August 2, 2022
August 2, 2022
Nobody enjoys change. So, when the news was announced in October 2020 that Google Analytics was switching from Universal Analytics to GA4 in July 2023, it’s no surprise that there was an absence of enthusiasm from Analytics users around the world. Now, we don’t want to get into the SEO politics of this just yet, but it is important that you know what to do with this news on your website.
So, why should you implement GA4 before July 2023? You should switch to GA4 now, rather than in July 2023 to avoid losing your data. Switching to GA4 now means that you have time to build up historic data to compare against moving forwards. Other reasons include GA4 recording more accurate data, and the ability to see web and app data in one place.
Google wished to provide people with more in-depth information not only about how people arrived at a website, but also how people use and engage with it. This is a focus on user journey, where you can discover new, exciting reports about how users are exploring your website. And, for the first time, you can now explore both website and app data together to learn more about your audience. Sounds useful, right? This is just one of many new advantages that GA4 provides.
One of the main reasons why you need to make the switch to GA4 before July 2023 is because you can’t explore historic data. In other words, the sooner you implement the new generation of Google Analytics, the more of your data you will save and collect to explore. GA4 stores data from the date that you switch, not from the beginning of your UA data collection.
But, there are more reasons why you should make the switch sooner rather than later…
The most important reason why you should switch to GA4 before July 2023 is because it’s the future of Google Analytics. This new generation offers a wide range of new features and data to explore and play with to learn more about your website, app and audience. From storing user interactions, such as scrolling, which buttons your users are pressing or which links they’re clicking on, to creating your own unique data sets, GA4 will provide you with new tools and data to play with to learn more about your user journey. Ultimately, this will allow you to take more effective action on your data insights, and enhance your overall marketing strategy.
If this hasn’t convinced you, how does exploring your data with deduplicated users sound? An advantage of GA4 is how it removes all duplicate data, meaning that it tracks a single user journey regardless of what device or platform they’re using, such as web or app. From this, you’ll receive more precise data in all of your reports.
If you’ve used Google Analytics before, then you’ll be familiar with ‘Session’ based reporting. In GA4, this feature will be replaced with ‘Events’ based data. While this appears different and somewhat daunting, it simply means that all distinct user interaction will now be measured. This includes clicks, page scrolls or completing a transaction, which altogether will provide you with a clearer picture of how users interact with your website or app.
In Universal Analytics, only one identity space at a time was tracked, such as device. In GA4, multiple identity spaces are measured, providing you with concise cross-device and cross-platform reports to explore. This will provide you with stronger insights on the relationship between your website and/or app, and your users.
You can bring these reports together utilising GA4’s new ‘Explore’ feature. Here, you’ll be able to configure your own reports with the data that you want to examine. There are 6 new and unique Explore reports that you can configure, including Funnel Exploration for a step-by-step breakdown of your user journey, User Exploration to take a deeper dive into demographics or Free Form Exploration where you can create your own distinctive report to track the data you need. From this, you can better understand your data reports and easily acquire the insights you need.
Not only this, but a nice new added feature of GA4 is how you can easily search for the data you need using the search bar. Whether you’re lost or just looking for a quick answer to your query, the improved Properties tool allows you to answer questions like ‘How many app conversions occurred on my app last week?’ or ‘How many new users did I have last quarter?’. Perfect to use to find exactly what you need with minimal effort.
The short answer is yes…but let’s take a look at why and when.
Google will turn off Universal Analytics by July 2023. This means that GA4 will be taking over your analytics in the near future. To ease into GA4, why don’t you play around with these new features using Google’s Demo Website data? Here, you’ll be able to explore all the new features that GA4 has to offer without losing the comfort of Universal until you feel ready.
Alongside tracking moving from ‘Sessions’ to ‘Events’, what else is new? If you’ve explored GA4 before, the short answer might feel as though everything has changed.
Here’s a quick run through of everything that’s new to GA4:
The first thing you may notice is the new toolbar used to navigate GA4. The premade Google reports can be found under the ‘Reports’ tab. These will consist of your go-to generic data that tells you anything about Acquisition, Engagement, Monetization, Retention, Demographics and User Tech. It’s important to note that these reports can not be edited, they can only be filtered. It is for this reason that you’ll need the ‘Explore’ tab, which creates those custom reports that have been previously mentioned.
The ‘Advertising’ tab will provide you with a glance of your conversion performance along with other valuable information, such as the role of searches or ads. In the ‘Configuration’ tab, you’ll be able to edit and amend your tracked events to manage your data.
UA provided us with a variety of useful metrics such as bounce rates or page views. Under the new GA4, these much-loved insights have now been converted. From now on, under the new ‘Event’ based measuring, you’ll be provided with information such as ‘Engaged Sessions’, ‘Engaged Users’ and ‘Engagement Time’.
The Exploration tool is a new means to dig deeper into your data. Its power can’t be understated. These reports go beyond anything we’ve ever seen before on Google Analytics, and will provide valuable new insights to structure your marketing campaigns.
The honest answer is yes. The major changes associated with GA4 have helped Google to catch-up with the current market on website tracking. One thing you’ll start asking yourself once you become accustomed to GA4 is how you ever lived without these new reports. Despite some getting used to, Google will continue to be the most useful and respected free analytical platform used to track our data.
Luckily, setting up GA4 is nice and easy.
Simply log into your GA account, and click on the ‘Admin’ icon on the left navigation tool. Confirm your account and property, and then click on GA4 Setup Assistant. Finish by clicking on the big blue button that says ‘Get Started’, and then you’re done.
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