#78 Sessionization is back baby!

This week Dan and Dara chat about the slow but steady move in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) towards reintroducing older session-based metrics that were in Universal Analytics (UA). Is this an admission that they were wrong to not have them in GA4 to begin with? Why would they introduce them now? They discuss all of this and more – like how it (of course) ties into Google Ads and GA360!

Enrolment is now open for June’s cohort of the GA4 Immersion 6-week cohort training with early bird pricing for 25% off!

The recent update from GA4 announcing the new conversion counting method can be read about here.

Episode #2 of The Measure Pod titled “Is the Session dead?” can be listened to from your podcast feed, or on our website here.

The Dunning–Kruger effect is one of Dan’s favourite things to bring up, and can be read about here.

Dan’s blog on calculating ‘Session Days’ in Google Looker Studio (FKA Data Studio) can be read here.

And it’s not an episode of The Measure Pod without a casual moan about the GA4 Data API quotas being rubbish! Read more about this issue and accounting for it here.

In other news, Dan gets cultured and Dara succeeds!

Follow Measurelab on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

Intro music composed by Confidential – check out their lo-fi beats on Spotify.

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Let us know what you think and fill out the Feedback Form, or email podcast@measurelab.co.uk to drop Dan and Dara a message directly.

Quote of the episode from Dan:

“…why not just enable somwhere to link a credit card like in the GCP, you know, and you pay for volume of usage and each tool has a different sort of charging method. Why not do that? And then all of a sudden just have a screen in the admin in GA4 saying, put credit card and then give me an extra 50 tokens a month and give me an extra whatever a month and open up sub-properties

Quote of the episode from Dara:

“…that’s what Google Analytics has been all about all along, it’s like making it the most accessible analytics platform. I think this would take that to its natural conclusion, if you could scale up and down depending on what you need.”


The full transcript is below, or you can view the Google Doc.


[00:00:15] Dara: On today’s episode, Dan and I dig up a favourite topic of ours, which is sessions. So we talk about how GA4 has released a few updates that have actually taken things a little bit backwards towards how Universal used to be. We talk about whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing and what it might mean for the future.

[00:00:32] Daniel: And speaking of the future, let us know how we’re doing. Check out the show notes for a Google Form, which gives us a bit of feedback around the podcast, me and Dara, you can be completely anonymous, be nice though. But just give us a bit of feedback on the podcast, what you’d like to hear and people you’d like us to speak to. And of course give us a rating and a review on the podcast platform of your choice, that just helps us be heard by more people and obviously I base my value to society on the number of subscribers we have, so whatever you do there will directly impact my professional employment status.

[00:01:01] Dara: Enjoy the episode.

[00:01:02] Daniel: Enjoy.

[00:01:03] Dara: Hello, and welcome back to The Measure Pod, a podcast for analytics and data enthusiasts. I’m Dara, I’m CEO at Measurelab.

[00:01:10] Daniel: And I’m Dan, I’m also here.

[00:01:11] Dara: A very minimalist introduction today, Dan, you want to get straight down to business, do you?

[00:01:15] Daniel: Well, I thought these kind of episodes where it’s just me and you and we don’t have a guest, people are only going to listen if they’re already familiar with us or the podcast, at least in some way. So, it’s me and you again together, alone, talking about analytics and things that, the best way to put it is grind our gears, I suppose.


[00:01:32] Dara: Yes, exactly. We’re digging up an old favourite today. So there was a recent bit of news, I think about a week ago at the time of recording this, that GA4 are going to now have two counting methods for conversion events, you’re going to have once per event and once per session to use a favourite word of mine. So this actually takes us back pretty much to episode two, believe it or not, where we had our famous debate about the wonderful session metric.

