It’s all money, money, money this week with X and Meta going pay-to-play in different ways; Google upsetting some people with auto GA4 setup before bringing it home with a handy ecommerce report; and finally some useful insights on Landing Page Optimisation from the Think with Google team, just in time for the Spending Season. Good stuff to read / watch / listen to. Check it out now.

X Plans To Go Completely Pay-to-Play

In the latest bonkers plan of Elon Musk and Xitter, he’s come up with a crazy plan to make each and every user pay for access. This will allegedly be a nominal sum (what’s that to a billionaire?). The reason? Xitter cannot control the bots that pervade its platform.
That’s quite an admission. That effectively every post on the platform could be bot generated. I’ve got to say that if you cannot control bots there is something very wrong with your platform.
There always will be some smart critters that make it through for a while but bots give themselves away with their non-random patterns, something which AI should be fairly good at spotting.
So, some geezer with stacks of cash, supposedly a Tech God with self-driving cars and rocket ships to Mars cannot control little posting bots, and everyone else has to pay for it? Please. I guess that’s why he’s a billionaire.

Meta Verified Coming To Business Pages

And so we move to the next stage of the pay-for-everything endgame. Meta is introducing its Verified program for businesses which will allow the business to gain a blue tick and… not a lot else.
Well, actually that’s wrong. Considering many of the issues with Facebook and Instagram will potentially be sorted, it’s perhaps not such a bad deal. The list currently is issues such as such as non-authentication, impersonation, access to support (!!!) and appearance near the top of search results. The apparent cost may be $35 a month, which is a bit steep for many small businesses but insanely cheap for large corporations. It would probably make sense to scale the charges by follower counts or another similar size metric (that any also dissuade businesses from buying followers for once).
So, this is good and annoying in equal measure. Having actual support could be great, as could appearing in more prominent positions, but it will leave some people out in the cold due to price and the very next step will be all business accounts will need to be paid for. What a time to be alive…

GA4 Migration Confusion

Does the news about GA4 ever get any better? Hot on the heels of turning Universal Analytics off for most users (boo), they migrated settings from UA to GA4, which then messed up a number of installations.
Of course, GA4 has been warning about this for weeks, but when you’ve spent a while setting up your new GA4, it was slightly confronting to be told you hadn’t finished and Google would just auto copy stuff across – think settings and conversions. You did have the option to opt-out if I recall as well.
I suspect for the 80% of the people who just didn’t migrate, this was actually useful, but for the other 20% who set things up deliberately it was quite annoying. Mainly because you had to tick a few minor, irrelevant and unimportant boxes to actually “complete” the setup.
I, of course, realised this would happen and completed setups for my clients where I could. Smug look.
Let’s talk improving your Analytics and Performance, as well as conversions. It’ll be worth your while.

Landing Page Optimisation

On one hand with the e-commerce season fast approaching this should be useful, and for some people it probably is. On the other hand….
Using the “messy middle”, behavioural science and a panel of responders, the clever people at Think with Google tested a variety of UX improvements in a bronze, silver, gold format. All good! Except that the designs were on desktop (seriously?) with a design that looks like it was from the early 2010s and the improvements were judged qualitatively. Numbers don’t lie, but people do. Rather than asking people for confected opinions, I’d always test against traffic: ie buy a heap of traffic and fire it at the pages. That’s the way to start to draw stronger conclusions which have confidence. Until that point everything is opinions.
Some of the findings are fairly innocuous: add trust features, don’t overload with options and make delivery frictionless, but they still serve as decent reminders.
If you have time, make sure your e-commerce pages are up to scratch (or get me to check) and make some sales this Christmas and beyond.

GA E-commerce Checkout Report

Okay, so finally GA4 does something useful with a checkout choke report appearing.
This is quite handy for understanding the choke points in the checkout process. It won’t diagnose the causes of the choke, but at least it will start to tell you (me!) where to start looking.
Your checkout needs to be properly tagged up – which can be a challenge as e-commerce scripts are still developing to meet the new GA4 methodology, but this is useful for once.
Analytics and understanding Performance are critical for the coming end of year bonanza. Chat to me about setting them up correctly to make a difference to your bottom line.