What does Google Analytics 4 mean for Small Businesses?
Growing a small business while trying to navigate Google Analytics 4 can be difficult.
Hosted by Kevin Dieny
NOW AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE YOU LISTEN TO PODCASTS
Links Mentioned & Helpful Resources from Episode
- Jeff Sauer’s LinkedIn Profile
- Jeff’s company, Data Driven U website
- Google Analytics 3/Universal Analytics is going away (news)
- Google’s guide on switching to Google Analytics 4
- Why Bother with UTM Parameters (previous podcast episode with Jeff)
- SPECIAL OFFER >> Jeff’s Offer Link for Resources
[00:00:00] Kevin Dieny: Hello and welcome to the Close the Loop podcast. I’m your host, Kevin Dieny and today we’re gonna be talking about, what does Google Analytics 4 mean for my small business? What does it mean, what does it do? What should I do about this? Because Google Analytics is completely changing. It’s going away and being replaced.
[00:00:19] Kevin Dieny: Is it is being upgraded? We’re gonna dive into all of these topics. And to really help us with his expertise is a prior guest. Who shared about last time about why bothering with UTM parameters. And his name is Jeff Sauer. He is the founder of Data Driven U. He’s an agency owner, a business coach and blogger from Jeffalytics, which is originally how I found him.
[00:00:44] Kevin Dieny: And then, you know, we connected and were able to do the podcast last time. Jeff is a firm believer in data driven marketing, so yeah! And Jeff’s work has been featured in many industry publications and has had 17,000 digital marketers enrolled in his digital marketing certification programs, which are fantastic.
[00:01:05] Kevin Dieny: Jeff has delivered over a hundred keynote presentations. He’s a prolific lecturer and has done workshops in 20 countries. So Jeff, thank you so much for coming on and welcome to the podcast.
[00:01:15] Jeff Sauer: Yeah, thanks for having me. I’m really excited to talk about my favorite topic to talk about right now.
[00:01:20] Kevin Dieny: Heh heh, yes… This is a hot topic.
[00:01:22] Kevin Dieny: So Jeff, if you could kick it off for those who are like, okay, I’ve heard of Google Analytics, but can you lay the little bit of the groundwork here? Like, what is Google Analytics for? What’s happening? What’s the shift like, catch us up if you, if you could?
[00:01:37] Jeff Sauer: Yeah, yeah, so let’s start with 1999. I was a senior in high school and some guys in like Southern California created a web analytics tool, and that web analytics tool is still the same backbone, basically of Google Analytics today.
[00:01:52] Jeff Sauer: And so it’s, it’s been around for a long time. They’ve gone through a few different versions, but some of the old code. That work from the early two thousands still actually works now. Um, so that’s what we call Google Analytics or three or Universal Analytics. It’s sort of like this old code base because of all the developments in the privacy sector in mobile first development and the modern, let’s call it the modern internet.
[00:02:17] Jeff Sauer: Uh, Google had to create a brand new version of Google Analytics for the future. Um, they rolled. Pretty quickly, pretty swiftly. And then they said, the old version is going away. We’re not gonna migrate you over. We’re not gonna support you. And so that’s where we’re at today. There’s a new version of Google Analytics.
[00:02:35] Jeff Sauer: It will be technically replaced. The old version. The old version still works. The old version still collects data up until the, until July one of next year, or 2023 whenever you’re listening to this. And, um, But this new one’s on the horizon, and we’re all dealing with what it means to potentially lose data, to lose access to a system we might have been using for 15, 20 years.
[00:02:59] Jeff Sauer: And we’re all trying to say, Is this the system that we want to use moving forward? How much do we really value analytics in general? Do we ever look at this data? Are we bored with it? What are we doing with it? And so it’s this brand new thing that we’re all starting to deal with in many different ways.
[00:03:16] Jeff Sauer: And part of what I do is educate people on what you can do in the new system, and then also how do you handle the change.
[00:03:23] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, you know, this whole thing reminds me of, oh, so my dad was, you know, he had a Jeep, a CJ five, an old one, and he always was like, you know, he always told me like, okay, I gotta get this special part.
[00:03:37] Kevin Dieny: And I was like, why can’t you just get the, you know, why don’t they just make one type of Carre or one type of part? And he’s like, no, no, I need this part for this model and this time. And he is like, cuz after we’re at a certain point, They stop supporting and they stop building and using that exact same part.
[00:03:51] Kevin Dieny: So now you have to move on. So it’s like, you know, car generations, like there’s a lot of things that use this same sort of look. You have an outdated. Analytics. You have an outdated model. An outdated thing. You can’t get the same parts, can’t get the same support anymore. You are now forced to get, you know, the next upgraded version, which as a consumer, it’s like, oh, I wish they used only standardized stuff.
[00:04:11] Kevin Dieny: But they do upgrade. They do add things. There is benefit. There’s reasons like regulation, privacy that you’ve pointed out. Yeah, there’s things about everything where it’s like, yes, the newer upgraded version has maybe. Some perks, but, and maybe some things that, you know, you liked about the old one. Like they don’t make it like they used to
[00:04:32] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. But, um, in, in terms of, you know, the big, you even brought it up in terms of, okay, there’s Google Analytics, I have it today, so, but why bother with this new version? So I, I know that that’s like a very loaded question, . Yeah. But are there any things that you would suggest or say or point out for like a small business.
[00:04:51] Jeff Sauer: Yeah, sure. So first of all, I do, I love the car analogy. When I created my, my Google Analytics for course last year, I used that analogy and I was basically saying like, . Yeah. They don’t make cars like they used to. Classic cars are amazing. My dad is a 1960 Corvette still, and I know exactly what you mean.
[00:05:09] Jeff Sauer: You can’t really find parts for it. You have to scavenge and salvage and stuff like that. And cars used to, you know, the accident rate was much higher and the fatality rate was. Like 50% in a car crash now it’s like in the less than 10%. And that’s because they made ’em safer, right? Cars didn’t used to have safety belts.
