Monday, November 30, 2020

10 Key Things to Know Before Upgrading to Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 is here and is now the default version of Google Analytics when you create a new property.  For all the existing Universal Analytics, current or previous version depending on how you look at it, there is an option to upgrade to Google Analytics 4. I am sure you have several questions regarding this upgrade process. I am going to answer many of those in this and several other blog posts.

Send me your questions by leaving a comment below:

  1. The upgrade is not what it sounds - Upgrade usually means that you lose the previous version and just get the new functionality, right? Well, that is not the case with Google Analytics upgrade to Google Analytics 4. Upgrade in this case means that you will get a new Google Analytics property that will take some basic settings from your current Google Analytics property and use those to set up a new Google Analytics 4 property. So there is no need to worry about losing your existing property. After the upgrade process is complete, you will actually have two properties collecting data for your web site. This gives you an opportunity to play with the new version without losing your existing setup and functionality.
  2. New setup and possibly new tags will be required - If you are using gtag on your current site then you can use it to send the data to the new Google Analytics 4 property. If not then you will have to put new tags. The global site tag (gtag.js) is a JavaScript tagging framework and API that allows you to send event data to Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Google Marketing Platform.  If you are not using gtag then you will need to add new tags on your site. If you are using Google Tag Manager then you will have to set up new data collection tags. Many things such as events, audience, and conversions will require setup changes.
  3. No Views - In Universal Analytics you had the ability to create a view to see a subset of your data. For example, if you wanted to remove traffic to your site from within your organization then you would create a new view, apply a filter that removed internal traffic, and then used that view to understand site usage by "actual" users.  (learn more about the view on Optizent YouTube channel). In Google Analytics 4 you don’t have an option to create views instead of views you can use analysis Hub or segmentation feature to narrow down to the data that you want to track and analyze.
  4. New data model - Google Analytics 4 has a completely different data model than the previous version - Google Analytics 4 is based around Events and Users. Every session is an event, a page view is an event, every interaction within the browser is already tracked, and an event or can be tracked as an event.
  5. Event tracking has changed - In Universal analytics, event tracking required you to pass the parameters, Category, Action, and Label attributes. Event tracking has now changed, you now have parameters and values attached to each event and you can pass up to 25 name-value pairs are parameters.  This allows for deeper analysis (check out Google Analytics & Events setup video).
  6. Several Events are tracked without any setup - Google Analytics 4 automatically tracks scroll, outbound link clicks, downloads, engagement with YouTube embedded videos, and onsite-search. They are set up by default when you create a new Google Analytics 4 property. You can disable them if you would like in the admin panel of Google Analytics 4 property (check out Google Analytics & Events setup video).
  7. Goal and conversion tracking has changed - In the past there was a separate setup for Goal tracking where you define different types of goals and set them un in the "Admin" interface of Google Analytics view. Now it is all ever based. You define and track an event and convert an event into a conversion event right within Google Analytics property (check out Google Analytics & Events setup video).
  8. Not all reports are available in Google Analytics 4 - Google Analytics 4 has a limited number of predefined reports. Many of the reports that you have been used to in Universal Analytics are no longer there. Some of them are not available because Google Analytics 4 is still in development, others are not available because the Google Analytics data model has changed and those reports don't make sense anymore. Instead of pre-defined reports, Google Analytics 4 has "Analysis Hub" which is similar to Google Data Studio type reporting or Adobe Analytics Workspace. In this interface, you pick Dimensions, Metrics, and Segments to build the report that you want. This new interface and metrics/dimensions means that you will have a bit of a learning curve so be prepared for it.
  9. No Bounce Rate - Many of you have relied on bounce rate for years to see how successful your site or marketing campaign was. Well, the Bounce rate is no longer in Google Analytics 4. Instead of bounce rate, Google Analytics 4 provides Engaged Sessions. An engaged Session is defined as a visit that engages with the site or app for at least 10 seconds or has two-page view events or a conversion event.
  10. Numbers will not match - Since there is a difference in Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics measurement, data model, and processing of hits, some numbers won't match between the two systems. You will likely find a slight difference in Session count and Active User Count.

