google analytics, ga, ga4, data, revenue data, affiliate marketing, social media marketing, White paper reports potential impact to affiliate attribution tracking due to GA4

Affiliate network has reported a potential impact on affiliate tracking when sites switch to GA4 Analytics in a recent car study published this week. Reports that affiliate sales were declining caused the company to investigate he issue further.

In a statement on their website, the report said: “CJ has been made aware of significant changes in the revenue assigned to various channels within Google Analytics (“GA”), caused by Google’s planned migration to Google Analytics 4 (“GA4”).

“In some cases, clients report that GA4 is significantly under-reporting revenue for non-Google channels such as affiliate, compared to their previous Google Analytics version. These errors seem specific to GA4 and/or Google’s Data-Driven Attribution (DDA) model. We’re not seeing these changes within CJ tracking or reporting, which remains accurate and stable.”

The CJ website points to two main issues with the data offered by GA4: gaps in Data-Driven Attribution methodology, where Google is not providing valid measurements of data in “common scenarios”, and online interactions with Google channels given preference in GA4.

For their part, Google has a page on their Analytics Help Centre called “GA4 Fix missing revenue data” which says you should check your required event parameters, your value parameter and your currency parameter. However, this suggests a problem with revenue data not being reported. If it is then converted into revenue itself not reaching expectations, affiliate marketers are going to have a problem. Also, it was posted on July 26th, possibly before the change in revenue was even noticed.

CJ has put together a cohesive guide to help affiliate managers investigate and remedy the problem, if occuring to help brands understand impacts and how to rectify them.

CJ points to the Data-Driven Attribution model for the initial cause and suggests affiliate switch to it if not already and adjust settings to report on a Last Click basis. A detailed explanation of how this could be affecting your program and revenue data and how to fix it is available here.

Such a large shift across the internet is bound to result in teething problems, but it’s important to be prepared as an affiliate manager to look outside of your own program and sector to understand if industry trends and tech impacts may be affecting overall delivery in your own programs.

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