Should You Switch to Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 is here, but does that mean you should switch? Not so fast. While these updates will change the future of analytics, the Universal version of Google Analytics is not going away anytime soon. The new version introduces many features formerly only available to Google Analytics 360 users and has combined Google Analytics for Firebase all into one new property type: Google analytics 4 (GA4). It was briefly known as the App + Web property in Universal Analytics. However, Google changed the name to emphasize this brand new property type is for all businesses, not just those with an app or a website. According to Google, GA4 features new benefits to scale your business by providing intelligent business insights to help reach your business goals. To start, let’s look at a brief comparison between Universal and GA4 properties.

New Account Structure

Image Source: Google

Cross-Platform Reporting

Tracking web and mobile app behavior is a cumbersome task. Integrating analytics app tracking is complicated. Mobile app analytics typically lives on its own, resulting in complex integrations and fragmented reporting. Google tried to simplify this with Google Analytics for Firebase, but users bounce back and forth between Firebase projects and Google Analytics to access specific reports. GA4 solves this by using data streams, which unifies both web and app reporting all under one property. Traffic data is in one reporting interface, allowing for easy cross-platform analysis. Simply follow the step-by-step instructions to add a data stream and accompanying SDK when applicable, and you’re all set!

Event Tracking

Users switch devices when interacting with your business resulting in new sessions. This behavior skews out of the box reporting as a single user is duplicated. GA4 deduplicates a single user across devices using events instead of sessions.

If you have used Google Analytics, you are familiar with events. Events are a part of any measurement strategy. Unlike Universal, which uses page views, GA4 uses events. Every single action tracked across data streams will be treated as an event. 

Image Source

Moving to an event-based data model will make GA4 more intelligent. It also enables easier reporting with actionable insights.

Easy Implementation 

Correctly implementing analytics can be challenging for a first time user. Thanks to GA4 this process became a lot easier. You can find a setup assistant in admin settings at the top of the property column. This assistant walks you through each step of the process to get the most out of GA4: data collection, property settings, account linking, audience definitions, conversion tracking, and user management. If you are a Universal user implementing GA4 or new to analytics, the new setup assistant makes the process easier for everyone.

Enhanced Measurement and Automatically Collected Events

The new enhanced measurement feature allows you to track events on your website with just one click and without any code requirements. All you need to do is turn it on, and the enhanced measurement feature will track page views, scrolls, outbound clicks, site searches, video engagement metrics, and file downloads. You will also have the capability to customize which events you are collecting altogether, but GA4 provides more robust out of the box functionality.

In addition, GA4 will automatically collect a list of events for both IOS and Android apps unless stated otherwise. Similarly, there is no additional code or work needed. You just need to make sure that you are using the SDK or gtag.js. There are also many different events you can add yourself that might be useful for your type of business. Here are some that Google recommends for all properties.

Should You Switch To Google Analytics 4?

Everything outlined can be quite exciting. There’s no need to completely switch over to GA4 just yet. Since its release in October 2020, feature rollout has been slow, and many others are under development. Like other new tools, it will take time for the platform to reach its true potential and be ready as your stand-alone tool for website and app analytics. A fundamental switch from page views to events will also take time to adapt to. With this said, we recommend setting up a GA4 property in parallel to an existing Universal property if you have one. Compare the functionality of both and see the differences. While Universal Analytics is not going away anytime soon, Google Analytics 4 is the future of analytics so the sooner you can start learning the functionality and features, the better.

For more information on analytics, please contact us. We are here to help.

Lake One Announces New Online HubSpot Training Program

Minneapolis MN – Lake One Digital, a remote Platinum Solutions Partner, announces the launch of a new virtual HubSpot Marketing Strategy training program for small and medium sized businesses.

Based on Lake One’s FieldGuide™ Research process, businesses looking to develop a strategic marketing plan without the expense of retaining a Solutions Partner now have an option.

Once per quarter, a cohort of up to 10 companies will participate in a 6-week training curriculum.

The program is designed to help organizations maximize their investment in HubSpot Marketing and/or Sales Hub with guided, hands-on training in the development of a custom marketing plan.

