpoints and either optimise them or reallocate resources to more effective areas.

Overall, the attribution reports in GA4 empower you to optimise your marketing strategy based on data-driven insights. They provide a detailed understanding of the impact of different touchpoints, channels, campaigns, and specific marketing efforts on conversions. By leveraging this information, you can allocate your marketing budget and resources more effectively, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your performance marketing strategy.


5. Seamless integration

A final point to consider is that GA4 seamlessly integrates with Google Ads and other Google Marketing Tools once it is set up and tracking correctly. This integration allows advertisers to connect performance marketing campaigns with detailed analytics data. By linking GA4 with Google Ads, you gain additional visibility into campaign performance, track conversions more accurately, and optimise your ad spend effectively. This results in improved campaign effectiveness and better overall results for your performance marketing efforts.


So, Is GA4, a Game Changer?

It’s clear that GA4 possesses many components to become a crucial tool in making decisions that positively impact Performance Marketing campaigns. Usage of GA4 allows for the utilisation of data-driven attribution instead of last click attribution, and its enhanced journey paths allow for better viewing of customer paths and identification of conversion path issues.

The implementation of Data-Driven Attribution in GA4 provides a fairer comparison when analysing conversion figures within both Google Ads and GA4. This approach allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of various touchpoints on conversions, leading to better decision-making in performance marketing campaigns.

Additionally, GA4’s enhanced journey paths feature enables users to identify where users are dropping off and not completing the full conversion path. By getting clarity on these issues, marketers can focus on optimising the customer journey, ensuring all touchpoints are effectively looked at throughout the conversion path. As you become more comfortable with GA4, it will be important to implement audience segmentations to further enhance clients’ funnels and prioritise the significance of each touchpoint in the conversion path.

So, is GA4 a game changer? Well, GA4 offers numerous advantages such as enhanced user journey tracking, improved conversion tracking, data-driven attribution, and seamless integration with Google Ads and other Google Marketing Tools. By leveraging these features, you can enhance your performance marketing strategy, gain deeper insights into user behaviour, campaign optimisations, and drive better results for your clients or business.

As GA4 becomes the default Google Analytics property, it’s essential to familiarise yourself with its capabilities and incorporate it into your performance marketing efforts to stay ahead in the evolving digital landscape.

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