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Greetings Readers! During this week’s PPCChat session, host Julie F Bacchini sought PPCers views on the functionalities of Google Analytics 4, have they found any resources which can help them to use GA4 properly? are they finding it difficult to collect the data? and more.

Q1: Is Google Analytics 4 (GA4) running on the site(s) that you work with? If not, why not? And, was it difficult to get it deployed and collecting data?

GA4 is on some sites and not others, but I’m not sure that it’s running with 100% confidence on any of them yet. @revaminkoff

Yes, it is running and collecting data on all client sites. It was not difficult to get it running and most sites were easy to set up conversions – there were a couple tricky sites to set up events for – The tough part is turning that data into a usable report. @selley2134

GA4 is running on sites since day one of it’s release. Never find Installation hard with Google Tag Manager. @mr_govindsingh

GA4 is running on all of the sites I am involved with – both clients and the ones I manage. It was not easy to get it configured. Even as someone who has been doing analytics for 20+ years and who knows a decent bit about coding and Google Tag Manager. @NeptuneMoon

Only on a couple. It wasn’t difficult to apply per se, but the actual setup took some time. @JuliaVyse

All our current clients have had at least a minimal GA4 setup since last June, several are still waiting to be fully integrated. @ynotweb

We have it deployed since February last year. Another agency helped us with it. But I admit I still use Universal Analytics more often. @DianaAlinaAldea

Deployed on all client sites & our internal sites. Implementation isn’t difficult, but we have seen issues with incorrect data links with Google Ads – not all conversions are accurately imported, lots of lost data compared to UA. @gilgildner

The switch has been very difficult, as for the majority of our clients we have had to rely on their web/dev team to make the changes. @marketingsoph

Absolutely. Thanks to the bomb dropped last year of UA sunset. Eventually have migrated to GA4 and for new accounts, starting from both UA & GA4. Very very much difficult for migration. Especially for those who had multiple locations, different stores, lead gen. @1tagupta

Main issue is with migration of data, setting custom conversions for multiple lps, sites and locations, the complexity of data, & also some skewed data. Stakeholders get a hard time working with GA4. Especially Mid-Small Owners. @1tagupta

Yes, we have it setup for all our clients but since we’re managing both UA and 4 right now, it’s a lot of duplicating/learning happening across teams. A2. Yes, both, for some though we only do GA4. It’s difficult tbh. I’m having a tough time w/ it still. @timmhalloran

Yes. GA4’s been running for most of our clients since July 2022, bc we wanted to have YoY data when the switch from UA happens. Google Analytics set-up/maintenance isn’t included in our Paid Media scopes, so we mostly helped by providing context & documentation. @adclarke10

Creating a GA4 property (i.e. deployment) wasn’t particularly difficult. But data collection, setting up conversions, discrepancies between platforms (including between different views/reports within GA), & recreating legacy UA reports has been more of a struggle. @adclarke10

Setting GA4 is not an issue. But the data discrepancy between platforms and the lack of support is causing many headaches. Custom CMS + CDP and trying to get GA4 working = nightmare. @sonofgorkhali

On 95% of clients sites, yes. Some healthcare clients, due to a class action suit, are leaving GA outright, due to HIPAA compliance. Deploying it via GTM takes 5 mins. Recreating audiences, events, linkage, etc. Can take up to 60 hours depending on the needs. @JonKagan

Q2: Are you working in GA4 for your analytics needs and reporting? If so, how is it going? If not, why not?

It’s incorporated into our Looker reports where applicable, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. @JuliaVyse

I AM TRYING. But it is so frustrating and unsatisfactory. @NeptuneMoon

Yes, because we have to. I’d say in general it’s okay, but not perfect. We have worked around a lot of problems by building very extensive dashboards inside Looker/Data Studio, but it’s still not entirely perfect. GA4 still misattributes a lot. @gilgildner

I used GA4 the most for creating lots of new audiences (I know the limit is of 100, so this cut through my enthusiasm). I also created some reports, but more for learning purposes, not for delivery to anyone else. @DianaAlinaAldea

I really try to but it just takes so much more time (b/c of the suckiness) to pull data that you can find easily in UA – I do have time scheduled in March to work to build out templates which should help. @selley2134