Over the course of six weeks, participants will be coached on the key themes of Lake One’s FieldGuide, provided tools, and given homework to develop the plan under the guidance of Lake One senior strategists.

At the 6-week program culmination, participants will have a fully developed program, ready for activation through their HubSpot Growth Stack.

Topics include keyword research, persona development, content strategy, sales and marketing alignment, and more.

Program costs are a one-time fee of $5000 per organization and allowed up to three participants per organization to attend. Only 10 organizations will be accepted per quarter, and the Q1 2021 cohort begins February 24, 2021.

For more information or to register for the Hubspot Training Program, visit the HubSpot training page or contact us.

2021 Paid Search Trends to Keep On Your Radar

2020 was an unpredictable year. It pushed us to think differently how we communicate and interact with one another. Typical marketing trends were thrown out the window! Creative thinking was more important than ever, and adapting quickly was often the key to success. The same can be said for paid search trends.

Campaign managers saw it all – data points changed dramatically, seasonal shifts came at new times, and certain benchmarks no longer applied, to name just a few. What does this mean for paid search trends in 2021? We see a continuing shift away from the keyword and more automation.

Death of the Keyword

You have heard it before. It is discussed every year, and now we are joining the conversation. So, are keywords dead? The answer is still the same: not yet. Keywords are not going away anytime soon. However, as Google focuses more on automation and privacy, the effectiveness of keywords will change more than ever this year

2021 Paid Search Trends

Image Source: Google

Google Shopping Takeover

2020 changed the way we think about digital strategies, and this was never more true than for e-commerce. Logistical challenges and low consumer confidence impacted conversion rates across many campaigns. Still, retailers continue to invest in and prioritize high performing ad formats such as Google Shopping. In recent years, Google Shopping ad spend generated close to 80% of retail search ad spend. Even with uncertainty around consumer spending, this keyword-less strategy will continue to be prioritized in the retail space. Spending on traditional, keyword-focused text ads will continue to decline.

Good-Bye Search Terms

In another push to change the use of keywords, Google started limiting the search query data in the Search Terms report. Campaign managers have less visibility into new keyword opportunities and irrelevant cost-driving queries. In fact, Google is removing search terms for close to 30% of account budgets. As Google continues to take control away from campaign managers, there could be cost implications that will deter the use of traditional keyword strategies.

Not So Exact Match

Expansion of close variant matches can be expected to continue. One of our larger volume accounts generated 1,324 unique close variant matches last year. We have also witnessed Google completely change the intent. The exact match keyword ‘rent my garage’ was triggered by a query for ‘garage for rent.’ The user intent is completely changed. What does this mean? Negative keyword management is now more important than ever. But with limited search term data, negative keyword sweeps are now more complicated than before.

2021 Paid Search Trends

Image Source: Practical Ecommerce

Why, Google, Why?

In this New Year, we can expect the effectiveness of the keyword to change more than ever, as Google continues to change campaign managers’ control over their accounts. We can expect less data, which is hard to write since that is the foundation of any paid search campaign. But why?

First is privacy. A lot of the changes we discussed are moves to protect user privacy. As third party cookie restrictions increase, it will be more important than ever to evolve how we use data strategies.

Next is automation. The eroding value of the keyword is a result of Google’s push for automation and Smart technology. We can expect even more automation in 2021. We wouldn’t be surprised if Google moves to Smart Shopping only this year, and there is not much we can do about it.

Planning ahead and increasing the use of automation could result in stability and cost savings. Last year was unpredictable and as digital marketers we are expected to continuously evolve. Understanding the changing landscape of paid search ensures we are set up for success.

Sales Automation: A guide to growing pipeline without being a spambot

When it comes to automation tools, marketing automation often gets all the glory. But a growing category of tools, sales automation, is picking up steam as remote and digital sales strategies become more mainstream. Truth be told, marketing and sales automation working together is a one-two punch. A strong sales and marketing alignment from strategy through technology can be a game-changer for revenue teams. So what’s the deal with sales automation? What is it, and how should an organization approach it when looking at their total sales and marketing technology investment? We’ll explore all of that and more in this Lake One guide.

