Privacy Changes Drive Google to Sunset Universal Analytics in Favor of G4

July 1, 2023 is the sunset date for UA or Universal Analytics.

Google has announced that it will sunset the popular web traffic analytics tool called Universal Analytics in favor of G4 Analytics on July 1, 2023.

Why is Google making this change?

With the changing needs for privacy, Google has decided that it is time for everyone to get onboard and embrace G4 Analytics. Read about the differences between the two.

G4 has been out for two years, but many, myself included, consider the dashboard difficult to set up and use. This has slowed webmasters and marketing managers from embracing the new cookieless technology of G4.

Additionally, Google announced that the data from Universal Analytics (UA) will not flow into G4. So, webmasters should plan on adding code now for G4 to start gathering data before the UA sunset date. Some webmasters and site owners may want to do a download of UA data before the sunset of the application.

It’s all about the third party cookies

All of these changes are about the use of third party cookies for tracking. Google Ads uses audiences and cookies from UA when merged with Google Ads to create tracking for advanced audiences. Specifically the explanation below puts this issue in easy to understand terms.

“…the change reflects an evolution on how analytics is associated with websites and the changing role analytics plays in privacy. Universal Analytics represented the pinnacles of page-loaded measurement, introducing cross platform tracking and more flexible code options for producing custom dimensions and metrics. However, it still relied on cookies, the text files in browsers, to transmit data behind the dimensions and metrics. ” Read more.

By moving beyond cookies with G4, Google is building for the future, but may also be self-serving to benefit remarketing and conversion technology alternatives to protect Google Ads. The loss of third party cookies is a huge issue for Google Ads conversion tracking and for the serving of remarketing ads for advertisers.

For now, Google and McCord Web Services is recommending running UA Analytics and G4 on the same website. Allowing the two to run will build a number of months worth of data before UA Analytics is sunset.

The problem with G4 is it is more than an update it is a new protocol

If you have logged into a G4 account you most likely are stunned at the lack of any data. G4 runs on custom events, there are really very few built out features at this time which makes it hard for webmasters to embrace G4 as a functional alternative to UA Analytics.

Although the ability to customize events may be a boon for some, for most G4 cannot be considered a plug and play application. We are hopeful that as the sunset date gets closer Google will listen to the feedback about needing to make G4 more user friendly and offer more information on how to set up events that make sense to replace the information lost when compared to UA.

Our recommendation is to start now with G4 code implementation so data can start accruing for at least one year. And to start learning now to create events for the important statistics you like in Universal Analytics in G4.

We encourage you to subscribe to our blog posts to stay informed on what’s coming up for G4 and Google Ads.  Just visit our blog home page and look on the right side bar for subscribe by email to get a copy of our blog posts when they are published.

 

 

New Visibility Services for Local Businesses

Small business visibility services.

We’ve just introduced a new service for businesses located in Fredericksburg and Harrisonburg, Virginia. Check out the details or view on our website.

Our unique local business visibility program allows you to choose the services and level of engagement you need to grow your business. Choose from services like drone photography, drone videography, video creation for ad and website use, Google My Business management, and Google Ads Express advertising —all with an eye on driving more local traffic to your store or to increase sales of your local services.

Flexible Local Business Program Options

You get to choose what makes sense for your business*, but having a professional recommendation can make all the difference in your results.

Drone Shoot Package

Our experienced FAA Licensed, insured, and supremely experienced drone pilot will work with you to create a custom drone package based on your needs. Prices start at $489 for 20 minutes of fly time and the creation of a custom 2 minute video using drone video and still aerial photography. (There is an additional charge for longer fly times based on the area to photograph, travel outside our two service areas, and the addition of music to the video.) Our pilot will provide a custom quote based on the review of your location and unique needs.

Google My Business (GMB) Account Set Up and Management

You may already have a Google My Business account and just need a review and monthly management or you may need help with the full set up. We can assist with GMB verification, verbiage for your page, add monthly posts or events on your schedule, and even mentor you on how to manage it all yourself after et up. GMB set up prices start at $289 or just buy our services by the hour for what you need, when you need it, on your own unique schedule or on-demand.

