A Trusted Guide to Google Analytics 4

So, you’ve heard that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will be replacing Universal Analytics in 2023 and you are asking yourself how the two Analytics platforms differ, and how to proceed.

 

GTM & Simplicity

  • Google Analytics 4 is meant to be a simplification of Universal Analytics, taking a variety of steps off your shoulders as a user. For example, since GA4 is now events-based, rather than page view based, you will not have to deal with code implementation, or at least your developer won’t have to. GA4 will incorporate this step of conversion tracking strategy. 
  • It’s simple! All you have to do is to add the gtag.js code to your website. With this quick connection, you can track multiple destinations from one tag, rather than setting up multiple tags for these destinations. However, it is important to keep in mind that GTM will still provide you with a higher level of event-based tracking, with its multiple tag capabilities.

Cookies

  • In terms of security for both user and advertiser, Google will stop using 3rd party cookies in 2022. The goal being to manage success for the advertiser while maintaining safety protocols for users. Consequently, the gaps in behavioral data that will surely result from this change will be filled in by predictive modeling. Overall, Google Analytics 4 is a solution for privacy compliant attribution and the move into a cookieless world.

Setup via Universal Analytics

  • To create your GA4 property via Analytics, the following instructions should allow for a seamless set-up.
    1. In Google Analytics, click Settings Admin (lower left).
    2. In the Account column, make sure that your desired account is selected. (If you only have one Google Analytics account, it’s already selected.)
    3. In the Property column, select the Universal Analytics property that currently collects data for your website.
    4. In the Property column, click GA4 Setup Assistant. It is the first option in the Property column.
    5. Click Get started under “I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property”
    6. If your site uses the gtag.js, tag, you have the option to Enable data collection using your existing tags.
    7. Click Create Property.
    8. Once you click Create Property, the setup wizard
      1. Creates your new GA4 property. 
      2. Copies the property name, website URL, timezone, and currency settings from your Universal Analytics property.
      3. Activates enhanced measurement in your GA4 property.
        1. Enhanced measurement lets you measure interactions with your content by enabling options (events) in the Google Analytics interface. No code changes are required. When you enable these options for a web data stream, your Google Analytics tag starts sending events right away. (Google Analytics Support
      4. Creates a connection between your Universal Analytics and GA4 properties. This connection makes it possible for you to use Setup Assistant in your Google Analytics 4 property to migrate configurations from your Universal Analytics property to your GA4 property.
      5. (If your site is tagged with gtag.js and you elected to Enable data collection using your existing tags in Step 6 above) Creates a connected site tag between your Universal Analytics and GA4 properties.
    9. Once this process is complete, you will see “You have successfully connected your properties” at the top of your Google Analytics 4 Property Setup Assistant page. (Google Analytics Support
    10. Make a note of your GA4 property’s name so you can find it later. If your Universal Analytics property name is “Example property (UA-xxxxxxx)”, your GA4 property name will be “Example property (xxxxxxx)”, without a “UA-” prefix, and where xxxxxxx is a new property number. Click See your GA4 property to open Setup Assistant in your new GA4 property.
    11. If the GA4 Setup Assistant wizard provided the option to Enable data collection using your existing tags (and you left this option selected), your new GA4 property should now be collecting data. (Step 6)
      1. It can take up to 30 minutes for data to begin appearing in your new GA4 property

 

Get Started, you’re ready to go!

 

For additional help with migrating to Google Analytics 4, or interest in digital advertising services, please reach out to us at Alphametic. We help businesses grow customers using Google and Facebook with SEO, digital ads, and smart content. Contact us today.

 

Sources: 

support.google.com 

analyticsmania.com 

wewillthrive.co.uk

 

Everything You Need to Know About Google Ads Certifications

google ad certifications blog title

Dedicate yourself to your craft by earning certifications in Search, Display, Video, Shopping and Apps. Certifications help you stay up to date on Google’s expanding advertising platform that goes beyond search. Get accustomed to Skillshop with pre-exam study guides and post-exam Intermediate and Advanced level courses. Discover the fundamentals of Google’s growing ad network and learn how each platform synergises to assist in the marketing to sales funnel pipeline. Finally, feel the thrill upon completion of your examinations as a Google Certified expert.

Search Certification

Demonstrate your mastery of Google Search Campaigns. Google Ads is a complex advertising platform that goes beyond uploading keywords and an ad. In order to maximize your results, it is important that you work with experts to achieve more together. Certified users will exhibit the ability to leverage legacy tactics with ingenuity and develop proficiency in nascent features like Performance Planner, Audiences, and Experiments to create solutions for clients and boost campaign performance.

