Welcoming Google Analytics 4: What Does It Mean For You?
You may have already heard that Google is retiring the current standard Google Universal Analytics and replacing it with the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in July 2023.
In today’s digital landscape, customers often take long and complex journeys across multiple platforms. As such, businesses have new challenges to navigate in terms of tracking and measuring these journeys – all while keeping user privacy in mind too.
In this blog, we take a look at what the switch to GA4 means to your business alongside how GA4 will be able to better support yours and your customers’ needs in the modern digital world.
What is Google Analytics 4?
Nearly three years ago, Google introduced GA4 in a bid to keep its users aligned with modern day needs and evolving measurement standards.
GA4 has been developed from the ground up to measure many different kinds of data and provide more insight around cross-channel and cross-platform behaviour. The new version allows businesses to see the bigger picture, taking a deep dive into unified user journeys across websites and apps.
Using Google’s impressive machine learning technology, it also aims to leverage data driven attribution to deliver more valuable insights. But, most important of all, it has been built to keep up with an everchanging digital ecosystem.
Why is this update happening and is it important?
Google Analytics is a huge part of many businesses today, providing you with the tools to track user journeys, measure success and prove ROI. The move to GA4 will affect every business that uses Google Analytics so it’s important to understand what the changes will include.
Google’s Universal Analytics was designed for desktop use, independent sessions and data that was heavily collated from cookies. However, with many factors evolving in the digital space, this method of measuring is becoming outdated.
Google Analytics 4 has been created for the modern world. The new platform operates across multiple platforms, doesn’t rely solely on cookies and uses an event-based data model for more accurate, user-centric measurements. It has also been created with key business objectives in mind such as driving sales, tracking app installs, generating leads and connecting online and offline customer journeys.
Taking this one step further, GA4 has been designed with privacy at its core – a crucial consideration in today’s digital world. In short, it will help you meet your users’ evolving expectations allowing you to:
- Improve ROI with data-driven attribution
- Measure engagement and conversions with compliance needs front and centre
- Understand your customers across various touchpoints
- Get even more from your data to make better use of insights
What does it mean for you and your website?
Now on to the really important part: how does this effect you?
All Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. All 360 Universal Analytics will stop processing new hits on October 1, 2023. After these dates have passed, you’ll be able to access your previously processed data for at least six months.
This means making the move to GA4 is inevitable and the sooner you do it, the easier it will be to build historical data in the new platform before Universal Analytics ceases to exist. Plus, don’t forget this is a whole new analytics platform to get to grips with. While certain metrics and meanings will remain the same, the actual interface and reporting will be completely different.
How are we supporting our clients?
For a few months now, we have been recommending that our clients make switch to GA4 by June 2022 to ensure we have at least one year on year data point by the time Universal Analytics is retired. At this stage, we recommend running GA4 alongside your current GA setup rather than instead of.
In terms of how long this can take to implement, for those businesses who solely use GA to track traffic, the switch shouldn’t take long. But for those businesses whose accounts hold greater complexities such as eCommerce tracking or multiple goals that need migrating to GA4, this could take longer.
Always ones to stay aligned with Google’s updates, our processes are designed to ensure your business doesn’t face a negative impact when changes are made. That’s why we plan and act ahead so you can rest easy knowing your account is safe in our hands. To find out more about the way we work and how we can support you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.