Yes, I forced myself a few months ago to only use GA4 when reporting/looking into things. Still not as confident in there as I am with UA though! I know clients are finding using GA4 very difficult. @marketingsoph

Yes, trying. But it’s so much hard to get a report you need. Last week I wasted 1-2 hours to get a simple report: Visitor Report by Hour of Day and Day of Week. Still didn’t find the answer. While It is just 4-5 click work in Universal Analytics. @mr_govindsingh

Only the simplest of clients are using it for reporting and data right now. Those with more complex needs are still evaluating the costs (resources/money) of getting fully integrated or using other analytics. @ynotweb

Why I don’t do this at a higher level is because I find it not so user-friendly, and it misses some capabilities Universal Analytics had. Also, data is not so reliable. @DianaAlinaAldea

No – It’s less user friendly, hard to get the info we need out, and the data isn’t very reliable so far. @revaminkoff

Again main issue is the complexity of distilling the reports, & also some skewed data. Stakeholders get hard time working with GA4 due to misattribution. Especially Mid-Small Owners. And then, they start getting concerned on things are going with conversion. @1tagupta

The bigger issue is clients allocating the extra costs of time for setting up properly. Some with lower budgets just can’t allocate the resources (people/money) to finish set up when they have other things they want those resources working on. @ynotweb

Yes – it’s been hit or miss lol. It’s been difficult to recreate UA reports like Behavior Flow. It’s also been fine for simpler reporting, like adding conversion tables to our Looker Studio (GDS) reports, but the recent quota limit is a major pain now. @adclarke10

We’ve been trying to, but because of data disparities vs GA UA, and that goddamn data threshold sampling, we’re mulling going back to platform pixels for media tracking. @JonKagan

Q3: Have you found a third party tool or service that helps you use GA4 more effectively?

I’m testing Piwik as a possible alternative, but it would be very difficult to convince our larger clients to migrate data away from what they’ve been using for 20+ years. Other than that, Data Studio all the way….only Band-Aid we’ve found that makes it better. @gilgildner

Not yet. I have super metrics so I plan to mess around with that a little bit to see if we can create something a little easier/simpler to see. Anyone used SM w/ GA4 yet? @selley2134

Not to use GA4 effectively but in order to get simple reports i use Statcounter. @mr_govindsingh

Not yet, curious what others are answering, maybe I find something good to look into. @DianaAlinaAldea

In quest of something that is easy, accurate and works like a charm. Meanwhile, assertive assumptions + 1st PD + Data Scientists reports. #ppcchat have you guys worked with automation or something else to pull backend data and manual upload to G-ads? @1tagupta

Since Looker isn’t considered 3rd party- no we haven’t yet found any other 3rd party tool that makes it easier since all the framework and definitions have to exist within G4 itself first. @ynotweb

I’ve found Analytics Mania by @fedorovicius to have the best information outright. But no tool of great usage. Open to any and all suggestions, please.  @JonKagan

I have not found a third-party tool that can make GA4 better/easier to work in… BUT I REALLY, REALLY WANT ONE! @NeptuneMoon

Not really. We use Looker Studio for reporting, which helps a little. But quota limits & seemingly random restrictions on which filters/dimensions/etc. can be applied to a table/graph has made this approach less helpful in recent months. @adclarke10

I can’t say that I’ve come across anything to help, but would be interested to hear of any which people have found beneficial! @marketingsoph

Not quite yet. I am interpersonal it with Supermetrics but otherwise still searching. @digitalceo5

Q4: Are you looking at alternative analytics tools? If so, which ones have you checked out? Thoughts?