[00:05:28] Jeff Sauer: They didn’t used to have anything like, you know, anti-lock brake systems and airbags and those are all things that are there for improvement. And eventually, you know, you look at it long enough and it’s like, do you continue to support the 1960 version of a Corvette or do you just go forward? Right? Well, sometimes you just gotta rip the bandit off and unfortunately that’s for a lot of us.
[00:05:46] Jeff Sauer: That’s what Google did. Now getting to the question, it’s like, okay, well how does a small business, how do you even think about or deal with this? Right? So, and, and hopefully I, I got the question right since I, I sort of went back to the example. You know, the first thing to ask yourself is what’s important to your business and what are you trying to do?
[00:06:05] Jeff Sauer: So if you’re a small business, I’m gonna assume, like I have a picture in my head as to a small business. I know that small, medium business represents a lot for anywhere from a solopreneur all the way to, you know, a thousand employees could still be a medium sized business. But let’s just, let’s just use an example.
[00:06:20] Jeff Sauer: The one that I have in my head, it’s a 10 person company. You have an office, you have a, you know, you have the, the, the head honcho. You might have a mark one marketing person. You have some sales people, you have some support staff. You have people who are doing all these different roles and. Marketing person is tasked with, Hey, get people to go to our website or, or, hey, get people to buy from us, whether it’s a website or not, right?
[00:06:42] Jeff Sauer: So they might be doing some cold calling, they might be doing some brochures and flyers. And the whole reason why analytics is important is that if you were just sending out brochures, You really don’t know if it’s gonna be effective or not. Like it’s, it’s really, there’s no way of quantifying that that was effective.
[00:06:58] Jeff Sauer: You send something in the mail and then maybe somebody calls you, maybe they don’t, but there’s really no way to attribute that to your efforts. Then when you get into the online world, it’s like, okay, well yeah, if I, if I run an ad or if I pay money to be in front of people. I have the ultimate ability to measure it.
[00:07:14] Jeff Sauer: And that’s, that’s really what this analytics is all about. And so the change from one system to the other is basically saying, okay, well do you really, you know, you’ve been measuring this for a while. Maybe you’ve been doing an okay job. Maybe you’ve been doing a poor job, it’s just been there and you’ve taken it for granted.
[00:07:29] Jeff Sauer: Um, This is an opportunity to revisit and say, okay, well what am I, why do, why did I install this in the first place? Why? Why was I excited about online marketing? Is online marketing still something that I should be excited about? Do I really care about all these bells and whistles that were there before?
[00:07:45] Jeff Sauer: Or what do I look at and just say, okay, well, Now that this thing is going away, should I change how I do this? Should I, you know, should I take this as the opportunity to, to, um, implement the new system in an optimal way? Versus when you first did the old one, the old Google Analytics, you just put it on there without really knowing what was going on, or your marketing person didn’t know what was going on.
[00:08:07] Jeff Sauer: You’re like, okay, you know, I know so much more now. There’s such a different world now that’s out there. So, um, I think this is, first of all, it’s a great opportunity to reevaluate. One. Do you, do you need any of this stuff from the past? Was it too complex? Was it not hard? Was it not easy to understand? Two, how does what, like, how does the entire idea of online or digital marketing tie into your strategy today?
[00:08:32] Jeff Sauer: And, and how can you use a system that’s more modern to get you there? And the final thing is, how much of the past do you want to. And hold onto so you can learn. You know, like it’s a really weird situation where like one of the reasons why you’d wanna move to GA four now versus waiting until July one when there’s no data in there, is that you can get year over year data.
[00:08:52] Jeff Sauer: So you can get a year over year comparison. If you have it installed before 2023 starts, you’ll get a full year of data. That’s the main prompt right now is you want a full year of data as opposed to doing it next February, and then not really knowing what’s going. Yeah. Now if you do that, if you put this in place, are you gonna benefit from that?
[00:09:11] Jeff Sauer: And are you gonna find value in a full year of data? Are you gonna find benefit in configuring things, in, in setting your strategy forth and moving forward? And then, is this again, is this the opportunity to, to get more out of this than you ever used before? So I almost look at it as like a perfect opportunity to say, Hey, maybe I don’t really need the past.
[00:09:29] Jeff Sauer: Maybe I’ll just let Google store it until they get rid. maybe I can’t really learn by comparing 2022 to 2021 cuz they were two diff very different years. 2021 to 2020. Very different . Like the last normal year we had was probably 2019. So it’s like, okay, well do I really need this data on the books anyway or should I just start now fresh with here’s how we wanna measure things going into the future.
[00:09:52] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. Wow. So, no, that’s really interesting, everything you said there, because you kind of answered some questions I, I was gonna ask, right? Like, why bother with my better legs at all anyway, and okay. I barely even got used to the old one, . Now there’s a new one. Do I bother? You know, like, and you’ve, you’ve met, you’ve put it out there like, okay, what’s the value to your company?
[00:10:11] Kevin Dieny: What are you trying to do? What’s your objectives? And, and ground it there. So then, Uh, there was still one last thing, um, and this just was from like, researching this and what people were asking and complaining about or, or, you know, having issues with when in relation to Google Analytics. Four was, okay, I, I understand my business, but I just don’t see how.
[00:10:33] Kevin Dieny: Having better web analytics and adding Google Analytics for will help me in my business. Right? Yeah. Like how do I connect the, this is a very general question, right? This just applies to general web analytics at all. But you know, how, how is, you know, getting more serious about my web analytics going to help my business grow?
[00:10:53] Kevin Dieny: And I think that that comes out of just generally like is there any value in web analytics at all? For, for my business?
[00:11:02] Jeff Sauer: I mean, is there any value in the internet? Right? Um, you know, let, let’s put it back to an analog comparison. So, if you have a retail store and somebody went into your store and then they left, you knew nothing about them, you may never see them again.
