Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the next evolution of Google Analytics, a system which provides vital management insights for digital marketing agencies and website owners.
It promises great things.
But, if businesses don’t take action now, they won’t just be missing out on the new opportunities – they will actually be worse off.
The benefits GA4 brings to your business
Google Analytics 4 will enable you to make better informed marketing decisions.
It will do this through:
- More accurate data, regardless of the user’s cookie settings.
- Aggregation of data across multiple platforms, giving you the bigger picture.
- Information which is easier to interpret, thanks to more visual reporting.
- Better spotting and predicting of trends, enabling you to get ahead of the game in grabbing new opportunities.
- Quicker identification of irregularities, so you can take action against any emerging threats.
Why you need to take action now
Although the switchover from the current “Universal Analytics” to Google Analytics 4 doesn’t happen until 1st July 2023, you need to take action now to ensure a continuity of your website management information.
When the change happens next year, your current Google Analytics package will stop collecting data and none of its data will transfer into GA4.
Therefore, it’s important to implement GA4 now so you have some historical data built up ready for the switchover.
Note that you will still be able to access your historical data in Universal Analytics (Google haven’t yet given a date for this to be removed).
What you need to do
All website owners should set up their GA4 account now, running in parallel with their existing Universal Analytics account, so it can start to accumulate data.
Then, when the switchover happens on the 1st July 2023, you won’t be starting from scratch with no data.
Early adoption of GA4 also enables its powerful machine-learning capabilities to start modelling your data so you can hit the ground running when you do change over.
Ready to set up GA4? Here’s what to do:
- If you’re new to Google Analytics then you should dive straight into GA4 – find out how.
- If you’re already running Universal Analytics, set up GA4 to run in parallel – find out how.
- If you’re using Universal Analytics with a website builder platform or content management system (such as WordPress, Wix, WooCommerce, etc) there are slightly different instructions for setting up GA4 in parallel – find out more.
If you only launched your website recently, it’s possible you’re already using GA4. In which case, you’re all set.
Let’s look at the detail. What exactly is Google Analytics 4?
First announced last October, Google Analytics 4 is a significant step up from the current analytics tool.
Events take precedence over sessions
The primary change in GA4 is the way it reports data.
The current Universal Analytics organises information about website user activity by “session”. This groups everything a user does on your website within a given time period (usually 30 minutes) into a session. This could include, for example, looking at multiple pages, clicking on social media links and putting an item in their cart.
Google Analytics 4 prefers to organise information by “event”. This means that everything the user does is captured as a separate activity. So, viewing a page is one event, clicking on a link is another, adding an item to their cart is another. Session information is still available if you prefer to view your data in that way.
Google Analytics’ predictive capabilities have been enhanced in GA4, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine-learning.
This means that when you go into GA4, instead of wading through reams of data yourself, the system will automatically highlight any trends it’s spotted.
Enhanced data visualisation
From our many years of experience presenting management information to clients we know that a visual representation is far more welcome than a page of numbers. Google Analytics 4 works hard to give you data that’s more digestible by making charts its first and foremost method of data presentation.
The new “Analysis Hub” feature in GA4 has a wealth of visually appealing information to share. For example, the funnel analysis (working out how you get people from being a website visitor to a repeat customer) can give you valuable insights into how to improve conversion rates.
Another helpful tool is path analysis, which enables you visualise the journey a user takes through your website. This helps you to identify how many continue on to the end goal (e.g. your contact page) and why others might be getting lost along the way.
The Flash Talking Cookie Rejection Report 2020 shows that 32% of devices reject 64% of all cookies. Those cookies send vital information to Google Analytics, without which Universal Analytics risks under- or over-reporting your data.
The machine-learning which sits behind GA4 goes some way to resolve the problems of apps or users refusing cookies.
It does this by anticipating a user’s activity to fill the gaps where data is missing. So the user retains their privacy because you don’t actually know what they’re doing, but GA4 gives you pretty accurate estimation to complete your picture of their journey.
Google Analytics 4 will be an incredibly powerful tool to give you the right data to make the right marketing decisions.
Businesses need to get on board now, or risk being left behind.
Please note that existing Tomango clients will be contacted directly to make arrangements for their GA4 implementation.