[00:02:00] Daniel: Famous, sure. I don’t know if anyone ever, you know, we had only listeners back then. Well, or if we do today. Yeah, but no, it is a good conversation because back then GA4 was new. It might have even been, you know, App + Web. And it was coming at this with a very old school Firebase analytics mentality, which is there is no sessions, you have to do the sessionization yourself, learn to live with that. And everything was event-based or user-based. And then we had this great idea to have this kind of debate where you were on the side of the fence where the session’s not dead. And I’m like, well, let’s just move to users and events, let’s just move with the times, but, and we’re not here talking about accounting method of conversions in GA4, that’s not the basis of this whole conversation. But it led into an interesting conversation earlier today when we were thinking about this episode and, and actually it’s this slow but steady kind of like going back on itself that Google Analytics 4 is doing.

[00:02:47] Daniel: And so it came out the gate really strong saying, no, we’ve evolved, we are going to use users and events and sessions are a thing of the past, stop using sessions, but. Slowly but surely, and this is just the most recent nail in the coffin, Google Analytics 4 is going back and reintroducing all of the things, the sessionization or the session-based things we had in GA3 that it said that we didn’t need anymore, but has been slowly reintroducing them. So obviously we’re talking about a way of counting conversions by sessions or by events. So in a sense, recreating Goals, right? Goals were a session level. We’ve now got a way to recreate Goals in GA4. But some of the other ones that they’ve you know, not so recently done, but still since it came out of beta, they introduced average session duration which was a metric that never existed because it’s all about engagement time, not session duration.

[00:03:32] Daniel: It’s also implemented session-level conversion rates and even views per session. And one would even say things like bounce rate, introducing bounce rate was a reaction to this where. They’re slowly but surely adding in these session metrics because of the, I suppose, well, I can only assume negative reaction of the people that are coming from Universal Analytics saying, where are my numbers that you told me were so important in one platform that don’t exist in this one?

[00:03:54] Dara: Well, this is what I’m really curious to know about because we don’t know what we don’t know, but I’m not hearing about a lot of kickback on some of these. Obviously there’s been a lot of, what should we call it? Like there’s been, there’s been some disgruntled chat about GA4 and it’s, you know, especially maybe go back six months where there was still kind of a lot of issues with it, or maybe like people were complaining about it, not kind of having feature parity. I don’t know that I’m aware personally of too many people griping about how it doesn’t match the kind of sessionization used by Universal Analytics. I certainly haven’t heard anybody say, oh, I’m really annoyed that I can’t get a, you know, an equivalent of a Goal where I get conversions once per session. So I’d be really curious to know whether that is actually happening and Google are feeling the heat and we’re just not aware of it.

[00:04:38] Dara: Or whether there’s some other motivation for it. Because you’re right when GA4 came out, it was this perfect opportunity for them to just kind of take a hard stance and say, do you know what? You might not like it, but you’ve got no choice, it’s a new platform, you need to adapt, and that’s it. But they seem to be just gradually, gradually stepping back and back and back and reintroducing things that just make it that little bit more like Universal Analytics, or maybe not more like it, but just provide that little bit of a safety blanket for people who maybe are still kind of thinking, where are my metrics gone?

[00:05:07] Daniel: Yeah, and I’m all one for these features by the way, I’m not anti these sessionized metrics. I think for me it’s like, I’m all one for having choice, you know, put the metrics in and they’re not there by default. You have to edit the reports and add them in, in most cases, or, or create an explore exploration to see these. But I think for me it’s like a, it almost feels like an admission of being wrong rather than a kind of look, cool new stuff. It’s almost like fine, okay, you know, big sigh as they’re kind of like doing it disgruntledly. So I think this is the feeling I have around it. It is not a positive, here’s new stuff to play with. It’s a kind of fine you win, whatever, and you’re quite right in terms of, you know, to the layman, you know, no one gives a shit to be fair. Like this isn’t, you know, going to break anything or kind of change anyone’s lives dramatically. I think there’s fewer people with louder voices and it’s very like clickbait, you know, popular opinions to have to hate something when things come out.