What is Sales Automation?

Sales automation is the use of tools and technology to scale and automate manual elements of an organization’s sales process. Tasks include data management, follow up automation, call transcribing, and reporting. Sales automation seeks to eliminate manual tasks that often take up valuable time daily, weekly, and monthly. Sales teams can better utilize their time focused on higher-value sales activity like proposals and closing discussions.

Benefits of Sales Automation

While there are a host of benefits to automating elements of your sales McKinsey states that early adopters of sales automation report efficiency improvements of 10 -15%. Whether utilizing prepared proposals, AI to determine a contact’s likelihood of conversion, or chatbots – sales automation can make sure more time is focused on the highest value efforts.

sales automation - reduce pipeline friction

Reduce pipeline friction

Using tools to automate functions within your salesforce has shown to lead to a 30% increase in deal closures and a reduction in the sales cycle by 18%, according to Instapage. Imagine how much more revenue you’d have flowing through your pipeline with those reductions in friction.

Improved morale

At the end of the day, if performance lags, so does morale, thus creating a vicious cycle. Morale drops, dragging down motivation and then impacting performance, and the cycle continues. With sales automation, it’s like giving your sales team an unfair advantage.

Essential Sales Activities to Automate

When approaching sales automation, the easiest place to start is thinking about your sales team’s major time drainers. A 2017 HubSpot sales survey of sales professionals in the US, UK and Ireland found that the typical sales day is wildly inefficient. In fact, salespeople spend less than half their day actually selling.

Sales Automation

Emails, data management, prospecting, and more are all tasks that have either a portion of which or the entire task that can be automated. Looking at the tasks that the HubSpot survey identified, where can sales automation assist?

Email: Utilize templates and a canned response for common messages. It’s half the time just thinking about what you want to send, even if it’s a common message. A template can get you started and let you tailor a portion to your latest conversation with your prospect.

Data Entry: There are various browser plugins, email extensions and CRM add ons that help complete a contact profile with publicly available information. Whether it’s logging an email and creating a net new contact in a CRM from Google or outlook or adding someone from LinkedIn.

Prospecting: Effective prospecting for a modern salesperson is a balance between the numbers game and outreach quality to increase response rates. Areas to focus automation on include the qualifiers on building prospect lists and driving them into your CRM, sequences, and cadences used to conduct the outreach, calling tools to be able to call through a list with a direct dial and reduce time fumbling around with a phone.

Internal Meetings: When it comes to internal meetings and updates. Does everything need to be a meeting, or do you need better reporting and check-ins? Can communications be managed through a tool like slack with a status update through an app?

Scheduling: Trying to book a meeting with a prospect can be a nightmare. If you’re selling a complex product to a large group of influencers and people who need to sign off, now you’re managing multiple calendars. Automating the booking and availability eliminates all of the back and forth.

digital sales growth chat

Tools for Sales Automation

So what tools help with these kinds of task automations for sales teams? I’m glad you asked.

Let’s explore some of the options available to support automating the essential tasks we’ve outlined in the previous section. In each section, we’ll provide a couple of options. First we’ll explore how HubSpot can solve the sales automation as a platform solution, a tool that can support multiple sales automation needs and work across other areas of your customer experience like marketing and customer experience.

Second, we’ll provide options for point solutions that can also integrate into other systems so you can plug and play depending on how your sales and marketing tech stack is architected today.

Email: HubSpot provides easy to deploy email templates that can be utilized across Outlook and Google mail. Templates through HubSpot also have the added benefit of reporting on performance so your sales organization can see which templates drive the best response and can be plugged into process across your organization.

If you’re looking for a plug and play solution, Right Inbox is an option if your business runs on Google Work, if you run on Office 365, AppSource has a variety of options as well.

Data Entry:HubSpot makes it easy to automatically log contacts from your inbox. They will also populate company records with publicly available data.

Depending on your CRM, both the Google Chrome Store and Office 365 AppSource are places to look for integrations to support data entry.

