LRQA Nettitude is an award-winning provider of cybersecurity services. As a global business, they’ve been thought leaders in the ever-evolving cybersecurity marketplace for almost 20 years.

The Big Analytics Change

Internet users across the globe are becoming increasingly aware of how and why their online data is being collected and used. It’s this focus that’s led to Google Chrome phasing out the use of third-party cookies within advertising. However, removing these cookies means Google will be sunsetting Universal Analytics 3 (UA3) and has already released a new version of their analytics platform: Google Analytics 4 (GA4). GA4 will utilise machine learning to fill in the cookie-shaped data gaps left behind by third-party cookies.
Unlike UA3 where the setup was streamlined, not all migrations to GA4 are as simple. For example, businesses and marketers need to consider events and goals, how their channels are segmented, and whether or not they need to import existing audiences. Additionally, GA4 uses different naming conventions. These considerations can make migrating to GA4 a more complicated task.   We have a close relationship with Google, meaning we’ve been at the forefront of this industry change. In case you’re interested in learning more about GA4 and the cookieless future, we’ve created an in-depth guide. However, here, we’re sharing a success story of one of our most recent migrations.

The Issue At Hand

When working with a client, we always keep a close eye on key metrics. Mainly to ensure everything we’ve implemented performs as expected but also to keep track of the data being pulled in correctly. This helps us get ahead of any issues that occur before they cause too much damage, and it’s also how we were able to spot a problem with LRQA Nettitude's traffic.
According to UA3, LRQA Nettitude’s traffic was down dramatically, and it wasn’t immediately clear why. The traffic being recorded in UA3 also didn’t align with what we were seeing in Hubspot Analytics. Although there are always slight disparities between Hubspot and UA3, due to how sessions are recorded, this disparity was above what we’d expect.   This drop in traffic was having a direct impact on their remarketing efforts because sessions weren’t being recorded at the levels they had been previously. This meant UA3 audience pools weren’t being fed the cookies they needed, which had rapidly diminished LRQA Nettitude’s audience size.   We had to investigate why this was the case.

What We Uncovered

We started by looking at a one-year data set and discovered that this hadn’t occurred until January. One thing that happened of note in January was that consent banner modifications had been deployed, and Google Optimize had been redeployed.
After further research, we found that the cookie consent banner on LRQA Nettitude’s website was set up in a way that was limiting UA3 from firing effectively. However, after correcting this issue, traffic only temporarily increased.   It was after digging deeper that we uncovered the core issue: Google Optimize was deployed in Tag Manager.   When Google Optimize is deployed in Tag Manager, Tag Manager views the Optimize container as a UA3 tag. Because of what Optimize does, that tag always needs to be deployed immediately after your site performs its contentful paint so that the experiment can be visible to the end user.   After checking Debug Mode in Google Tag Manager (Debug mode is a safe staging environment to test tags before they are pushed live to the site), we could see that the Google Optimize tag was fired first, and all other tags fired successfully. However, the UA3 tag was fired but still classed as ‘running’. This was causing the tag to time out after 60 seconds.   Essentially, if a user loaded the LRQA Nettitude site but didn’t perform an event within 60 seconds, the tag would time out. If the user then began interacting with the site when more than one minute had passed, their events wouldn’t be tracked within UA3.

Our Solution

Typically, one potential solution to this issue would be removing the Google Optimize tag. In this instance, however, LRQA Nettitude was preparing to launch a new website meaning the navigation bar would be native. This is because Optimize is being used to deploy the navigation bar.
Given LRQA Nettitude’s circumstances and the fast-approaching sunset of UA3, we felt it was the perfect opportunity to migrate LRQA Nettitude to GA4. Not only is GA4 significantly more privacy-centric and can collect data when cookies aren’t present but, Google Tag Manager can distinguish between GA4 and Optimize, which isn’t the case with UA3 and Optimize.
Duck with Lightbulb

What This Meant For LRQA Nettitude

One of the main strategies they incorporate is remarketing within their activity, which accounts for a marked percentage of their enquiries. Therefore, it was imperative for us to transfer their audiences from UA3 to GA4.
Once we’d done this, we were then able to collect the full complement of traffic data – something we weren’t able to do due to LRQA Nettitude’s cookie pools diminishing – allowing us, once again, to make business and optimisation decisions.   We worked closely with LRQA Nettitude to truly understand their tech stack, and to determine exactly which GA4 metrics they deemed the most valuable. Using this information, we set up GA4, making full use of its capabilities, in a way that was of most benefit to them.   This aided conversions being set up, and also enabled us to map metrics such as bounce rate and session duration within GA4 to enrich the data set for LRQA Nettitude.

What This Could Mean For You

When it comes to GA4, the sooner a business migrates, the more data it’ll have access to when UA3 is sunsetted. Due to the fact GA4 has more capabilities than UA3, this larger data set means data models will be much more informed, making for stronger and more accurate insights and predictive reports.
Some of the items included in predictive reports within GA4 are Lifetime Value (LTV), Churn Rate, Conversion Probability, and Predictive Percentile Segmentation – all metrics that we implemented to help LRQA Nettitude make well-informed business and optimisation decisions.   As is our ethos with digital marketing, we never take a cookie-cutter approach; everything is bespoke in order to best meet the needs of our clients. LRQA Nettitude was no exception, and you won’t be either.

Don’t Just Take Our Word For It…

Here’s what LRQA Nettitude had to say about us:

Soap Media is genuinely the best digital agency I have ever worked with. We are really pleased with the outcomes SOAP have delivered. 2023 saw us generate more leads from digital in our key territories than ever before at a lower CPL. I have never experienced any issues with the team at SOAP regarding project delivery and they regularly go above and beyond their SLA in regards to meeting our needs. Soap Media is genuinely the best digital agency I have ever worked with. Their work ethic, attention to detail, knowledge / skill set, and service levels are superb, and it all comes without the London price tag.
Marketing Team Leader & Demand Generation ManagerLRQA Nettitude

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