[00:05:56] Daniel: So we’ve seen that a lot with GA4 over the last couple of years and it’s kind of, it’s almost the cool thing to hate it. And it’s the cool thing to be like, you know, it doesn’t have bounce rate and it always had, you just got engagement rate and you got the inverse right? And that’s bounce rate. And it doesn’t have bounce rate because it’s not there when you log in or things like it doesn’t have this report. But it gives you a feature to create any report you want and create your own navigational menu. I always think of it to the Dunning-Kruger effect, you know, little knowledge is dangerous because you feel like you know lots. And a lot of people come out of the gate being like, I can’t use it, it doesn’t have this report and it doesn’t have this metric. And I was like, well, in a sense it does have this report and does have this metric you just have to go into it a bit further or have to know what you’re looking at or edit it or customise it in some way.

[00:06:34] Daniel: And yes, putting it behind a layer of a couple of clicks before it was after one click. It was the first thing you saw, that is different. But then maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe it’s going to stop making people think that bounce rate is a KPI and average session durations is a KPI and all of the numbers that Google put in front of you when you logged into Universal Analytics, people inherited as KPIs because they didn’t know better. And that’s not their fault, it’s just that Google provided, you know, someone somewhere in the product team of Google many years ago decided to put these numbers, surface these numbers on a dashboard, on some page of GA. I wonder if they knew then the level of impact it would have and make, you know, every marketer use bounce rate in their dashboards going forward, just because someone made a choice back then.

[00:07:12] Daniel: But I liked the fact that they’ve kind of gone back a little bit and rethought about that. Like you said, like a, it’s a fresh start, but I think there’s a lot of people that, like I said, don’t know enough about the opportunities and the cool stuff you can do, and the fact that they exist anyway, but they’re kind of shouting and they’re the people on LinkedIn saying, GA4s crap because insert your thing here. And maybe they’re just trying to address some of these things, which, you know, realistically probably don’t take that much effort from Google to add in the inverse of engagement rate and call it bounce rate. Sure, that’s probably not a lot of dev work, but you know, a lot of this stuff could have been spent developing features we truly need, rather than accounting for metrics that already exist in some form or we can calculate them in some way. Rant over, sorry I’ll let you go.

[00:07:50] Dara: And aren’t particularly useful in the first place yeah.

[00:07:52] Daniel: Well, yeah, I mean there is that, I mean, okay sorry, just a tangent on that. Bounce rate is more useful now in GA4 because it’s defined differently. So bounce rate, I have a soft spot for bounce rate or engagement rate. I always say that Universal Analytics was the glass half empty and it had the bounce rate in GA4 defaults to the engagement rate, which is the glass half full. So I like to be the more optimistic side, but now that they’ve redefined it, accounting for you know, engagement time and conversion events. I quite like the definition more so than Universal, I think it can be really relevant. The thing is it’s not the same, this is a lovely Googlism where they’ve introduced something called exactly the same thing, but define it differently. But I do have a software for now, I do think it’s useful.

[00:08:30] Dara: It is more useful at least, I guess the same issue applies, which is that it can be just misinterpreted. I think if you know what you’re doing with it and you drill down and you use it in a meaningful way, I think the problem has always been, it’s just seen as being a, you know, low engagement is bad, high bounce rate is bad and it’s not always that clear cut. But something that just came to me on this recent change to introduce the kind of two counting methods for events. I wonder, could it relate to Google Ads? Is that where maybe the kickback has come from? If you’re importing Goals from Universal Analytics, maybe they need this to enable you to match what you’ve been doing. I didn’t think of this until now, but maybe they need it to be able to match what you’re doing in Google Ads with Universal Analytics.

