The Benefits and Downsides of Switching from UA to GA4

The Benefits and Downsides of Switching from UA to GA4

GA4 (Google Analytics 4) has been released for some time now and if you use Universal Analytics, you’ve seen the pop-up prompting you to switch over. At Population Science, we’ve switched all of our clients over to GA4 to start collecting data as soon as we could, but we noticed some things we’d like to share with you here.

Benefits of switching to GA4

GA4 offers a range of new features and improvements to include some of what I’ve listed here.

  1. Enhanced tracking capabilities – because GA4 tracks by user rather than sessions, you’ll be able to follow your user’s journey throughout their devices.
  2. Streamlined Interface – while it may look like some of your favorite options are missing, they’re actually just tucked away in the Reports tab
  3. Improved Integrations – though you may not be able to see it, on the backend, but GA4 synchronizes better with Google Ads and Google Tag Manager.
  4. Advanced Machine Learning – such as automated insights and predictive metrics

While I understand a lot of this doesn’t show up as in-your-face user experience, these improvements go a long way towards building better overall data reporting capabilities (once you get the hang of it). 

Downsides of switching to GA4

Like with any platform, upgrading comes with some downsides:

  1. Limited Historical Data – The sooner you switch, the sooner your Analytics starts collecting data. GA4 data collection is not retroactive beyond when you initiate it. You could be missing out on vital business insights by holding off. 
  2. Different Data Structure – GA4 uses a different data model than Universal Analytics, which can make it challenging to migrate data and set up tracking correctly. You may need to invest time and resources into updating your tracking and reporting infrastructure.
  3. Limited Third-Party Integrations – Because it’s still so new, some third party integrations are still unavailable.
  4. Learning Curve – some marketers may need to invest time and resources into learning the new platform and its capabilities.
  5. Limited Customization Options – You still can’t create custom dashboards in GA4, but they’re working on it.

Yes, there is a lot of change with GA4 from Universal Analytics. But we’re confident that overall, GA4 offers a more flexible and robust analytics platform that can help businesses better understand and optimize their digital marketing efforts.

How Can ChatGPT Assist Marketers?

How Can ChatGPT Assist Marketers?

ChatGPT can assist marketers in a variety of ways, including:

  1. Customer Service: ChatGPT can be integrated into websites, messaging apps, or customer service platforms to provide instant support to customers and answer their queries in real-time.
  2. Content Generation: ChatGPT can help marketers generate high-quality, engaging, and relevant content for social media, websites, and other marketing channels.
  3. Chatbots: ChatGPT can be used to build conversational chatbots for websites or messaging apps to provide personalized, interactive experiences for customers.
  4. Lead Generation: ChatGPT can be used to design chatbots that can collect customer information, qualify leads, and pass them onto sales teams for follow-up.
  5. Personalized Recommendations: ChatGPT can analyze customer behavior and provide personalized product or service recommendations, helping to increase customer satisfaction and sales.
  6. Market Research: ChatGPT can assist with market research by analyzing customer feedback, sentiment, and trends, helping to inform marketing strategies and product development.

Overall, ChatGPT can help marketers automate routine tasks, provide real-time support and engagement, generate valuable insights, and drive business growth.

Good SEO can automate your Google Ads

Good SEO can automate your Google Ads

Creating keyword lists for user searches that are relevant to your business can be challenging and time-consuming. Building ad creatives at scale and correctly matching them to each of your different landing pages can also be a demanding task. Did you know that Google’s Dynamic Search Ads can crawl through your website and create ads for you? They both generate the headlines and decide the landing pages for you. 

How Do Dynamic Google Search Ads Work?

Instead of creating an ad for each page on your site and adding keywords for each of those ads, Dynamic Search Ads uses Google’s understanding of your site to customize and target your ads. 

  1. You specify the pages of the website, daily budget, and an ad template
  2. The customer enters their search term into Google search
  3. If you have content relevant to the search, Google dynamically generates an ad headline and destination URL to the best matching page on your site.

You only need to create the description in the template beforehand — everything else is automatic and based on the customer’s search term. 

Why is SEO so important for Dynamic Search Ads?

Using Google’s web crawling technology, Dynamic Search Ads indexes your website and uses that index list to ultimately determine if a customer’s search is relevant to your business. If the search term matches the index, Dynamic Search Ads will automatically create a headline and a destination URL customized to the customer search term and will enter a dynamic search ad based on your template into the Google Ads auction.

