This content was originally featured in the January 24th, 2024 newsletter found here: INBOX INSIGHTS: MAKE GOOGLE ANALYTICS 4 WORK FOR YOU, RED TEAMING CUSTOM GPTS, PART 3
I’ve been asking around, and the overwhelming consensus is that everyone dislikes Google Analytics 4. Why? It doesn’t feel like an upgrade from Universal Analytics. If anything, we feel like we lost functionality and data. Google did not give us a choice to opt into this system; they forced us into it. The other option on the table is to find a new system all together. Either way, there has been a lot of pain to get us here today.
So how do we make the best of a bad situation?
EMBRACE THE LEARNING CURVE
It’s important to acknowledge that GA4 is not just an update but a complete overhaul. This means a steep learning curve is inevitable. Don’t get discouraged. Instead, let’s see if we find the opportunities for continual learning. Generative AI is dominating the news cycle and the marketing industry right now. What better time to double down on your technical and analytic skill sets?
FOCUS ON KEY FEATURES
GA4 comes with a range of new features and metrics. Instead of trying to understand everything at once, focus on key features relevant to your business needs. This is a great opportunity to spin up some user stories. As a reminder, a user story is a simple sentence with three parts: “As a [persona], I [want to], so [that]”. The “persona” is the user, the “want to” is the action, and the “that” is the outcome. A user story will help you focus what you want to do with the system so that you can focus on where you want to start.
ENGAGE WITH THE COMMUNITY
You are not alone. There are a lot of people who are on the struggle bus with Google Analytics 4. There are just as many people who are thriving. Ok, maybe not as many, but they are out there! Seek out groups and communities on platforms like LinkedIn, Slack, and Discord. You’ll quickly find people to commiserate with. While you’re commiserating, you’ll also be able to help each other learn the new system.
PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO GOOGLE
Google made a lot of changes when they rolled out Google Analytics 4. It might also feel like they didn’t take user feedback into consideration. So, providing feedback now might feel like it’s going into a black hole, but it’s worth a shot. If nothing else, it might be cathartic to tell them everything you dislike about the new platform.
REGULARLY REVIEW AND ADAPT
Building habits is hard. But the more you do it, the better it will be. Take 5 minutes every morning to review your data. Set a goal for one week. Then do it again the next week. Then do it again. I cannot promise that the system will improve but I can promise that you will start to get more comfortable with it over time. You just have to stick with it.
PROFESSIONAL TRAINING OR CONSULTATION
There are great resources out there to help you understand GA4. There are YouTube channels, newsletters, and endless content that will help you get set up. You can also take our Google Analytics 4 for Marketers course to help you get skilled up.
If you get fed up and just want someone to setup the system for you, we do that too!
It might feel hopeless, but there is a light at the end of the Google Analytics 4 tunnel. If your company has elected to use it as your system of record, it’s time to embrace it.
Are you hating on GA4? Reply to this email to tell me or come join the conversation in our Free Slack Group, Analytics for Marketers.
– Katie Robbert, CEO
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