Google Optimize in GA4: What's new? What are the benefits?

18 Mar, 2023

1 min

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Imagine you're about to have a drink on a terrace in the middle of Summer, it's hot, and the barman didn't put ice in your lemonade. Well, one can't go without the other, especially when it's 35 degrees outside. It's a bit the same for GA4 and Google Optimize. Having GA4 without Google Optimize does not exploit the platform's full potential.

Indeed, since February 2022, Optimize users can now link their Optimize containers to GA4 properties. But what does it change? What can you expect for your marketing campaigns?

If you want to know more about Google Optimize and GA4, the business opportunities it can generate and the limits it can present, you've come to the right place! 

Google Analytics Universal, GA4, Google Optimize: what are we talking about? 

Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Since GA4 was released, there have been a lot of articles written on why and how GA4 is better or worse than Google Universal Analytics. But whether you are a fan of the new GA4 or not, We think it is essential to be prepared for the change from Universal Analytics and try to understand the impact GA4 can have on your business.

Let's get one thing straight. Google Analytics 4 is a new type of resource available on Google Analytics. Released in October 2020 as a new version of Google Analytics Universal, it's easier and faster to configure. 

Google Analytics 4 enables marketers to measure users' interactions within mobile and desktop pages. It attempts to correct data that has been corrupted by cookie restrictions and user consent choices in a privacy-safe way. 

GA4 is cross-platform analytics based on users and events metrics on different devices (mobile, desktop, tablet).  Events allow marketers to track user interactions on your website. It helps you understand the behaviour our your visitors, for example : 

  • Did the prospect click on a CTA
  • Did he/she put a product in him/her cart?
  • Did he/she leave the page before purchasing anything?

Instead of generating a new session every time a user lands on a website, GA4 records all the events that those users complete.

At each event, marketers can add specific settings that will enrich the user's information to offer a better experience.

On top of that, GA4 offers an interaction system without the need to tag compared to Google analytics universal. Thanks to GA4, it is possible to track data natively without modifying your website's tagging. For instance, you can track and measure :

  • scroll depth 
  • page read
  • outgoing click 
  • Search on the website 
  • file upload

What's the difference with Google Analytics Universal?

Google Analytics Universal allows companies to understand their online visitors better and create optimal experiences  for them. Whence the question: what is the difference between Google Analytics Universal and Google Analytics 4? Why has Google launched a new version of Google Analytics Universal? What were the changes made?

Let's remember that Google Analytics was released in November 2005 and has constantly been evolving: 

  • development of mobile applications, 
  • changes in consumer behaviour, 
  • RGPD

There is an unavoidable need to analyze and collect data differently in a world without cookies, where data will be more and more controlled.

GA4 is therefore necessary because it will collect the data in another way.

GA4 offers a cross-channel and cross-platform view where all information stored in Universal Analytics and Firebase will be accessible and provide transparent information. 

So what are the differentiating factors between Google Analytics Universal and GA4? 

  • Data model: Session-based with Google Universal, is now event-based with Analytics 4. Now, no need to go through a specific configuration.

  • Privacy consent model: with the arrival of RGPD and, therefore, new ways to collect and track data while respecting current regulations. 

  • Sampling: less precise on Google Analytics Universal than on GA4 where more details will be given. 

  • Views: Google Analytics Universal offered the "Views" functionality which allowed it to solve data problems not present in GA4.

HubSpot Video


What is Google Optimize?

Google Optimize is a platform that allows you to  run A/B tests on your website pages to evaluate their performance with a defined goal. Google Optimize analyzes your test results and tells you which version is the most effective.

The platform allows you to test different designs, layouts and content for your websites with a subset of web users.

For example, suppose your goal is to increase the number of registrations for a product demonstration. In that case, you can test by changing your incentives to action, the main image, the navigation bar or the button color.

Why run such tests? 

You may wonder why you need to run such tests for your web pages? 

Well, here's why : 

  • To obtain results that are easy to analyze and interpret 
  • To test content design and presentation (layout...) 
  • To target user groups (using analytics)
  • To optimize Conversion Rate
  • To improve user experience and, in the long run, increase sales

Google Optimize is, therefore, an excellent way to optimize your websites according to your audience. It allows you to save time, visibility and conversion. Incredible, isn't it? 

 Which tests can be conducted on Google Optimize? 

  • A/B test: random test that includes two versions (A and B), the A is the original version, and the B is the version with the modifications. 

The main goal is to optimize your web page by testing different elements such as the image, text, CTA, algorithm, price, and emails… You will then see which one is the one that better optimizes your page. 

A/B testing is considered reliable if the confidence level is 95% and the statistical power is at least 80%. 

  • Redirection test: allows you to test separate web pages against each other

  • Multivariate Test (MVT): Evaluates variants of at least two elements simultaneously to identify the most effective combination

Google Optimize is, therefore, an excellent way to optimize your websites according to your audience. It allows you to save time, visibility and conversion.

How to analyze your test once they are done ?

 How to create an experience on GA4?

But then? How to connect Google Optimize to GA4?

In this video, you will learn how to link both platforms and how easy it is to create a test.

HubSpot Video

What are the benefits of combining GA4 with Google Optimize?

Why should you combine GA4 with Google Optimize? 

It will allow you to optimize the performance and user experience on your site and target an audience to improve your Google Ads campaigns. Indeed, it will give you a much clearer path to activating data from GA4 by using it to feed A/B tests and personalizations.

Furthermore, you will be able to define segments and audiences within GA and share those audiences to Google Optimize. This will be very useful for your experiments to better target your experiments to a group of users who exhibit certain behaviours on your site. 

But there's also a benefit with advertising for remarketing and retargeting since the same audiences can be imported into Google Ads.

The limits of this new integration 

But as with every new version, there are limitations and drawbacks. 

Because yes, there are things that can not be done for the moment with this new extension on GA4 or at least, you can encounter issues if : 

  • You have a large website with many subdomains, each of which you monitor separately.

  • You do not have a unified names and values measurement system for events and their parameters.

  • You have a website and applications without a common event hierarchy.

  • You want to analyze spend and ROAS for non-Google campaigns, as the new resource does not yet allow you to import data.

  •  You want to export conversions to Search Ads 360 and Display & Video 360 because integrations with other Google products are not yet working at a total capacity

  • You can't yet set your GA "goals" as Optimize objectives.

Google Analytics 4 does not have any limits but disadvantages depending on your company's profile. Certainly, some of these functions will be available in a couple of months. 

Finally, what do you gain from it?

To recall the benefits of this integration for marketing campaigns, we can say that GA4 allows :

  • the performance of your ad campaigns
  • improved user experience thanks to precise A/B tests
  • increase revenues 

But it can only be done if your company has first built a general data collection logic and then implemented Google Analytics 4 to benefit from all these advantages.

By Perrine Gonvin

21 Mar, 2022