GA4 Migration

Client: Etsy Date: July 2023 Services: Web Analytics, Marketing Tech

2023’s GA4 Migration is a great demo of my experience in both leading a team through transition and managing change resistance. I’ve drafted up a mini case study to outline how I approached these challenges and our successful outcome:

SITUATION:

Last year, I led Tinuiti’s Client Strategy Dept (& biggest client acct) through the intricate transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This was a significant shift due to impending privacy changes and ultimately required a complete overhaul of industry web tracking methodology.

TASK 1: Leading Through Transformation –

My first challenge was to master GA4 to effectively guide our team and clients. This involved understanding the technical nuances and strategic implications of the transition.

ACTION:

  1. Intensive Training and Hands-On Application: I attended an onsite two-day GA4 intensive training workshop in early 2023, then immediately applied the learnings in executing a controlled “alpha pilot.” This initial pilot involved configuring GA4 across both my personal website and a family member’s Shopify site. This practical experience provided vital implementation insight, elevating the level of support I could provide our teams in turn. 
  2. Creating a Comprehensive Internal Resource: Developed a “GA4 Cheat Sheet,” which distilled down my training notes and pilot insights into a consolidated resource that could be reviewed in ≤ 20mins, as needed.
      1. It includes FAQ’s and “TL;DR’s” throughout for quick and intuitive navigation, but also linked out to several template slides and docs ensuring the team was well-equipped for the transition.

TASK 2: Managing Stakeholder Change Resistance –

Simultaneously, I had to navigate the challenge of change resistance, ensuring both internal and client teams were aligned and receptive to the new processes, despite:

  • how long UA had been the best-in-class norm (15+ years)
  • how inherently cumbersome GA4 configuration is (lift concentrated client-side)
  • the indirect nature of any ROI tied to implementation work (largely maintenance – “future-proof”)

ACTION:

  1. Collaborative Engagement and Adaptation: Knowing that stakeholder collaboration is the most effective way to combat change resistance, I immediately identified a squad of CS folks who were interested enough in GA4 to help me curate an internal resource bank.
    1. I also worked simultaneously with the client team (beta pilot), adapting our templates and approach to compel client involvement in migration planning. This helped maintain our position as collaborative partners, not just enforcers of change.
  2. Internal Communication and Support Mechanisms: To be most effective, we nixed any department-wide training, in favor of a “self-serve” resource hub that could be accessed, as needed. Meeting the team where they are, providing only a 10k ft view of what’s changing and why.
    1. Aiming to give them just the info necessary to begin initial prioritization conversations with clients (ensuring not to overwhelm). 
    2. Also set up an internal Wrike form for requesting Expert GA4 support, as needed (ultimately taken over by the web analytics team –still being used today)
    3. Once Bard was reliable enough for process integration, I also trained the team on how to leverage the LLM to appear as an expert and promote confidence with client teams.

RESULT:

Our efforts led to the successful migration of all Tier 1 and Tier 2 clients to GA4 before the July 2023 deadline. As well as the formation of a cross-solution GA4 expert team, and a widely utilized self-serve resource hub, containing:

  • “must-know” info (to support informed discussions), 
  • canned slides (to support effective communication), and 
  • process templates (to support efficient execution).

This transition not only ensured continuity in tracking for our solution teams, it also further solidified Tinuiti’s position as a trusted leader in digital analytics and measurement.