[00:11:17] Jeff Sauer: There’s no chance to ever talk to them again. And that, that can be frustrating because you lost an opportunity, right? The opportunity’s gone forever versus on the. If somebody comes onto your online storefront and looks at something, you basically using cookies and using tracking technology and ad platforms, you can follow that person across the internet and say, Hey, wait, you forgot to buy this thing.
[00:11:38] Jeff Sauer: Right? You can, you can get them to come back. You, you have like an implicit permission to do that. So would you rather have the analog way of doing it or the, the digital way of. Probably the digital way because it op, especially for a small local business, creates tons of opportunities. It get, creates a certainty where when you have somebody in your cook cookie pool or you remarket by uploading an email list, you know, you’re only talking to the people you wanna talk to.
[00:12:02] Jeff Sauer: Or if you do geotagging, you’re only geotagging in your area, so you’re only paying for what you use versus for, you know, trying to send a flyer out and having it go to your entire metro area. So the microtargeting is way better. And, and that’s the same analogy comes true to the measurement of it. So Google Analytics, it does a few things.
[00:12:22] Jeff Sauer: One is that it makes your advertising more accountable because just like how you make your software makes advertising more accountable because you can track it down to a pinpoint level. You can do micro tracking, conversions, call recording, all that stuff to figure it. Same with Google Analytics. You can figure out, you know, where they came from.
[00:12:40] Jeff Sauer: You can see what pages were visited. You can create a profile as to what pages are important. You can tweak the experience, um, you can make it so they can see the right things, get the answers. Then also with Google Analytics for you can. You can use that to build a segment and then push that into the Google Ads platform, and then you can remarket to these people, you can remarket to them again.
[00:13:01] Jeff Sauer: Um, you can have better understanding of how your ads performed in inside Google Analytics than if you layer in something like Facebook ads. You can use Google Analytics for, to have accountability to Facebook ads to say, okay, well this is working, or it’s not. It basically takes anything you’re doing.
[00:13:17] Jeff Sauer: Analog or digital from being a black box where you just put something out there and you hope that it works, to having extra information or data that you collect in order to understand whether it worked or not, so to know for more certainty that it worked because of the way that you are collecting things.
[00:13:35] Kevin Dieny: Wow, that is such a great, uh, overview of some of the value in web analytics at all. That’s awesome. And, and you mentioned something there, it’s like this feeling of, okay, yeah, I love, I love this idea. Let’s jump on board. And then, gosh, something I see it’s like, Three months, six months later, it’s like, oh yeah, whatever happened to that, uh, web analytics project, whatever happened to those sort of pies in the sky.
[00:13:58] Kevin Dieny: That goal, that project, we wanted the success, like all the opportunities we saw in it, and that’s why we put it on and we talked about it and we made sure we put it in there and you know, we were gonna track our campaigns and measure everything and see how it went. And then it just falls away and no one talks about it.
[00:14:13] Kevin Dieny: No one wants to see reports anymore. Yeah. So it’s something I’ve seen. So I was gonna like ask you about this. Why is it maybe people, businesses of all sizes, this probably happens, uh, over time. Sometimes stop caring or stop finding value out of, you know, web analytics. I guess it can, it can start off with this great, you know, roar and then it just sort of falls down.
[00:14:36] Kevin Dieny: So what’s going on there?
[00:14:38] Jeff Sauer: Yeah. . Yeah, I mean it’s, I think it’s, it’s part human nature and part sophistication with what’s out there. So there’s, there’s a lot of d. Things you can do to automate. And some things are valuable in small doses and some things are long term valuable. So for example, um, if you set an alarm, you know, every day to get up at six o’clock in the morning so you can go exercise or do whatever, you know, so you’re not late to work.
[00:15:05] Jeff Sauer: The first time you do it, it’s like, okay, I’m glad I had that alarm. It got there right? Then eventually, you know, by the end of that week, you’re like, okay, yep, and then maybe like the next week you actually wake up five minutes before your alarm, cuz your body becomes conditioned to it. You’re like, man, I don’t even need the alarm.
[00:15:20] Jeff Sauer: Then you start to blame the alarm and say, why did I even have this alarm? Or, you know, it goes off on the weekend, you’re like, man, alarms are the problem. Right? And the ultimate thing. Having some data is really exciting until that data has always repeats. It’s never new, it’s never novel. So getting a report emailed to you every day, um, and I’ve done this, I don’t do it anymore, but I would email dashboards to clients and they’d be like, thank you so much.
[00:15:42] Jeff Sauer: Like, you are giving me light in a sea of darkness. I see this thing, and then the next time it doesn’t change at all. Like, okay. Send me something new, send me some insights, boil that down for me, so now you’re not wasting my time. So I think the biggest challenge is, is just in the maturity of what’s going on, is that if you don’t graduate from just giving somebody data where they, where data is the thing, and you don’t switch to providing analysis or context as to why this is important, then.
[00:16:07] Jeff Sauer: It’s just a really efficient way of giving somebody something that’s worthless, right? . So the worthwhile thing is to tell them what it means to them to boil it down and to disseminate them. Now, larger companies get this because that’s an entire function of the business, is like, Hey, you are an analyst.
[00:16:22] Jeff Sauer: You analyze things and you tell us what’s happening. Or maybe there’s a team of analysts, um, and a small business, if you’re. If you’re in charge of all of marketing, um, then you yeah. You, you are like, okay, well I don’t really have time to go and do this thing. I’m like, I’ll get the data as long as it helps my marketing, but otherwise it’s just a burden or just gets in the way.
[00:16:42] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, wow, that I found myself thinking, wow, that’s me in so many other places, because yeah, I mean, the first time you see some really interesting data, you’re like, oh, I’ve got something now. Something is, infinitely better than nothing. And then after a little while you’re like, okay, well I have more of that something.
