Effective July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics standard properties will stop processing data. In order to preserve your company’s historical data and avoid loss of custom setups for your data analytics, we recommend that you make the switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) now.
Starting in March, any properties that have not yet transitioned to GA4 will automatically default to the basic settings of a Universal Analytics property. This includes your dashboard, certain conversion events, Google Ads links and existing website tags.
What is Google Analytics 4?
According to Google, GA4 is an entirely new data model that is designed to optimize your data collection and measurement—ultimately providing user-centric analytics and a better understanding of the overall customer journey.
Below are some of the new changes you will see with the switch to GA4:
- Collection of event-based data instead of session based
- Use of signed-in data from websites/apps for a better understanding of customer experience across different channels
- Greater predictive capabilities based on machine learning
- Data measurement regardless of customer privacy controls (e.g., cookie-less data)
- Enhanced behavioral/conversion analytics, such as downloads, video views, scrolling, site search and outbound clicks
How Will the Switch to GA4 Impact My Business?
As you can see, there are several key differences between the current Universal Analytics and the new GA4 model. While there will be a learning curve to these new changes, the transition to GA4 will allow your business to optimize its data collection and measurement.
1. Better Visualization of the Customer Journey
With the new GA4 model, data collection will focus on user interactions across many different platforms—from websites to apps. This will make it much easier for businesses to track specific events and analyze that data. For instance, a user who watches four videos in a single visit will count as one event, rather than multiple sessions. This provides a more detailed and accurate understanding of the overall customer journey.
2. User-Centric Data Reporting
With an emphasis on user engagement, GA4 will provide new sections like “lifecycle” and “user” to collect and track data specific to a particular user. This will provide user-based metrics—from acquisition and demographics, to engagement and monetization—that ultimately help predict customer actions more accurately.
3. Highly Targeted Audiences for Marketing Campaigns
Because of this focus on user-centric data reporting and a better visualization of the customer journey, your business will be able to identify and capture more highly targeted audiences for future marketing campaigns. Through predictive metrics, GA4 also reports the potential revenue that businesses can gain from a specific group of customers. Ultimately, all of this results in better campaign optimization and higher ROI.
4. Greater Privacy for Customers
In response to the increasing consumer demand for more privacy, the new GA4 model provides a safer, more compliant way to collect data based on evolving privacy rules and user preferences. Regardless of whether users opt-in to cookie tracking, for instance, GA4 will still allow your business to collect and track that data.
5. Easy to Set Up and Use
Because the new model lacks complex code requirements, GA4 is easy to set up and use once you become familiar with the new metrics. It even streamlines the data collection and tracking process for companies that use third-party sites for transactional purposes.
Businesses will have the opportunity to greatly benefit from this transition to the new GA4 analytics property—from improving their marketing performance to optimizing the customer experience. In the meantime, it’s important that your business is prepared and informed on how to use the new model before these changes take effect.
Download our Buyer’s Journey Guide to learn how to create content for all three stages of the buying cycle.