With everyone talking about the recent Google announcement, there has been a lot of discussion about moving from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4.
You know what’s not being talked about enough? All the other systems that GA4 will touch and what it means if you don’t get set up correctly from the start.
In all honesty, you’re not migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4, you’re setting up a whole new system with all new data. This isn’t the post to get into the weeds, but your UA and GA4 data are not 1-to-1 and you’re not migrating your data from one system to the other.
If you want more information on that, this post will help.
What is not being talked about? Google Search Console.
If you’ve taken a tour around the new Google Analytics 4 interface you know that it is not user-friendly. You may have also noticed that, unlike Universal Analytics, you cannot do any kind of reporting within GA4 itself. So where does that leave you and your marketing planning? The anchor of most of your planning should be content. Without content, you have nothing to share and promote. With the changes to Google Analytics, let’s walk through what else you need to set yourself up for success.
You’ll want to make sure Google Search Console is integrated into GA4 (and Universal Analytics for that matter). Why? Google Search Console is the unsung hero of your content marketing. Many use Google Analytics to see which pages are getting the most traffic but this data won’t tell you what the gaps in your content are. Let’s take it a step further.
While third-party SEO tools are fantastic and you should be using them, they focus a lot on what’s going on broadly and what your competitors are up to. This data is important for staying relevant in your space. What’s missing? The data from your own website to understand your audience’s intentions.
Let’s say for example you’ve been using a third-party SEO tool to find out that all your competitors are competing for the term “chocolate cream pie”. Naturally, you’re thinking that you also need to create content to stay competitive. However, when you check your data in Search Console you see that people are coming to your site based on the term “lemon squares”. Google Search Console is the system that tells you the intent of your audience, and what they care about.
In this example, what you think you should be ranking for and what you are actually ranking for are two different things. Your audience is telling you that they come to you for fruit-based desserts, not chocolate ones. This, then, presents you with some options. You can continue to fight with your competitors for terms around “chocolate” or you can test more content related to “lemon”.
If you are only using Google Analytics data for your marketing planning and not also using Search Console you’re missing out on rich data that will give you insight into what your audience wants.
If you want to learn more about how to use Google Search Console for your planning purposes take our new course. You can find it here.
How are you using Search Console? Let me know in our Free Slack Group Analytics for Marketers [trustinsights.ai/analyticsformarketers]