What is GA4’s Measurement Protocol?

We're looking to delve into the depths of the Measurement Protocol - a powerful tool that can transform how you collect and analyse data.

Let’s start at the beginning. You may have heard whispers about the Measurement Protocol, but what exactly is it? The Measurement Protocol is the secret sauce that allows you to track user interactions beyond standard websites or apps. It’s your key to measuring actions that occur outside the digital confines of your website/app, giving you a more complete view of user behaviour. Think of it as your ticket to tracking a world of data, not just your website data. Sounds too good to be true right?!

How does the Measurement Protocol work its magic?

It allows tracking user interactions beyond web pages or apps by sending data directly to Google Analytics servers using HTTP requests. Users provide specific parameters in requests, enabling custom event tracking, e-commerce transactions, and more, expanding data collection capabilities.

What can it be used for?

Offline event tracking is one of the key applications for Measurement Protocol. Whether this be tracking revenue subscriptions to get a more accurate picture of customer LTV, physical event attendance to see what channels drive event attendees or calls made to your call centre or made from your sales team. Measurement Protocol is the key that unlocks a lot of doors!

Okay sold, now how do I use it?

You might be thinking, “This all sounds great, but how do I actually use it?”. Well depending on what you want to send to GA4 via Measurement Protocol, you can lean on a third-party platform or tool that might integrate with the Measurement Protocol like Calltracks or Infinity for call tracking. Or, if you have developer resource, then you can work with your developers to configure the HTTP requests directly from your systems. The requests should be sent to the Measurement Protocol endpoint and should include parameters such as measurement IDs, client IDs, session IDs and any event details.

What’s the difference between this and Data Import?

Great question! The Measurement Protocol in Google Analytics 4 enables real-time, programmatic data collection by sending data directly to GA4 servers via HTTP requests. In contrast, the Data Import feature allows the manual upload of offline data, like CRM or customer lists, to enrich existing data. Measurement Protocol is for real-time data collection, while Data Import enhances existing data with offline information.

In summary, the Measurement Protocol in Google Analytics 4 is your key to tracking offline events and getting a more complete picture of user behaviour. We’ve seen it adopted to fill the gaps of sales that recur offline (subscriptions) and also import other behaviour such as sales calls.

It can be a fiddly beast to get set up so as always if you have an idea and want some advice then get in touch!

Written by

George is a Lead Analytics Consultant at Measurelab. He loves a complex problem to solve and is even restoring a classic car just to see how it works.

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