Over the last few years, the big players like Google and Facebook have been warning that they will be moving to a cookieless world. And really, we are already living in a cookieless world when you consider the deprecation of 3rd party cookies on Mozilla and Safari as well as Apple’s iOS updates.
The way we measure performance has already changed to support the cookieless world. GCommerce has tested the difference between Google Analytics 4 and Google Analytics Universal in how it captures data, and on average Google Analytics Universal is missing about 40% of revenue data. This shows that the cookieless world is already here.
Read our eBook for specific action items you can do today to be sure your marketing doesn’t suffer.
Google Analytics 4 vs. The Cookieless World | Google Analytics Update
Cookies or Cookieless. There’s been a lot of buzz among marketers about the timing of the Google Analytics 4 roll out. A few weeks back, Google made the announcement they were prolonging the timeline for their privacy sandbox push as publishers, browsers, advertisers and other 3rd parties were clamoring to roll out the approved version of tracking in the cookieless world.
This announcement doesn’t apply to Google Analytics and their rollout of GA4. Google knows that while 3rd parties begin to develop cookieless technologies, its analytics platform must be the foundation for measurement.
Their push for Google Analytics 4 adoption is obvious. With nearly half of all the websites across the web running analytics, Google is pushing GA4 right inside their account creation. Here is a screenshot of the set-up process which highlights Google’s emphasis on GA4. (You’ll see “Google Analytics 4” highlighted)
If you’re a current Google Analytics user, it’s important to upgrade to the latest version. GCommerce has been running both GA3/GUA alongside GA4 to understand the difference in data and measurement. For the month of June, we saw significant decreases in revenue within our GA3 profiles.
Our tests have shown that Google UA underreports Organic by 33%, Paid Search by 26%, and Referral by as much as 51% when compared to the attribution of GA4. This could be for a couple reasons:
Legacy cookie tracking (GA3/GUA) is starting to deprecate as the cookieless world grows closer, creating data gaps for major revenue channels
Advanced attribution models based on the new “engaged users” provides more transparency through the booking funnel
You want to have the latest analytics technology available for measurement, and that means upgrading to Google Analytics 4. GA4 will work with legacy cookie technologies along with new best practices as we move towards the cookieless world. There’s no reason to wait. Contact the experts at GCommerce today.
Earlier this summer at it’s WWDC event, Apple announced a preview of feature changes coming to it’s devices with the new iOS 15 update. While the previous iOS 14 update took aim at paid media advertising through app tracking, iOS 15 privacy updates centered its focus towards email marketing through tracking within the Apple Mail inbox. GCommerce, and the entire digital marketing industry, immediately took notice and started to analyze the potential impact this update will have on email marketing. Set to be released sometime this fall, possibly later this month, we’ve been closely following this news.
What email specific features are included in the Apple iOS 15 update?
The two features that are positioned to have the biggest impact on email marketing include the Mail Privacy Protection and Hide My Email features.
Mail Privacy Protection - Apple states that this new feature “hides your IP address so senders can’t link it to your other online activity or determine your location. And it prevents senders from seeing if and when you’ve opened your email”. This feature is included in iOS15 but is not a default opt-in. The user will have to navigate to features and take action to implement the feature. This may have an impact on adoption rate.
Hide My Email - according to Apple, this feature “instantly generate(s) unique, random email addresses that forward to your personal inbox - so you don’t have to share your email address when filling out a form on the web or signing up for a newsletter”. While important, this feature does incur an additional fee to use, so it’s yet to be seen as to what the adoption rate by users will be.
What do these Apple iOS 15 changes mean for my hotel’s email marketing?
It will impact open rate measurement - The Mail Privacy Protection feature will directly impact your ability to measure email open rates as well as use IP address to understand geo-location of a user which will impact your ability to use schedule send time based on IP location. Over the years Open rate has been the go-to metric to understand the initial engagement of your email’s content and subject lines. WPromote has indicated that within it’s beta tests, open rates appear to be over reported but a lot is still left to be understood when the full release happens. Revinate also indicated that “Revinate emails opened with Apple Mail are only in the single digits,” so the release should not have a “major impact on our metrics or ability to evaluate campaign engagement”.
Clicks, CTR and Revenue remain as the most important KPIs - While Open Rate may become less of a focus for email marketers, the true measure of success will continue to be placed on clicks, CTR and ultimately the revenue produced. You should focus your testing around creative, content and promotions based on these KPIs.
Greater importance of robust 1st party guest profiles - If your hotel is not already using a eCRM platform such as Revinate to obtain guest preference information and tap into rich guest profile information for advanced segmentation strategies you will be missing out on methods to ensure engagement and revenue generation are maximized from your email marketing efforts.
It could hurt deliverability rates - The auto-generating of unique, random email addresses by Hide My Email could result in higher bounce rates and emails sent to spam folders and is something to monitor.