I am looking at any tool that doesn’t have data viz like this mess: @gilgildner

I haven’t yet. I half wished/expected Microsoft or someone to just recreate UA or similar product – Imagine the instant adoption you would get. @selley2134

Yes, brand lift studies, numerous reporting, 3rd party research. There are rumblings about Adobe, but their products are pricey. @JuliaVyse

We haven’t really looked for alternatives at this point. But I would definitely be interested to see what’s out there, and always open to trying something new! @adclarke10

Not yet. Yet looking for one. For now: assertive assumptions + 1st PD + Data Scientists’ backend reports. @1tagupta

I’ve had clients use a few different ones in the past which is where I’ve gotten the most exposure outside of GA. Most of them are suited for specific industries (ecom, saas, healthcare, etc) but I’m open to getting some reccos! Definitely want to learn more. @timmhalloran

Yes, Adobe is borderline compliant for HIPAA, but expensive. There is another one called Piwik that is gaining steam. But nothing quite as intuitive as GA UA. @JonKagan

Our clients are happy with what they get through GA4/t CRM, so paying for a service is not something they’d be very willing to do. Which is understandable, as they have what they need for their day-to-day work, but it’s not always there for the marketing side. @marketingsoph

We have gone as far as documenting the pricing of the other options for our clients. Most of them are angry over the costs, but still considering due to manhours for something (GA4) that may be inferior in the end. @ynotweb

We have literally gone back to review possible server-level solutions. @ynotweb

I’m not looking at direct alternatives, but one is very needed! I do like TripleWhale for ecom. @digitalceo5

Q5: What is on your GA4 wishlist before it is the only Google Analytics running (date for this is currently July 2023).

Please give me more than three (3) graph visualization options when making a custom report. A pile of toothpicks is not going to cut it. Also, some more integrations with popular e-commerce platforms would be useful as well. @gilgildner

USABILITY – More/Better default reports – this should be fairly easy as I don’t think they can get much worse. Did a human that uses the internet design GA4 b/c I have my doubts? @selley2134

Besides just simplifying, I want audiences to be easier to parse, pass back, and understand. Google audience insights, first-party audience insights, new opportunities based on conversion data. @JuliaVyse

As I’ve stated in a previous tweet, it would be lovely being possible to segment data by source/medium, having more reliable/accurate data. These I think are the most important, many things can be improved and it would be awesome to access things with lesser clicks. @DianaAlinaAldea

Redesign the dashboard, especially navigation to be more intuitive like GA UA -A clear defined list of what is not being carried over from UA, and what is new -A better UA Import system Net-Net, just be GA UA. @JonKagan

Where to start… Make the UI easier for non-devs to use. Take a look at the reports in Universal Analytics and recreate them. Dashboards. I’d even settle for a “report wizard” at this point to let me tell it what I wanted and it would build it. @NeptuneMoon

I’ll echo the useability comment. It feels like it was made by someone who has never used UA before. Reminds me of a mobile app that decided to add a desktop functionality as an after though tbh. So, useability is 100%. @timmhalloran

Bring back the UA Behavior Flow report. I know there are ways to recreate it in GA4, but I haven’t had success with that yet & it’s not as intuitive as UA (to me at least). @adclarke10

Yeah, I’m thinking they need a lot more wizards for the non-technical folx — which is minimum 50% of the end-users of GA (for everyone one of me, we have 3-4 other users) @ynotweb

Agreeing with a lot of comments here – improved usability. Everything just feels off, unfinished and misplaced at the moment. I know we’ll learn and adapt, but it would make more sense for them to improve based on all this feedback they must be getting! @marketingsoph

I wish to return to UA and give us the option to use both. @digitalceo5

Q6: Have you found any resources that have helped you in your quest to actually use GA4?

As mentioned earlier, I have a page on the PPC Chat site where I’m collecting GA4 resources:… I will add any you all share today to the page in addition to the recap post. @NeptuneMoon

I have read some ebooks & did @brie_e_anderson course. Those were helpful but definitely just need to start getting my hands dirty. @selley2134

Lots of helpful resources…but only gets you to the limits of GA4. At some point it’s not the resources that are the problem, it’s the tool itself. Beating a dead horse at this point, but I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say GA4 is just a bad solution. @gilgildner

I have been frustrated by Google’s help guides. It feels like half a guide if that much. Definitely a need for better resources. @digitalceo5

In our team’s first effort to understand & implement GA4, we all attended a webinar and used resources from @kristaseiden. Was helpful & would recommend!  @adclarke10

I like Analytics Mania by @fedorovicius @JonKagan

PPCChat Participants

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