Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 245 – 6 Simple Ways To Make GA4 Work Harder For Your Hotel

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Good day fellow hoteliers and welcome to episode 245 of the Hotel Marketing Podcast, I’m your host Pete DiMaio of TravelBoom and today we’re going to share six simple tips to make GA4 work for you.

Back in July of this year, everyone realized Google was really, really serious about the switch from Universal Analytics to GA4 and we were all thrown into this new exciting world of analytics. We’ve got a full cast today with Alyssa, Jeremy, and Connor.


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6 Ways to Make GA4 Work for You

  1. Filter out internal traffic
    1. Internal traffic can create massive problems and inaccuracies in reporting. 
    2. Imagine your analytics team completing a weekly booking engine test on both mobile and desktop. Your data would theoretically show a near 100% conversion rate for users in that geographic area with 8 bookings each month.  This is then compounded by everyone in your organization as well as potentially everyone staying at your property.
    3. By filtering out traffic you don’t want to track in a traditional sense you’ll be able to have a much more accurate picture of what your potential guests are doing on your site.
    4. Luckily this process is very simple:
      1. Find your IP address and those you feel should not be in your main datasets.
      2. Go to your admin settings > data streams > select the data stream (typically web traffic) > Configure tag settings > select “show more” > click “define internal traffic”
      3. Within this area, you can add a name and how you would like to identify the traffic such as IP range, specific IP address, and other options.
      4. The benefit of this system is you can also set multiple types of traffic such as:
        1. Internal company traffic
        2. Agency traffic
        3. In-house guest, etc.
        4. Wifi landing page
    5. Once your traffic filters are set you can then run reports as usual with a much higher degree of accuracy.  Best of all, you can always include this traffic based on your reporting needs. 
  1. Customize as much as you can Jeremy
    1. Create custom events and conversions to track unique customer interactions, regardless of their nature.
      1. Room purchases, newsletter sign-ups, contact forms
      2. Booking funnel steps
    2. Develop custom audiences and segments based on specific user attributes and behaviors.
      1. Retargeting audiences
      2. Demographics
      3. Interest-based audiences
    3. Target campaigns more precisely and deliver personalized experiences to different user groups.
      1. Google Ads
    4. Generate custom reports tailored to your specific business goals and requirements.
      1. Explore reports
  1. Track your Engaged Sessions
    1. In GA4, Engaged Sessions are sessions that meet any of these requirements:
      1. Has at least one conversion event or more,
      2. Has at least 2 page or screen views,
      3. Or lasts more than 10 seconds.
    2. Tracking the engaged sessions helps you qualify the value of your website’s content based on how your audience interacts with it.
      1. Identify content that resonates with your audience and holds their attention.
      2. Optimize underperforming pages by analyzing their engagement metrics.
      3. Include relevant and valuable CTAs to guide users through their journey.
      4. Compare engaged sessions across different user segments to gain deeper insights.
      5. Improve the overall user experience by tailoring your content based on engagement patterns.
  1. Enable Enhanced Events,
    1. Great way to get more metrics that provide more user insight without any extra work.
      1. Just the events you want in the settings ( No need to create custom events or code)!
    2. Will not always work if the Data.Layer is not set up 100% to Google’s specifications.
      1.  Data won’t be pulled or can pull data from the wrong data.layer element.
    3. Use this if the available metrics cover everything you need. If not, I’d recommend building out the rest of the events you want using Google Tag Manager (GTM)
  1. Thresholding and prerequisites 
    1. “applied to prevent anyone viewing a report or exploration from inferring the identity of individual users based on demographics, interests, or other signals present in the data” – Google
    2. Applied when Google Signals is enabled – collects demographic data and lets properties reuse analytics audiences in Google Ads
    3. Thresholding cannot be adjusted
    4. Thresholding may interfere with your custom reporting
      1. Adjust your report date range to increase the number of users that may have triggered your event(s)
    5. Predictive metrics/audiences: prerequisites are required
  1. Utilize the “first user” dimensions
    1. The First User dimension represents the source / medium that acquired the user in the first session.
    2. This dimension provides insight into the channels users are first coming to your site, and this is useful in itself. 
    3. Look at this alongside the session default channel group – a channel we’ve typically used to analyze data (either in a report or an exploration), and you can gain a better understanding of the path from initial acquisition through to conversion. 
      1. Gain a deeper understanding of user acquisition channels and their impact on conversions.
    4. By leveraging the “first user” dimensions, you can:
      1. Analyze the actions users take during their initial visits to identify potential bottlenecks.
      2. Improve landing pages and user flows based on insights derived from first user data.
      3. Provide a seamless and personalized experience that encourages further engagement.
      4. Refine your marketing strategies by aligning them with the customer journey from the point of first interaction to conversion. 

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