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What Marketers Need to Know About GA4 and Content Analytics with JJ Reynolds

What Marketers Need to Know About GA4 and Content Analytics with JJ Reynolds

Use data to drive informed decisions, avoid common mistakes, and stay up-to-date on the latest marketing strategies. Improve your marketing efforts with actionable tips and insights on data-driven decision-making and a new dawn with GA4 almost hitting our systems.

JJ Reynolds is the founder and head of marketing and analytics at MediaAuthentic. JJ has extensive experience using data to drive informed decision-making and is here to share his insights on utilizing data in marketing.

In this episode, we talk about why content marketers need to have analytics, the common mistakes they make regarding analytics and an overview of the new Google Analytics system GA4. 

So, sit back, relax, and get ready to take some notes as we dive into the world of data-driven marketing with JJ Reynolds.

Show Topics

  • Why content marketers need analytics
  • What bounce rate is and how it is calculated
  • How to get started with data-driven decision making
  • The site efficiency
  • Common mistakes made by marketers regarding analytics
  • Challenges associated with having a big team
  • The art of asking great business questions to inform measurement strategies
  • Introduction to GA4
  • Best advice on how to prepare for a new product launch
  • Check out Mediauthentic here
  • Check out the BetterThanData system here
  • Connect with JJ Reynolds on LinkedIn
  • Connect with Omniscient Digital on LinkedIn or Twitter 

Listen to the podcast:

Key Takeaways:

06:34- Why content marketers need analytics

Before implementing or understanding the main reason for analytics, start with the goals of the content.

“Yeah, so I think the the bigger question is like, what is the intention of the of the content? Like, and that’s what people oftentimes get, like Lawson is like, every content used to drive $1. Right? Like, that’s, like, very much like, the CFO, the CFO is into, like, How much money did we get out of this blog post that cost $1,000? To Write Right? Like, well, that’s, that’s what the CFO is going to ask. But then, like the marketer, like the smart, like, intentional marketer is going to be like, what was the purpose of this article? And did it achieve that? And so, then you have to look at the bigger question above that is like, let’s just take a SaaS company, for example, that’s in like a CRM space, hypothetically. And like, say they have the content pillars of like CRM, like marketing director, and, like, tactical implementation. And as like, the categories that they have, like are is the intention of each category, the same is the intention of each article in the category the same. And so if you have a way to categorize like the intention of the of the of the article, or the intention of the category, or if you have subcategories, or if you have, like however, however, you’re categorizing things, it’s way easier to judge the like, in the success of it, if you’re like, This is the article that like someone should read right before they buy, like, we should have our sales teams and this people that don’t buy on the call, we should have everybody, like do these things. But at the end of the day, there’ll be some articles that are just like listicles that are like the top 10 things that you need to look at from your CRMs perspective. And like that’s not going to drive very many sales. So what’s the intention of writing the article off the bat? And let’s measure against that intention as opposed to being like how much revenue did this get because it probably won’t be a lot.”

15:30- What bounce rate is and how it is calculated

When people look at bounce rate, it often feels misguided, but what is it, and how is it calculated? 

Yeah, so in our good old friend, Universal Analytics, which is going away in July of 2023, but we’re gonna use that for the example because it’s been around for a decade. A bounce rate is literally saying, the people that did not have a interaction. And so by default, right, if you have a default Google Linux universal setup, we’re just measuring page views. That’s it. If you have a page view, and you read the whole article, like, so I’m like, Oh, my gosh, that’s his goal. But this article is so good. I’m reading it. I’m like, sitting around for five minutes. And I’m like, wow, this is a great article. And then I leave, like, click out. I bounced, because there was no action, that universal index knows to measure against by balanced or not. And so like, if you want to have a low bounce rate, just trigger an event after five seconds. And anyone who doesn’t spend five seconds has is bounced and everyone who spends more than five seconds has not bounced. So you’re going to change that it’s so easy to change the bounce rate, that it’s like, what’s the definition of a bounce?”

19:18- How to get started with data-driven decision making

To determine if something is working, write specific questions and actions on a white paper focusing on improvements, not unchangeable factors.

“Yeah, I’d start like, get like a white piece of paper and like, sit down in front of you and say, what questions do you have about if it’s working? Like, don’t even like listen to anyone like me, or like anyone who’s telling you what metrics to like use? Like, we’re going to throw any kind of best practice out the window, just write down Like what questions you have about? Is it like to answer the question of like, quote unquote, isn’t working, like, just, you have a white page in front of you. And I don’t care if you say like, like, the most ridiculous thing to measure, like ever, like, I don’t care. And so like, basically write down as many questions as you can think of that are like you’d want to know. And then next to that question, right, the action you will take depending on the answer to it. And you’re going to throw away like half of your questions, because there’s no action. Like it goes back to like, it was it raining, like we made more sales when it’s raining, like cool. Like, if you can figure out how to make it rain, it’s a much better business and figuring out how to sell umbrellas. Like there’s like a whole, like, like your action is nothing, you can’t do anything about that. So like most people start with questions that you can’t take an action on. So why even ask the question? Like, obviously, someone should ask the question like, if it’s something that’s actually valuable thing, but in general, as a content marketer, start with the questions that you have about your article. Like, it could be something as simple as like, Hey, you have a bold middle section. That’s like, the main takeaway, did people read it? Like, if they did read it, we’re gonna do more of that. And they didn’t read it, we’re going back to the drawing board on like, what our main takeaways of our articles.”

