Google Analytics has been the holy grail for website and marketing performance tracking since 2005. While Google has made enhancements and additions to the platform over the years, it recently stated that it will be phased out to reduce the cookie dependency.
Google Analytics 4 is going to be our next-generation measurement system, and it will replace Universal Analytics. Standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. If you're still using Universal Analytics, we recommend switching to Google Analytics 4 in the near future.
Relevant Reading: TRACKING GOOGLE’S POLICY CHANGE 2021: REDEFINING THE FUTURE OF ECOMMERCE
A Glimpse on Google Analytics 4 & Its Distinction
Google Analytics 4 isn't just a better version of Universal Analytics. It's designed in a unique way to meet current and future reporting and privacy requirements.
Here are some of the features:
- GA4 is event–based, whereas Universal Analytics is session–based. In other words, GA4 comes with the capacity to track events like button clicks, video plays, and more, whereas UA requires complex configurations. This is based on the idea that page views aren't the only measure that matters.
- GA4 provides organizations with visibility into client journeys across all of their websites and applications, whereas UA was developed for desktop browser traffic.
- GA4 makes forecasts and shares insights using machine learning technologies. And UA data heavily relies on cookies, whereas GA4 aligns with Google's cookie-less internet.
If you're already utilizing Universal Analytics, there are three things you need to do first:
1. As soon as possible, switch to GA4
While you have over a year until the change takes effect, it's best to make the move now so your GA4 account can collect the data required for automatic insights. If you're already using UA, you'll want to create a GA4 property in addition to your UA property. Use Google's GA4 Setup Assistant, which allows you to use your current tags to set it up.
2. Make changes to your conversion tracking in Google Ads
You'll be able to see Analytics data in your Google Ads account after your GA 4 property is set up. To avoid duplication, import Analytics conversions into Google Ads and delete any UA objectives if you have conversion tracking set up. In your Google Ads account, go to Tools & Settings > Conversions > Add new conversion action and choose Import.
3. Historical Reports Should Be Exported
After July 1, 2023, Google will provide you access to your Universal Analytics data for at least six months, during when you should export the data that matters to you. You can export in three different ways:
- It is possible to export Individual reports
- You can utilize the Google Analytics Reporting API
- Export to BigQuery
Google Analytics 4 is the Best Place to Continue Your Journey-Here's Why?
GA4 is built to help you achieve your most important goals, such as increasing sales or app installations, generating leads, and linking online and offline consumer interaction. While Universal Analytics includes complex privacy settings, GA4 offers built-in privacy. The platform does not keep any IP addresses, which helps companies comply with the new restrictions. Some of the greatest selling aspects of this move include smarter insights, higher ROI, enhanced marketing, and a comprehensive awareness of client interactions.
Recommended Reading: GOOGLE’S POLICY CHANGE 2021: UNLOCKING GOOGLE'S PRIVACY-FIRST FUTURE
Here are a few examples of how Google Analytics 4 may help your company.
1. Understand your Customers Across Touchpoints
With an event-based measurement methodology that isn't divided by platform or separated into separate sessions, you can get a full report of the customer's lifetime.
The report created by GA 4 helps marketers in drilling down into certain areas of the client journey. "For example, in the user acquisition report, you can see which channels are bringing in new consumers, and then utilise the engagement and retention reports to observe what activities these customers do and if they remain around after converting.
2. Improve Your ROI With Data-Driven Attribution
Analyze the complete impact of your marketing across the customer lifecycle with data-driven attribution. Using your Analytics data, it grants attribution credit to more than just the last click, and it helps you understand how your marketing activities as a whole affect your conversions.
3. Requirements for Google Analytics 4 Migration
A tracking code is required for each online property. You can do this without writing any code if you've utilised Google Tag Manager (GTM). If your site isn't already utilising GTM, you'll need to switch from analytics.js to gtag.js. If this is the case, Tag Manager, which simplifies the setup of all site tags, not just Analytics, is a great option.
4. Track Engagement and Conversions
You can regulate and minimize the gathering of user-level data — such as cookies and metadata — while keeping important measurement functions with new country-level privacy restrictions.
Without needing to install code or set up event tracking in Google Tag Manager, marketers can track and measure on-site and in-app behaviors that matter – in real-time — such as a page scroll or video play. Event monitoring with Universal Analytics necessitates additional processing, which adds delay, and data is often not accessible until the next day.
5. Increase the Value of Your Data
Machine learning provides complex predictive insights about user behavior and conversions, builds new audiences of users who are likely to buy or churn, and reveals crucial data to automatically optimize your marketing.
6. Activate AI-Driven Insights with Ease
While machine learning-powered insights have been accessible in Analytics for some time, the new insights and predictions coming to Google Analytics 4 can automatically alert businesses to data trends like rising demand for a product they offer.
This technique is also used to predict outcomes such as attrition rates and the potential income a website may generate from a specific consumer demographic. Such information can assist marketers in anticipating future consumer activities and focusing on higher-value populations.
Head Towards GA4 Right Now!
GA4 is a far better and more future-proof solution than Universal Analytics, as it is built on contemporary technology and is based on a smart, logical, and organized data architecture.
If you haven't started thinking about the switching already, now is the time to set up your GA4 properties. Despite the fact that we have had GA4 for well over a year, configuring it now will allow you to begin tracking the metrics you care about, ensuring that historical data is available when you need it.
There will no longer be an option in less than 15 months, so the more comfortable you get with GA4's interface and capabilities, the better prepared you'll be to manage the transition for your brands. To know more about GA4 & migration, get in touch with eComIntegrate