[00:16:58] Kevin Dieny: But you know, , it’s again, the novel, the interesting part of it is lost. So, okay. Let’s talk about what is kind of novel or, or unique or different, uh, when we’re talking about Google Analytics for, there’s, you know, In my eyes, there’s a huge shift in how the, like the base tracking is done. But I guess in layman’s terms, like what are some of the significant, maybe upgrades or novel things or changes that someone who’s only looked at web analytics in, you know, universal analytics now finds themselves staring into Google Analytics for like, what things would they, could they expect to see in the platform?
[00:17:37] Jeff Sauer: Yeah, so Google Analytics four is definitely more minimalist. It, it, it, it doesn’t overdo it with sending you and sharing data with you. It’s, it’s pretty sparse. And so oftentimes where you and, and Google Analytics universal has. Hundreds of reports. It’s easy to under, it’s easy to understand, it’s clickable.
[00:17:59] Jeff Sauer: There’s all kinds of stuff built into it cuz it was an interface that was perfected over 15, 20 years. And so I think the biggest thing we see when we log into GA four is that it’s sparse. It’s mobile first, so it can look good on a mobile. You know, it’s built with those principles in mind, which makes it look like.
[00:18:14] Jeff Sauer: Well, this has less, this is inferior because there’s fewer things. And that’s, that’s often a trap, right? Like, just because it has a bunch of bells and whistles doesn’t mean that it’s gonna be more useful to you. Um, but at the same time, it’s so minimalist that some of the things you’re used to seeing for 10, 15 years don’t appear.
[00:18:33] Jeff Sauer: Right away. Now there are tricks, and I’ve, I’ve done a lot of trainings in this where you can add the report back in there. There’s, there’s, I’m not gonna say a complete one to one feature parody or reporting parody between one and the other. Like, not everything is in Google Analytics for yet, but it’s close.
[00:18:48] Jeff Sauer: It’s like probably 90% of the way there, where if it is in Universal, it’s in GA four as well. Um, so you, you just need to know where to find it. Um, the cool thing is that you can customize the interface though. So once you find it, you can have that. The only report you see. So instead of showing you 50 things, um, it’s really just showing you the five things you can set up.
[00:19:08] Jeff Sauer: So it shows you the five things that actually matter to your business. And so it has the potential to save you time. But the problem is the learning curve isn’t like a. , you know, like a 10 minute YouTube deep dive and you just suddenly understand it. You really do need to learn the system. And the other thing, and it’s a big deal, and, and I think you alluded to, is the backend, the way the data is collected is different.
[00:19:29] Jeff Sauer: It’s, it’s a lower footprint. They don’t collect as much data. It’s not as much bandwidth, it’s not as much reliance on, on cookies for tracking and stuff like that. They basically, Minimize how much data they collect for privacy reasons and for storage reasons, and then do a lot of the processing in the cloud.
[00:19:47] Jeff Sauer: So it’s actually happening in, in the cloud as opposed to on somebody’s browser and, and through the, the bandwidth. So it, it minimizes the amount of data they collect in the way that they do it, which is, you know, generally better. But it, again, it takes away from things that, from reports that are there or they minimize everything.
[00:20:05] Jeff Sauer: So I, I would look at it as, 90% of the way there, but it shows about 20% of what it showed in universal analytics.
[00:20:14] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. Wow. That’s really interesting. When you’re talking about like the data collection part, I know that’s something that’s really important to the small businesses that we work with is, well, does it still connect and still integrate or still work with all the other Google related products that I use?
[00:20:32] Kevin Dieny: So the big ones are Google My Business, Google Ads. Uh, some of the more technical one might be Google Organic or Google Search Console. and then, um, Google Optimize, uh, for some of the more, again, more advanced, but are the typical suite of Google product and tools and things that businesses are using, do they still have sort of a connection or a connector or, or like, does that data still flow in there the way that maybe the business before we’re used to?
[00:21:01] Jeff Sauer: So I would give Google an A to an A minus for their integrations with Google products. I think it’s actually they integrate with more products or there’s more options in the interface than there is even with Universal. So they, they’ve really worked hard to make sure it integrates with all the Google products.
[00:21:18] Jeff Sauer: The one that I’m not sure about is actually Google my business. I’m not sure like what the integration is there or if there is one. I know that, you know, often times Google my business, it’s really UTM codes or it’s like tracking so you can get campaign tracking. Mm-hmm. , that, that should be the same UTMs or, which we talked about in our, in your first episode with me.
[00:21:35] Jeff Sauer: That those aren’t, are largely unchanged. There are actually new UTMs for the first time in 15 years. Yeah, I heard about those. Um, , they’re, they’re, they’re barely available in GA four, so I dunno if we need to talk too much about those and get hopes up cuz it’s like they’re slowly rolling ’em out. But, um, you know, the integrations aren’t a minus with.
[00:21:55] Jeff Sauer: Google products, it’s actually a pretty big part of their roadmap, and a pretty big part of their adoption is to make sure it integrates with Google products. Now, if you’re thinking like, oh, well I don’t really want Google Analytics for, I’m just gonna go somewhere else, well, you’re not gonna have the same level of integration with Google products anywhere else.
[00:22:12] Jeff Sauer: So they’re, it’s almost like it’s, it’s still, if you, if you use the Google Suite, this is gonna be equal. If not better at some point than what, what was there in the past. So you sort of, you want to report on Google, you need ga even if you use something else in parallel now for third party stuff, , which I’m not sure if that’s the next question or not, but, um, it’s pretty, uh, pretty sparse.
[00:22:33] Jeff Sauer: Yeah. Um, we were talking about this in the pre-interview. There’s a lot of challenges with how they’ve rolled out third party accessibility, APIs, documentation, and stuff like that, that a lot of third parties have not jumped on the GA four bandwagon, even though it’s been over two years since it was announced as a product.
