Google Analytics has long been a business go-to when it comes to assessing how successful your website is in terms of search-ability, conversion, engagement, and more. A way of analysing both your standard website and the success rate of individual campaigns and content releases, Google Analytics to a marketer’s dream.
But as is so often the case with tools that come from Google, the Analytics platform is subject to frequent updates and internal changes – with Google Analytics 4 the new kid on the block that everyone is talking about.
In this blog post, we’re looking at the value of Google Analytics 4 and why moving over to this latest version of the tool is something you should be doing sooner rather than later. But before we do, what is it about Google Analytics 4 that marks a change for businesses?
Google Analytics 4: What is it and what came before?
Those who have not yet transferred over to Google Analytics 4 are more than likely using the outdated (and soon to be historical) tool called Universal Analytics. An assessment on the conversion rate of websites and business campaigns which drive users towards the website, Universal Analytics measures sessions and page views and dissects this information in a basic way to frame and shape future online activity.
Google Analytics 4, however, is the upgrade required by those businesses that rely on a multitude of touch points and content streams – switching between platforms and seeking a comprehensive view of their entire online presence and how users interact with different branches of the brand online.
Crucially, the release of Google Analytics 4 is not a straight trade with the existing tool – rather, while GA4 has been available since October 2020, Universal Analytics is not being phased out until June 2023. This allows users and businesses be fully prepared for the changeover and to get to grips with the functions of GA4 tool before it becomes the only method available.
Now to the good stuff – what Google Analytics 4 is set to do, and why getting started with it now is the best thing you will do for your business all year.
The benefits that Google Analytics 4 promises
The main benefit that Google Analytics 4 is set to deliver is the ability to analyse and track customer interaction across multiple platforms – seeing how uses switch between social media and website browsing, which campaigns they respond to, and where they are most likely to access your website from.
In addition, businesses and marketing professionals will be able to create specific funnels to group customers into tailored segments, with GA4 using machine learning and AI for better data predictions and user behaviour tracking. Finally, GA4 introduces the concept of BigQuery integration to all users – enabling users to export data into BigQuery where it will be used for advanced analysis that was previously unavailable, as well as expanding the potential for data storage tenfold so that you never lose sight of how different campaigns have performed over time.
Why you should start using Google Analytics 4 right now
With GA4 set to take over Universal Analytics and become the only tool available by June 2023, why should you bother integrating the tool now? After all, Universal Analytics still exists!
Well, the fact is that while Google Analytics 4 is no doubt an upgrade from Universal Analytics, with a more flexible approach to data in the 21st century which responds to and reacts with the changing behaviours of users and consumers, the sooner you integrate GA4 the easier you will find the transition.
By activating GA4 now and retaining your Universal Analytics interface until it is phased out in 2023, you can spend time transferring and exporting your data over to the new platform and can ensure that you do not suffer a blackout transition period during which you lose access to UA data and haven’t yet mastered GA4.
Not to mention, with Universal Analytics set to slow down its rate of tracking and stop collecting new sessions in the coming months, setting up GA4 is the safest way to ensure that all the information you need about customers continues to fuel your campaigns and marketing activity without obstacle. The tools are different, and there should be no expectations of a smooth or instant transition – with most businesses needing to take the time to familiarise themselves with the new tool.
For advice on how to get started with Google Analytics 4, or if you are a new business and want to learn about the benefits of customer tracking and analytics, get in touch with our team directly.