Need help with Google Analytics 4? Contact Optizent

Want to learn on your own? Signup for online Google Analytics 4 course on Optizent Academy.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Real Time Reporting - What and Why

What is Real-time reporting?
Real-time reporting provides you a view into what is happening at that very moment. In the context of Web Analytics, real-time reporting gives you a glimpse into what't happening on your website at . 

It provides you view into on how many visitors are on your site. Which campaigns, sites, search engines, social media sites etc. they are coming from, which pages they are looking at, what actions they are taking on on etc. 

How Real-time reporting can help

Though most of your insights are going to come from the not so real-time data. Real-time reporting can help in several scenarios. Below are some use cases for real-time reports:

  • Campaign Launch - When you launch a new campaign e.g. paid search, email newsletter, TV ad etc. you want to see how people are reacting to those campaigns then real time makes sense but only for initial diagnosis. Wait for complete data to make any changes.
  • New Promotion - When you add new promotions on your site and want to see how visitors are reacting to those promotions, so that you can tweak/ experiment new version of those promotions in real time, then yes you should look at real time data.
  • New story/content - When you add new stories, links etc. and want to see if anybody is clicking on them so that you can make some changes based on instant feedback. I can see the usefulness of this feature for news and media sites.
  • Site Changes - When you launch a new version of the site and want to see if new pages are being recorded in Google Analytics and if you users are interacting as expected then real time reports can help.
  • Tracking Changes - When you roll out new tracking changes and want to see if those changes are working or not. For example, you just enabled Event Tracking via Google Tag Manager and want to see if the events are capturing the right data or not. In this case you will check the real time Events report in Google Analytics. I expect you to check the changes on a development and QA environment before rolling out.
  • New Features - When you launch a new feature on your site, launched a video, deployed a new game and would like to know if your visitors are using it or not, real time reports can help.

Keep in mind that even if you are ready to make changes in real time, you might not have statistically significant results based on few data points that you get in real time reports. 

What do you use the real time reports for?



Friday, May 22, 2020

Who owns your website, user data and digital assets?

Should you build your audience and pages only on 3rd party platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc.? This is a questions that I see quite frequently in various digital marketing forums.
In this post I am going to provide you my point of view on this subject.

These 3rd party platforms are huge with lots of traffic so first and foremost you should try to grab your share of the traffic from them. You should work hard to clearly figure out how to make the most of these platforms and how to leverage their reach to help your business grow.  However, you should not build your entire business on them. 

Why you might ask?  Because they have the power to shut you down anytime for no fault of your own.You don't want to be in a situation where you entire business comes crashing down one day.  You are at their mercy, you don't control their terms and polices, either you agree or disagree. If you disagree then you can't be part of that platform or network.

If for some reason you are found in violation of any of their terms and policies you could be completely shut out. Then all you are left with is to fight with back and forth emails, if you are lucky. In most cases you might not even get a timely response.

Some Examples:

Facebook blocked user accounts - Check out this post titled "What I Learned When Facebook Disabled My Account". This post has a lot of comments about people losing their access to Facebook and hence access to their pages and groups etc.

Twitter suspending accounts  - Below is an example tweet that shows you that once your account gets suspended then it becomes difficult to get it restored

My Experience:

I also had such experience recently where Google shut down my account for a few minutes. I am still not sure why that happened. All I got was an email that my account was suspended for not following Google policies but they did not give any clear indication.  The email was very generic in nature and I believe that was done automatically by an algorithm. Since the email was sent to my gmail account, I only got that after the account was restored. I was lucky that it got restored automatically in few mins. 

However this experience was scary as I have a lot of stuff on Google.  I have my emails on Gmail, my pictures on Google, Videos on YouTube, this blog is on Blogger (owned by Google), Google docs etc. Imagine if I was left without access to these things for days. 


Always keep a backup of important files, documents, emails and audience that your business depends on.


