Google Analytics 4 is coming. Are you ready?
Google recently announced that they are saying “see ya later alligator” to Universal Analytics in July 2023*. You may be putting off moving over, but it is time to get started with Google Analytics 4 and ensure that you are prepared for the future.
I hear you; the last few years have been enough change for us all, but GA4 will help make our lives easier. Tech has changed dramatically in the last 10, 5, and even 1 year, and Google Analytics 4 is designed to roll with these punches.
If you’re thinking of waiting until the last minute to switch over, it is important to note that you will lose all historical data in your Universal Analytics, another good reason to get tracking through GA4 now.
The sooner you migrate over, the easier your life will be.
Yes, this seems a bit overwhelming, and you may not know where to even start. We’re always here to help so read through our thoughts below and don’t be afraid to reach out to the team to get started.
What to expect in Google Analytics 4
More Control and Sophisticated Insights
With a new and improved interface, GA4 gives marketers more control over who and what they are measuring, and how they are using it.
From the first open, you will notice the new streamlined dashboard, with access to more concise reports than ever before. You can now create custom audiences, funnels, dashboards, and reports, allowing you to measure what matters to your business.
Google has also invested in powerful AI that churns out new predicative metrics – think revenue predication, and churn and revenue probability. This is going to be amazing for building valuable audiences and optimising marketing budgets in the right areas.
New ways of measuring
One of the biggest changes in GA4 is that all measurements are now Events.
Data will become in-depth and provide a more detailed understanding of how users interact across, and with platforms. This shift in measuring reinforces that tracking engagement gives more meaningful data, and considering page views as a “top priority” is a way of the past.
Although this change has the biggest learning curve, it provides the most opportunity for businesses. Everything can now be an event! Have a read through Google’s recommended events here.
Cross Platform Tracking
With Universal Analytics you needed a different tool to measure across website and app data. This made it difficult and time consuming to get the full picture of user activity.
One of the most exciting GA4 features is the ability to merge this data, tracking traffic across your different platforms and bringing this together in one place to analyse and report on.
This data will allow you to see the customer journey from start to finish and platform to platform. We don’t know about you, but we’re keen to get our hands dirty with this one!
The biggest talking point in the industry, the death of cookies is coming.
In 2020, Google announced they would be moving away from cookies and find new ways to track and support user needs. D-day has now been moved to 2024, but marketers are still working out what life will look like in a post-cookie world.
GA4 is an important piece of this puzzle as it gives you the ability to track user activity without relying on cookies. Designed to adapt to a privacy focused world, GA4 will help us become more compliant with international privacy standards.
It’s time to get started.
Although this change seems like an overwhelming hurdle to jump, we see this as a valuable moment to pause and reflect on how we use Google Analytics. This is the time to dig deeper into not only what we are measuring, but why we are measuring it and how we are applying our findings.
This change will help us build more meaningful experiences with our customers through Google, as we can now stop the onslaught of repetitive and irrelevant ads. As marketers, we have perhaps become reliant on cookies…but as users, we’re happy to see these go! The important thing to do now is to prepare, to learn and to see these changes as a positive and a trigger to find new ways to do better work.
As with all technology, GA4 is constantly evolving and we’re sure to see new updates in the coming months. If you’re unsure where to get started, get in touch below and we can help you get take the first step and ensure you’re making the most of Google Analytics 4!
Emma Hockney // Digital Partnership Manager, kwpx
*accurate as of 4/10/2022