Google Ads Express Set Up and Management

Google My Business makes it easy to get started in a junior automated version of Google Ads called Google Ads Express. We can set up your first ad program and budget and teach you how to manage it. Or, test out Google Ads with Express and then move to the full professional version of Google Ads for results that are an investment in your business’ growth. Management prices start at $189 to get started with Google Ads Express through the Google My Business portal and help with Google Analytics tracking and conversion goals. (Your webmaster may need to install code on your website for Google Analytics.) We recommend starting with a $300 a month click budget. Clicks are billed separately to your credit card by Google Ads. We do not make a margin on clicks.

Move to the full professional Google Ads version with professional set up and monthly account management within 90 days and get a $150 credit from us on your set up service.

Monthly Management Options

If you need help managing your Google My Business page with monthly posts, event creation updates, or periodic introduction of new images, ask us about our monthly Google My Business management service. Monthly management of your GMB page starts at $189 for one event creation, one small 150-word post, and help with responding to most comments.

*Please note: our local business visibility program is tailor-made for businesses located in our service areas of the Fredericksburg and Harrisonburg, Virginia. Ask us if we can help you with a streamlined version of this unique program in your location.

 

Adding Facebook Advertising to Your Internet Marketing Strategy

Here are my tips as to when you may want to consider advertising your business and services on Facebook.

One, if you have a relatively low ad budget and want to test if pay per click might be a good option to grow your business, Facebook pay per click advertising is a good match.

Two, if you have customer demographics that fit with the older Facebook user, Facebook advertising may be a good fit for your needs. If your audience is in their 20’s and 30’s consider Instagram instead of Facebook.

I have had clients have success advertising products and services on Facebook. Here are some additional considerations if you decide that you would like to try it out.

One, make sure you are monitoring comments. Readers will post comments to your ads and if you are not watching competitors may even post their own links in the comments.  You can delete any comments you find offensive or not business enhancing. It is not uncommon for trolls to post negative things on your ads, so it is crucial that you be monitoring ad comments.

Two, I do not typically encourage driving Facebook pay per click traffic to your Facebook page but rather to your website so your message is shaped to put you in the best light.

If you need help on strategies or evaluation of Google Ads as an option, make sure to visit our website for more information and pricing.

Marketing Trends to Watch: Amazon Advertising

Google announced that earnings from Google Ads had dropped this last quarter. Feeling pressure from newbies on the block, like Amazon, is sure to shakeup the Google Boardroom.

Google Ads has been king – that is until recently. With renewed pressure from Bing Ads – now called Microsoft Advertising – which appears structured to expand in unknown marketing arenas, Amazon is also now strongly entering the pay per click platform mix.

Amazon has an accredited professionals program and I will be starting my training this week. Not only has Amazon changed the way we buy online, but it may now be the biggest contender against Google for the e-commerce pay per click dollar.

Have you seen this yourself, you are looking to buy a product and now do not even go to Google, but rather start your search on Amazon? I am doing just this myself. Do I click on the Amazon Sponsored items – you bet I do as usually they are a great deal and the price is right. Add to that free prime shipping and Amazon is rapidly becoming my shopping search engine. I rarely buy now items on Google.com – and only if I cannot find it on Amazon.

Amazon has tested services too, so they are just not all about selling products. I have seen cleaning services and pest control service programs on Amazon. Tie that in with the super smart Alexa devices and app that are becoming assistants of choice in millions of homes and Google should be worried.

Why You Should Move To HTTPS

HTTPS – Google loves it, but for informational websites, moving to HTTPS adds to your costs. Expect to pay $129 to $229 for a SSL or secure socket layer certificate to be able to have your website use HTTPS in the browser bar.

For me at this time, I am not moving to HTTPS and it is mainly due to the additional cost. I do not have e-commerce on my website and I only use a contact form for prospects, so do not feel that I must have this extra security. But, Google loves the security and encryption that HTTPS affords for websites. At some point in time, the use of HTTPS on your website may be a ranking factor for organic results, but for now, it is not.

E-Commerce Sites MUST be HTTPS

If your website has e-commerce, you take payments or log users into a secure area, you really need to be using HTTPS at this point in time, no exception.

New Websites Should Embrace HTTPS

Any new websites we design are all in HTTPS. At this time I do not feel that existing informational websites should move to HTTPS, but that day may be coming soon.

To find out more about how we can help you, I invite you to visit our website to browse our service offerings and read more content on topics that will help your business grow.