Introduction to Universal Google Analytics and GA4
Google Analytics is a web analytics service provided by Google that tracks and reports website traffic and website users. Since its introduction in 2005, it has become the go-to tool for businesses of all sizes to track and analyse their online performance.
With the introduction of GA4, Google is taking analytics to the next level, offering a comprehensive suite of tools to help businesses understand and grow their online presence.
The Importance of Google Analytics
In today's fast-paced digital world, having a strong online presence is essential for business success. With more and more consumers relying on the internet to research products and make purchasing decisions, it's crucial for businesses to have a deep understanding of their online performance.
Google Analytics is the key to unlocking this understanding, providing valuable insights into consumer behaviour and website performance.
The Need To Upgrade to GA4 from Universal Analytics
While Google's Universal Analytics has been an indispensable tool for businesses for many years, it's clear that the world of Google analytics is evolving. With the rise of mobile devices, cross-device tracking, and increased consumer privacy concerns, there was a need for a more sophisticated analytics tool.
This is where GA4 (Google Analytics 4) comes in, offering a range of cutting-edge features designed to meet the changing needs of businesses in the digital age.
However, the need to upgrade to GA4 is being met with some resistance, not only from advertisers but professional digital marketers too. Is this simply people not embracing the change? To a degree, yes; but the simple difference between layouts is enough to discourage some people, putting the task off to another day.
If migrating existing data between the two platforms is discouraging you then Google Analytics 4 makes it easier as data streams, app data, web data can be transferred through a simple process, retaining historical data.
GA4 Key Features
GA4 offers a range of features designed to help businesses gain a deeper understanding of their online performance and drive growth. Here are some of the key GA4 features:
Event tracking and analysis
Cross-device and cross-platform tracking
Enhanced data privacy and security
Seamless integration with other Google products
Improved conversion tracking
Event Tracking and Analysis
Google Analytics 4 event tracking feature allows businesses to track specific user interactions with their website, such as button clicks, form fills and submissions, and page views. This data can then be used to understand how users are interacting with their website and make informed decisions to improve the user experience.
Furthermore, event tracking can be analysed through template reports and also allows you to create custom reports.
Cross-Device and Cross-Platform Tracking
With the rise of mobile devices, it's crucial for businesses to have a clear understanding of how users are interacting with their website across different devices and platforms. GA4's cross-device and cross-platform tracking feature provides this detail, allowing businesses to see how users are interacting with their website on desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.
These GA4 features are one of the more useful in new version compared to universal analytics, as cross domain tracking in Google analytics previously had been convoluted to say the least.
Enhanced Data Privacy and Security
Data privacy is a growing concern for consumers and businesses alike, GA4 is designed with privacy in mind, this is a major area where Google Analytics 4 differs from universal analytics. The new Google Analytics offers enhanced data privacy and security features, such as data anonymisation and the ability to control data sharing with Google.
Seamless Integration with Other Google Products
GA4 integrates seamlessly with other Google products, such as Google Ads and Google Tag Manager, providing a comprehensive suite of tools for businesses to grow their online presence, GA4 features allow for easy integration.
Improved Conversion Tracking
Conversion tracking is essential for businesses to understand how well their website is performing in terms of driving sales and generating leads. GA4 offers improved conversion tracking features, allowing businesses to get a deeper understanding of the customer journey and optimize their website for better results.
Attribution to Google Ads is seamless which allows the import of conversion data, which in turn allows PPC managers to optimise their campaigns more efficiently, making the most of important marketing budget.
Whilst it's understandable that making the switch from universal analytics to GA4 can seem daunting, the major benefit of new GA4 features is hard to ignore, especially when you consider universal analytics will be retired. Embracing the new Google Analytics pre July 1st 2023 is absolutely vital, even if you do not plan to use it, having GA4 installed is vital to ensure you minimise data loss between analytics versions.