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Tim Jensen, of M&T Bank, on analytics in the post-cookie era and how to survive the GA4 migration

I was pleased to catch up with Tim Jensen, who works on the paid media team at the M&T bank. Tim recently presented at the Brighton SEO Conference in San Diego on the topic of PPC reporting and dealing with the major data changes that have been coming down the pike this year.

It’s a hot topic because the level of granularity and transparency in data is evolving towards more opacity, rather than more transparency, in the post-cookie era. Given this evolutionary trend, Tim suggests using multiple sources of data to compare and find the “single source of truth” for campaign performance, while focusing on trends rather than exact matches between disparate reporting systems.

Tim and I agree that the imminent abolition of 3rd party tracking cookies is elevating the role that first-party data will play in effective marketing campaigns, which runs the risk of creating two classes of marketers: “data haves” and “data have nots.” We also agree that savvy marketers – especially those working in a B2B context — shouldn’t ignore Microsoft’s paid ad offerings, which in some important applications offer more control over campaigns than Google’s.

We trade notes on lead scoring best practices and move on to the topic of the GA4 migration, an event that’s caused a certain amount of frustration for marketers who grew accustomed to Universal Analytics’ rich functionality and ease of use. As Tim notes, “GA4 is intimidating, especially for a small business owner, it’s not going to be easy to set up. I do think it’s valuable to maybe take some time to learn to set it up – to at least get some basic events and conversions firing.”

While Tim acknowledges that mastering GA4 can be frustrating, making the effort is worthwhile, given that GA4 provides sophisticated custom reporting capabilities that have never existed before.

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