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Greetings Happy Readers! Here is the recap of this week’s PPCChat session which was hosted by Julie F Bacchini. Experts expressed their experience with Google Analytics 4, what is their biggest frustration working in GA4, and more.

Q1: Have you been working or trying to work in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) yet?

I’ve dabbled in it here and there. Not a fan personally, but I recognize that I’m going to have to spend time getting used to it either way. @dan_patterson

Yes, I have finally gotten all clients to deploy Google Analytics 4 (GA4) on their sites. And I am trying to get better at working in it. @NeptuneMoon

I have! Unlike with most things that Google pushes through, this one I am probably considered an early adopter. @AmaliaEFowler

Yes, kindof. One of my clients has it installed, but it’s pretty unintuitive, and it’s not a great time of year to put aside hours to dive in. @JuliaVyse

Yes, and I’m struggling with some aspects of the reporting capabilities not doing what I need them to do. @jnklemmetson

Yes, have it set up and tracking conversions for all clients. I try to spend at least a little time in there every day – if i don’t have to find a quick answer, and am slowly getting more comfortable. @selley2134

I am only working with one client who uses GA and they are still on UA. I’ll be lurking so I can learn more about GA4. Shameless plug, @Merkle has a whole series on GA4. Latest installment here: cardinalpath.com/blog/should-yo… @beyondthepaid

Yes, been pushing clients to get it installed and attached to their ad accounts. Reporting companies are making money trying to get data for clients though, because it is very different from Universal and things are hard to find or just are not there. @lchasse

Yes, we had most of our clients set up before July so that they would be able to take advantage of year-over-year data when the switch is made next year. Definitely has a learning curve but slowly getting more comfortable. @adclarke10

I see it as one of those “it’s what we’re going to be left with, so we better get used to it” kind of things. Everyone that uses GA should at least get it installed and collecting data ASAP. @dan_patterson

Ya, switching to it on and off, making sure goals are tagged & it’s populating for clients so its ready. A2. UI is different but I don’t have a positive or negative opinion of it yet. I have to Google how to do things whenever I’m looking for something specific. @timmhalloran

A bit but no where near enough and that needs to change. I dabble inside it at best. @duanebrown

Working in GA4 Yes, setting it up on top of existing in order to connect to Google Ads. But only just got started. @soanders

Been using GA4 for years? It’s been out for a long time. Lots to chew on with it. @ferkungamaboobo

Been working in GA4 a lot more recently but kinda wish I started earlier. Feel like I’ve left it pretty late but the ease of finding the information I need has kept me on UA for the most part. @dylanppc

We have been working with our clients to onboard to GA4. They know it’s something they have to do which is half the battle. @360vardi

Sorry I am really late. Yes, we have been migrating our clients into GA4 to run it parallel with UA. So far, it is kind of a confusing nightmare. @JonKagan

Q2: If you have been working in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) how has it been going for you, generally?

It’s both frustrating and exciting. It is pretty clunky but you can do a lot more customization & create nicer looking reports & graphs. No better feeling when you finally figure out how to get the data you want in the right spot, but it can take a while… @selley2134

I have found working in GA4 to be very difficult. I’m trying to keep pushing, as it will be the only option before we know it, but it is a STRUGGLE. @NeptuneMoon

Not well honestly! I’m so glad we have an analytics team to support because the learning curve for this thing is quite something. It’s going to take a time investment to get going, not really a plug-and-play vibe. @JuliaVyse

I wouldn’t say I’m ‘working in’ so much as ‘exploring’. I was in UA 5x yesterday for an audit, and GA4 zero of those times. @AmaliaEFowler

I still don’t use it for actual reporting, thinking of making that switch in Jan 2023. I need to spend more time with it, I’m still very lost in there. @dan_patterson

It has been going slow. I have not been able to devote too much time to learning beyond the initial class I took with @brie_e_anderson due to a lot of client work. Working with analytics experts to develop reports so clients are not having to slow down. @lchasse

It’s been tough tbh – a lot of the reports/metrics/etc. that we used in UA have been renamed, changed, or removed altogether. @adclarke10

Not a lot of GA4 experience yet but it has the promise of being “born smart” (don’t get carried away). Smart means AI-driven, so I hope it will plug into smart bidding and PMax nicely. @soanders

Mindset shifts are hard, and I think the reporting being so different was a major roadblock for everyone. But I think it’s the right way forward, for lots of reasons. @ferkungamaboobo

I’ve been figuring it out slowly, but haven’t had enough sessions of going through the interface and going through resources. Basically just doing things on a need to know/do basis. @dylanppc

It’s like learning a new sport… a lot of things I don’t know or yet understand. @duanebrown

I’ve struggled with it. Setup has been confusing, but my biggest issue is that the UI is anything but intuitive. I really don’t understand why they rolled out an entire new GA at all. @JonKagan

Q3: What is/are your biggest frustration(s) in working in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

It is not user friendly at all and it seems like they wanted the sidebar to look cleaner so they just shoved a bunch of reports on each page. @selley2134

Recent annoyance was instead of setting up advanced segments to act like a filter, I had to set up audiences that start collecting from that point on. Really annoying… I hope there are other ways to do it but it’s not intuitive at all. @dan_patterson

Where to start… Everything is just harder. And I have worked in analytics since before Google purchased Urchin which is now GA! It is built for devs, not non-devs. Reports are a major PITA to configure if you can find them. @NeptuneMoon

Setting up a conversion action is really not easy. Sharing reports? Still can’t figure that out. Creating a dashboard for client use? Ha! No. It has a lot of customization capability, but not enough read to go stuff. @NeptuneMoon