[00:22:55] Jeff Sauer: And it’s easy to blame like companies and say, why aren’t you supporting GA four? But I’ve heard this over and over again. GA four doesn’t really support third party software developers as they need yet. Now, hopefully that changes, like, hopefully by the time this goes live, I, I sound like an idiot. That would be my goal.
[00:23:13] Jeff Sauer: And that’s, that’s sort of, I just tell people is like, Hey, we’re very early in this thing. It could very easily be fixed in no time, but, um, as it is right now, Third parties have a hard time integrating with Google Analytics for if there’s any kind of two-way data push, it’s fine for like pushing data in like UTMs, they still work, right?
[00:23:31] Jeff Sauer: You can tag your emails. That’s not any different. But when it comes to the tracking code, when it comes to e-commerce integrations and so on, most people have not really developed a meaningful solution.
[00:23:41] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. And I’ve seen that. We’ve experienced that with our company. It’s now development, you know, environment still in beta
[00:23:48] Kevin Dieny: There’s still a lot there that, uh, are sort of. I think a lot of developers, third parties are sort of waiting. Okay. As soon as it’s, soon as it’s at a better stage. Soon as it’s ready to go, we’re gonna jump on. But it’s always, it. It’s, you know, those are, it’s expensive sometimes to dedicate resources to development, so, but one interesting thing that I have found some appreciation for, and this is like how.
[00:24:10] Kevin Dieny: Google Analytics is sometimes implemented, which is gonna be one of my questions, like how do they even install it on their site? I know there’s the simple way, but Google Tag Manager seems to have a lot of potential for customization and a lot of ways to get data from third parties into the platform as long as there’s some sort of a web event or something that can trigger.
[00:24:33] Kevin Dieny: You know, something to pass into Google Ax for Google Analytics for, given that it’s like sort of an event based, uh, analytics platform, but in terms of how you like, kind of, we’re talking about collecting how are businesses has, has installing it, adding it, implementing it to your website, has that changed or is that roughly about the same, it’s always been?
[00:24:53] Jeff Sauer: Yeah, so tag manager, you mentioned Google tag manager. I’ll, I’ll talk about that in a second. Just, just to let people know maybe do they know what, if you don’t know Google type managers. I’ll do like a really simple version of it. , let’s start with the installing it on your site. So whether you’re using the old version of new version.
[00:25:11] Jeff Sauer: If you’re not a developer, basically you take some code, you put it onto your site and it just works. And that’s pretty similar. Like you would, it would, it’s a little bit different code. Although if you. The Gtag version of Google Analytics Universal, you can piggyback Google Analytics four on top of it and not have to like completely retag your site.
[00:25:31] Jeff Sauer: So there is some, some efficiency there. If you’re using a, a more modern version of it, or if you’re using Google Tag Manager, you can, you can sort of run them in parallel. My recommended way of tracking is to do it in parallel. So you’d send to your old Universal or your current universal analytics property, then you create.
[00:25:49] Jeff Sauer: Property for GA 4, and you send to that as well, so you can keep it in the same account and you just have two properties and you send data to both, you know, so that’s how you do it. Google type manager. Now it’s, it’s, it’s basically a way that you can, instead of having to put a bunch of code on your site, you put the code on there one time.
[00:26:06] Jeff Sauer: And then Google type manager lets you use tag templates like templates for other systems and rules so that instead of writing code to say when this page loads send data to this server, um, it just does it through a visual interface, which is really nice. So, The base code, very similar. An enhancement over the base code in or in the base code in, in GA four is that there’s something called enhanced measurement where you can actually automatically track a bunch of different things that were not available in Universal.
[00:26:37] Jeff Sauer: You had to use Tag Manager to do them. That’s things like scroll tracking. Video plays on YouTube and embeds, um, outbound link clicks, form, interactions, site search. Those are all, you can just click a button and it’s already on by default, and you’re getting a bunch of that stuff working, which is awesome.
[00:26:55] Jeff Sauer: And it, it actually, for an smb that’s pretty much all you really need. Now, if you wanted to, there, you mentioned that GA 4 does have an event based model. If you want to go super advanced and you wanna map everything that’s going on, there’s this whole storage system. Called events and event parameters and custom dimensions and metrics where you can like store a bunch of crap in GA 4 and have it lightning fast, get reports on how this happened compared to your users, but that, that requires a lot more thoughts and, and working with like a consultant or, or mapping it out internally to say, okay, what else do we want to track in GA four?
[00:27:34] Jeff Sauer: And try that, tie that back to our traffic sources, tie that back to our page views and so on. And then the final thing, It’s easy to get the enhanced measurement to get, get things tracked inside GA 4 but you definitely want to create what’s called a, like a, you want to create an event or a, either modify an existing event to create one that can measure as a conversion.
[00:27:57] Jeff Sauer: So you wanna set up at least one conversion so you can track your conversion rate. So it’s, it’s way easier. GA 4 it’s um, fewer. Jargon things to know fewer chances for error, but you also need to be more deliberate with your configuration if you go beyond that basic setup.
[00:28:17] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. Yeah. Now, and that was, that was originally the same thing with Google Analytics for, I remember, like, it was always part of the conversation.
[00:28:24] Kevin Dieny: Okay, you set up Google Analytics, great. Did you set up your goals? , you set up your conversions, right? Like you would in, in J four. So in terms of, this is another thing that I’ve, you know, something that I always ask myself, okay, I put it on there. Did I put it on there? Is there any way, is there any, um, error checking?
[00:28:42] Kevin Dieny: Is there any way you’re, like, a business is like, okay, yeah, it’s working, or I put it on there, right? Yeah. Is there things that are good to, to make sure, yeah, you did this correctly.
[00:28:52] Jeff Sauer: Yeah, so one of the most frustrating things about GA four is that you put something on there and you won’t get a report until like 24 hours later the next day.
