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What to Know About Google Analytics 4 + Using it to Measure Partner Program Goals

The digital world is abuzz with the news that Universal Analytics (UA) will stop collecting data in July, 2023.

Ali Spiric

At this time, Google will force all users to rely upon Google Analytics 4 (GA4) instead. 

While this may seem to impact your marketing division the most, it will affect the channel partner management division, as well. After all, Google Analytics is a free tool that can provide a depth of insights into your program recruitment promotion and partner marketing success. 

 

How the Switch to GA4 Will Impact Channel Professionals 

Coordinate with your marketing team to ensure a smooth transition from one Analytics platform to the next, keeping in mind:

  • The sooner you launch GA4, the better – The good news is that UA and GA4 can run in tandem with one another, meaning that creating a GA4 profile doesn’t mean you have to start using it right away. The purpose behind creating it ASAP is to allow it to accumulate data, making historic comparisons easier. While the UA profile won’t disappear entirely, this step lessens the amount you’ll have to analyze two different data sets.
  • The GA4 interface is not intuitive – Not everyone is happy about the switch from UA to GA4, with one of the most common complaints being that it’s unnecessarily tricky to understand. To properly brace yourself, read Google Analytics 4 Backlash: GA4 “Sucks” and is “Horrible”. With this in mind, we suggest you give yourself ample time to familiarize yourself with the new setup.
  • Some metrics will differ from what you’re used to – Making the learning curve even more dramatic with the new platform, Google hasn’t used the same naming conventions for its popular metrics and has replaced some, entirely. For example, “bounce rate” is no longer measured, Analytics instead choosing to review “engagement” as defined through other actions like page visits, time on page, events, etc.
  • You can transfer goals from UA to GA4 – If the above sounds overwhelming, know that you’re not alone. Thankfully, Google is throwing users a bone by creating a migration tool specifically for goals. This means that, if you track the number of newly enlisted partners that reach the “thank you” messaging or meaningfully interacted with your partner page, you can transfer that setup over. 

Why You Should Use Google Analytics in the First Place

While your PRM can help measure a significant number of related efforts, it’s not the only tool at your disposal. While we encourage you to check out 20 Necessary Tools to Enable Channel Partners to Sell, we want to focus on the full potential of Google Analytics in this particular article. 

Digital Engagement With Prospective Channel Partners

Google Analytics can show traffic sources, landing page visits, internal site behavioral flow, website interactions, and other helpful metrics. Channel leaders can use this data to test out partner web page design, including:

  • What calls-to-action within the site bring in the most internal traffic
  • What marketing campaigns drive the most offsite visitors to the page, and which ones drives traffic more likely to sign-up 
  • What is the bounce rate, average session duration, etc. 
  • Where on the site do individuals click to next once visiting the site

 

In order to analyze the above, establish a benchmark, modify your strategy, and then gauge how this impacts correlating metrics. Take note, there are additional UX tools that can provide on-page engagement insights through heat mapping, session recordings, etc. 

Tracking Digital Marketing Success Through UTM Parameters

You’ve undoubtedly seen UTM parameters in past web encounters, even if you’re unfamiliar with their intention. Marketers add this code to the end of URLs to help identify the source or campaign associated with the site visit. For example, if you sent out a press release with the URL https://www.examplesite.com/article-title?utm_campaign=julypress&utm_medium=referral, Google Analytics would automatically know to annotate the traffic as part of the Julypress campaign and grouped under the Referral medium. 

 

UTM parameters can help channel leaders in two ways:

  • To measure your own company’s promotional efforts to recruit potential program
  • To track inbound traffic to co-marketed digital materials from partners’ campaigns 

 

The second point is particularly important, as knowledge of inbound traffic from partners’ marketing can help refine strategies. What’s more, such data can provide clarity into the ROI of marketing spending, helping you to make better-informed decisions with MDF spending

Recommended Next Steps

Chances are, your Marketing or Analytics teams are immersed in Google Analytics, so it’s best to partner with them to set up the above initiatives. Explain your objectives, establish UTM tagging best practices, set up relevant tracked goals, and collaborate to design custom dashboards from which you can regularly extract the valued KPIs to measure and improve strategies.