Digital marketers — are you ready for the next generation of analytics? Google is retiring Universal Analytics on July 1 this year, and replacing it with Google Analytics 4. You’ve only got a few months until the big switch, and you want to stay on top of understanding your data.
From July 2023, Universal Analytics will stop counting new hits, but luckily, Google is making it straightforward to transition to GA4. Even after you switch, you’ll have access to your UA data for at least six months.
Launched in December 2020, GA4 isn’t an upgrade, but an entirely new web analytics model that can measure both app and website performance. The biggest industry shift is towards greater privacy, so it’s designed to work without cookies. You will now need a new set of strategies to target and reach your online audience.
Page views will no longer be the most important metric, and GA4 features technically advanced reporting types, aiming to get high quality information from your users, for a deeper understanding of their behaviours. This will influence your content choices and hopefully lead to increased profit margins. As the curtains close on traditional Universal Analytics, marketers now need to take a deep dive with GA4, before it replaces UA as the default when creating a Google Analytics account.
GA4 can be divided into 3 very specific but complementary sections — measuring, reporting analysing and event tracking.
In GA4, the functionality and the interface of the reporting dashboards have been radically changed. While UA offers predefined reports, GA4 provides fewer reports, but you can create your own reports that are tailored to your digital marketing needs.
You will be able to access your UA user reports and acquisition reports in GA4 for six months after UA is shut down, and GA4 also features the following reports:
Website pages and app screens into one reporting area called Pages and screens.
The valuable actions called Goals in UA are called Conversions in GA4. Tracking goals in GA4 is based on events, e.g. button clicks, user actions, video plays, exit link clicks.
Like in UA, you can track how successful your campaigns, channels, keywords, email and locations have been.
Multichannel funnel reports
View paths from different channel journeys that lead to a conversion.
GA4’s Exploration section has advanced techniques that go beyond standard reports — to help you uncover deeper insights about your customers’ behaviour.
This includes complex visualisation options in the Analysis Hub, such as:
In contrast to UA, GA4 is event-based, meaning that any interaction on the website can be measured through an event for example a pageview or downloading a file will now be events rather than hits in UA.
Event-modelling — based on behaviour of similar users — will be used to bridge the gap that Google’s consent mode has created, whereby a user’s behaviour is not tracked if cookies are not accepted.
Events need to be tracked with GA4 and Tag Manager. There are four categories of events.
The Matrix Internet Digital Marketing team haven’t left the big GA4 switch to the last minute. We’ve been harnessing the power of GA4 for many of our clients since its launch, and we can help you enter this new phase.
We have four bespoke GA4 packages that can be tailored to your digital marketing needs.
Don’t leave it too near the deadline — let us know how Matrix can help you set up GA4, and make sense of your data. Our DM team also offers GA4 support training, so you don’t get left behind.
Fill in the form below and a member of our team will be in touch.
By Conor McCaffrey
By Jeff Sheridan