How to fight back with GA4 against iOS 14.5 data loss

June 9, 2023
June 9, 2023 Guy Nitagai

How to fight back with GA4 against iOS 14.5 data loss

Learn how to improve the accuracy of attribution analysis in GA4

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, tracking and understanding user behavior has become a crucial aspect of marketing and analytics. Attribution analysis, in particular, plays a vital role in identifying the channels and touchpoints that contribute to conversions and overall campaign success. However, with the advent of the post-cookie era, where traditional tracking methods are becoming obsolete, it is essential to explore new approaches to enhance the accuracy of attribution analysis.

In this article, we will delve into the significance of attribution analysis, discuss the capabilities of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), and provide recommendations for leveraging its identifiers, especially the user_id, to improve attribution accuracy.

The Challenges of Attribution Analysis 

Attribution analysis serves as a means to attribute credit to the various marketing channels and touchpoints that influence a user’s journey toward conversion. It allows marketers to understand the impact of their efforts across different platforms, campaigns, and interactions. However, as we transition into the post-cookie era, relying solely on traditional tracking methods such as third-party cookies or JavaScript-generated first-party cookies is no longer sufficient. We need alternative methods to track attribution accurately and comprehensively.

A secret trick to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

GA4, the latest version of Google Analytics, offers a solution to this challenge. It utilizes multiple identifiers to track and attribute user actions. These identifiers include user_id, Google Signal, cookies, and modeling. By leveraging these identifiers, GA4 provides a more holistic view of user behavior, even in the absence of traditional tracking mechanisms.

Among the various identifiers used by GA4, the user_id stands out as the most reliable and effective. The user_id is a unique identifier assigned to each user, allowing for cross-device and cross-browser tracking. This means that regardless of the device or browser used, GA4 can identify and attribute actions to a specific user. Unlike cookies, which can be cleared or expire, the user_id remains consistent over time, providing a more accurate and long-term view of user engagement.

A Real World Example of GA4

To emphasize the significance of the user_id, let’s consider some real-world data. According to one of our clients’ data analysis, 50% of user_ids had more than two cookies associated with them within a year. This finding indicates that as users interact with a website over an extended period, the visibility of their attribution diminishes when relying solely on cookie-based tracking. In such cases, the user_id becomes invaluable, allowing marketers to maintain attribution visibility and accuracy even as users interact across multiple devices and browsers.

To improve the accuracy of attribution analysis in GA4, we recommend leveraging the user_id identifier whenever possible. By using user_id as the primary identifier, you can ensure consistent and reliable tracking of user behavior. Implementing user_id tracking across your digital properties will enable you to gain a comprehensive understanding of user journeys and accurately attribute conversions to the appropriate channels and touchpoints.

In conclusion, as we navigate the post-cookie era, it is crucial to adapt our tracking and attribution methods to maintain accuracy and effectiveness. GA4, with its multiple identifiers and emphasis on the user_id, provides a solution to the challenges posed by traditional tracking mechanisms. By utilizing the user_id identifier as much as possible, marketers can enhance attribution accuracy and gain valuable insights into user behavior across various devices and browsers.

Want to learn more about how to embrace GA4 and its powerful attribution capabilities to unlock a deeper understanding of your audience and optimize your marketing efforts accordingly? Or simply need help migrating your data from Google Analytics to GA4 when GA sunsets at the end of this month? Contact us today to set up a free data consultation. 

Interested in learning more about the IOS14.5 data loss? Check out our Facebook Ads Data Loss Calculator.