[00:09:12] Daniel: I can imagine if it’s a feature that GA4 is releasing now, it is in some way related to Google Ads. Everything is, they may as well just call it Google Ads Analytics. You know, they may as well just rebrand it, you know? I think that there’s going to be a lot of stuff, which is going to be about moving people over, come the 1st of July, from an ads perspective over to GA4 is seamless and is automated and as exactly the same as possible as it once was before they can start capitalising on the new stuff. I’m going to find it very interesting when they do all this because we spoke on the last couple of episodes, but if you’re a marketer or in the analytics space, you might already know, but Google are removing access to a bunch of the attribution models this coming May, and then again in September, and they’re moving all of the GA4 conversion exports to Google ads. They’re moving that over to a data-driven attribution export and they’re doing, you know, full credit export rather than this weird kind of last click stuff, and then do the modelling over there.

[00:10:00] Daniel: So in a sense, they’re aligning the two tools, and I think this is another one of those. So it’s aligning, again this idea of measuring a click, measuring a session, right? And for ecomm, you probably want to count every purchase because if they make two purchases in the session, why not? Why not? There might be two genuine things, but for a lot of, you know, B2B brands or maybe some of these softer conversion points, maybe engaging with a piece of content, that might happen multiple times in a session and you don’t want to overcount, you don’t want to over reward the success of a click. You don’t want a conversion rate basically of over a hundred percent, which is a possibility that way round. And so maybe this just forces it to be a bit more, you know, sensible to the untrained eye I suppose, maybe.

[00:10:36] Dara: Yeah and, and I like that. I always liked that in Universal, where you could have something as a Goal and an event. So if it was something like viewing content or downloading a file or watching a video or something like that, that could happen multiple times. You might want to just have that yes or no flag to say, did this session contain that particular thing one or more times. But then if it is something like that where it’s lots of different videos across the site, you can use the events to go in and see the total count. So having the ability to do both, I always found quite useful. So I do like this update, it’s this broader point about are they, you know, is this the end of it now or are, is it going to continue to introduce more aspects that might kind of, that could be seen as being kind of backtracking a little bit and pulling things back a little bit more in line with the way it used to be as opposed to this idea that it’s a totally new data model and everybody should be excited about that because it’s going to be better in every way and it’s all events and user based. Because I remember even when we, just for a bit of extra context for our listeners as well, when we were first talking about GA4, we were kind of jokingly arguing about whether a session even existed or not, and it was a little bit complicated and there was very little within the interface that would suggest that there were sessions, whereas now it definitely is looking like it’s back there, it’s fully front and centre within the interface again.

[00:11:51] Daniel: And the schema, right? I mean, even back when we were using Firebase analytics, which is GA4, but when it was app only, and they didn’t even have the metric of sessions in there, we had to process them and calculate them in BigQuery. We had to process and calculate sessions, right? And so we’ve gone from a point where they really didn’t want to have sessions at all. They didn’t even give you a metric of sessions, to now where they have created it in the kind of data model. The schema kind of, in a sense, contains sessions to be able to sessionize data so that we can work out these type of metrics. So we’ve gone full circle really, from a kind of, we don’t need these, we’re not even going to consider them to, okay, we’ll include it in our data model. You know, I think it’s a full 180 right, coming back on themselves. Maybe it’s just a reaction to web measurement. Maybe in an app environment it’s less relevant I don’t know.

[00:12:35] Daniel: I can probably argue that both ways. But the thing with this whole concept is, as you said, Dara, is like, is it done or is there going to be more here? Are they going to go full steam ahead and kind of reintroduce everything we had before? To be fair, I don’t know what else there is I don’t know. Do you have a wishlist? Do you have a bucket list of stuff that you’d like to see in this kind of, in this kind of area in GA4?

[00:12:56] Dara: No, off the top of my head, no. I mean, the only thing I guess that, this isn’t really a wishlist as such, but I still find, and I know some other people do find it a little bit more confusing now in terms of attribution. Because you’ve got your, you know, you’ve got your first user, you’ve got your session, and then you’ve got your event and it’s all a little confusing. They could maybe do with kind of pulling that together a little bit and clarifying it. But in terms of like a wish list of what else is missing, there’s nothing that comes to mind.

