4th August 2023

How to Utilise Google Analytics to Enhance your Digital Marketing Strategy

Getting to grips with Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is like learning to drive. Your instructor will teach you the basics, your test confirms you can do it, and then the real learning begins. Sure, the motorway is a frightening place at first, but once you’re on it, you’re away.

GA4 is just the same. But don’t let the Godzilla of analytics stop you in your tracks. It might be the industry goliath, but armed with the right tools, you can be the David of digital marketing.

Been living under a rock/on annual leave/burying your head in the sand? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a quick refresher on the basics.

What is Google Analytics 4? 

GA4 is Google Analytics’ flashy new motor. It’s the latest version, following the shutdown of Universal Analytics on the 1st July.


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It’s purpose is to help digital marketers analyse and understand how users engage with websites. It doesn’t just track traffic, it tracks the entire customer journey across multiple platforms, using AI and machine learning to offer insight into how users interact at any given time.

Why is Google Analytics 4 so different to Universal Analytics?

Switching to GA4 can feel like giving up a lifetime of Android phones for a future with Apple products. Everything’s different — even the home screen, or dashboard, to us marketers.

The biggest difference maker are the measurements and metrics. Universal Analytics’ most important metric were page views, whilst GA4 measures everything in events. This helps you understand how users interact with your website in more detail.

GA4 brings a bigger focus on engagement, too. Engaged sessions, engagement rate, and engagement time dominate the default reporting set-ups. Sure, it’s a massive difference, but it makes it easier to track the user journey from start to finish.

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Away from arguing with graphic design and web developers, GA4 gives us digital marketers way more control than Universal Analytics. Customisable dashboards mean better connectivity with Google Data studio to visualise data, whilst custom segments can be created based on events to track every interaction.

So you don’t travel 100 miles in the wrong direction, we’ve mapped out all the tips and tricks you need to utilise to maximise your digital marketing strategy with GA4.

Play around with Predictive Metrics

AI might be the industry buzzword, and the subject of every other LinkedIn poll — will it take your job, or will it make it easier? – but it’s also very handy on GA4 for helping develop your digital marketing strategies by predicting the future behaviour of users.

GA4 offers three predictive metrics you can use to pinpoint which users are likely to convert, and which ones aren’t going to be selecting your service anytime soon. The metrics are:

  1. Purchase probability — this is the likelihood that a user who’s been active in the last 28 days will make a purchase within the next 7 days.
  2. Churn probability — this is the likelihood that a user who’s been active in the last 7 days will be off on holiday and inactive in the next 7 days.
  3. Predicted revenue — this predicts the revenue expected from all purchases in the next 28 days from users who were active in the previous 28 days.
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Like all good meals, prepping your ingredients for predictive metrics is mandatory. To trigger predictive metrics and gain access to these insights, you need to match these perquisites:

  • You need at least 1,000 returning users making purchases, and at least 1,000 returning users who don’t.
  • User traffic that triggers purchase events must remain regular for at least 28 days.
  • You must set up the purchase events and send it to the GA4 property.

And how do you access and use predictive analytics? Simple, just follow these quick and easy steps:

  1. Go to GA4. Under the Analytics report menu, click Explore.
  2. From the many exploration templates, click the (+) plus sign to choose a blank template.
  3. Under the newly opened console, click Tab Settings on the drop-down under Technique.
  4. After clicking the drop-down, you’ll be given several options; choose User Lifetime.
  5. Under Variable Tab, click the (+) plus sign under Metrics. 
  6. A search overlay will appear with a list of options below it. Click on the Predictive Metrics option.
  7. After you’ve done the above, a drop-down menu under the Predictive Metrics option will appear. It will have Churn, Purchase and In-App Purchase Probability.
  8. You can check them and select whichever sub-metrics fall under the main metric options. The sub-metrics are options in the form of different Percentiles, including an Average Sub Metrics Option. 
  9. Double click on any of the metric choices. Double-clicking will add them to the Analytics report. 

