Google launches Optimize and GA4 integration

Written by Lee Colbran - 25 Feb 2022

Analytics and DataConversion Services | 3 MIN READ

Google has announced the introduction of Optimize with Google Analytics 4. Marketers can now connect Google Optimize containers with GA4 properties with this announcement. We asked Conversion Services Director's Mike Fawcett and Hans Hoogenboom for their thoughts on the announcement.

What's different in Optimize with Google Analytics?

Google has mapped the Optimize functionality for containers that links to a Universal Analytics property. Do take a look at the functionality mapping options available to marketers. 

In the mapping overview, you can find information on the following key containers:

For experiences:

  • Audience targeting
  • Simultaneous experiences
  • Google Ads targeting
  • Objectives
  • Variant impressions
  • Experience duration
  • AMP experiments

For reporting

  • Reporting scope
  • Realtime reporting
  • Experient dimensions in Analytics
  • Export report data

Obviously, it's great that Google has made this announcement, and is bringing the two platforms together. I did have some initial questions/thoughts and can see some gaps with the features available at launch.

Mike Fawcett, Conversion Services Director

Mike's thoughts included:

  • The documentation suggests that you can't yet measure tests against analytics goals, only Pageviews, Purchases and Revenue.
    • I think that'll be pretty frustrating for many businesses where non-sales metrics are important, such as sign-ups, downloads, or any secondary business metric you might want to optimise.  
  • For most sites using the free version of GA (likely with lower traffic volumes), 35 days might not be enough time to achieve statistical significance.
  • There isn't currently support for Adwords targeting, so you won't be able to target Optimize experiences at Google Ads campaigns, ad groups, or keywords. That could be a problem for PPC-focussed CRO teams.
  • Google's intro article mentions a lack of 'reporting dimensions'. I hope that doesn't mean what I think it means but, if they're saying you can't drill down into certain dimensions, that sounds quite restrictive, i.e. would I not be able to see test results split by Device type?

This news is a positive move by Google and will help with GA4 becoming the predominant reporting platform. Still, I wonder if this is enough for marketers and whether the announcement went far enough to convince teams to adopt the new platform.

Hans Hoogenboom, Conversion Services Director

Hans thoughts included:

  • Very interesting! You can run ten personalisation experiences in addition to five tests in the free version of Optimize. However, you can't split test personalisation when set up as a personalisation.
  • Not all organisations are mature enough to use audience information available to them on the free version. Additionally, if companies are mature enough but can't afford Google 360, they are likely already using a different test tool.
  • It feels like Google are trying to make GA4 and Optimize a more viable option for more organisations. Still, I am unsure if the solutions can do everything needed with the limitations in place.
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