[00:13:21] Daniel: Maybe that’s it. If you’re listening, Google, we’re all good. There’s nothing, there’s nothing left.

[00:13:25] Dara: Well, nothing that comes to mind, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything.

[00:13:29] Daniel: Well, if I remember rightly, Dara, I think you won the argument about whether it’s a user versus session. So you are speaking for everyone that loves sessions here.

[00:13:37] Dara: Did I just decide that I won?

[00:13:38] Daniel: Yeah, I think you might have done. I think hindsight has proved you did, I think this episode is confirmation.

[00:13:45] Dara: Well, that’s true actually yeah, yeah. But there must have been something I guess this is a question for you, but with the, with apps, you’re right. Like when it was Firebase, the idea of a session was slightly more alien. But it’s still useful to know, even with apps, like whether you call it a session or give it a different name, it’s like a collection of events within a confined period of time. I think I maybe made this argument when we had the debate, I do see value in having a, you know, a collection of events that either happen within a period of time or are tied to a single marketing source. So some way of saying, because whether you’re using an app or whether you present the internet on your tv, or whether you’re on your laptop or whatever, they are separate. You know, you go there for a purpose and it is either time boxed or it is tied to a specific purpose. So I like the idea of having the session. I feel like I’m just rehashing the arguments that we made all those months and months ago.

[00:14:43] Daniel: But I think they’re still relevant right. And I’m going to come back to you with the answer I had back then, which was the idea of a Session Day, right? And a session day is this, I feel a happy medium and it’s something that you can calculate. I think I even wrote a blog about it, calculate in Looker Studio, if this was a thing that’s now rest in peace, Stadia, introduced and how they rewarded their publishers and their kind of game developers based on a current, a financial revenue share. But anyway, it doesn’t matter how it came about, but the idea is that how many days has this user visited your site over this period? So if I visited once in a day or a hundred times in a day, it doesn’t matter, there’s one Session Day.

[00:15:17] Daniel: So I’ve had one day of sessions and so I think this kind of arbitrary, like 30 minute window of inactivity, which you can tweak up or down. I think that maybe is the thing for me that’s a bit arbitrary and a bit maybe old school in the thinking behind it. But if they just said, you know, over the last couple of days you had 10,000 Session Days. You had 10,000 times someone visited your site within a day. You know, I think that’s great and then you can go down further and you can find the users that did a bunch of stuff on the website within a day, and you can see the users that did a single visit or page view within that day, but they’re still kind of collectively counted as one thing. The way I worked it out, by the way, if you are interested and I’ll link off in the show notes, is just export users by day, unique users by day, and then just sum them, right. And the thing you’re told never to do with users, but some of them by day because you’re getting a unique count of users by day and then just sum that total. And I think that gives you this metric of Session Days.

[00:16:07] Daniel: And like I say, it’s that middle point between sessions and users that can be quite useful. Especially with things like changing technologies like Safari and seven-day cookie lifetimes and stuff like that. It doesn’t really matter about the user as long as that cookie lasts the day, you’re all good.

[00:16:21] Dara: Maybe I’ve softened since episode two, but I won’t argue with you, but as long as there’s a way, I guess we’re agreeing on that there needs to be a way of looking that’s more, I don’t know if it’s right to say more granular or not, but there needs to be something between a user and an event and whether that’s sessions or session days, I think it’s useful to have that, you know, bucket, whatever way it’s calculated. But there’s got to be something between events and users otherwise it feels like there’s something lacking. That’s the common ground, we can agree on that.

[00:16:49] Daniel: So what’s next from Google? What do you think’s coming next? They’ve started doing this, they’ve been drip feeding these small changes and tweaks and updates back into this. Do you see this going somewhere or do you feel this is a, almost like a vanity update and maybe this will kind of fizzle out eventually. Do you think there’s anything more behind this than maybe what we’re kind of clocking onto?

