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Google Ads Meets Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

On a daily basis, any place that has a web presence is in the process of moving from Google’s standard Universal Analytics (UA) to the newer Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which will be fully in place—with no turning back—on July 1, 2023. One question that’s likely crossed the minds of many business owners and marketers is how GA4 will impact the promotion of brands and messaging via a web search. Take Google Ads, for example.

Google Ads: A go to asset for brand promotion

Google Ads has been a dream come true for brand reps, marketers, and anyone else who advertises online. A Google Ad presents brief advertisements that include anything from service offerings to product listings that have been bid on in order to appear prominently in the search engine’s results page. The Google Ad service operates on a pay-per-click basis and has proven beyond successful. This success is evident as Google Ads has been the main source of revenue for Alphabet, Inc.—the parent company of Google and several of its subsidiaries. How then will Google Ads—something of a “sure thing”—be affected by the migration to GA4?

Distress over disruptions

One of the main complaints and concerns that many have had about the switch from UA to GA4 has been over the disruption to existing operations. The impact that GA4 will have on Google Ads, more specifically, relates to the metrics used for gauging the effectiveness of ads. Indeed, two “checklist” points that marketers must adjust to are differences in data results and that newer metrics (e.g., ratios, percentages) will be geared toward engagement. What metrics should marketers pay the most attention to once they have made the move to GA4?

Metrics to be mindful of

As explained in Search Engine Journal, the following metrics will prove very beneficial and effective to Google Ad campaigns upon merging with GA4.

  • Active users: When Analytics collects data consisting of a first visit or engagement session (lasting 10 or more seconds) from a website, Android app, or iOS app, the source this data is collected from is considered as an “active user.” This is the “primary” user metric which did not exist in UA. It is labelled as “User” in GA4 reports and provides a quick summary of the quality of visits and engagement to a particular website. Marketers can use the “Active Users” metric effectively by creating audiences for remarketing.
  • Event count: This update replaces the “Total Events” metric from UA. The major difference is that in GA4, every action is considered as an event, whereas UA would associate actions with events. For instance, if an event labeled “sign up button” is created, each time a signup button on a website is clicked, the event is triggered. This is one of the more involved adjustments that marketers need to get used to.
  • Custom metrics: This unique development in GA4 allows marketers to see structured data on any parameter. The benefit is that amidst the various metrics that are collected by default, marketers are now able to configure customized metrics in GA4 through Google Tag Manager and JavaScript code. Thanks to custom metrics, marketers can zero in on their Google Ad campaigns to coordinate the delivery of effective messaging to the most interested prospective customers, and at the best possible time.

If the enhancements to Google Ads is any indication of the effectiveness of Google Analytics 4, the end results—despite the difficulty in adapting to them—are indeed worth the extra efforts that are required.

If you are engaged in measuring analytics and have concerns or questions about how to manage and measure your campaigns as you get used to GA4, get in touch with EGC. We can help you make this transition so that your marketing strategies remain strong and active.