Validate your expertise in Search, and showcase your ability to:

  • Generate a plan to increase leads, sales or web traffic using Google Search
  • Develop a plan to reach new and existing customers with Google Search Audiences
  • Optimize effectively with various bidding strategies and Performance Planner
  • Align your Google Search strategy with different campaign types to create synergy across various stages of the marketing to sales funnel

(Source)

Display Certification

Display Advertising raises brand awareness and consideration and unlike Search, works to generate demand. Place bids to feature your advertisements on websites of global brands, or target sites contextually using keyword-based methods. Certified users will demonstrate their ability to create well-developed demand generation campaigns.

Validate your expertise in Display, and showcase your ability to:

  • Develop Google Display campaigns with measurable results for various marketing plans
  • Develop a demand generation campaign to increase awareness, consideration and drive action for long-term growth
  • Develop a plan to reach new and existing customers using remarketing
  • Reach users effectively with less budget limitations using CPM bidding models

(Source)

Video Certification

Tell effective stories and change minds with YouTube and Google Video advertising solutions. Demonstrate your ability to navigate multi-channel funnels with video serving customers along the entire purchase journey. Connect on novel digital touch points like TV for a holistic advertising strategy. Meet people where they are in the evolving world of streaming media.

Validate your expertise in Video, showcase your ability to:

  • Understand how to leverage YouTube audiences to deliver more relevant ads to your consumers across the funnel
  • Develop a strategy that effectively uses a variety of YouTube video formats to grow awareness, increase consideration, and drive action
  • Tell effective brand stories on YouTube using short-form or long-form videos for ad recall or brand favorability

(Source)

Shopping Certification

Maximize your reach in a growing world of global e-commerce. Validate your proficiency to build comprehensive ecommerce solutions with Shopping ads. 

Validate your expertise in Shopping, showcase your ability to:

  • Explain how Shopping ads work
  • Identify core components of Google Shopping policy
  • Describe how Merchant Center and a product feed support your shopping strategy
  • Describe how Smart Shopping Campaigns work and their key benefits
  • Connect third-party platforms with APIs

(Source)

App Certification

Certified users will understand the fundamentals of app campaigns to drive installations or in-app actions. Build your brand by mobilizing app campaign strategy to better reach your customers on digital devices. Dive into Analytics to determine if customers are engaging with deep in-app actions. With app campaigns, build loyalty, and strengthen and widen your brand ecosystem.

Validate your expertise in Apps, showcase your ability to:

  • Explain how App campaigns drive marketing success by enabling user discovery and engagement
  • Create an App campaign to meet a specific marketing goal
  • Enhance app quality and discoverability
  • Attach an App to search for holistic strategy

(Source)

Interested in strengthen your Google Ads? Work with a certified Google Partner Agency.

Everything You Need to Know About Google Ads for Gambling and Casino Campaigns

casino

The Gambling and Casino industry makes a whopping $306.5 billion in the US annually. Casinos and gaming institutions have taken advantage of marketing for years, and have recently begun to leverage digital advertising opportunities as well. 

Google is aware of the gaming industry’s earning power, and have made it easier for casinos and gaming companies to advertise on Google Ads. There has been a bit of controversy surrounding gambling ads in the past, and casino marketing remains a tricky subject. Therefore, it is essential that you are aware of all the requirements that come with advertising gambling with Google. To successfully cash in on Google Ads for gambling, follow along with this guide.  

4 Basic Requirements for all Casino and Gambling Advertisements on Google

For every type of gambling and casino game, there are certain restrictions that you must abide by to be able to advertise with Google. However, four main policies apply to all types of Google gambling advertisements. 

Advertisers Must Have the Proper Google Ads Certification

A Google Ad certification is a minimum requirement to be able to advertise with Google. The certification verifies to Google that you are an online advertising expert and, therefore, understand how to advertise on their platforms properly. You can find more information about the Google Ads certification application process on the Google Support website. 

Gambling Ads Must Target Approved Countries 

For your Ads to be approved by Google, they must only be catered to an audience from the sanctioned countries. Google posted the full list of countries and their local regulations for gambling and casino-related ads on their support page. 

Advertisers Must Have a Landing Page that Displays Information About Responsible Gambling 

Advertisers must be careful to never include minors in their gambling and casino ad targeting; this includes anyone under the age of 21. Warnings must be posted about the dangers of addictive and compulsive gambling as well as information on how to get help.