[00:17:07] Dara: Whether it’s just in my head now, and not just from us talking about it a couple of minutes ago, or from you mentioning it on previous episodes, but this idea about them gradually pulling ads in GA4, well, not even just Google Ads, but the whole kind of GMP ecosystem. GA4 is very much being kind of like pulled into the middle, even more so than maybe it ever was before. You know, if I had to kind of put a bet on, on where it’s, it’s going, I think probably in the background, they’re trying to do as much work as they can to make sure that the backend of Ads and, you know, all the stuff we talked about previously with Alexis where we were talking about SA360 and DV360. I think that there’s probably a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes to make sure all of the, the kind of backend of all of those platforms is playing as nicely as possible. And maybe some of this stuff that we’re seeing is just the visible kind of front end changes.

[00:17:59] Dara: I’m basically piggybacking off something that you’ve been saying for a while, but you know, that I mean, that makes sense, doesn’t it? And even with the data collection, I think, you know, it’s definitely heading in that direction where you use GA4, that collects the data and then that feeds into all the other GMP platforms.

[00:18:16] Daniel: Yeah, for sure. I’m just wondering then if there’s more to come with the sessionization because a lot of these tools are based on clicks. So maybe there is more of a focus to measure the success of a session for Google Ads, DV360, SA360, of course. And you know, there’s very little else it does right, in those marketing platforms. It’s all about measuring the click and or impression and click, and then conversion. You know, I don’t know if there’s, who knows? Oh, I think we’re going around in circles, but I think we, there’s more stuff we feel is bubbling like a, like a swan, you know? It’s all kind of like drip feeding on top, but it’s going crazy underneath that we maybe don’t see, you know, so maybe there, there’s more coming, you know, with all the kind of changes that’s coming anyway, that Googles was announced with Google Ads, there’s probably more they’re letting on even from what they’ve announced, and maybe they’ll just be more of the same, you know, going in that same direction.

[00:19:01] Dara: I mean, one other thing, this is kind of combining, you’re asking about the wishlist and also your question just now about where it’s all heading. Wouldn’t it be great, maybe you’ll disagree, maybe your tune has changed over the time we’re working with GA4, but maybe it would be great if they reintroduce views. Which I feel like would work for like the big Ads customers as well because it’s not so much fun linking up Ads to GA now when you’ve got lots of, if you’re a big international business with lots of different sites and sub-properties and sub-domains and all the rest of it. So maybe that would be an interesting announcement if they did reintroduce views, but I don’t know, I’m probably not seeing it happening.

[00:19:39] Daniel: That is admitting royal defeat, isn’t it? I think if they introduce that.

[00:19:43] Dara: Just call it Universal Analytics then.

[00:19:44] Daniel: Yeah, Jesus. I don’t know. I mean, there’s two ways, like a lot of what you have to kind of look at this through is that Google’s a massive company in it for profit and they’re an advertising company, right? And so, for me there’s always that kind of like, well how would they make money from that? But I think, you know, monetising it through the GCP (Google Cloud Platform) for one, so like the fact that every property can connect to BigQuery, so the more views you give someone, the more BigQuery exports they’ll be able to give you for free right. Quote unquote, free, doing air quotes for an audio medium. But the other side of that, I think again, is the processing it must take, this is where I think that they may have maybe made that bed within Universal Analytics, Universal analytics went fucking crazy. Everyone implemented it and all of a sudden they realised for every one website we track, we are processing this data 10 times on average, maybe. And I’m wondering if they’re like, we are not doing that again. And so they’re just, they have to from a kind of basically a cost perspective, not offer it out. And so putting it behind the paywall, and I just riffing on this, we’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. I really hope they introduce a kind of pay-as-you-go model of GA360, like they do on Firebase.