What should we do now to prepare our hotel’s email marketing for the Apple iOS 15 update?
While a lot of the impact from the launch of Apple iOS 15 is unknown at this point, there are steps you can take to try and mitigate it. Most of these center around previous recommendations made in response to other privacy measures including previous updates from Apple, Facebook, Google and other tech platforms.
Prioritize collecting and expanding 1st party data and guest profiles.
Focus on delivering valuable content, promotions and packaging to their target audiences. One way to continue to understand what type of content engages their audiences is to monitor and test messaging across various media types including search, social and display.
Focus testing on content components within the body of the email vs focusing on subject line open rates for success. Since we will potentially have less understanding of subject line performance, consider pulling ideas from other media channel ads such as paid search or social.
Continue to build your brand awareness across all channels to encourage brand recognition and higher CTRs for all types of marketing campaigns.
Have additional questions on the recent Apple iOS 14 or 15 updates and how it impacts your hotel’s digital marketing? Please reach out to one of the experts at GCommerce, we look forward to connecting with you.
With the Cookieless world quickly approaching, Google released its Google Analytics 4 beta in Q4 2020 putting the emphasis on user engagement rather than volume. Will Ferris, GCommerce’s Chief Technology Officer, provides an overview of Google Analytics 4 and some key updates you can find in this new tool.
Register to watch this on-demand webinar and learn why GA4 is important to your business.
What Hotels Should Know About Cookieless Tracking & Google Analytics 4
Cookies are small pieces of data stored on your computer by the web browser. What they aren’t isn’t so important as to what they are used for, which is to track individual users. By dropping a unique cookie or pixel onto your browser, a website can then track behavior outside of your website.
Are Cookies An Invasion of Privacy?
This is the big debate currently being waged and many people would say yes. Legislations like Europe’s GDPR, California Consumer Privacy Act, recent updates to Apple’s IOS to block more 3rd party tracking are all efforts to protect user’s individual privacy by making it harder to identify those individuals. At the heart of this debate is cookieless tracking. While cookies are not banned nor illegal, a lot of browsers, plug-ins and software help to block cookies and there is evidence the cookies are becoming a less viable way to track users.
What does this mean for Google’s Universal Analytics?
Google’s current and most popular iteration of Analytics, Universal Analytics, uses first-party cookies to determine a number of variables within their tracking. Already, digital marketers are reporting gaps in data based on people that are actively blocking cookies and tracking. Within our own data, we have noticed certain instances where traffic from California has decreased, while traffic from locations not tracked has increased. This change is very likely indicative that California’s privacy laws are having an impact on our ability to track.
Why is Google Analytics 4 A Solution To A Cookiless World?
What Should Your Hotel Do About Google Analytics 4?
As we discussed above, changes to the way users view their privacy will make Universal Analytics less and less reliable as time goes on. The earlier that your hotel starts to utilize GA4, get familiar with it and start to utilize data from it, the further ahead of the curve your hotel will be when Universal Analytics comes to a point it is no longer recommended to utilize. Also, your historical data will not automatically carry over from Universal Analytics. Your historical data will only go as far back as the 1st day that you start using GA4.
How To Get Started With Google Analytics 4?
After my father got a debilitating injury trying to build a retention wall in our backyard at the ripe-young age of 56, he decided it might be better to trust the experts. In this situation, we would also recommend utilizing an expert to help install GA4 for your hotel’s website. The truth is, GA4 is a completely novel way of tracking that does not rely exclusively on individual user data. Instead, it relies on event signals that are built and established based on the functionality and goals of your website.
Google Analytics 4 Tracking From GCommerce
If you’re interested in having the experts at GCommerce help establish GA4 tracking and reporting for your hotel website, contact us today!
In a world of increasing competition, rising CPC’s, and an ongoing battle over shrinking organic impressions; every click in the Paid Search world counts. As CPCs continue to increase YOY across all industries; the battle over rising CPAs is becoming tougher for hotels to win. Are you maximizing your budget to obtain the most clicks and conversions?
HOW ADWORDS AUDIENCES CAN HELP YOU WIN THE BATTLE OVER RISING CPA
We have all heard of remarketing lists for search and audience targeting, but are you effectively utilizing these tools to maximize your campaigns’ CPA and ROAS performance? If your answer is “no” or “I don’t know”, then you’re missing out one of the most effective ways to segment and target your campaigns to get more conversions for your budget.
Reviewing audience data from multiple clients, here are the results:
16% decrease in cost per click
62% increase in average click-through rate (CTR)
103% higher return on remarketing audiences then non-remarking lists search user traffic
161% increase in conversion rate
Still wondering about your bottom line? COST PER ACQUISITION (COST PER RESERVATION SPECIFICALLY) WAS 64% lower for remarketing lists for search audiences versus all search traffic.