  1. Drive your  audience to your own websites and blogs (not a free platform as I do). Facebook pages, groups, twitter accounts are all great but you really don't own them so make sure to drives users to your own sites.
  2. Build your own marketing lists - collect emails.
  3. Own the customer information and data rather than just relying on a pixel that sends the data to Google and Facebook. 

  1. Have a back email solution - keep important contacts and emails in multiple places
  2.  Keep backup of your docs, photos, videos etc. in multiple places - I keep them in Google, Amazon, OneDrive etc.
  3. If you want to keep them in one place then have multiple account access so even if you lose one account, you have other admin accounts that can access them.

Do you really own anything?

You rent domains names, host sites and data in cloud owned by other companies. They can decided to shut it down for violation of terms. Your emails service provider sends emails on your behalf, they can take away your ability to email to your customers if you have too many spam complaints or other service violations. Your business or personal digital assets are stored with someone else, there is a possibility of you losing access. Isn't it? 

Anything else you would like to add? Share you experience in the comments below.

Check out our online courses at Optizent Academy

Monday, April 06, 2020

Enroll in Digital Analytics Association's Essentials Series – Fundamentals in Digital Analytics

I am excited to announce that I will be conducting Digital Analytics Association's Essentials Series – Fundamentals in Digital Analytics. This is a LIVE, interactive, discussion-based education program that will be offered completely online, and only once per year. You’ll have access to me and fellow classmates through DAA's learning platform.
When you sign up for the first Essentials Series Online course, Fundamentals of Digital Analytics, you will learn key competencies, and gain knowledge and skills in the areas of: data capture and measurement, reporting and forecasting, analytical business culture, site optimization and marketing campaigns.
So, what can you expect from your LIVE learning experience:
Course 1 - Fundamentals of Digital Analytics is a series of 6 LIVE classes that are prescheduled, and will begin on Tuesday, April 14th. The courses will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00pm EDT – 1:00pm EDT with me conducting an “online class” format, allowing students access to a SME for Q & A and/or class discussion.
This will consist of: Coursework/assignments that will be completed weekly prior to the online class . Zoom technology will be used, and sessions will be recorded for accessing on-demand. Never use Zoom technology for your learning before? Check out the software and technology requirements to support this learning format. It will require a PC, Tablet, iPad, etc. that has audio and video capability. This will allow for the full, LIVE, virtual learning classroom experience.
What you will learn in the Fundamentals of Digital Analytics course: Whether you are new to web analytics, new to web management, or just need to be sure that you are seeing the forest for the trees, this is the best place to get grounded in the basics. In this introductory workshop you will learn about:
  • Metrics terminology and technology
  • Most critical web metrics
  • Performance Indicators
  • How to derive business value from web analytics
  • The skills you need (or need to look for in others) to build a web analytics powerhouse
  • A process for creating a web analytics culture and making it stick in your organization
  • How to gain executive buy-in
  • Insight into optimizing your business with web analytics
  • Getting started with visitor data analysis
Class dates/times will be:
  • Tuesday, April 14th, 12:00 pm ET – 1:00 pm ET
  • Thursday, April 16th, 12:00 pm ET – 1:00 pm ET
  • Tuesday, April 21st, 12:00 pm ET – 1:00 pm ET
  • Thursday, April 23rd, 12:00 pm ET – 1:00 pm ET
  • Tuesday, April 28th, 12:00 pm ET – 1:00 pm ET
  • Thursday, April 30th, 12:00 pm ET – 1:00 pm ET
  • Tuesday, May 5th, 12:00 pm ET – 1:00 pm ET (Make-up class if needed)

Upon completion of the course, candidates/participants will receive:

  1. Certificate of Completion in the Fundamentals of Digital Analytics.
  2. Digital Badge to promote to others your successful completion of this course.
  3. Evaluation of the course, so we can continue to improve for future learners.

Pricing for Essentials Series Course I: Fundamentals of Digital Analytics:

Member: $850
Non-Member: $1050

How do I get started?

Take your career to the next level by earning a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Digital Analytics
Watch the recorded, pre-launch webinar CLICK HERE