[00:20:43] Daniel: On Firebase, you can go in there and you can pay as you use, pay as you pay to play in a sense. You don’t have to go all in at like thousands of pounds a month to get access to everything. I just need access to sub properties or views, or I just need access to more API tokens, right? So that I can get around those crappy fucking limitations and the quotas. So like, why not just enable someone to link a credit card like in the GCP, you know, and you pay for volume of usage and each tool has a different sort of charging method. Why not do that? And then all of a sudden just have a screen in the admin in GA4 saying, put credit card and then give me an extra 50 tokens a month and give me an extra whatever a month and open up sub-properties and maybe that’s based on volume of events, right? It just feels like such a no-brainer for them to do. At the moment, it’s going 360 for the example you gave a multinational company, a big multinational company, lots of ads, accounts like, yes, of course they’re right for going to 360 if they’re not already, and I’m sorry if that’s you. But yeah, you should start paying for GA because that’s the where they want you to be. But for everyone else, it’s just, so far we’ve been okay right. I don’t want to jinx it, but with a very few exceptions most of our clients have adapted to not having views fine. And it’s one of those things, now it’s gone, you kind of forget about it very quickly and then you move on with your lives, right.

[00:21:54] Dara: It’s really that one use case I think of, you know, it’s connecting up multiple Ads accounts across, you know, a number of different, that old mapping. And it was never a fun thing to do, but you know, at least you could kind of do it with Universal. On the pricing model, that wouldn’t be a crazy bet to make. That all of that is there on the cloud side of things, it’s possibly just a matter of time, maybe it seems from the outside for us to say, oh, why don’t they just switch over to that kind of pricing model. Maybe there’s an ambition for them to do it, but it might just take a little bit of time, but I don’t know why they would have this separate, standalone way of charging when that’s working so well for them on the GCP.

[00:22:31] Daniel: Well, I can almost answer my own question or that question, and I think, you know, and this is just me completely guessing, but the only way to buy GA360 right now is going through an advertising agency, a big advertising agency, which are sales partners of Google. And in a sense, if they introduce this pay as you go model in GA to go 360 or whatever they call it. They’re just completely undermining and kind of bypassing all of their partners. And so every single sales partner they’ve got out there across the world that are, you know, in bed with Google selling all these licences, making a cut off the top, maybe their business is built around selling 360 licences, they’re basically going to, you know, mess that up overnight if they release this. Maybe everyone at Google wants to go to this pay as you go model, right? It’ll be easier for them, but I think there’s a lot of politics maybe, is probably the biggest blocker here. And maybe it is happening, but slowly but surely, maybe it’s already happening and we don’t know about it because we are not an advertising agency we have no idea, right? Maybe there’s something bubbling, but I think we are going to be one of the last to know alongside, you know, the kind of average Joe, you know, the public because we are not an advertising agency. But I can imagine if Google are going this way, which it makes sense for them to do, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are. I think there’s a lot of groundwork to do to kind of mitigate this kind of fallout with the agencies.

[00:23:41] Dara: All good theories, but let’s hope it does end up there one day because I think that idea of scalable analytics, just like you’ve got kind of scalable cloud, I think it would make it even more accessible for a lot of, because that’s what Google Analytics has been all about all along, it’s like making it the most accessible analytics platform. I think this would take that to its natural conclusion, if you could scale up and down depending on what you need.

[00:24:02] Daniel: Well, bringing it back into sessionization Dara, GA4 is heading back to session-level stuff, I’m sure you are happy. All of this stuff that we’ll be, we’ve talked about is going to be in the show notes. We’ll put links to the announcements and some of the metrics that are available, but the one thing that Google’s not done is they’ve not put them in the reports by default, you have to go and add these in. So there is one thing that I’m going to claim a mini victory on that sessions haven’t won just yet. They’re available, but they’re not by default. So I’m going to take that as a mini victory.

[00:24:29] Dara: They will be by default for any automatically migrated Goals from Universal.