Prospecting: HubSpot Sequences make it easy to enroll up to 50 prospects at a time (depending on the tier you’re on) for a sales play. Email outreach, LinkedIn inmail, call, etc. With HubSpot calling, you can assign the call to a task queue and work through calls in a quick efficient way.

For plug and play options, there’s a host of sales cadence tools including Outreach, Salesloft, and Mailshake. All of which have robust integrations with a variety of CRMs and MAPs.

Internal Meetings: HubSpot reporting can go a long way to eliminate some needs for constant meetings and updates. The ability to tag and mention colleagues in real-time on contacts, companies, and deals also allows for communication and updates without leaving the CRM.

For plug and play, consider Slack plus Status Hero as a way to communicate regular updates without disrupting daily workflow.

Scheduling: HubSpot’s built-in meetings link allows you to connect to your Google or Outlook calendar and create custom booking availabilities. The link can be embedded in templates, sequences, or dropped into ad hoc emails to eliminate back and forth scheduling.

On the plug-and-play side, there are a host of booking solutions but the one we come across the most often and seems to have the most flexibility is Calendly.

When Should You Invest in Sales Automation?

There are several things to consider when looking at timing your sales automation investment. Vablet, a mobile sales enablement platform, points out 10 critical things to consider before investing in a sales enablement solution, for example, your sales tools are going to only be as good as the people using them. Invest in good people, then empower them with tools.

Additionally, just like in marketing, sales technology is not a replacement for a bad or missing process or strategy. If you haven’t developed a sales process and strategy that yields results – investing in sales tools isn’t going to help.

Lake One Becomes a Rybbon Agency Partner for Managing Clients’ Digital Rewards Programs

Minneapolis, MN: Lake One® announced today that they have officially become a Rybbon Agency Partner. Rybbon takes the pain and costs out of managing digital rewards and incentives with its leading all-in-one and global solution for sending, tracking and managing your rewards and e-gift programs. With this partnership, Lake One adds to their trusted technology ecosystem to further support their clients’ sales and marketing transformation needs.

“With our new partnership, Lake One gains the expertise and technology to help clients add firepower to their sales and marketing programs with personalized digital rewards and e-gifts,” says Bradley Blinn, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Rybbon. “With Lake One’s focus on tightly aligning strategy, technology and execution in their Marketing Sprints framework, e-gifting and rewarding will only help their clients grow faster in an increasingly digital world.”

Launched in 2014, Lake One has grown every year since with the belief that transformation is about taking one step at a time. As a virtual marketing team, based in Minneapolis, Lake One supports organizations who have complex buying processes including Technology, Manufacturing, Ecommerce, and professional services in Healthcare, IT and Staffing.

“As we saw sales and marketing teams look to overcome the challenges created by the rise of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, our prospects and clients were asking us for help. They were looking to break through new barriers like losing the ability to meet face to face or a surge in remote working that made it harder to land calls and direct mail to contacts normally at an office. With our partnership with Rybbon, e-gifting helps break down barriers in digital selling, account based marketing and lead generation. Whether you’re sending a virtual gift card in place of a physical lunch for a sales meeting or an incentive to drive lead acquisition, e-gifting allows companies to react to the rapid digital transformation acceleration we’ve seen and will continue to see in the months and years ahead. We’re thrilled to partner with this leader in digital rewards.” says Ryan Ruud, CEO and Founder at Lake One.

egifting example

About Lake One: The Lake One team has been driving business impact for companies with complex sales processes in B2B and Ecommerce since 2014. Their team embeds (virtually) into client organizations to provide strategic, technical, and hands-on support, helping clients navigate sales and marketing transformation. They help organizations navigate sales and marketing technology decisions to deploy right sized tools that scale program performance.

About Rybbon: Rybbon puts the power of rewards to work for marketers and market researchers at 1000+ businesses. Its extensive catalog of digital rewards includes brands like Amazon and Uber Eats, as well as charities like World Food Program USA. Rybbon works great for international rewards programs, with options such as mobile wallet compatible Mastercard rewards that work in 150+ countries. Rybbon integrates with leading platforms like Marketo and HubSpot to make rewarding easy and automatic.

