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Google’s Ministry of Magic throws the next flash-bang grenade with machine learning and GA4

October 12, 2021

Sometimes reality and fantasy seem to blur. The owl post flutters in with the Daily Prophet's latest edition of magic. Google is announcing machine learning with its Google Analytics 4 update. And there they are, the buzzwords for any data wizard: GA4 and Machine Learning. But as with the Daily Prophet in Harry Potter’s world, it's rather worth taking a look behind the statements of the Ministry of Magic. So I read it again and three key messages flew right to my eye:

  1. Google admits to measurement gaps and data loss. And if Google is already trying to close measurement gaps, every marketing wizard can easily imagine that the gaps must be glaring. Worth noting, internal Google research sees more than 60% revenue loss coming to publishers as soon as the last third party cookies have passed. If you want to measure your own data loss, sign up at https://truetraffic.io.
  2. Google's Ministry of Magic is staffed with top-notch data wizards. So, who really believes they’re not able to close the measurement gaps? It’s obviously a question of will and intention. To truly solve this topic for advertisers and consumers, Google would have to let advertisers become the First Party (and give up collecting data itself).
  3. So what does Google’s Ministry of Magic do now? Sell with machine learning another estimation tool to guess gaps they simply don’t know. Bravo!

Source: https://blog.google/products/marketingplatform/analytics/meet-marketing-objectives-with-new-google-analytics/

Every manager makes daily decisions based on a simple formula: What's the cost to me versus the benefit? Let's do that simple math.

What do I get with the new Google magic?

  1. A fancy UI (gotta hand it to Google, they do that very nicely).
  2. The fancy UI, however, shows invalid information, the measurement system is as full of holes as a Swiss cheese.
  3. Machine Learning that somehow tries to guess and close these gaps. At the latest in the Apple world, the Google algorithms will just shoot holes in the air like buckshot.

What does the fun cost me?

There is a free version, but a savvy manager knows the cost of free. In this case, Google is taking the company's data and monetizing it. Additionally:

  1. Monetary costs for needed functionality: the paid version can quickly cost $150,000/year.
  2. Opportunity cost: 30-50% of website traffic is blocked and thus lost which leads to ineffective campaigns, lossy customer journeys and, therefore, revenue loss and sunk spending.

In the end, a rational manager would ask whether an investment in such a holey measurement system makes sense at all. He could only answer this question with yes if there were no alternatives. However, the alternative is obvious, and even better.

Why should I have a machine estimate the number of my users, conversions, and leads when I can simply count them? Why estimate when I can know?

Instead of throwing money at Google’s Ministry of Magic and its buzzword bingo, businesses can simply empower themselves to become a true data controller that stores, manages, and processes its customer data. This enables 100% accurate data trust which then builds the base for real customer journey and marketing campaign optimisation. Incidentally, this is also when real trust is triggered in our customers. Instead of greeting you as an unknown user every time you visit a website and asking for permission to share the data with Google every time, as a true First Party, you simply hold the door open for your users, delight in their return, and provide them with exactly the magic they've been looking for. That’s what really builds trust.

Dumbledore once said, "Soon we'll all have to make the choice between what's right and what's easy."

If you want to follow Dumbledore’s exploratory tour to find out how simple what is right, just get in touch with us and blot out your SaaS vendors that carry leaky buckets of customer data that cost your business in the long run.