[00:24:35] Daniel: Yes. Sorry, specifically with the conversions yes. Because they’re going to do them, of course they’re going to do them like for like. I think I’m still slightly bitter about having, you know, average session duration.

Wind down

[00:24:44] Dara: Okay, so what our listeners are obviously dying to hear at this point, Dan, is what you’ve been doing outside of work to chill out?

[00:24:51] Daniel: Well, I’ve actually just come back from a little weekend away. Me and my partner, we went to Amsterdam for the weekend and I’ve never been. So, we went over there for a, like a Thursday night to a Sunday last weekend and yeah, it was awesome. I really enjoyed it, it’s a really beautiful place, and the people were awesome. And yeah, we did lots of walking. We didn’t get a single tram, tube, bus or anything, and we just walked everywhere and maybe naively. It’s pretty big walking around, it took forever. Yeah, we definitely got our steps in for those couple of days. Lots of good coffee and lots of good food really. We went into a couple of museums, we went into a couple of galleries, actually more so than museums, but I wish a really nice but bloody busy man. It was so busy, it was almost unenjoyable. It was like, so people, oh man, do you know what I have to vent a little bit. People taking pictures and videos on their phones all the time. And they’re not even looking at the things on the wall, they’re with you just behind the screen taking videos of it as long as there’s proof that they were there, it doesn’t matter if they were actually there and saw the stuff. So me and my partner were trying to read the plaques and stuff.

[00:25:49] Daniel: There was a Banksy exhibition going on and there was loads of cool stuff in it, and it detailed exactly kind of like the story behind each piece. And it was just, yeah, we were stuck behind the camera, other people’s phone cameras basically. And it was, ah, it’s so infuriating.

[00:26:00] Dara: Don’t get me started.

[00:26:02] Daniel: All right well, I won’t, I promise not to. But what is your wind down and what did you do to escape from the world of analytics?

[00:26:07] Dara: I’m going to do a TV one. I can’t remember when I last gave a boring kind of, I’ve been watching this update, but I’m going to do one anyway. So the new series, the last series of Succession is out, and I’m going to watch the latest one tonight. I think that’s episode number five. And it’s yeah, the last one so expecting big things to happen. It’s already been pretty interesting, but I think it’s going to just continue to, to ramp up and I don’t know if you’re watched or not, but they’re all despicable characters. So when I say interesting things are happening, it’s just lots of horrible people doing horrible things, but it’s really entertaining.

[00:26:42] Daniel: No, I’ve not watched it, but it sounds fun and sounds almost like up my street. I’m a huge fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and that’s very much, sounds very similar in terms of lots of not very nice people shouting at each other, doing awful things, but maybe in a different economic position than succession.

[00:26:56] Dara: Exactly, a different kind of context, but probably similar characters in a way. But it’s meant to be based on, they reckon it’s like based on the Murdoch family. And there’s even stuff in the papers at the moment, but they think one of the Murdoch family might be feeding information to the show creators. But whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. It’s really good, it’s really entertaining.


Dara: That’s it for this week, to hear more from me and Dan on GA4 and other analytics related topics, all our previous episodes are available in our archive at measurelab.co.uk/podcast. Or you can simply use whatever app you’re using right now to listen to this, to go back and listen to previous episode.

Daniel: And if you want to suggest a topic for something me and Dara should be talking about, or if you want to suggest a guest who we should be talking to, there’s a Google Form in the show notes that you can fill out and leave us a note. Or alternatively, you can just email us at podcast@measurelab.co.uk to get in touch with us both directly.

Dara: Our theme is from Confidential, you can find a link to their music in the show notes. So on behalf of Dan and I, thanks for listening. See you next time.

Written by

Daniel is the innovation and training lead at Measurelab - he is an analytics trainer, co-host of The Measure Pod analytics podcast, and overall fanatic. He loves getting stuck into all things GA4, and most recently with exploring app analytics via Firebase by building his own Android apps.

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