To learn more about Rybbon, please visit

Insider Tips: Digital Transformation of Manufacturing Sales and Marketing

Manufacturers tend to excel at digital transformation on the manufacturing floor. When it comes to finding areas to improve manufacturing processes and scaling their business, manufacturing often leads other industries. However, when it comes to the rest of the business: sales, marketing, and operations, the manufacturing industry lags behind others in enterprise digital strategy.

A recent Deloitte study found that just 25% of the manufacturing industry looks at digital transformation across their entire organization. Polywater, a Lake One client and leading manufacturer of quality chemical products for the electrical and communications industry, is one of them. As a manufacturing front-runner that began their digital transformation journey before COVID-19 changed, well, nearly everything in every industry, we asked them to share lessons and tips about their digital transformation. Here is their story.

Our Guests

Meryl Steinhauser | Product Manager | Polywater

Amy Helke | Inside Sales | Polywater

Challenges of outdated manufacturing sales and marketing technology

At the start of 2020, nobody could have predicted how the nature of face-to-face conversations and relationship-based selling would change, nor could they predict the pressing need that businesses would soon face to thrive digitally. Polywater’s digital transformation arrived at an opportune time.

The impetus to change was an outdated CRM. Polywater had a 20-year-old, on-premise CRM, which few people at the company used. As a result, it added little value to sales and marketing.

Polywater also wanted to drive stronger alignment between their marketing and sales teams to be more responsive, drive more engagement, and enable more productive sales

Finally, they were entering a new adjacent product market and needed to start reaching personas that previously weren’t on their marketing radar.

With an outdated system that wasn’t being used, teams that weren’t well-aligned, and new marketplace opportunities on the way, Polywater knew the only way to address their challenges and support their growth was to put upgraded sales and marketing systems in place. This led them to partner with Lake One and ultimately selecting HubSpot for both sales (CRM) and marketing (Marketing Automation).

Watch our entire chat with Polywater

Garnering alignment for digital transformation at your manufacturing firm

Whenever you have an organization that’s as established as Polywater both in installed technology and business process, the first step to a successful digital transformation is garnering alignment on the plan.

Both Steinhauser and Helke talked about the importance of getting upfront alignment from everyone involved. They acknowledge this step can be challenging. And it can take time. But they believe the more effort you put in at this stage, the easier it will be in the long-term.

Lake One held several fact-finding missions with the Polywater team, gathering user requirements across sales, marketing, and support to hone in on the very specific needs a sales and marketing technology solution would need to provide to support Polywater’s transformation. Requirements were documented, agreed upon, technology vetted, and selected.

Helke shares the importance of getting alignment on what each team needs and how they plan to use the CRM – especially when navigating complex data (more on that later).

They also describe how working with an external partner brought a useful and different perspective to their discussion. It helped them challenge how they’ve always done things and consider how to adjust going forward. And it kept them grounded in their ultimate goals (e.g., strengthening the connection between sales and marketing).

Appoint a central point of contact

Once you get started on the transformation, having a central point of contact is essential, says Steinhauser, because you need someone who will learn and understand the system’s inner workings and what’s happening behind the scenes.

In the beginning, Polywater was getting various requests, wants, and wishes from people within the organization. Having someone who could figure out the best, easiest, most user-friendly way to implement ideas and report back decisions was critical.

A central point of contact adds particular value during COVID-19 – whether in the same room or on a Zoom call. Helke, lovingly called Polywater’s digital pit boss, puts information in a central location, refers people to resources, walks them through how to complete essential tasks, and keeps people on track.

Ensuring a successful transformation

A digital transformation in any organization will take time. In a manufacturing organization, there will likely be things you uncover during your rollout that weren’t accounted for in even the best of requirements gathering. Careful consideration for training and a rollout plan can allow you to react to those changes as they come up and adopt them into your transformation plan.

Training and Rollout

Speaking of training, how do you take a group of different people from different departments with varying needs through training? You start with the basics and divide and conquer from there.

When it came to training the broader team of people using HubSpot, Helke outlines how they slowly waded in. They took small steps first, focusing primarily on the company’s immediate needs and looking only as far ahead as they needed to.

