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Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4) standard Channel Groupings for source and medium with both auto-tagging for Google campaigns and manual tagging for non-Google campaigns is a strategic approach that offers several advantages for digital marketers and decision-making stakeholders. It ensures comprehensive tracking and analysis of all marketing efforts, allowing for informed decision-making. Below are the considerations of employing this method.

  1. Unified Tracking and Analysis: Auto-tagging for Google campaigns and manual tagging for non-Google campaigns allow for a unified view of performance across all channels. This holistic approach enables easier comparison and analysis, leading to better insights and strategy adjustments.
  2. Accurate Attribution: Properly tagged campaigns ensure accurate attribution of traffic, conversions, and other key metrics to the correct source and medium. This precision helps in understanding the true value and performance of each channel.
  3. Customization and Flexibility: While auto-tagging simplifies the process for Google Ads campaigns by automatically appending tracking parameters, manual tagging offers customization for non-Google campaigns. This flexibility ensures all marketing efforts, regardless of the platform, are accurately tracked and evaluated.
  4. Enhanced Reporting Capabilities: GA4’s advanced reporting features, combined with well-structured channel groupings, provide deep insights into user behaviour, campaign performance, and ROI. These insights are critical for optimizing marketing strategies and budgets.
  5. Futureproofing: GA4 is designed with the future in mind, incorporating privacy-first tracking and machine learning to fill in data gaps. Adopting GA4’s standards now prepares businesses for future changes in digital tracking and analysis.

Look for consistency in the long term and use naming conventions:

  • Manual tagging requires a thorough understanding of UTM parameters and a meticulous approach to ensure consistency across all non-Google campaigns.
  • You should use manual tagging using consistent or correct tagging can lead to data to understand and trust the insights derived from the data.

Bad examples: utm_source=FB e utm_medium=Insta/FB or utm_source=product&utm_medium=meta

What you can make on your own:

  • Define your UTM naming conventions and take into consideration the defaults in GA4.
  • Use an automated sheet to get a fast and reliable tagging strategy for non-Google campaigns.
  • Use a URL shortener.
  • Requires Continuous updates for new channels and new campaign types.

In conclusion, while implementing GA4 standard Channel Groupings with a combination of auto-tagging and manual tagging involves a careful balance of effort, the benefits significantly outweigh the challenges. It enhances the accuracy of your data, provides deeper insights into campaign performance across all channels, and supports more informed decision-making. By embracing this approach, marketers and businesses can better align their strategies with user behaviour and market trends, driving improved outcomes from their online and offline marketing efforts.

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