Not abiding by Google Ad requirements can have serious repercussions. Advertisers that violate Google’s advertising policies “will be restricted from any operation in the United States,” including any advertisements using Google platforms. 

Gambling and Casino Game Ads Allowed by Google 

Google is specific on which gambling and casino games are allowed to advertise on Google Ad platforms. The approved list of content includes advertisements for:

Offline gambling

This includes a promotion for real-money casino games at brick-and-mortar gaming establishments.

Online Gambling

Advertisements for online gambling allow for the promotion of online casino games that use real money or currencies with cash value. This also permits advertisements that link to content about online gambling such as gambling educational materials or gambling-related information.

Online non-casino games

These advertisements are for games online that use real money to gamble. These can include online slots, sports betting, and even lottery tickets. 

Social casino games

Advertisements for social casino games promote gambling-like games where there is no opportunity for prizes of monetary value. This type of advertising is different from the rest because there can be no promotion of chances to win real money prizes. This also includes the promotion of gambling destinations where you can earn rewards of cash value. 

The Benefits of Google Ads for Casinos and Gambling Campaigns

The restrictions and application process may seem like a tedious task, but with the right ad content and targeting, the payoff can be significant. According to Powertraffick, “90% of internet users see Google display ads worldwide,” which means your ad can be seen by more people. Advanced targeting capabilities means you can show your ads to your exact target audience, matching viewers by demographic, interests, location and more. The reach of these advertisements makes Google ads an excellent investment.

Overall, if you follow the basic requirements and restrictions, Google Ads can serve as a major marketing tool for your gambling business. It is essential to be informed and look into the exact requirements for the type of gambling and casino promotion you plan to advertise. Google Ads will continue to change the way the gambling and casino industry advertises, so it is important to leverage Google Ads while their policies permit. For more tips on casino marketing, take a look at our Casino Marketing Guide.

Google Ads vs. Amazon Advertising: Where to Put Your Advertising Dollars [Infographic]

Google Ads vs Amazon Ads

Google enjoyed search engine dominance for decades. But this streak may be coming to an end, at least when it comes to eCommerce. According to a recent survey by Survata, 49% of US internet users started product searches on Amazon, compared to 36% who went to Google first.

This shift can be partially attributed to customers being further down the conversion funnel when they search on Amazon, whereas users tend to use Google when they are in the research stage of their purchasing journey. Marketers know that the bottom of the sales funnel garners a much higher conversion rate than at the top. Because of this, Amazon Ads offers businesses an opportunity to capture buyers when they’re most likely to convert.

So which platform should eCommerce sellers advertise on to maximize sales? What are the key differences between Amazon Advertising (formerly known as Amazon Marketing Services) and Google Ads (previously Google Adwords)? Here, we explore the ad formats, differences, and benefits of each advertising channel.

SKIP AHEAD

Types of Google Ads

Types of Amazon Ads

Google Ads vs. Amazon Ads: Key Differences

What’s New for Each Platform

Which is Better: Google Ads or Amazon Ads?

 

Types of Google Ads

For eCommerce advertisers, there are several types of Google Ads to consider when promoting a particular brand or product:

 

Text Ads

As the name implies, this ad type is text-based, providing a headline and product details. This ad type displays at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), above organic listings.

 

Responsive Ads

google responsive display adgoogle responsive display ad

This type of ad will adjust its shape to fit into the available space. Recently, Google also added the option for marketers to set up one ad with multiple headlines, and test combinations of that ad to achieve the advertiser’s stated goal.

This feature can be seen above, with State Farm’s ad showing up twice, but with different headlines and call-to-actions:

 

Image Ads

google image ad

Google Image ads can be static or interactive graphics, such as .gif or Flash formats. These ads can appear on the Google SERP and across the Google Network, including the Search Network, search partners, and the Display Network.

 

Video Ads

Google Video ads can either run standalone or be inserted into streaming video content, like the above Grammarly ad that played during a YouTube video.

 

Product Shopping Ads

Google Shopping Product ads display images and product details such as rating, price and merchant. This ad type is displayed at the very top of the SERP, above Text ads and organic results.

 

Showcase Shopping Ads

google showcase shopping adsgoogle showcase shopping ads rooms to go

Google Showcase Shopping ads display the various stores that sell the product you’re looking for. Once the user clicks on a particular merchant, the ad expands to display a new layout or brochure of products. This ad type is displayed at the top of the SERP.

 

Types of Ads on Amazon

Amazon has far fewer ad types than Google Ads, and only display on the Amazon site (as opposed to multiple websites, like the Google Display Network).

