Find out more from Sam Thomas, Analytics Lead at Embryo. In our run-up to brightonSEO 2022, we are launching a spotlight series with speakers. In our first interview, we spoke to Sam about Google Analytics 4 migration and more.
Unlike many, you seem to love GA4. What are your key talking points for the presentation GA4 – from migration to measurement – the key to success at brightonSEO’s MeasureFest. How have you applied them at Embryo?
At first, I didn’t love it either, and took a lot of time and resources to better understand it, and then I started to love it. It’s a big change, and in my opinion, Google could have done a better job at helping businesses migrate over. My confidence in GA4 and implementation of it solely comes from working with it over time. My talk will cover a broad range of topics including:
- The migration from UA to GA4
- The measurement/reporting elements of the tool
- And why it’s worth investing business resources in getting it set up sooner rather than later.
Overall, the talk will allow the visitors to gain a broader understanding of GA4 as a whole.
Your go-to advice for folks struggling with GA4 migration?
Really, your first step here would be to have a chat with your agency. If you’re with an agency for a multi-channel strategy they should have an idea of what the setup you need will look like. If your agency doesn’t have an analytics specialist, seek one. If you’re using Google Analytics as your primary reporting data, making sure it’s correctly implemented is critical to the success of the decisions you make off the back of it. At Embryo, I’ve helped businesses that have been clients of ours for other services, but we’ve also helped a lot of businesses that just needed help with GA4 migration.
What tips do you have for attendees to maximize their time on-site at brightonSEO?
Use the app! brightonSEO has a fantastic app that allows you to view the schedules, but also plan in a personalized timeline so you don’t miss any talks you want to attend. The talks in the smaller rooms will often fill up quickly, so get to those early if you don’t want to miss them.
Finally, if you’ve got some downtime, check out the exhibitors and you’ll find lots of people full of knowledge presenting the latest and greatest features of the tools you could use. You’ll learn so much from the talks, but don’t forget you’re at an event with thousands of people from the industry, network with them.
What presentations are you most interested in attending/speakers you are most interested to hear and why?
There are so many this year. I’m going to have to make some tough decisions. I’ll be talking at MeasureFest which is the day before brightonSEO and that entire day looks incredible. I’m a real data-head so I tend to naturally gravitate towards talks where data plays a direct role. Specifically, at the brightonSEO event, I’ve got my must-attend list:
- Serge Bezborodov Logs analysis guru level. Take control on Googlebot
- Danny Richman – How to use GPT-3 for keyword research
- Dateme Tubotamuno – The representation of beliefs as an important element in user intent analysis
- Krista Seiden – Why SEOs should love (not fear) GA4
- Krystian Szastok – Competitor topical authority audits: the how and the why
- Matt Greenwood – Spreadsheet sorcery: a Google Sheets guide for the aspiring wizard
- Andrew Charlton – The power of probabilistic thinking in SEO
- Martijn Scheybeler – SEO testing: What you can do when you really want to find out what works for SEO
- Rowenna Fielding – Cookie consent: mechanisms and practices for GDPR and ePrivacy compliance
- Farhad Divecha – How SEO changes as we say bye-bye to cookies
- Riaz Kanani – Shining a light onto the dark funnel
And I know I’ve already got clashes there! Thankfully, we’ll have the replays so I can watch any I missed online.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Embryo works with a lot of clients across a lot of different industries and we’re very focused on how the ‘messy middle’ (MOFU) impacts their conversion funnels. By focusing on the entire customer journey, we’ve pushed results that far exceed initial expectations. We also have some custom-built in-house tools that we use for deeper analysis and applying the findings to campaigns from these achieves the same. That investment in ongoing R&D internally has been crucial for growing the business.
What do you think is the most exciting trend in digital marketing now?
The switch in consumer behavior post-pandemic has been an exciting learning curve. People convert differently from how they did before COVID. For example, many consumers now work in a hybrid model, public transport use is still down, footfall in town/city centers the same, so there’s a larger audience online searching for your products whether they know about them or not yet. Adapting campaigns to support that, allows you to look at the data from them and when comparing it to now, understand how that change in behavior has affected your metrics, both negatively and positively.
What are some mistakes you have made while scaling organic and what did you learn from them?
Not focusing enough on how other channels impact organic and vice-versa. So often in agencies, you find siloed teams that aren’t working together to understand that ‘messy middle’ I mentioned earlier. Scaling organic should be alongside other channels to make sure you’re getting in front of the entire audience.
What are the top 5 tools or apps you use almost every day and why?
- GA4 – My number one and the focus of my talk.
- Google Tag Manager – This naturally sits alongside GA4 for more advanced implementation of event, conversion, and visitor behavior reporting.
- Notion – The ultimate time and project management tool. I’d never used it before working with Embryo and within days I wished I had it since I first started in SEO all those years ago.
- BigQuery – An essential tool for working with bigger datasets and being able to efficiently extract trends.
- Screaming Frog – The ultimate tool in any SEO arsenal. Despite not directly working in SEO anymore, I use this for analysis through API integrations.
What was your worst job and what did you learn from it?
Now, I won’t call it out directly because that would be unprofessional of me, haha! However, I learned that for a business to really thrive, it’s crucial to have a leadership team that understands the value that employees bring to the table. A leader is only as good as the team’s desire to be led by them. The second the trust starts to crumble, you’ve lost them.
What advice would you give yourself when you first started digital advertising?
I’ve learned a lot over the years from a lot of great people. My biggest lesson was that I’m not a robot. You can’t be at full speed 24/7, you can switch off without feeling guilty, and ultimately make sure that your worth to a business is understood. We’re human, we make mistakes, and we learn from them, and that’s absolutely fine.
Sam Thomas is the Analytics Lead at Embryo and handles a multitude of things at a qualitative and quantitative level. Not only do Sam’s crucial insights create effective, month-long strategies for clients, but his proactive approach also helps forecast, discover unexpected issues, and find opportunities within the data. Follow him on LinkedIn and learn new things about GA4 almost every other day.
With Swydo’s GA4 integration you can now make your weekly, monthly and on-the-fly GA4 reports in just minutes.