Almost Timely News, 20 March 2022: Google Analytics 4 Migration, Social Media ROI (3/20) :: View in Browser

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Almost Timely News, March 20, 2022
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What’s On My Mind: Sleeping on GA4

This past week, Google let everyone know that as of July 1, 2023, the older Google Analytics 3/Universal Analytics would be retired and stop collecting data. This announcement, with a due date more than 15 months into the future, seemed to catch people by surprise, and I’m not sure why.

Two reasons that I can think of come to mind. First, we’ve had the “new” Google Analytics 4 in some form for 3 years now. It was Web + App for about 18 months, and then officially rolled out in October 2020 as Google Analytics 4. Granted, at the time it went into production, it still had many, many rough edges. But over time, many of those have been smoothed down. However, pandemic time being what it was, it’s not surprising we lost sight of how long ago the product was rolled out. Sometimes it still feels like March, 2020, right?

Second, Google Analytics 4 is a major head shift for people. Previously, Google Analytics was more or less one-stop shopping. It did a lot of things, but not necessarily any one thing especially well. You set up everything in it, rolled it out, and then reported on things from it. Google made clear from the very beginning that the best practice now is to use a combination of three tools that aim to be best at their specializations. Configuration and control is handled substantially by Google Tag Manager. Data ingestion, processing, and analysis – true analysis – is handled by Google Analytics 4. Reporting is handled in Google Data Studio.

None of this was a secret; Google has made clear their design intent for some years now. But because it’s a major change, a lot of people slept on it. This is partially compounded by the fact that for the last 18 months, there was no compelling external motivation to move off Google Analytics 3. It was still working as well as ever.

So, we slept on it because there was no compelling reason to switch and we lost track of the time. Understandable. Now what?

Now it’s time to begin migrating. It’s time to wake up and realize that in 2 years, our legacy Google Analytics data may not even be available, so the sooner we make the switch, the better. The sooner we have data in Google Analytics 4, the sooner we’ll be able to do year over year reporting and analysis – because when you switch to GA 4, your existing data doesn’t switch with you. Some folks will be especially fortunate, if you got Google Analytics 4 up and running beforehand – you’ve got back data from the day you turned it on.

I’ve got a short list of steps you should take to begin preparing for migration; go follow the general outline and get started today. I would add this: the day you get GA 4 on your website and collecting data is the first day of year over year reporting you’ll be able to do in a year’s time. You may have slept on Google Analytics 4, but this is your wake up call.

And if you need help with your migration, hit us up.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

If I had to pick one thing for you to review this week, it would of course be the writeup on what’s going on with Google Analytics. It’s worth your time to read through and see what’s happening.

Skill Up With Free Classes

These are just a few of the free classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.

Get Back to Work!

Folks who post jobs in the free Analytics for Marketers Slack community may have those jobs shared here, too. If you’re looking for work, check out these five most recent open positions, and check out the Slack group for the comprehensive list.

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What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

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Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

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Events I’ll Be At

Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:

  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, April 2022, virtual
  • MarTech Conference, June 2022, virtual
  • MAICON, August 2022, Cleveland, OH – use code PENN150 for $150 off any conference ticket
  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, October 2022, Boston

Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.

If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.

Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.

How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn


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