Introducing Google Analytics 4: The Next Phase of Tracking Consumer Behaviour
Back in the Autumn of 2020, Google released Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and promised users improved analytics that provided a deeper dive and enhanced measurement of website data and consumer behaviour. Whilst GA4, the 4th version of Analytics, has been around for some time, Google has stated that GA4 is the next generation for measurement and tracking, and as such, it will replace the current version, Universal Analytics (UA) or Universal Analytics 360 as it’s sometimes called.
The date for this initial release and change to happen is 1st July 2023, however, we also know that if your business hasn’t migrated to GA4 (Google Analytics 4) by 1st July 2022 then you will essentially lose the ability to report on year-on-year data.
This is because the old analytics infrastructure (UA) and the new analytics (GA4) aren’t connected which means that all of your historical data will be imported into the new GA4 profile. Your old data will still be available in your historical Universal Analytics Property, but as of July next year, Google will stop collecting and processing data for it.
Should I Migrate to Google Analytics 4?
If your business is invested in digital activity then it’s imperative you take advantage of Analytics to track the performance of your website, including user activities and conversions.
It’s not just about knowing what happens with your website traffic, but about how well your marketing strategies are working and where you can improve. You’ll also be able to identify the most effective marketing channels for directing traffic and engagements. For instance, you can view in-depth engagement metrics see total video plays, and file downloads, and see the customer journey across platforms.
Migrating to GA4 will future proof your ability to report on the success of your digital marketing activities and ensure that come July 2023, you can compare the user engagement metrics and others with a year-on-year view.
What Are the Benefits of Google Analytics 4?
You might be wondering, why after many years of businesses and individuals using Universal Analytics have they decided to make this decision? And that is simply down to the Google Analytics 4 tool being a new kind of property that provides more benefits to its successor.
Some key benefits include:
Combined App & Website Analytics
Complete user journey tracking in GA4
Additional event parameters in GA4
Automatic event tracking GA4
Use any event category as a conversion in the GA4 interface
Configure custom Events within the GA4 interface
25 User Properties available in GA4
Advanced Analysis capability within GA4 Interface
Debugging capability within GA4 (Google Analytics 4) interface
GA4 has Predictive Metrics
Easily setup Cross-Domain tracking and cross-device reporting
Built-in GA4 and BigQuery integration
AI & ML to counter cookie blocking and deletion so you get the complete picture
Segmentation based on different types of events
Many more Customer Dimensions and Metrics in GA4
E-commerce and GA4
It’s important to realise that the names of some e-commerce conversion events and parameters are different for Google Analytics 4 properties. Therefore you need to get to grips with the new names and parameters, to ensure accurate and robust eCommerce reporting.
In order to measure your website’s activity and learn how the customer purchasing journey is interacting with your brand and the products that you sell, it is recommended to use e-commerce types of events which will trigger when a website user completes the event. For example, ‘add_payment_info’ will trigger if a user submits their payment information.
If you’re an e-commerce business using GA4 then you’ll be able to use monetisation reports which will showcase the revenue your website or app is generating. It will also allow you to identify the number of customers who are engaging with your website and other data which is useful in identifying how you’re generating revenue.
Google Analytics 4 Is Coming, What Do I Need to Do?
Whilst you might think you have time before GA4 officially replaces UA on 1st July 2023, we strongly recommend that instead, you work towards the deadline of 1st July 2022 and look to move away from the current version of Analytics. That way you keep the ability to report on your data using a year-on-year view and you have enough time to learn how Google Analytics 4 works before the official deadline.
It’s also important to realise that Google will no longer be advancing Universal Analytics options, and all new features will roll out into the new analytics solution instead. UA can run perfectly alongside GA4 until it shuts down in 2023, so whilst you have the data and platform you already know, you also have time to spend with GA4 and properly explore everything it has to offer before it’s the only option of the two.
To discuss a strategy for migrating your account to GA4 or for Google Analytics 4 training, please get in touch with our team who will be happy to help, 0161 327 2635, email@example.com.
