PR and marketing professionals view Google Analytics as a vital tool for examining the results of their campaigns. A survey by Forrester Consulting shows that marketers consider improving their use of analytics a top priority, but they say existing solutions make it difficult to obtain a complete view of the customer and extract insights from data.
Marketers struggle to manage, organize and synthesize all their data. Although 84% of decision-makers consider cross-platform analytics “critical” or “very important,” only 43% have cross-platform analytics tools implemented.
What the New Google Analytics Offers
Google claims its machine learning automatically surfaces helpful insights and provides marketers an enhanced understanding of customers across devices and platforms, and future actions of customers. The updated analytics can operate without cookies, which are being phased out.
“The new Google Analytics will give you the essential insights you need to be ready for what’s next,” blogs Vidhya Srinivasan, Google’s vice president, measurement, analytics, and buying platforms. Google continues to add predictive metrics, like the potential revenue from a particular group of customers, Srinivasan adds.
The updated analytics can automatically alert users about significant trends in their data – like products seeing rising demand.
The enhanced analytics also provide a deeper integration with Google Ads that let marketers create audiences in order to better reach customers.
A simplified and re-organized reporting helps users find marketing insights based on what part of the customer journey they’re most interested in. Revised data controls help users better manage how they collect, retain and use data.
What Experts Say about Updated Google Analytics
Enhanced trend monitoring is the main advancement, says Andrew Hutchinson at Social Media Today, noting the new analytics can automatically alert users to significant changes in their website traffic. Ascertaining the full value of the updates may be difficult, as they’ll likely vary between websites. They’re definitely worth exploring.
“It’ll take some time to fully flesh out the value and utility of each of these new elements within your own process, but Google has essentially made it easier to attribute specific actions and impacts, which means that if you can think of what you need to know. Analytics will now be better able to connect the dots for you, and provide more valuable insight,” Hutchinson says.
Improved integration between Google’s marketing products and apps, such as YouTube, provide a better overview of customer actions that can help marketers improve ROI.
“Now marketers can, for example, see if customers first discovered a business from an ad on the web and later completed a purchase on the business’s app,” says Matt Southern, lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. “Over the long-term, marketers can gain a better understanding of the entire customer lifecycle – from acquisition to conversion and retention.”
“If it works as described, it can give marketers a way to measure their performance with each customer or group of customers across their entire lifecycle, which is especially important during COVID when customer needs are constantly changing,” says Ron Miller at TechCruch.
Limits of Google Analytics
While the updated web analytics may offer enhanced capabilities for marketing, PR professionals still need media monitoring and measurement services for PR measurement. Organizations must analyze the entire Web, including social media, not just their own website for an accurate assessment of PR effectiveness.
Although PR efforts may increase the company’s website traffic, that’s rarely the primary or most meaningful PR objective. More sophisticated measurements specific to PR purposes require a media monitoring and analytics service that can report metrics such as share of voice and brand sentiment. Some media measurement services can integrate Google Analytics into their dashboard for a comprehensive view of PR and marketing campaigns.
Bottom Line: While value of updates to Google Analytics may vary between organizations, they’re worth examining, especially for brands using Google ads. Savvy PR and marketing pros will combine web analytics with data from a media monitoring and measurement tool.
Michael Kling is manager of public relations, marketing and social media at Glean.info, a media monitoring and measurement service that provides customized media monitoring and PR analytics solutions.