I am fortunate to share another guest post by Arben Kqiku, Digital Analyst at Assura. Last time, Arben graced this blog with a comprehensive love letter to R as an example of the power of this programming language. This time, he’ll add even more fancy tools to the toolkit to help you build a data pipeline in the Google Cloud Platform to join your Google Ads and Google Analytics 4 data together.
Google is going all-in with Google Tag. We’ve already seen the consolidation effort through products like Google Analytics 4, and now Google is extending the merging of the tagging stack into Google Tag Manager, too. I’m referring to the new Google Tag that has replaced Google Analytics 4 configuration tags in your Google Tag Manager containers. With this release, all your old GA4 configuration tags have been auto-migrated to the new Google Tag.
One of the big pain points in configuring Google Analytics 4 through Google Tag Manager has been the difficulty of setting up event parameters, user properties, and settings across a range of tags. Well, we can finally get rid of our clumsy Config tag sequencing hacks because Google has released two new settings variables that mimic how the Google Analytics Settings Variable used to work in Universal Analytics. The new variables are:
I owe my career to Google Analytics. Whatever success I have achieved over the past 15 years or so can be directly attributed to my work with GA and, by extension, other tools in the Google stack. Now, Universal Analytics is about to be turned down. It fills me with a sense of nostalgia and pining for past, simpler times. When I cast my mind back, a scattering of memories emerges in my mind:
Server-side tagging is all about control. Being able to intercept, modify, and even block requests as they come in before they are dispatched to their actual endpoints is extremely valuable. The built-in Google Analytics 4 tag template has options for modifying event parameters and user properties in the Google Analytics 4 request, but did you know you can use these options to modify some of the fields as well, such as Client ID, User ID, and event Engagement Time?
While Measurement Protocol for GA4 is still rather, well, rough, it can be used to augment existing collection quite nicely. Recently, I wrote an article that discussed the nuances of session attribution with Measurement Protocol. One of the pain points of any data ingestion setup is how to debug it. Measurement Protocol hits are not automatically surfaced in GA4’s DebugView. In this article, I’ll show you how to make those hits pop up in the debug stream.
In this article, I’ll try to clarify the understandably murky Measurement Protocol functionality in Google Analytics 4. Measurement Protocol is a way to send events to Google Analytics 4 directly from a machine capable of sending HTTP requests (such as a web server). It’s an alternative collection method to the client-side libraries of Google Tag and the Firebase SDK. Measurement Protocol in GA4 is very different from its predecessor in Universal Analytics.
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