GA4 Google Signals in Google Analytics is expected to deliver accurate data and enable powerful features for a unified view of users across devices. Yet, Google Analytics 4 announced that it will be removing Google Signals from the Reporting identity.
This announcement seems to have been well-received by many experienced users. But why is that the case, and is the removal of Google Signals a good thing or a bad thing for your reporting?
If you’re a little confused about the role of Google Signals in how data is presented, a little context won’t hurt.
Google Analytics can track how people use your website across different devices, like phones, laptops, and tablets. It does this even if they visit at different times or places.
For example, imagine someone starts browsing your website on their phone during their commute. Later, they open it on their laptop to read more comfortably. Finally, they’re back at home and decide to purchase their desktop.
Even though these are 3 separate sessions, Google Analytics can see them as one continuous journey. To stitch these sessions, Analytics uses 4 methods to help you understand how people move between devices and complete tasks on your website.
Google Analytics – 4 methods
These methods are called identities or Identity spaces and they are combined into 3 options: Blended, Observed, and Device-based.
These options are found in the Reporting identity and they allow you to decide how you want to measure your users.
Choosing the right reporting identity option in Google Analytics 4 can affect your report numbers. But don’t worry, it doesn’t permanently change your data! In fact, if the results in your reports seem off, you can always switch to another option.
What is Google Signals in GA4?
Google signals are data from users who signed in to Google and who allowed ad personalization. This data is great for cross-device tracking, remarketing, and conversion tracking in Google Ads.
Without Google signals, there would be no demographic data as well (like language, interests, age, and gender).
Although part of the first 2 Reporting identity options, it needs to be activated in Data Collection to work.
Google Signals Pros and Cons
However, things got messy with Google Signals.
Even though many recommended it, it caused quite some drama in the analytics community. Mainly, this was because of “thresholding,” which led to these problems:
Low-traffic websites got penalized with limited data in reports and explorations.
Data discrepancies between Google Signals and other options could be huge, sometimes exceeding 90%!
Enabling Google Signals could permanently mess up your data if you use user IDs.
That’s why the upcoming removal of Google Signals from reporting identity is considered good news by many users! It should fix most of these issues.
But what about demographics and interest data? Will that disappear too? No.
As long as Google Signals is enabled, it will still collect this data for your standard GA4 reports, audience building, and conversion tracking.
Note💡: You don’t need to wait for the mandated removal of Google Signals in your Reporting Identity.
You can take action now in GA4 by going to Admin → Data Collection. Then, disable the Include Google Signals in Reporting Identity toggle.
Activate google signals
This way, you can keep Google Signals activated to leverage its features, such as gathering demographic data, without impacting your Reporting Identity.
There’s hope that the thresholding issue will be less of a problem with the new approach.
What do you think? Will it be gone completely?
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