Detect data anomalies with custom insights 

Breaking budget spending hours of your day scrolling through sheets of data trying to figure out why there was a random spike in traffic on a Tuesday night? GA4’s anomaly detection identifies anomalies in your data, saving you time trying to determine if or why something was statistically significant. It helps you figure out whether there’s a technical issue to tidy up, and highlight what products are in demand over others.

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Head over to the ‘reports snapshot’ to find your ‘insights’ panel. Insights can identify outliers, offering you hints about spikes and drops in performance. They offer up two kinds of insights: automated and custom.

What’s the difference? Unusual changes and emerging trends are automatically reported with automated insights, whilst custom insights allows you to set-up conditions that detect changes important to you. If creating custom insights is what you’re here for, here’s how to do it:

  1. In the Reports Snapshot, click Create inside the Reports
  2. Review Suggested Custom Insights, including anomalies in daily users, conversions, revenue and more.
  3. Click Review and Create next to a suggestion you’re interested in.
  4. Here, you can change the evaluation frequency, which segments the data is pulled from, and alter the metrics.
  5. You can also create and use Custom Segments here, setting specific Conditions, such as the operating system, the country users are interacting from and more.

Create custom reports

Diving into GA4 can be daunting from day one. Reporting is very different to the Universal Analytics days, and the type of reports you’re expecting to see just won’t be there.

Whilst there’s plug-in-and-play reports for quick data, smart changes to reports results in a refined focus on marketing and faster business decisions. Overloading on data will drain your focus and give you a headache; underloading data can derail your digital marketing and damage your business growth.

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GA4’s custom reports let you view the metrics that matter most to your business. Like the fruit and veg we need to survive and thrive, read on for the five things you need to do:

  1. Define your data needs — what data will give you the insight you need to plan your digital marketing strategy.
  2. Check which existing reports provide a good basis for your analysis — existing reports are great starting points and can be adapted rather than starting a report from scratch.
  3. Customise an existing report or build one from the ground up.
  4. Save it — or lose it. And nobody likes losing things.
  5. Add it to the GA4 navigation menu to make your life even easier.

If you like playing with Lego, you’ll like customising reports. Sure, they’ll always consist of 2 charts and a table, but there’s so much you can swap in to meet your needs. Whilst in the report you want to change, click on the Customise Report icon to get started. Now, here’s what you can tinker with:

Choose different dimensions

Don’t worry, we’re not shuttling you out into the solar system on a spaceship. Dimensions in GA4 describe your data, usually as text opposed to numbers. And you can choose different dimensions to base a report on, and remove ones you don’t need. This includes demographics like age and gender, the platform and device users use, the city, continent, or country they’re from, and more.

Change the metrics

For digital marketers, metrics mean money. They’re the yardsticks we measure campaign success with. And GA4 doesn’t always give you the metrics you need straight out the gate. So, change them. You can include metrics that measure engagement rates, average daily revenues, Google ad clicks, and how many times products have been added to carts.

Apply a filter

Dimensions are a lot like Deliveroo — they’ll bring you everything you could possibly want. But sometimes you don’t want Chinese, you want a chippy tea. You can apply filters to your reports to exclude (or include) certain values of dimensions, letting you create separate reports with specific segments of your audience.

Play with charts

Reports will always have two charts, but they’re not stuck in the mud. You can alter the visuals, hide them forever, and reorder them to give you the data visualisations you need. Bar charts, scatter charts, and line charts are open to you, and all you need to do is drag them into the order you need them.

Customise your summary cards

A picture says 1000 words, and summary cards can do the same thing. Visualising one dimension and metric, with dropdowns for customisation, summary cards in GA4 let you fully understand the impact of your marketing strategy on the data you’re receiving, helping you make effective, informed business decisions quicker.

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Upgrade your digital marketing strategy with GA4 expertise

Now you know how to play around with predictive metrics, detect anomalies in your data, and create custom reports, you can utilise GA4 to inform your business decisions and marketing direction.

Want to upgrade your digital marketing strategy with more GA4 expertise? Get in touch today to find out how our team can help.

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