The reporting capabilities are different and challenging for what my client needs/has asked for. Not a fan of these reports. Trying to find a solution with the new GA4 capabilities for what they want to see. @jnklemmetson

The lack of usability vs. the old platform. Making changes to something people have decades of user experience with as drastically as they did was less than ideal. @lchasse

Y’all are scaring me, haha. @beyondthepaid

I did the “Tutorial Prompts” a couple times & assumed it would teach GA4 to me as a UA user. But instead, it explained things to me like I was a high school student & the terminology/definitions used were different than UA. No correlation. Besides that not sure yet. @timmhalloran

Adding secondary dimensions to reports leads to some of the data being hidden, which limits our insights. Ex: main dimension = session source/medium, conversions = 20. but when you add in a “session campaign” dimension, it’ll only show 15 conversions. @adclarke10

It also seems to take FOREVER for a change on a report to load. So I start wondering if it froze, but nope it’s just slow. I’m impatient. @dan_patterson

I just don’t know where to begin. That’s the main thing. For clients where it is installed, I don’t know what the best first step is, how to map our goals over. Everything is a search and a weird problem to solve. It’s great for hourly billing I guess! @JuliaVyse

It feels like a whole new software and not an iteration of an existing platform. Therefore, I feel like I’m learning a whole new skill set. My biggest frustration is not being able to intuitively find my reports anymore. @AmaliaEFowler

I think there is a major mismatch between the actual users of the platform and who the platform was built for. Most PPCers or biz owners or mkt people have no interest in things like Big Query. We want easy to find and configure reports. @NeptuneMoon

The biggest frustration is moving everything around, because we all had our go-to reports and diagnosis tools, and they genuinely all changed with GA4 without a map to say “here’s where this report that you, yeah you, worked all day.” @ferkungamaboobo

Re: @NeptuneMoon point on sharing, I don’t think Google designed it so reports & annotations would have cross-user access. I think they’re coaxing people toward Data Studio for this. @heyglenns

Hey gang, little late to the party! I think just the large shift in UI is the shock for me, everything seems to stripped back and will take a while to get used to. @PPC_Fraser

Mainly not being able to find the information I want/need as easy as I do on UA. I haven’t taken the time to create reports yet so I think once I’ve done that I’d enjoy it more. @dylanppc

Right now I don’t love how different it is but I’m sure that will pass once I get use it the interface. @duanebrown

Literally, nothing is where it should logically be. It honestly feels like whoever built it, forgot to add things in, and is having to go back and add them in (i.e. CVR and bounce rate) @JonKagan

Q4: Is there anything cool you’ve found in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

Crickets from me, but that’s due to not enough time to spend in the thing so far. @JuliaVyse

Not yet! @dan_patterson

No @lchasse

Cool things about GA4 I was going to say “Great because it puts Matomo in the spotlight” …but that would be naughty as I haven’t really given it a chance yet. So I’ll pass on this one. @soanders

I have been able to create some cool custom reports that either wouldn’t have looked good or may have been impossible in UA. But 99.9% of the time I can find better / faster answer in UA. @selley2134

Once I wrap my head around customizing reports, I think there will probably be some cool things in there. It is just a slog to get reports that used to just exist. @NeptuneMoon

Following the crowd here with a no… I am interested to see how it develops over time but it again feels like it’s been rushed out rather than educating users first.  @PPC_Fraser

I found the focus on conversions and revenue really good in the default dashboard. Super useful for clients who just want to log in and look really quickly. I kind of love the concept of the report builder – much less need to pop something down to Excel. @ferkungamaboobo

Nope. I’ve seen videos of other people doing cool things but haven’t implemented because they haven’t applied to my clients. @dylanppc

I do like that I don’t need to make an event in the UI and via the GTM to match, I can just do it in GTM and it’ll auto-populate the event in GA4. @JonKagan

Q5: If you could provide direct feedback to the Google Analytics 4 (GA4) team, what would you say or share?

Why do you hate your users? Seriously I think I would ask if this dramatic of a change was actually necessary. Could they not have achieved their privacy goals w/o an entirely new platform? @selley2134

Feedback to Google on GA4: Would you mind just making this GDPR compliant, without having to cut an arm off (I mean proxying it)? @soanders

We need more overlap time, the ability to pull existing report templates from current into new, and we need a proper map/tutorial. @JuliaVyse

I think the biggest thing is to solidify what GA4 really means. I’ve been trying to read between the lines to get to my thoughts, but someone outright saying “The way Avinash Kaushik taught it is over” would go super far to me. @ferkungamaboobo

Instead of pushing us all into an incomplete system get it fully developed first! @dan_patterson

Documentation about how to find or create existing reports in Universal in GA4. Literally step-by-step instructions. Or better yet, make them prebuilt. The whole edit report vs. create report based on options are unnecessarily confusing too. @NeptuneMoon

The other thing is to really focus on how-to content. Make it seem like this isn’t even a lateral move – show off the power of GA4. Get an Avinash Kaushik of GA4 to explain the basics and higher strategy. @ferkungamaboobo

Make it easier to set up would be the big things. Also, don’t make UA data disappear. @duanebrown

To give us the things we love and use the most from UA in a simple and easy-to-implement way. @dylanppc

Whoever built this clearly has no concept of how marketers use the platform on a day-to-day basis. It lacks intuitiveness and is causing advertisers to use more time to find basic things. @JonKagan

Spund like a broken record, but PLEASE reach out to daily service users who practically live in the product. There’s been so many issues with this rollout which could have been avoided had it been shared properly. @PPC_Fraser

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