The digital door has closed on Universal Analytics and Google’s new shiny platform, Google Analytics 4, is ready and waiting.
Data collection and analysis are so important to web design and SEO, helping you get the most out of your site. Keep reading to find out more about GA4 and why it is the present and future of data analytics.
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google’s analytics service. It allows you to view and measure the traffic and engagement on your website and apps. The purpose of this analysis is to provide you with actionable insights that can help you grow your business.
GA4 possesses improved capabilities with the use of machine learning to fill in gaps in data and provide insights automatically. It can anticipate customer actions and provide automatic alerts to trends in the data, helping you take advantage quicker. Jumping on trends is especially important in e-commerce and other saturated markets.
Besides the machine-learning capabilities, GA4 has several new key features:
You can now track your customers’ complete journey, even if they use different devices throughout it. Easier tracking in one place provides you with a more detailed picture.
GA4 now generates reports on the whole customer life cycle, including engagement, retention and monetisation to help you understand your customers’ need much easier.
There is more focus on customer privacy. With machine-learning capabilities, GA4 ensures compliance with data privacy regulations.
Deeper Integration with Google Ads
If you make use of Google Ads, then you can link any GA4 property to it. This integration helps you see conversions for Google Ads and help you see the impact of this type of marketing.
Many more features of GA4 make it the next step in analytics. Universal Analytics had started to become redundant and GA4 has the advantage of being able to track and analyse customer data more effectively.
Differences Between Universal Analytics and GA4
As GA4 has become Google’s only analytics game in town, it’s important to be aware of the differences from UA to better prepare you for the transition.
Customer Centric Approach
The main difference is the customer-centric approach to analytics. GA4 helps provide a clear picture to see how customers interact with your business. From their first encounter with your business, whether it be via social media to subsequent actions like downloading your app or visiting your site, you’ll be able to track their behaviour.
This was once a fragmentary experience that GA4 can now see using Google Signals and marketer-provided User IDs.
A New Dashboard
The new platform is more streamlined, with all the reports and metrics easily accessible. There is a search bar where you can ask questions and receive immediate answers. It is completely customisable so you can make it look how you want and incorporate just the information you want. This increased flexibility makes it more user-friendly.
Events Not Sessions
Universal Analytics tracked user interaction with a sessions model, limited to data such as page views. This form of collection left data gaps that didn’t include interactions such as clicks or video views. GA4 classifies interactions as events now, providing more information such as user location and page title.
No Monthly Hit Limits
The free version of UA had a monthly hit limit. GA4 instead has a 500-event limit and there is no limit to the volume of hits that you can collect.
Transitioning from UA to GA4
The GA4 takeover means you have little choice but to make the transition from UA to the new platform. It can be daunting but it’s important to make the switch.
- Audit Your Universal Analytics Property
Data from UA to GA4 cannot be easily migrated so it’s important to make a report of all your data points. This way, even without the historic data, you can replicate the important data factors in GA4.
- Create a Google Analytics 4 Property
The setup assistant will create the GA4 property, copy your basic settings in and start collecting data. You will also be given the option to turn on enhanced measurement.
- Configure Google Tag Manager
You install GA4 on your website using Google Tag Manager. Turn on Enhanced Measurement and then install your Google Tag Manager ID manually or with your CMS or website builder.
- Check that Data Collection is Active
After setting up your GA4 tracking code, go to the main admin panel. It should say that data collection is now active.
Beyond this, you will need to set up e-commerce tracking if you had that on UA, reconnect Google products and play around with many other customisable features.
If you are ahead of the game, utilising parallel tracking on UA and GA4 will help with a smoother transition. This makes the point of historic data migration moot, meaning you don’t lose any important data. All historic data is being deleted from UA by December 2024 so you should archive it, using best practices such as securing the data properly, and documenting and validating it so everything is accurate.
This is a very simplified snapshot of the process. Employing best practices for a smooth transition and being aware that data cannot be migrated simply will help you cope with a big but necessary step for your business.
Impact of GA4 on Digital Marketing Strategies
SEO and analytics are a vital part of driving your business to success. GA4 can have an impact on your marketing with its new features.
Cross-device tracking and reporting mean you get fast reports that are easy to use and improved data visualisations. This can help you better understand user behaviour.
Analysing Conversion Rates
With GA4 analysing different traffic sources, you can see which ones are most likely to convert. This analysis can help you prioritise your SEO and marketing efforts.
GA4 can help you see your audience at a granular level. You can now see users based on country, town, gender, interests and many other attributes. With all this data you see the complete customer journey and can see how the audience interacts with your website. You can change your content and marketing strategies depending on what is working well where in the world and for who.
GA4 Enhanced Data Collection and Analysis
The most startling improvement in GA4 is how data is collected and analysed. The use of machine learning, a combination of computer science and AI, means more efficient data collection. With the help of cross-device tracking, it can automatically provide predictive data and access user behaviour and website traffic data whilst complying with privacy restrictions.
With this data, insights can be automatic, meaning you don’t spend time looking over the data. This is all customisable in the reporting view, allowing you to tell GA4 what you want it to look out for.
Even without customisation, GA4 can alert you to trends and changes and detect anomalies.
All this is possible with event-based tracking, pooling together all types of data for your reports. Data you can now track includes elements clicked on, actions performed on a page, pages loaded, and product and transaction details.
Find Out More
The GA4 v UA battle was sort of over before it began. To stay with the competition, using the future-proof analytics that GA4 provides is vital to growing your business. AI and machine learning are the future and GA4 gives you near endless customisation options.
Call us at 0151 652 4777 today.
Posted on Friday, July 14th, 2023 in Latest News.