What to Watch Out for With GA4 - adMixt - eCommerce Marketing Specialist

After much anticipation, GA4 is finally here. Starting July 1st, accounts will be required to migrate to GA4 full-time. 

One of the big changes coming to GA4 is the default attribution used in Analytics. On Universal Analytics, the default has been last-click sales (the last source/medium to interact with a consumer before the final purchase). 

The new default on GA4: data-driven attribution 

So the real question is what is data-driven? 

Google will be looking at all of the sources that influence someone’s purchase and give the most amount of credit to the source that made the “biggest impact” at driving the sale. 1 sale could technically be divided into multiple sources and be represented in decimals. 

For example, this is how a sale could be represented under data-driven attribution:  

  • google/cpc: .6
  • facebook/paid social: .2
  • google/organic: .2 

The main issue: It’s unclear how Google determines which source/medium made the biggest impact. And from what we can tell, where they are giving the lion’s share of the purchase credit doesn’t make a lot of sense. 

One of our clients hasn’t excluded Afterpay & Paypal from their referral list yet on GA4 (see screenshot below). You can see in this screenshot that data-driven is giving 58% more sales to Paypal compared to the Last Click model & Afterpay is getting 95% more sales than the Last Click model. 

From our POV, this doesn’t make sense. When you checkout with Afterpay you use it right before you purchase. So you are almost done with your purchase journey by the time you use it. So how is that source the thing that had the most significant impact on getting someone to convert? 

What Google should be looking at is what source brought that customer to the site and convinced them to purchase. I think we can all agree – that source wouldn’t have been Afterpay.

We know there are downfalls with all attribution models and this will continue to be an issue in our industry. We are recommending our clients move their default attribution to Last Click (even with the known pitfalls with Last Click) since it’s clean and clear how sales are attributed.

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