[00:29:01] Jeff Sauer: They don’t really put things into the reports for the current day, so you almost have to wait. If you don’t do these tricks, I’m gonna share with you to see data, you know, so sometimes you have to wait in order to see how it made it into the reports and, and there’s a lot of frustrations around that, but there’s two ways to check it.
[00:29:18] Jeff Sauer: Right now in real time if it’s working. The first one is the real time report. You can actually even look at your entire session and there’s like a session viewer or a user viewer, which is really cool, and you can see what pages you’ve gone to and make sure that they’re tracking. So that’s the most basic form of making sure this works if you show up on a real time report while you’re looking at it.
[00:29:40] Jeff Sauer: The other one is amazing. It’s called Debug View. And Debug view is a way that you can actually. I’m trying to think of the easiest, simple way to describe it, but it’ll track what you’re doing without counting against your analytics. Yeah, so you can see all the events that are sent, parameters, everything will show up.
[00:29:57] Jeff Sauer: If you, if you do an e-commerce transaction, you can track that and make sure that the code works, that it’s coming in there, right, without actually affecting your data, which is really nice. So those are the two things that you can use to verify that your data’s working. There’s also extensions just to make sure the code’s install.
[00:30:12] Jeff Sauer: Like tag assistant, um, like the Google Analytics to bugger those things can help you as well.
[00:30:18] Kevin Dieny: Wow, that’s really great. And, and that goes right to the next question I had, which was, are there tweaks, settings, options, or. I don’t know, things that, you know, to be on the lookout here when you’ve put this on to get the most out of it.
[00:30:32] Kevin Dieny: You mentioned the enhanced measurement, which is, I, if I remember right, it was like a toggle, but is there, um, yeah. Are there things that a business should be considering? Okay, I, I put it on, but are any settings I should do before? I just like kind of. You know, don’t touch anything for a while….
[00:30:47] Jeff Sauer: Yeah, um, so if, if I, like, I, I always try to like do like the 80 20, the 90, 90 30, you know, so on meaning that 80, 80% of the results, 20% of the effort, that’s code enhanced measurement, creating an event, marketing as a conversion.
[00:31:04] Jeff Sauer: That’s, that’s like the, that’s definitely the 80 20 of it. That’ll get you pretty far, pretty fast. Um, and then you get into stuff. If you’re gonna do event tracking with custom parameters, you need to register them as custom dimensions. Otherwise, you’re sort of just get nothing. So that’s a pretty big one.
[00:31:21] Jeff Sauer: And then that’s probably part of the 90 30. And then just integrations with other products are really important to make sure that you set up your Google ads link, your search console link and so on. I like to go pretty crazy, re customizing the reports interface, um, creating my own library of reports.
[00:31:40] Jeff Sauer: And using that in order or collection of reports in the library, using that to customize the interface. Um, I might set up some exploration reports to look at custom dimensions. That’s the only really way to get to them. Um, and then, yeah, I mean it’s, it’s, it’s a lot of customization and getting rid of stuff that isn’t relevant to you.
[00:32:00] Jeff Sauer: I, I usually just look at tables of data, so I get rid of a lot of charts and stuff like that. So a lot of my stuff is really more. Breaking it in interface customization. Mm-hmm. . Um, and then, you know, if you’re tracking e-commerce or you’re in an e-commerce store, you wanna track that. If you’re tracking leads, you wanna make sure you set up conversions for your lead events or in a form when a certain form gets filled out and so on.
[00:32:23] Jeff Sauer: So it’s, it’s really just making sure that when you’re looking at the analytics tool, that it’s tracking the things that you want. Because again, going back to the beginning here, the only point of having a web analytics tool of any sort is that you get data about things that happen on your website. It’s how they got there, what they did in this site, and whether they did the outcome you’re looking for, if you, you know, so you need to make sure that you get at least one of those things in each of those columns in order for it to be useful.
[00:32:50] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. And, and, You know, you’ve mentioned some of the things, some of the, you know, values or interesting insights that are in there, just briefly there, but something that seems like it’s, it, it occurred enough that I thought I’d bring it up, uh, in Google Analytics. Four is engagements, which was a term, a different jargon, a different term than I’d seen before.
[00:33:11] Kevin Dieny: So if you don’t mind, like. It seems like Google Analytics really wants to push home this idea of like, engagement. So what is like engagement, engagement rates, engage sessions, see, seems like that are, are in there. That to me are like, strike me as totally new.
[00:33:26] Jeff Sauer: So engagement is a, it’s a, it’s, it’s an improvement over the last thing they had.
[00:33:32] Jeff Sauer: So in the old Universal Analytics, they basically had this thing called bounce rate. And it was anytime that somebody only viewed one page, and that was pretty much it. So they, they came in, they saw one page and they left. Um, there’s a lot of flaws in it because it was not, it doesn’t mean that they were, that it was bad necessarily.
[00:33:50] Jeff Sauer: Like you could have a 95% bounce rate and still, A 5% conversion rate and make a ton of money. Right. or it didn’t count against, you know, like phone call tracking or something like that might not have been registered properly if the events didn’t fire. There’s, you know, all kinds of stuff that a bounce rate wasn’t there.
[00:34:07] Jeff Sauer: Engagement rate is, is defined as it’s a positive thing. So instead of being a negative bounce rate means they didn’t do something, engagement rates when they did something, which is nice. It’s already a positive improvement. Mm-hmm. and the doing something is staying having your tab open for 10 seconds.
[00:34:23] Jeff Sauer: It’s converting and it’s, or it’s viewing more than one page. So if any one of those things happens, it counts as an engaged visit. And so this is a positive metric to say, okay, 44% of people were engaged in one of those three activities. and then they reintroduce bounce rate, and that’s just the opposite of that.
[00:34:42] Jeff Sauer: So it’s just the, the negative or inverse of that.
[00:34:44] Kevin Dieny: Okay. Great. Yeah, that was really helpful. And I, and then, you know, in some ways those are like similar metrics that like, I was personally always tracking like, okay, people who stay, how long they stay, what they did when they stay. Mm-hmm. , what that stay, you know, could I quantify the value of that stay?