31:40- The site efficiency 

Measuring site efficiency is a valuable metric that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of a website.

“I think it’s the most valuable, because I’m calling like, the site efficiency, which is a percentage of sessions divided by people who see your offer. So like, you take the sessions of the site, like gotten 10,000 sessions, how many people saw your apply page? If you’re like an agency, right? Like, how was all that apply page 10 100. And then that’s your percentage, like 1% of people. And then you can do it by category, right? Like over the CRM categories, or what however you want to break your content strategy up by is how efficient is the sessions are the sessions, getting someone to that, like apply page or like the, like free demo, or whatever the just to see the page, not even like becoming a lead is like, how efficient is your website, getting people to see the thing that you’re offering them?”

39:01- Common mistakes made by marketers regarding analytics

A common mistake is not tracking conversions and leads, browser behavior, and registration source, leading to poor performance and lack of feedback to ad platforms.

“I think the most common thing is like not tracking the actual conversions. And all it sounds really, like basic, but like, tracking leads tracking in the browser, tracking all those pieces to give feedback to Google ads, this thing, or all the different platforms where they’re running ads on or just trying to report on. You’d be surprised how many people are running webinars or whatever else, like a SaaS company that has a monthly webinar and have no idea how many people like where people are coming from, like; there’s no analytics platform that’s like counting registrations to the source. They’re just looking at, like, zooms registration.”

41:13- Challenges associated with having a big team

Having a big team lacks a homogenized format for UTM parameters and can lead to incredible complexities.

“Oh, what 100%. And that’s like, the, like, the bigger the team, right? Like, the more people that are in the pot, everyone has an ego like this, the way that we’re going to do things. And no one’s really thought about, like, every department, every team, or every vendor, if you’re using vendors to run traffic or anything like that, like you. That’s why like, the companies that we do work with over a long period love us, like unequivocally, because they can be like, don’t talk to us about how we’re going to tag people go talk to these guys. And, like, we’ll have our team there. And, like, this is the way we do things here. And like we are kind of like the bodyguards of the client’s measurement systems.”

47:42- The art of asking great business questions to inform measurement strategies

Asking relevant questions allows a proper understanding of the task and makes informed decisions.

“start to ask those questions and bring that to the table. Yeah, like, that’s a great goal to have. And, like, once you know what’s possible, it’s a lot easier to ask more questions, right? Like, that’s when you know, what’s possible, it’s very easy to play within those realms, like myself, whereas I can ask questions, I know that I know how to get the answer to like if we’re not collecting it. I know; there’s a system to get the answer. But, like, if you don’t even know that, like, you have to, like, be like, Okay, what are the questions that we’re going to ask? And, like, how do we get those numbers? Like, how do we start that process? Because yeah, most of our clients, it’s like, 50% education, 30% Like strategy, and 20% implementation.”

48:36- Introduction to GA 4.0

GA 4.0 is replacing Universal Analytics to become the only standard analytic GA system.

“Exactly. So yeah, just for everybody listen along is GA 4.0 is the new analytics platform that Google is pushing. It’s a completely different system. Universal index, which was established like a decade ago, is going away, July 1 2023, I believe. And from that point on, we’ll have to either use GA 4.0 like, or some other platform, like you can use whatever you want. Like, it doesn’t really matter. Google is great, because they have Google ads and all the other pieces as well. So just on the on the topic of that is, it’s it’s way better for the modern world. Like, full stop, that that’s the statement I’ve got on GA 4.0, like it’s better for the modern world.”

55:23- Best advice on how to prepare for a new product launch

Spend those four hours upfront to learn something, implement, delete it, you’re gonna do it wrong, guarantee it, and then redo it in a month.

“I’d say spend four hours watching YouTube videos, taking a course messaging me, whatever your heart desires, learning about this, how J four is different? Maybe Yeah, and then you spend four hours trying to implement via Tag Manager via these things like custom dimension, those are the customer reports, etc. Then wait a month, like try to like look at your reports, and then delete everything. And then spend four hours building it again, looking at it, and then two hours being like, oh, yeah, we got it, that’s 20 hours total. But I just laid out. And that’s my advice is like, spend those four hours upfront to learn something, implement, delete it, you’re gonna do it wrong, guarantee it, and then redo it in a month. And that’s what, like the best, my best advice would be like, budget 20 hours over three months to kind of do that. And then you’ll be way better off because you’ll have broken it.”

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Alex Birkett

Alex is a co-founder of Omniscient Digital. He loves experimentation, building things, and adventurous sports (scuba diving, skiing, and jiu jitsu primarily). He lives in Austin, Texas with his dog Biscuit.