Apologies for this 'Sunday' newsletter coming out on Wednesday. Google dropped some big news on us late last week, and I had family in town all weekend - a perfect storm. But it gave me time to digest Google's announcement and provide a bit more context. So let's dig in.
📰 The News You Missed
Goodbye Universal Analytics, Hello GA4
We will begin sunsetting Universal Analytics — the previous generation of Analytics — next year. All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. | via // blog.google
Despite slow adoption from CMS's and being ignored by the larger web community, Google is pushing forward with GA4. Universal Analytics will disappear, historical data and all, in July 2023. And users will be forced to migrate to Google's new solution.
Here are 4 steps you can take today to prepare for this transition:
- Install GA4 on your site in parallel with Universal Analytics. Historical data in Universal Analytics will not be rolled forward into GA4. So, if you want to capture as much historical data as possible, install GA4 ASAP. You can still lean on UA for your reporting in the meantime.
- Link your GA4 account to all the things. Like UA, you can link your GA4 account to Search Console, Google Ads, Firebase, etc. Connecting those assets to GA4 today won't interrupt your existing UA connections. So you might as well get the data flowing.
- Work towards Analytics parity. Use this time to make sure your goals and segments are translated into GA4. Google has a helpful migration guide.
- Get familiar. Google has provided a demo account for you to explore. This is a great opportunity to beat around in GA4 without messing up your own data.
Additionally, here are some guides to help you with various CMS installations:
Despite the panic caused by this announcement, there are some nice things about GA4 that we can look forward to:
When Apple's Privacy Initiative Came To Email
In the fall, Apple extended its privacy initiative past in-app tracking and into your email inbox. But while the in-app tracking change disrupted advertising, the results for email have been surprising.
Retail is an interesting one to note. As an industry, it holds the title for both lowest open rate by industry (17.1%), and the biggest jump in open rate year-over-year, up 4.5%.
While it may not seem like much on the surface, those swings in average open rate across all industries (up 3.5% year-over-year), and click-to-open rate (down 3.6%) are pretty significant! And it turns out, there’s a reason for it.
Average open rates and click-to-open rates in 2021, compared to 2020.
For those unfamiliar with Mail Privacy Protection, it’s a new privacy feature, released by Apple in September 2021, that gives users more control over their data when it comes to their inbox.
MPP effectively disables open rate tracking by pre-fetching (or downloading) an email and its images (including each email’s tracking pixels). By doing this, MPP is marking an email as opened, artificially inflating open rates for each user that has opted into the new feature. | via // campaignmonitor.com
NBCU is launching a new tool for Connected TV advertisers
A marketer buying NBCUniversal inventory might want to target women between the ages of 18 and 34 who are currently looking to buy a car. But this lucrative audience is watching across a multitude of streaming properties, including NBCU’s Peacock, and competitors Hulu and YouTube.
NBCU is introducing Peacock Audience Extension to solve this problem, which will allow advertisers to target NBCU’s audiences across all streaming properties, some 182 million viewers per month—per the company. Previously, targeting was not possible across all streamers.
The extension’s ability to target audiences around NBCU content on third parties like Hulu, virtual multichannel video programming distributors such as Sling and YouTube saves time for advertisers, said Shailin Dhar, CEO of measurement ad tech firm Method Media intelligence. Now marketers don’t need to build separate audiences on NBC and one of these third parties. | via // www.adweek.com
Benedict Evans on the unbundling of advertising
Stepping back, though we should probably ask where all these ad budgets are coming from, and, more importantly, where the growth for internet advertising will come from next. The obvious answer is television: print is mostly already gone, but ‘TV’ viewing is now finally unlocking, with US pay TV subscriptions now down by over a third. UK 16-34s now watch more subscription streaming than all broadcaster content combined. Where does all that inventory go, and where does all that budget go?
Clearly, some of the inventory goes away (Netflix, for now) but a lot of it becomes targetable, and targetable in new ways. Disney is building a complete cross-platform ad platform, while smart TVs have suddenly changed from ‘dumb glass’ to gatekeepers. Your TV, after all, knows what you watch, if nothing else, and so the TV platform can insert ads into live or streaming TV, based on the viewer rather than the context. Just as with Apple’s advertising products, such a system can ’track’ you without the tracking data leaving the device (again, ‘privacy’ changes the gatekeepers).
Equally, YouTube is looking at these budgets from the opposite direction: where TV people see roughly the same kinds of content and inventory being sold in a different way, YouTube sees potential for different kinds of inventory to be sold to the same customers - or new customers - and to convert all of that budget. Never mind the targeting - what does ‘video advertising’ mean, what does it look like, who is buying it and what are they trying to do? (This is also a big question for Tiktok, which so far seems to have better product-market fit with consumers than with advertisers). | via // ben-evans.com
Quick Hits 🥊
- Disney is combining its content with Hulu's ad platform as they look to rival the digital marketing establishment. // digiday.com
- Publishing company Gannett Co. (USAToday among 46 other news outlets) provided inaccurate information to advertisers for nine months, misrepresenting where billions of ads were placed // wsj.com
- The DoJ has released guidance on ADA compliance for websites. So if you are tired of those scary spam emails, this is for you. // justice.gov
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