[00:34:59] Kevin Dieny: Like that was always like, that is now rolled up into engagement, which is so I, I love that. Um, yeah, there were like some big tabs that. Like I’m used to. Just on the left there’s like, you know, the reports and they, they kind of scroll, they kind of, you know, tabulate over, but there’s like kind of two navs in there.
[00:35:18] Kevin Dieny: There’s two things that I thought would be interesting to talk about. One of them is the explorations, and the other one is like the advertising. I think it’s like snapshot, um mm-hmm. . Those to me are like fully inclusive, sort of like areas in the reporting that are all about something specific. So in terms of like what is explorations, what is the advertising like tabs for?
[00:35:40] Jeff Sauer: Yeah, let’s start with explorations.
[00:35:42] Jeff Sauer: Explorations are, When I say it’s almost like a pivot table or, or a way to like use, use your Google Analytics data as Excel so you can start to pull stuff over and slice and dice the data and get really fast processing of it. So it’s like almost like a querying tool, but it’s visual and you don’t have to know code at all.
[00:36:01] Jeff Sauer: You just sort of move stuff around and see how it comes together. So explorations are a way to. Basically a, a way to view any data that you collect in its own context. You can filter it, you can group it, all kinds of fun stuff. So if you ever used a pivot table in Excel, it’s very much like that with your analytics data.
[00:36:21] Jeff Sauer: It’s fast, it’s responsive. And then there’s also some other exploration where it’s like a funnel report. So if you, you can create your own custom funnel and see where people drop off. So there’s, there’s some visualizations in there, there’s some predictive analytics in there. Like if you’re doing an e-commerce site, they can predict which people are about to buy next.
[00:36:39] Jeff Sauer: Like I tell you which people are gonna buy in the next seven days. So there’s some really cool, um, machine learning and opportunities with predictive analytics, which are, have never been in Google Analytics before. So, There’s the future has a lot of opportunity, but for now it’s really just a way to get at some of the data that’s not in the main reporting interface.
[00:36:59] Jeff Sauer: That’s, that’s, that’s how you use it to start. Uh, and then the other one, um, the advertising report is funny cuz it really doesn’t show you how your ads performed. It really is about attribution. I don’t know why they don’t just call it attribution. Ah, it shows you, it gives you an idea as to what attribution model affects the way your data is tabulated and then just gives you a, some.
[00:37:20] Jeff Sauer: Let’s say color behind your results.
[00:37:23] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. Wow. Okay. That’s really great. I, I was, I had that same impression because there was a bit about attribution within the advertising tab that I was like, okay, this is, this is like a deeper dive down into like the conversion, um, like funnel and the goal paths and stuff that I thought were really interesting.
[00:37:41] Kevin Dieny: One of the last like, kind of questions I have for you, um, is sort of a big one, right? So , um, and this one is, alright, let’s say you’ve got 20 minutes a week that you, that a business is like, I can set aside 20 minutes a week. I can do that. Okay. What. Obviously every business is different. Their goals or objectives are all over the place.
[00:38:06] Kevin Dieny: But if you’ve got 20 minutes a week, what are some general areas or things or, or strategies you think would, that would be helpful for a business to be able to consume the important parts about what’s going on in Google Analytics for, and then that they would be excited about getting on a, maybe like getting into on a weekly basis.
[00:38:22] Kevin Dieny: So is there, is there anything come to mind to help someone who, where they’re like, okay, 20 minutes a week, I could figure like, you know, a few tips here will help my business.
[00:38:31] Jeff Sauer: Yeah, that’s a hard one because, um, I don’t really , you’re not gonna like this, but I don’t really believe that. I think that it should actually be reframed where you need to get to a certain base of knowledge.
[00:38:46] Jeff Sauer: And I think that if you only invest 20 minutes a week in it, you’ll never get to that baseline because it will be a chasing, you’ll be chasing after something. Mm-hmm. . So it’s like, I, I almost look at it as like a diet, like, you know, you go on a diet, you, you really crash. To something, you get to your goal weight and then you go into maintenance mode where you’re like just maintaining it.
[00:39:05] Jeff Sauer: I think 20 minutes is perfect for maintenance. That’s all you really need to keep up to date. You might not even need 20 minutes, honestly, per week to do that. Um, that’s great to know. But then as far as the crash course goes well, and even with the 20 minutes, like I, I actually agree with you that that’s where maintenance is.
[00:39:21] Jeff Sauer: So we even at data driven, we have a, we are introducing a product where we’re gonna give you in 20 minutes or. The knowledge you need for that week to stay up to date with digital marketing. So that’s something that we’re working on as part of our community, is to give you that 20 minute injection that you need to stay up to date with stuff.
[00:39:39] Jeff Sauer: Yeah. Um, but then, you know, the, the base knowledge. I mean, so I’ve, I’ve been fortunate enough to be teaching GA four. For two years now, so I’ve, and I’ve had over a hundred people go through my live cohorts and roughly a thousand people have gone through my pre-recorded course. And what I found is that when you have a pre-recorded course, you could just watch the pre-recorded videos.
[00:40:01] Jeff Sauer: There’s about 12 hours of content. You could do 20 minutes, which, which ended up being 36 weeks. If you did 20 minutes a week, 12 hours of content. Right. You probably would like it almost like gets the point. Where you have to relearn it again, right? You’d have to re refigure it out versus like, so, and then people drop off of online courses.
[00:40:19] Jeff Sauer: They’re like, okay. They either get too into it or the, or they’re like, I need time to implement. So we also have a live version of it. And, and so our, even our GA four brand new product out there, um, completion rates are in the 10 to 20% range, and that’s being generous for a prerecorded course. Our live course, our cohort where you get certified at the end.
