Google to remove GA4 integration with Optimize

Google will be removing the Google Analytics 4 integration with the A/B testing and personalization tool, Optimize. In fact, the entire platform is shutting down and sunsetting in September 2023. If you’re using it in any way beyond GA, it will affect your strategy. If you don’t use Optimize, your strategy can transform and evolve with this change.

The GA4 integration with Optimize, is capable of  sending data to and from the platform. It links to your GA4 properties to unlock additional reporting and more importantly, to act on data from audiences’ behavior on your sites.

For marketers who are looking to step up their conversion rate optimization, it provides value by combining user experience and attribution data with personalization and A/B testing. However, I have some bad news and upcoming good news about this GA4 feature.

Now, the good news. A recent announcement has confirmed that something much bigger and better is coming soon. There will be new integrations with Google Analytics 4, including popular platforms Optimizely, VWO, and AB Tasty. It doesn’t stop there. There’s essentially unlimited opportunities for integrations. A public API will be available that will allow any third-party experiment tool to connect to GA4.

This sunset should be considered a great decision by Google because they’re putting personalization in the hands of the most powerful A/B testing tools in the industry. The Google Marketing Platform’s long-standing dominance is with their media tools and GA, not with personalization (if you’re a veteran GA user, this may be bringing back some rough memories of Google Content Experiments). 

Dig deeper: All coverage of Google Analytics 4

Why we care. Optimize is an excellent tool. The interface is intuitive, it has advanced targeting options, real-time reporting, and the integration with Google Analytics. However, it’s a relatively young player in the A/B testing industry (Optimizely and VWO have existed for well over a decade). It works well, but it’s like hiring someone who does this work on the side instead of someone who’s dedicated full time. With this release, you’ll have the analytics power of GA4 combined with the freedom you get by choosing any A/B testing tool.

The new feature will help measure more engagement, higher insight into user behavior, and deeper personalization. GA4 audiences will be able to pass to these platforms where you can target groups of users based on specific content interest, traffic sources, attributes, and any custom information that you’re collecting about your site visitors (non-PII of course).

What you should do. The action to take now is to export any historic reports on experiments in Google Analytics and Optimize so you can ensure that legacy data is accessible to you and your team. Most importantly, another action to take is to prepare for the future by planning strategy, data collection, and conversion tracking that you’ll use in A/B testing tools.

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