 

Amazon Sponsored Product Ads

Amazon Sponsored Product ad

These keyword-targeted ads are usually displayed above or below the search results page, as well as on other product detail pages.

 

Sponsored Brand Ads (formerly Headline Search Ads)
Amazon Headline ad

Sponsored Brand ads display as a headline banner ad on the search results page. These ads are also keyword-targeted and cost-per-click. This type of ad can be used to promote 3 or more products together, as shown in the above screenshot.

 

Amazon Product Display Ads

amazon product display ad

Product Display Ads show up in the sidebar below the Add to Cart button on a competitor’s product, or at the bottom of the product page. This type of ad can be seen as a last-ditch effort to get the user to switch over to your product, as opposed to your competitor’s.

Unlike the other two Amazon ad types, which are designed to target specific keywords, Product Display Ads target “shopper’s interest” or “specific products.”

 

Google Ads vs. Amazon Ads: Key Differences

While both programs can be used to promote products, Google Ads and Amazon Advertising have very distinct features and capabilities.

 

Ranking

Because shoppers are further down the conversion funnel when they search on Amazon, the goal of Amazon Ads is to convert directly. Because of this, Amazon Ads will never lead to a different site.

Google, on the other hand, makes money when a user clicks on the ad. For this reason, Google Ads are optimized to catch the user’s attention. Google Ads, unlike Amazon, lead to the brand’s website.

Google, therefore, prioritizes Click-Through-Rate (CTR) when optimizing ads. This means that Ads will prioritize eye-catching, “clickable” ads.

Amazon ranks ads based on which one is most likely to lead to a sale. They determine the convertibility of an ad based on a combination of Performance Metrics (CTR history, conversion rate, overall sales) and Relevance Metrics (product title, description, search terms, seller name).

Both Google Ads and Amazon Ads use Broad Match (least competitive), Phrase Match (moderately competitive), and Exact Match (most competitive) keywords for bidding.

In addition to these keyword types, Google has an additional match type called Modified Broad Match. This match type makes the Broad Match more specific by allowing their product to appear for misspellings, singular/plural forms, abbreviations, and acronyms of that word.

 

Analytics

Because Google Ads direct shoppers to the brand’s website, the advertiser is able to track user information such as demographics, keywords, and geographic location. Amazon, on the other hand, is limited to the data it collects on the Amazon website itself, such as purchase history, returns, and conversion data. Further, Amazon will only capture shopper information if they convert on your product page.

While Amazon is making an effort to broaden its targeting options, it still lags behind Google’s robust analytical capabilities.

 

Terminology

Ad campaign success can be measured by each platform’s respective ROI metric. For Amazon, this metric is called the Advertising Cost of Sales, or ACoS. This is calculated by dividing the total ad spend by total ad sales.

Google uses Revenue over Ad Spend (RoAS), which can be found by dividing advertising revenue by the dollar amount that is spent on that ad. In this way, RoAS is the inverse of ACoS.

 

What’s new for each platform

Amazon advertising Updates 2019

Amazon announced several new features for their Sponsored Product Ads in January. The updates include Bidding Strategies, Placement Multipliers, and Product Targeting:

  • Bidding Strategies

Amazon introduced two Dynamic bid options, down-only bidding and up-and-down bidding, as well as a Fixed Bid option. The dynamic bid options will lower or raise your bids in real time based on how likely your ad is to convert. Fixed bids are just what they sound like – the bid that you set stays that way. Dynamic bids offer advertisers a more hands-off paid campaign management option.

  • Placement Multipliers

This tool allows advertisers to choose how much they’re willing to adjust their bid to stay at the top of the page or to show up on product pages.

  • Product Targeting

Previously, advertisers could only target sponsored product ads by keyword. With this update, you have the option to target by ASIN or product category.

 

google ads announcements

Google has also recently announced a bevy of Ads updates. Here are the ones that affect product ads the most:

  • Pay for Conversions Display Bidding

Previously, there was only an option to bid for clicks. Now, advertisers have the option to bid based on conversions. This can save advertisers money by not having to pay for clicks that don’t convert.

  • Audience Expansion Setting for Display Network

This setting enables Google to look for high-performing audiences that are similar to your target audience. This capability allows advertisers to expand their reach, without increasing bids on existing campaigns.

  • Display Ad Updates

Advertisers can now include “video assets” to their ads, creating a more responsive ad experience. Google also came out with the ad strength tool, which allows advertisers to improve the performance and optimization of their display ads.

 

So which one is better: Google Ads or Amazon Ads?

Because Google and Amazon attract consumers from different parts of the funnel, the platform you choose depends on what your goals are (and where you sell your products).