FAQs on Google Analytics
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 is a free service that Google provides for businesses to measure traffic and engagement on websites and apps. GA4 is the next stage of the analytics configuration and will officially be rolled out in July 2023.
How do I set up Google Analytics 4?
Google does offer online help articles and guides which can show you how to ensure Google Analytics 4 tracking is set up correctly on your website. However, if you haven’t got experience installing tracking like this to your website then we recommend reaching out to our team who will be more than happy to see how they can help.
Can I receive training for the Google Analytics 4 service?
Yes, as it is a new platform that can be used in many different ways to achieve business objectives, we recommend businesses do schedule training sessions. Whilst our team are currently offering implementation and migration services we can also organise training sessions with your team to develop your understanding of GA4.
Is Google Analytics 4 free?
The Google Analytics platform is a free service that Google provides to businesses in order to track and measure their online traffic and the return on investment on their website and other digital marketing efforts.
How do I know If I’m using GA4 or UA?
You can tell if you have set up GA4 as your tracking ID would begin with ‘GA’, whereas if you’re still using universal analytics your tracking ID would begin with ‘UA’.
What’s the Difference between GA4 and UA?
The main difference between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics (a.k.a classic Google Analytics) is the increased capabilities that GA4 provides. Google has decided to make this change due to the advantages GA4 property provides over that of UA, such as more privacy for the future.
What is Changing with GA4?
Nothing is changing in regards to GA4, but come July 2023, when GA4 replaces UA, it will become the only option Google provides to businesses and business owners to track their data.
What Can the Google Analytics Tool Track?
There is a wide range of metrics Google Analytics can track and measure, giving your business custom insight into a range of things that can benefit your growth, success, and revenue, and ensure you maintain a competitive advantage. Some key things include how much traffic your website is getting, and the source of where the traffic is coming from. It can also show you your website’s user journey and user interactions, and how many times your unique business objectives (form completions, click to calls etc.) are being achieved. All of this data and information is really valuable to ensure your business is investing its time and money into the correct channels and activities, which is why we highly recommend you set up or migrate to GA4 as soon as you can.
How to create goals in GA4?
In GA4 goals are created as conversions and these need to be based on types of events. It’s really important to set these up as it’ll enable you to measure any important activities on your website. You can set up your events in the ‘configure’ section of the platform and follow the steps.
How Do I Start Google Analytics?
If you’ve never used Google Analytics before you will need to first set up an account using an email address. Once you have your account you will then need to install tracking on your website or app, to ensure Google can gather the data it requires. This can be challenging for those who lack website development skills, and whilst there are lots of helpful guides and resources that Google offers, we do recommend getting an expert to ensure your tracking is installed and set up correctly. If not you can be wasting time and resources.
Is GA4 GDPR compliant?
Google has a range of privacy policies for its different products and services and this includes GA4. When creating Google Analytics 4, they took data privacy by design approach, making it easier for users and brands to be compliant with data privacy laws when using the platform.
Does GA4 use browser cookies?
Google Analytics 4 has been promoted by Google as being privacy-centric. It has also been designed to work with or without cookies. This is because Google plans to phase out 3rd party cookies later in 2022/early in 2023.
How do I add GA4 to my WordPress website?
Google has guides on how to add GA4 to your website, including if it’s a WordPress site. These can be quite easy to follow, but if you haven’t got experience installing tracking or development skills then we do advise asking an expert for advice and help. This is because if you don’t install the tracking correctly you can end up wasting time and the chance to report on data to measure the success of your campaigns.
What are Analytics Tools?
Analytics tools are application software that gathers data in order to provide information to businesses that can be reviewed and analysed to measure the impact of whatever they’re gathering data on. For example, it could be the success of a PPC campaign or the conversions on their website. Accurate reporting on analytics is fundamental to any business that is carrying out digital activities in order to measure the return on investment.