GA4 Integrations with GMP

2022-07-12 | Article | Insights

GA4 Integrations with GMP

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the name of the latest generation of Google's digital analytics tool, which, unlike previous versions, combines both website and app traffic into one platform. Already in the Universal Analytics version, GA has been part of the Google Marketing Platform (GMP) family of tools, which demonstrates how close it is to the adtech tools of Google and that Google's marketing technology is most advantageous when used holistically. This also means that Google Analytics in particular is well-integrated with the other tools in the GMP. If you take a look at the admin area of GA4, you will first notice that there are plenty of Google tools to choose from for connecting to GA4.

Already in this list of tools under Product Links some of the most relevant integrations of GA4 with GMP become apparent, but some others can also be established, for example from within the respective GMP tool. How exactly this works and which advantages and possibilities it brings with it, you will learn in the following.

Google Tag Manager

Probably the most frequently mentioned tool from the GMP family in connection with Google Analytics is the Google Tag Manager (GTM) or simply Tag Manager. The closeness of both systems often creates the impression that they belong together and yet they are two tools that only work particularly well together. Their integration allows you to start your GA4 measurement efficiently and effectively. Google Tag Manager supports GA4 properties with two tags that operate together: GA4 Configuration and GA4 Event.

The GA4 event tag references the GA4 configuration tag and therefore depends on the GA4 configuration tag being set up. After creating the GA4 property and establishing your data streams, you can access one of these streams and copy your Measurement ID as you need it for the GA4 configuration tag in your GTM account.

In GTM, the tag configuration can then be completed. Here, you can go to the tags level and click the "New" button and then “Tag configuration” to choose the tag type “Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration” and insert the measurement ID copied from the GA4 data stream. Next, you can choose the trigger and integrate your CMP settings to ensure GDPR compliance. After creating the tag, you can debug it to see if it works as intended using the GTM Preview Mode and then publish your workspace. Next, you can use GTM to also insert and publish your GA4 Event tags, which can be for example used to track HubSpot contact requests.

Display & Video 360

GA4 is also very well-integrated with Display & Video 360 (DV360) allowing advertisers to use DV360 for building advanced media strategies that involve the GA4 possibilities for analysis and audience creation. Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 can already be linked to DV360 with the free version, so now even more DV360 customers can benefit from GA4 audience and conversion exports. This enables them also to see DV360 appear as traffic source in GA4 cross-channel report for campaign optimization purposes as well as to use DV360 campaign and cost data in GA4 for a more user-centric approach and a more holistic view to programmatic campaigns. Furthermore, you can use GA4 events for Custom Bidding and establish tailored real-time optimization approaches such as optimizing the consideration stage in the user customer journey based on the level of user engagement represented as traffic qualification score. For more on this, read the article “Qualified Traffic Scoring for Mid-Funnel Optimization”. Thanks to the connection between GA4 and Google Cloud BigQuery and the ability to store user information as a custom dimension inserted via BigQuery, DV360 advertisers can also benefit from the ability to activate audiences based on information calculated in BigQuery and pushed to GA4 once they have established the integration between DV360 and GA4. An example of this can be found in the article “Increase Campaign Efficiency with Custom Bidding”.

Currently, you cannot initiate the link between DV360 and GA4 in the Google Marketing Platform Integration Center but must do so in the admin area.

Search Ads 360

Another integration of GA4 that is very similar to the integration with DV360 and serves activation purposes is the one with Search Ads 360 which again can be initiated within these tools as it is currently not available directly in the GMP Integration Center. For the new SA360 experience, you can navigate to “Tools and settings” to “Setup” to “Linked accounts” and choose “Google Analytics (GA4) & Firebase” to create a link and then apply the corresponding property. Within the section “Measurement” you can then navigate to “Conversions” and create a new conversion action to import the GA4 conversions that you wish to see and use in SA360.

Linking both systems can get you a couple of exciting possibilities for your activation endeavors. You can use Analytics audience exports to your SA360 account if you have upgraded to the new Search Ads 360 experience. If you have the Continuous Audience Sharing feature enabled in your SA360 account, these audiences will be shared with all existing and future Google Ads sub-accounts, allowing you to use, for example, BigQuery-based audiences within your search marketing strategy, similar to the example above with DV360. Additionally, you can also export Analytics conversions to SA360 or vice versa import campaign and cost data to your GA4 property which means data will flow both ways between the tools. Another benefit of upgrading your SA360 account to the new experience is the ability to see Analytics app and site engagement metrics in your Search Ads 360 reports.

Data Studio

Some very obvious advantages are provided with the GA4 integration with Data Studio. This can be set up in the Data Studio user interface by selecting Google Analytics as the connector so that GA4 data can be imported into Studio.

Once connected, you can begin creating dashboards, including using the Custom Dimensions in GA4, which in turn allow you to visualize your calculations deployed in Google Cloud BigQuery and transferred to GA4 to make sense of those insights.

Optimize 360

You need to link an Optimize container with a GA4 property because Google Analytics is the measurement platform for Optimize inferences. This requires a GA4 account, property, and web data stream as well as an Optimize account and container. Once you have linked your Optimize container to an GA4 property, you can start creating experiences and use Analytics metrics as objectives for the experiments. By linking to an Analytics property you can also segment your experiment data and combine it with other Analytics data.

To start linking GA4 and Optimize, you need to navigate to the Optimize Accounts page, wait for running experiments to end or end them yourself, and manually stop running personalizations, then open the container settings and link to an Analytics property in the Measurement and objective section. The chosen GA4 property must be the one that corresponds to the web domain where you plan to run experiments. After the connection is established, you can accept the running personalizations, which you may have paused manually, and start the personalizations.

You can link a Google Analytics 4 account with up to 25 Optimize containers and run an experiment for up to 35 days. If you need higher limits in Optimize, you will have to upgrade to GA4 360.

Currently missing integrations

Currently, there is no direct integration between GA4 and Campaign Manager 360, but things are evolving daily and new features for Google Analytics 4 are being released all the time as the discontinuation for Universal Analytics approaches.

In the meantime, a possible workaround for consolidating Google Analytics 4 and Campaign Manager 360 data can involve the use of Google Cloud BigQuery as a connector. You can use BigQuery Data Transfer Service for Campaign Manager which allows you to automatically schedule and manage recurring load jobs for Campaign Manager reporting data. For Google Analytics 4 properties, you can export all of your raw events to BigQuery. Once the data has entered BigQuery you can join it based on a mutual identifier.

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