When Google crawls the website, the headings on your site are most of what is indexed, so having those headings containing important keywords is crucial. If your headings don’t contain vital keywords for your business, Dynamic Search Ads and even organic search mechanisms for Google are going to miss out on relevant searches.

At the end of the day, automating your Google Ads through Dynamic Search using Google’s AI will be efficient and fruitful when married to a great SEO strategy. These ads deliver value for relevant searches that aren’t covered by existing keywords, complementing your keyword strategy and ensuring that you aren’t missing any relevant searches.

Connecting the Digital Dots – Scaling Your Digital Marketing

Connecting the Digital Dots – Scaling Your Digital Marketing

Most internal marketing organizations have a scale issue. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom and pop or Fortune 500 brand. While the size and scope of your organization might be different, every company is facing three key issues:

Marketing has become highly technical and fragmented. 
If you are a brand or agency you’re probably hit up several times a day from a new technology provider or advertising platform that will supposedly make your marketing more efficient, more effective, and/or improve your ROADs. Unfortunately, all of these platforms take resources to setup, manage, and use to their fullest potential.

The reality is just about every marketing department has a long list of platforms and none of them are setup and/or optimized to work efficiently. To make matters worse these platforms are rarely integrated. The technology we rely upon as marketers to make our lives easier is in many cases making our lives harder because it unintentionally is fragmenting our operations.

Difficulty hiring and retaining key talent. 
This headline says it all here. Every industry seems to be facing a shortage of talent, but technical expertise is at a critical shortage. As marketing becomes more technical we find ourselves competing with other tech companies for talent. Finding people with experience on the platforms we rely on is hard enough and many organizations (especially SMBs) do not have the resources to hire an inexperienced employee and train them.

Challenges identifying, working with, and managing 3rd parties (agencies, consultants, and tech platforms).
Since it is difficult to hire and manage domain experts to service all aspects of a marketing tech stack most organizations look to outsource to agencies, consultants, or they allow their tech partner to manage their instance for them (for an additional fee). Unfortunately, the amount of experts you need is growing.

Advertising on just Google and Facebook/Instagram isn’t enough for most brands anymore. You need to be on TikTok, Snap, connected TV, streaming audio, native, and digital out-of-home. Add these unique channels to your CRM, CDP, email platform, SMS, content calendar…. (I’ll stop). It quickly becomes unmanageable to oversee best of breed 3rd parties to manage all of your platforms for you.

The end result of these issues is chaos and inefficiency. How can your organization take meaningful steps to address your scalability issues and make your marketing team more efficient?

Marketing Operations Leadership 
A lot of marketing teams lack dedicated project management or operations managers who are dedicated to making sure everything runs like a well oiled machine. While it is difficult to hire anyone with specific domain/technical expertise it is easier to find good project/operations managers. You don’t even need a senior level hire for this role. Having someone on staff that is dedicated to the operations of your marketing department will pay major dividends. It will provide the flexibility you need to ensure your internal staff and 3rd party partners are in sync and operating efficiently saving significant time and money.

Balance 3rd party agencies/consultants between how much assistance they can provide to match your goals.
If you have marketing ops that can manage many 3rd parties then select best of breed, niche partners to service all of your needs from ad buying specific platforms like TikTok, to analytics/reporting, and more. If you’re a leaner marketing organization you need to identify your core needs and find partners that can provide support for multiple items. While domain experts are great, more often than not someone who has some experience across multiple disciplines can provide work that is good enough to significantly enhance your marketing efforts (basically you don’t always need someone with a ton of experience, the vast majority of orgs can get the job done with intermediate level expertise on most platforms).

Simplify your platform/tech stack. 
This might sound similar to point #2, but this gets down to doing a good job of picking the right partner/platform. There are thousands of martech/adtech companies and I’m sure you have seen 10s if not 100s that could theoretically help your organization. I always challenge our clients to ask one of two questions:

Does this solution help us enough to take on the additional responsibilities to maximize the opportunity? 

Does this advertising platform help us reach enough incremental new in-market consumers to take on managing it? 

The bottom line is looking at the incrementality of a solution. Any time you add a solution to your stack it requires resources to manage and make it work properly. The new solution must provide a lot of value to justify adding resources to manage it.