Collecting, injecting, modelling, and activating in GA4, ready for the cookieless future

Jimmy McCann

Head of Digital Strategy


Google Marketing Platform

In July 2019, when Google announced its new analytics platform, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), was being rolled out, marketers had to adapt to Google’s new ways of presenting and reporting on data. Google then followed up six months later, in January 2020, with the news that third-party cookies were soon to be removed and that they were no longer an effective data collation method.

As of this article (May 2024), Google has pushed back third-party cookie deprecation twice, with a speculative removal period being late 2024 or early 2025. Although it sounds a long way off, third-party cookies will be removed before we know it. Even now, over four years since the initial announcement third-party cookies were being phased out, 16% of decision makers have not planned to use GA4 as a cookieless solution. 

So, now is the ideal time to prepare for the impending cookieless future. But, knowing people have struggled with issues using Google Analytics 4, we collaborated with our Google Partners to present the ‘GA4 Summit: Getting the most out of Google Analytics 4 in a post-cookie world’. 

Watch the introduction to the GA4 Summit here

 

Be the first to know when any new GA4 content goes live – register now:

The way marketers work is changing

 

Consumer complexity is continuing to accelerate as third-party cookies continue to crumble. More than half of consumers are using five or more online sources before they decide to buy. And out of the billions of Google searches conducted daily, over 15% of users are ‘new’ and have never been seen before.

The use of channels, devices, and formats by audiences includes more touchpoints than anybody can manage alone. Users are increasingly concerned about data privacy and how their online information is collected for advertising. These changes in user behaviour mean that if marketers don’t make necessary changes to their processes, digital marketing and measurement will rapidly lose functionality and effectiveness. 

That’s why GA4’s design embodies Google’s industry-leading approach to privacy and changes to the marketing ecosystem. Google Analytics 4 mitigates the loss of third-party cookies by leveraging first-party-based measurement and robust conversion modelling. Marketers can then get a more accurate picture of web and app performance through collecting, injecting, modelling, and activating all available data in GA4. 

For our GA4 Summit series, we and our external partners at Google present what each of these four stages looks like in GA4, how implementation leads clients to success, and how each method combines to form a future-proofed solution in the ever-evolving marketing industry. 

 

The GA4 Summit series

 

Collect: How GA4 works and why you should collect better data

 

A photo of Paul Shearing, Head of Data and Analytics at Search Laboratory digital marketing agency.The first episode of our GA4 Summit series, led by our Head of Analytics, Paul Shearing, looks at how to understand and trust GA4. Paul contextualises the differences between Universal Analytics and GA4, why Google Analytics 4 is the more effective attribution solution, and in the future, why setting up consent mode is vital in gaining a more holistic view of user data. Download the video here.

 

 

 

Inject: Why you should inject first-party data into GA4

 

A photo of Paul Shearing, Head of Data and Analytics at Search Laboratory digital marketing agency.For the second section of our GA4 Summit series, Inject, Paul provides an overview of what the term ‘first-party data‘ means, three different ways experts can inject first-party data into Google Analytics 4, and how server-side Google Tag Manager can enhance your marketing analytics. 

 

Model: How in-platform and out-of-platform models are applied and why they improve upon ‘raw’ data

 

A photo of Alice Crawley, Senior Sales Engineer at Google.Alice Crawley, Senior Sales Engineer at Google, starts this discussion about modelling, which is the focus for the third section of our GA4 Summit series. Alice focuses on the different types of in-platform modelling available in Google Analytics 4, and the unique benefits each brings to the tool. 

 

The title slide from a section of a presentation by Search Laboratory digital marketing agency, that was used for the GA4 summit. The title of the slide is 'model'.

A photo of Jimmy McCann, Head of Digital Strategy at Search Laboratory digital marketing agency.Following Alice’s discussion about in-platform modelling, I join the panel to run through out-of-platform modelling. I highlight how BigQuery plays into the out-of-platform model process and shares use cases of what out-of-platform modelling can achieve in GA4. 

The title of a slide used as part of the GA4 Summit presented by Search Laboratory digital marketing agency. The title of this slide is 'model'.

Activate: How and why you should activate enriched data in Google Analytics 4 

 

A photo of Jimmy McCann, Head of Digital Strategy at Search Laboratory digital marketing agency.I lead the fourth section of our GA4 Summit series, which tackles activating data in Google Analytics 4 to improve marketing performance. You will hear how GA4 is a conduit for audience and monetary value activation. I also shares use cases where Google Analytics 4 activation has led to great success for retail businesses.

 

2024 will forever be seen as an inflection point in the marketing industry. Cookie deprecation has brought about a massive change in how marketers can operate toward success.

Although this is a critical point in the evolution of marketing campaigns, there lies significant potential for new opportunities and growth.

As our GA4 Summit series highlights, these new opportunities can be capitalised on through collecting, injecting, modelling and successful activating your data in Google Analytics 4.

Register your interest to access our GA4 Summit content


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