Their goal was to give people a sense of where the platform could take them but not inundate them with more than they needed to know at the time.

This approach helped users envision what the system was capable of, what it could do for the company, and how Polywater planned to use it. Over time, not overwhelming users led to adoption and enthusiasm with users generating ideas about other implementation opportunities.

Identifying Super Users

Another key component to a successful transformation is identifying superusers. A Superuser is someone who jumps in, learns the platform’s ins-and-outs, and is willing to make sure users across the organization have confidence using new tools. At Polywater, their Superuser formulates things in a way to make it easier for others to use – even those who are a little concerned about using the platform. Think of superusers users as people who can continue the training when your vendor or partner is no longer in the training phase.

A new tool can be intimidating, but having someone from the frontlines who embraces the change is beneficial.

Impact of digital transformation of Manufacturing Marketing and Sales

Better communication

Having gone through a digital transformation of sales and marketing gives the Polywater team the ability to track information, make sure they’re responsive to customers, and have what they need to follow-up regardless of where they’re working – essentially, communicating better among internal and external stakeholders.

Helke also describes how some of HubSpot’s capabilities really showed their value when COVID-19 hit during the chat.

Extensibility across multiple tools

Driving digital transformation in sales and marketing allows a manufacturer to get more out of their sales and marketing efforts by connecting modern tools together to garner business results. For example, after Polywater’s transformation, the sales team was able to integrate one to one sales videos, hosted through Vidyard, into their communications via HubSpot. The ability to record, send, and report on videos wasn’t even an option prior to their transformation.

Personalization drives connections amid a global pandemic

Helke touches on how their sales team uses the video platform to create personalized messages for their customers.

When it was clear travel would be restricted, the sales team (and more) wanted creative ways to connect with customers. Rather than being another email in a sea of emails, Polywater customers can see their salesperson – it’s the next best thing to having a one-to-one conversation.

Sample Dashboard courtesy of HubSpot

Data drives action

A benefit of the Vidyard integration is the ability to see whether users viewed the video, stopped at a certain point, fast-forwarded to certain information – all significant indicators of their interests. This breadth of knowledge allows Polywater to tailor messages in the future. A variety of real-time data points now help the Polywater team make actionable decisions on all communication elements.

Simplify complex processes

An often-overlooked element of digital transformation is the opportunity to simplify historically complex processes. In particular, the introduction of a marketing automation tool allows manufacturers to use automation horsepower beyond just when to send emails.

Helke describes how Polywater historically manually coded contacts based on their market, company type, persona, location, and job function.

Polywater spent a good deal of consideration into how automation could help turn a manual, confusing process into something that worked behind the scenes to make meaning of Polywater’s data.

Steinhauser and Helke share how challenging this step was. How it took a considerable effort to get their contact codes to a point where everyone understood what they were, how they were used, and where they were collected. Looking back, the effort was worth it.

Ease of use drives data across the organization

A lot can change in technology over 20 years. Driving transformation, making complex processes automated, and getting alignment along the way can make adopting new technology less challenging.

At Polywater, the team’s effort to plan, rollout, adjust and refine digital transformation has led to positive adoption, leading to better data throughout the organization, enabling sales and marketing to be far more effective.

Looking ahead on the Transformation Roadmap

What does 2021 hold for Polywater? They’re starting to create marketing plans for each department – segmenting contacts and creating groups those departments want to contact and market to. While still working through what that looks like, the team is having fun imagining the possibilities.

Helke says now we get to see how all of the difficult backend work we did over the last year pays off, how it shifts us into cultivating our contacts and marketing to them with personalized messages.

Source: Google


  • Take your time; ask for and listen to your team’s suggestions to make sure you’re headed in the right direction
  • Make tough decisions and do the hard work upfront
  • Use data to inform your plans
  • Gain alignment; don’t rush to the technology solution
  • Get started! Digital transformation requires a plan, but you also need just to get started, or your plan will never come to fruition.
  • Have a trusted guide and a roadmap for your digital transformation journey

Thanks to our experts for joining us and sharing their transformational journey, critical decisions, challenges, and early wins.