How We Get More Insights Into Google Analytics

Marketers don’t struggle to find insights because they don’t have enough data coming out of Google Analytics – it’s because they don’t often have the right data going into Google Analytics.

As a client of Brilliant Metrics, you can take advantage of the rich data that we pipe into Google Analytics through our integrations with Google Tag Manager and Happy URL. Our goal is to get as much metadata into Google Analytics as possible so that you can get the valuable insights you need to make informed decisions about your paid and organic media.

Google Analytics 4 Gives Us More

We’ve always pushed some of this metadata to Google Analytics. With the transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), we can now push even more information into Google Analytics.

Metadata We Pushed in Universal AnalyticsMetadata We Now Push in GA4
Line Item ID
Media Persona
Promotion Type
Media Vendor
Targeting Type
Market Subsegment
Media Journey State
Market Segment
Creative Type
ABM Cohort
ABM Stage
Audience Type
Budget Group
Creative ID
Creative Type
Engagement State
Impression State
Line Item ID
Media Persona
Media Market Segment
Media Market Subsegment
Promotion Type
Reporting Group

Where Happy URL Fits In

The migration to GA4 isn’t all opportunity. It has its challenges, too. In Universal Analytics, we could use a data import to get those additional dimensions populated for each line item. Unfortunately, that data import doesn’t exist in GA4. We can’t shove all the information into the URL, or the URL would be too long to fit into most platforms. 

To work around this, we developed a tool called Happy URL to store a list of line item ids, along with all their relevant information.  When someone visits a link tagged with the line item id, all the rich information flows into Google Analytics through Google Tag Manager.

We use this rich metadata to not only create better insights in Google Analytics, but also to build cookie ID audiences and feed the data into our other tool, Segment Wire. In the future, this information can also be used for personalization.

The flow of information looks like this:

  1. We start with a catalog of every piece of media we manage and/or measure on your behalf. Every placement is tracked with a line item id, and that line item id corresponds to a rich set of metadata about where the traffic came from, including information about the audience, medium, targeting, and creative. 
  2. That information is automatically pushed to a tool we created called Happy URL. Happy URL then sits there waiting to offer that information to Google Tag Manager should it make a request.
  3. We then tag the media with the line item id and push it out via email, paid media, organic social, etc. 
  4. When someone clicks that tagged link, they are brought to your website where Google Tag Manager sees the line item id in the URL and asks Happy URL what it knows about that ID. Happy URL replies with all that rich metadata from our catalog. Tag Manager then includes all the metadata when it pushes events to Google Analytics 4.
  5. We configure Google Analytics 4 with the custom dimensions needed to receive that metadata from Google Tag Manager. This lets you log into Google Analytics and use explorations and custom reports to slice and dice the data to get the insights you need to make decisions.

Making Use of Our Data In Google Analytics

There are three ways you can use the information we push to Google Analytics: explorations, custom reports and Looker Data Studio. 

  • With explorations, you can add any combination of custom dimensions to slice and dice your media in any way you see fit. Soft conversions (actions on the website indicating deep engagement) and hard conversions (actions on the website directly leading to revenue) can be pulled in as well. You’ll find them as custom metrics.
  • Custom reports can also be modified to make use of custom dimensions and custom metrics.  
  • Finally, you can create Looker Data Studio dashboards to present specific information in simple or custom ways.

Next Steps

If you’re an existing Brilliant Metrics client and you have any questions about how to make use of this data, reach out to your account manager or bring it up at your next cycle meeting.

If this makes you curious about how working with Brilliant Metrics might give you an edge on your marketing efforts, reach out. We’d love to share all the other ways we add more value than most digital agencies out there.

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