Don't be left behind! Get your company ready for Google Analytics 4
Google launched its new generation of the Google Analytics tool two years ago. The main reason for creating Google Analytics 4 was to adapt to the changes in how people use the internet. Therefore, using GA4 will be mandatory starting from 1st July 2023 if you want to continue using Google Analytics to track the activity of your website or web app users.
That means the Universal Analytics tool that most people are still using won't collect any more data after 1st July (Unless you are using "Analytics 360" (premium analytics), in which case they will retain data until 31st December). That is why it is best to install the new version of analytics right now if you want to continue tracking the year-over-year performance of your website or application.
In this article, we will share everything you need to know about GA4 and how your company can prepare to benefit from it. Let's dive in!
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 is the next generation of Google's analytics tool that will enable you to monitor your traffic across different websites and applications. One of the main reasons why Google decided to update its traffic tracking tool is to deal with the changing behaviour of how people use the internet. For example, people now use multiple devices and platforms to access websites and web applications.
Google also wanted to deal with privacy concerns and the criticism of how they collect data with the current Universal Analytics. In addition, GA4 relies on first-party cookies, keeping them compliant with new privacy laws like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.
Benefits/features of Google Analytics 4
One of the main advantages of GA4 over Universal Analytics is the ability to get deeper insights into your website and app traffic than with Universal Analytics. With the new version of analytics, you will get more details about our website or app visitors, page views, sessions, purchases, and more. The most valuable insights include page scrolls, website searches, video engagement, and more.
Multi-device customer journey
With GA4, you can track your customers' journey across different devices and platforms. For instance, if someone uses a laptop and their phone to access your website, you will have details of their experience on your site for both devices. Such information can help improve your customer's experience on the different platforms and devices.
You can track your target customers' user journeys across your business's domains. With GA4, you can transfer first-party cookies from one domain to another, making monitoring your customers' behavior on the different domains easy. It is a handy feature for businesses with multiple domain names.
Improve visualization and reporting
This new version of analytics has dramatically improved how the different reports about your website's performance appear. Analysis Hub in GA4 has a template gallery with charts that can be created, such as exploration, funnel analysis, segment overlaps and path analysis, making it easier to view complex cross-dimensional metrics.
Focus on user privacy
As we stated earlier, improving user privacy in tracking is one of the reasons Google chose to revamp its analytics tool. GA4 allows you and users to choose the data it should collect to ensure your website or application complies with the privacy requirements in the different regions. Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 is designed to adapt to a future where users are more aware of their privacy than ever before.
Bounce rate is missing
When you open your GA4 dashboard, you will notice that the bounce rate metric is missing; This was replaced with "Engaged Session." With Engaged Sessions, you will see the percentage of users who continued to engage with your site instead of those who left after viewing only one web page. It is the reverse of Bounce Rate.
How to prepare for Google Analytics 4
Now that you know the benefits of GA4, here is what your company needs to do to fully take advantage of the changes made to Google Analytics.
Upgrade to GA4 now
Please don't wait till 1st July 2023 to install GA4 into your website or web applications, the best time to install it is today. Here is why;
Installing GA4 now will allow you to track the year-over-year performance of your site or app even after Universal Analytics is discontinued. Remember, you can still leave your Universal Analytics active even after you have installed Google Analytics 4. So, you will be able to access data on both until Universal Analytics is discontinued.
To install GA4, you need to start by creating a Google Analytics 4 property using your Google Analytics account. Google made setting up this new property much easier with the GA4 Setup Assistant wizard. However, you will need to have the admin or editor role before being allowed to set up GA4.
NB Take care when upgrading as existing events/e-commerce data/goals will not be migrated automatically. If you are unfamiliar with the platform, please reach out to us for help with the process.
Get familiar with GA4
Despite changing a few things about the interface of GA4, most of the items will be familiar for those already using Universal Analytics. However, getting used to GA4 and how you can take advantage of the new changes it comes with is vital. For example, as we shared earlier, some metrics such as bounce rate are no longer available in GA4.
It would help if you also chose the events you want GA4 to track. Events are kind of similar to goals in Universal Analytics, but with much more details. Some of the events you can track with Google Analytics 4 include page views, scrolls, outbound clicks, site search, video engagement, and file downloads. Make sure you choose events based on the content on your website.
Google Analytics 4 is here; the sooner you embrace it, the better. Overall, it offers way more flexibility and details with the data you gather about your users. Google's goal with GA4 is to ensure you get all the valuable engagement metrics of your website or app without violating your user's privacy.