[00:40:38] Jeff Sauer: It’s eight sessions over four weeks, um, 16 hours total. So about four hours a week people, 95% of them complete it and get certified. And they are, they have the knowledge, they have to learn. They, they just like, it’s like rip off the bandaid and you will know more. I have all, I get testimonials from everybody like, Hey, I didn’t know anything.
[00:40:57] Jeff Sauer: Now I know it. Now I feel confident in this thing. I know what it stands for. So it’s like, I actually think that the right way to go is to rip off the bandaid and learn it and then move to maintenance mode is what I would recommend.
[00:41:06] Kevin Dieny: Wow. No, that’s really great. And and I’m glad that you reframed that because I was looking at that.
[00:41:11] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. Like, you know, I, I, it’s the 20 minute thing is something I, it’s sort of like one of those things I hear all the time. It’s like, I got 20 minutes, it’s like the elevator pitch. Like, I got 20, you got a few seconds to tell me, sell me on this edge each time. Cuz that’s all the time that I I see in it.
[00:41:25] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. But, Once you see that something has potential, then it’s like, yeah, I’m much more willing to blew my face. I have, I’m much more willing to invest more time in it and to dedicate. Okay. Yeah, like there is some great potential here. And I think that, that’s really interesting. So, uh, Jeff, if you could, um, you, you’ve, you’ve mentioned it just recently, briefly.
[00:41:45] Kevin Dieny: Um, if anyone wants to connect with you, find out more about you, learn about your courses, your live or your recorded courses, learn more about data driven you, uh, how, you know, what would you tell them? What can you share with us? Like, so that they can find you?
[00:42:00] Jeff Sauer: Yeah. Yeah, it sounds good. So, um, it’s funny you mentioned like the 20 minutes and I was like, that’s like people saying I want a four hour, like the four hour work week.
[00:42:07] Jeff Sauer: Right? Like, I wanna work four hours a week and make a million dollars. Yeah. The way to do that is to work 80 hours a week, learning it, and then put it in maintenance mode where you only have to work four hours a week to get the benefits right. Like it’s all upfront investments for long term. Maintenance and gains, right?
[00:42:23] Jeff Sauer: So, yeah. Um, that’s just how life works. And, and I just, you know, I stopped trying to avoid it and just realized that, right. Like, so anyway, so , I’m, I’m like the first guy to tell you that it, that it, it’s only easy once you put in the work. Like, uh, that’s usually not like, um, the most guru thing to say, right?
[00:42:39] Jeff Sauer: Like, it, it’s, anybody can do it, but you do need to put in work and, and passion and, and, and really want to. So if you like what you’re hearing where I tell you that it’s not easy, but that it can be fun, um, you can go to datadrivenu.com. It’s like, you like the, the letter You, that’s my main website. And on there you’ll see that we have all kinds of different stuff.
[00:43:02] Jeff Sauer: We have freebies, we have memberships where you can join us every, every week, every month, and learn. And, and get support from experts and, and myself. Um, we have prerecorded courses and we have certification courses. We even have like how to start your own business doing this courses. Those are all gonna be available to find out on our site if you sign up for our newsletter.
[00:43:25] Jeff Sauer: That’s the best way to find out about what’s coming up next in the pipeline. And I have a specific offer that I’d like to share and. Thing that we have called our Google Analytics for do it yourself or DIY Toolbox. And it’s a set of 80 plus SOPs. So standard operating procedures or processes you can use.
[00:43:45] Jeff Sauer: They’re all PDFs and you can print them out or put them on your machine and you check the box of all the steps you need to do, the tasks you need to do to get GA four on your site the right way. And so if you wanna have a companion guide, something. Go through and, um, and get it done. Um, that toolbox will be a great way to do that.
[00:44:04] Jeff Sauer: And it’s something that’s designed to be able to do it on yourself, on your own. Um, if you decide, hey, you’re doing it on your own, but you need more knowledge than we have the courses and stuff like that too, and the offer is at. ddu.ai/toolbox, and that’ll take you to the best offer we have for this toolbox.
[00:44:21] Jeff Sauer: And it’s an opportunity to take that and to use it. It’s pretty affordable to get started there. And, um, and, and really if, if you have a little bit of knowledge, that might be all you need to get this thing to be a transitional success.
[00:44:35] Kevin Dieny: Wow. I think for a small business, Marketer limited. Maybe a company with limited amounts of marketers, man, like what a resource to be able to get all those SOPs.
[00:44:46] Kevin Dieny: Um, that’s fantastic. Thanks for sharing that with us, Jeff.
[00:44:48] Jeff Sauer: Yeah. Yeah. We invested about three or four months pulling them together, calming all of our transcripts, using them, and, and they’ve been tested by many people and they’re just like, this is what it was missing for me. I needed this, um, because I don’t have time to learn it.
[00:45:03] Jeff Sauer: I don’t have time to do these things, but at least if you just tell me the steps I need to. And I can check it off. I can get at least prepared for this next migration step.
[00:45:11] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, I think that’s huge, and it’s so valuable to have things like that, to get, to get going, to sort of wet the, the appetite and to make sure that, okay, this is gonna be installed, right, this is gonna be applied, right.
[00:45:23] Kevin Dieny: I have some confidence that it, that you know it, it’s being done correctly. Uh, that’s all really valuable. And, and I, and I’ll check that out too. Um, I, I’ll also put that on our episode page. So, Jeff, awesome. Thank you so much for coming on and talking to us about, you know, what does Google Analytics form mean for small businesses and joining us, helping us really get a better idea of, okay, what Google Analytics is, what its value is, why web analytics is so powerful for businesses, you know, who are smaller.
[00:45:50] Kevin Dieny: And I think that’s great. Thank you.
[00:45:52] Jeff Sauer: Awesome, thank you so much for having me. I love being a repeat guest and hopefully heh, there’s some cool news in the future that will bring us back together in the in the future.
[00:46:01] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, thank you everyone. Thanks Jeff. Thanks for listening to the Close of Loop podcast.