Google very recently announced that new Search Console integration, new data-driven attribution, and new machine learning models (that are intended to help fill in gaps in measurement) are making their way to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). While Google isn’t giving us a lot of information about when the changes will be implemented, the wording of its announcement makes it clear that change is on the horizon. In fact, it is difficult to be clearer on this point than – with these additional capabilities, we encourage you to use the new Google Analytics as your primary web and app analytics solution going forward.
Change Is Afoot
If you have an online business presence, there are three fundamental changes coming your way.
Search Console Integration
The newly proposed Search Console integration enables search marketers to observe all their relevant data within Google Analytics 4, including site rank and information related to the process of going from query to click.
Soon, attribution reports will provide data-driven attribution – without the minimum thresholds you are used to. This change comes on the heels of Google’s announcement that it is moving past last-click attribution (which allotted 100 percent of the credit for goal conversion to the last click involved) and is turning to data-driven attribution (a more holistic approach that allots conversions according to how potential customers engage with your online offerings and to how they ultimately make their way to your customer lineup) for all future Google Ads conversions actions. Once data-driven attribution is fully implemented at the property level, you’ll have access to data related to revenue and conversions in both your Conversions reports and Explorations.
Machine Learning Models
At best, customer behavior can be inscrutable, and Google’s new GA4 modeling capabilities – as they relate to both conversion modeling and behavioral modeling – are intended to help flesh out your understanding (when identifiers, such as cookies, aren’t available). While conversion modeling (figuring out where conversions are likely to come from and assigning them to the appropriate channels) has already hit the scene, behavioral modeling is on the way. Behavioral modeling leans heavily on machine learning to fill behavioral data gaps, including the acquisition of telling information related to the number of daily active users and to the average revenue generated per user.
Why It Matters
When it comes to Google, even small changes matter, and these changes amount to a big deal that should have all search marketers sitting up and taking notice. Your bottom line is conversions, and data related to last clicks is only going to get you so far when it comes to your conversion-fostering efforts. Search Console integration will provide you with a fuller picture of what’s happening in your conversions, which should translate to savvier investment decisions. GA4’s at-a-glance approach makes obtaining the information you need – in the format you need it in – that much more accessible and informative.
About Modeled Conversions
On Google’s about modeled conversions page, the Goliath addresses the matter of estimating online conversions when they cannot be directly attributed without identifying users – as a result of privacy concerns, technological limitations, device hopping, and more. Google reports that including modeled conversions in GA4 allows it to provide all the following benefits:
- Offering more accurate reporting
- Improving automated bidding
- Optimizing advertising campaigns
These are all good things, and toward this end, Google is committed to best practices that are intended to benefit search marketers like you.
Checking It Twice and Keeping Users Abreast
Holdback validation is a best practice of machine learning that helps maintain Google model accuracy. The information gleaned from observed conversions that were held back is used to fine-tune modeled conversions, and Google is committed to letting you know about any changes that may affect your data’s big picture.
Google will only include modeled conversions when the quality of the information obtained is nearly unassailable. In those instances where there isn’t enough data to inform the model predictably, Google will adapt its response in an effort to both recovers lost observability and forestall overprediction.
Google will apply its generalized algorithms specifically to your unique business concern and to your customers’ unique behaviors in order to better reflect your unique data needs.
Google has a policy against fingerprint ID or any other attempts to identify specific users. Instead, Google aggregates the immense amount of data it gathers – in terms of historical conversion rates, geo, time of day, type of device, and more – to predict the likelihood that conversions are forthcoming.
Tough Transitions Ahead
Timing is a bit tricky with this one. Although GA4 was introduced almost a year ago, Universal Analytics has yet to be depreciated. The changes featured and Google’s strong hints about GA4’s significance make it clear that preparing for the inevitable is well advised. For your part, this means setting up your G4 properties sooner rather than later, familiarizing yourself with the platform’s basics, and gathering that data. There is no denying that Google-related growing pains are hard on everyone – and becoming proficient with Universal Analytics was challenging enough. Like any challenge, however, the key to prevailing is perseverance and – when you have forewarning – preparation. The forewarning is out there, which makes preparation paramount.
Give Yourself a Leg Up by Consulting with a Digital Marketing Pro Today
The thought of Google hitting you with something new is never easy, but it is also nothing if not inevitable. The good news is that you are not alone out there. The digital marketing gurus at The Web Guys are over here, and we are well-equipped to help you get up and running with Google Analytics 4. Because Google said so and because the work ahead is less of an event and more of a process, you shouldn’t wait to contact or call us at (317) 805-4933 today for more information on how we are already setting this up on your behalf.