If you’re looking to grow brand awareness and web traffic, Google Ads may be the platform to use since the ads direct users to your site. Although Amazon Advertising can contribute to overall brand awareness as well, Google still reigns supreme in individuals at the beginning of the buyer’s journey who are simply searching for a solution to their problem.

If you’re less interested in bringing users to a particular landing page on your site and are more focused on making immediate sales, you may want to invest more in Amazon. Amazon has a customer base that is primed (no pun intended) to buy. Your customer acquisition timeline can be considerably shorter on Amazon.

At the end of the day, if you’d like your website to perform well, you should invest in Google Ads. And if you’d like your Amazon storefront to also perform well – you need to invest in Amazon Advertising. Both platforms can mutually benefit from each other by becoming credibility drivers for your products, as well as your brand.

We recommend anyone in eCommerce to test out both advertising programs to see which one is driving the most return. For most businesses, the answer may be to advertise on both platforms. How you break down your PPC budget between the two will depend on campaign results, sales, the KPI’s you care about and more.

As any advertiser knows, the key to a successful paid ad campaign is continual testing. Whether you choose to invest in Google Ads or Amazon Ads, always monitor your KPIs, analyze your metrics, and be open to adjusting your strategy.

If you’d like to read more about PPC updates, check out You Can Now See if Your Google Ads Drive In-Store Visits – Learn How.

Google Ads vs. Amazon Advertising infographic

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Are You Taking Advantage of the New Extended and Responsive Google Ads?

google ads trend update

New Extended and Responsive Ads

Google recently introduced further extending text ads by adding a third, 30-character headline, attached to the first two headlines, along with a second, 90-character description. This comes at the heels of Google announcing their “360 Suite” where we saw Google Adwords get a rebrand. This allows us, as the advertiser, to more prominently feature exciting benefits to the consumer with added messaging that enhances overall quality. Advertisers now have the flexibility to communicate added messaging like the brand name in the first headline, official site or similar in the second headline, and a third benefit, like free shipping or an offer for discounted orders online.

Google also announced the launch of responsive text ads, which combine an ad in real-time from a list of up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions…we’ll discuss this in more detail below.

Benefits of Increased Ad Size and Additional Messaging

Expanded text ads, along with ad extensions, like site links and call extensions, work in synergy to increase overall ad size and perceived value in the SERP. Google’s case studies are evidence for increased performance – praising expanded text ads for helping to increase user engagement through higher click-through rates and increases in other key performance metrics. With a further increase in ad size and messaging, Google’s expansion to additional messaging in ads creates more weight to paid ads displaying prominently. It’s a bullseye for brands looking to literally be front and center at the top of the SERPs.

Smart Performance With Responsive Machine Learning

Google’s exciting announcement is the launch of new responsive text ads. Responsive text ads answer the machine learning puzzle that has become more integrated with Google’s automated algorithms throughout the years.

With responsive ads, the advertiser now has the flexibility to add up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions for a single ad. Google suggests, “for a responsive search ad, provide as many headlines and descriptions as makes sense for your business. If you’re having trouble getting started, we recommend focusing on creating at least five headlines.”

Machine learning is designed to predict which ad combination in real-time will result in higher performance for a matched search query.
The recommendation from Google is for every ad group to have at least 3 ads, including a responsive search ad to accommodate and increase the likelihood that you’ll have a winning combination between all variant ads, headlines, and descriptions.

Responsive ads are a win-win for the advertiser and searcher. They provide freshness through instantaneous Ad combinations to the eyes of return visitors familiar with the brand and new visitors alike that are “window shopping” at leisure in the SERP. (Source: Google Blog)

Tips for entering your headlines

• Keep in mind that headlines and descriptions may appear in any order.
• Try writing the first 3 headlines as if they’ll appear together in your ad.
• Be sure to include at least one of your keywords in your headlines, and create headlines that are relevant to the keywords you’re targeting.
• Try creating headlines of different lengths; don’t try to maximize the character count in every headline.
• Focus on providing as many distinct headlines as you can. More headlines give Google Ads more options for assembling your messages into relevant ads, which may increase performance.
• Try highlighting additional product or service benefits, a problem you’re solving, or highlight shipping and returns information. Learn more about creating responsive search ads
• If you can provide even more headlines, try creating variations of the headlines you’ve already entered. For example, try a different call to action.

With more Google Ad options your PPC Ads can become more sophisticated and targeted to your consumers. What do you think about these new changes?

If you want to read about more Google Updates, check out our 2018 SEO Google Trends post.