Everything You Need to Know About Google Analytics 4

We’re entering a new phase of analytics with the introduction of Google Analytics 4 and the sunsetting of Google Analytics Universal by the middle of 2023.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Analytics 4

In March of this year, it was announced that Google would be ending Google Analytics Universal and replacing it with Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
Now this might seem like a backward step of sorts for the analytical giant, especially when users are losing data they once had access to.
Google Analytics 4 has been around for some time now and does have its flaws, especially if you are an ecommerce business.

Which is why it’s such an interesting decision to be made by Google to go down this path.

But as always, all businesses who have an online presence are a slave to the Google Overlord and must conform on decisions such as this whether they want to or not.

In saying that, it’s clear to us that Google making such a strong decision is an indication that they have incredible faith & confidence that this new tool will be completely ready by 2023.

With that in mind, we thought it would be useful for online business owners to be aware of what GA4 is, what it will do for their business, and how it can benefit them.

What is GA4?

As mentioned above, GA4 is Google’s most recent version of Google Analytics that can be used not only on websites but on apps to ensure data can be easily tracked across various channels.

It is currently being promoted as a privacy-centric tool that can be used with or without cookies.

With the introduction of accepting or not accepting website cookies becoming a “thing” over the past 12 months or so, privacy is further becoming a focal point of everyone’s use of the internet.

Best of all, this will be of huge benefit to a company’s ability to track data in the future.

How Should You Respond?

Our recommendation is that you install GA4 alongside Google Analytics Universal to ensure you are doing everything possible during this period of “limbo”.

But don’t get too worried about the quality of your data when running them in parallel. Your data will be completely fine.

We would encourage you to get it installed as soon as possible to get your and/or your client's business ahead of the game.

Our recommendation is to always use Google Tag Manager for your installing event tracking data such as this.

Let's face it - July 2023 will be here before we know it and if you’re not adequately prepared, then that could prove to be a disaster for your ability to track your online performance.

What are the benefits of Google Analytics 4?

There is a wide range of benefits & inclusions available to you once GA4 has been installed along with a number of changes to various metrics.

Bounce Rate is Now Engagement Rate

Bounce rate. The metric that a lot of business owners tend to focus on almost with an obsessive approach.

If you’re unfamiliar with what it is, bounce rate is the percentage of people that land on any given page on your website and leave within 30 minutes.

But it does need to be treated appropriately within the context of your company’s conversion goals.

GA4 will stop this from occurring by replacing bounce rate with engagement rate.

Essentially, engagement rate is defined as the percentage of users who have been on a landing page for longer than 10 seconds or have clicked a conversion on that page, or have visited multiple pages on that website.

In short, it tracks a more in-depth and valuable customer journey on your website.

No Need For Cookies or GDPR Compliance

GA4 currently relies on first-party cookies for data collection which means it’s GDPR compliant but as things start to move away from that, GA4’s want to leverage machine learning will take priority which means cookies will cease to exist.

This move towards data models involving machine learning models is an exciting time for measuring and reporting digital analytics.

Best of all, this will be of huge benefit to a company’s ability to track data in the future.

Traffic Views Won’t Be Limited

Currently, all Universal Analytics property views reports limit you to 500ks sessions but this has been well and truly scrapped with Google Analytics 4 where there is no limit to the number of sessions that can be reported on in GA4 property views.

What Happens to my Google Analytics Data After July 2023?

The good news is that you’ll still be able to access, export and make changes to that data, but the bad news is that it will stop processing any data moving forward after this date.

With this in mind, you’ll need to export your old Google Analytics data and store it somewhere to ensure you can report on year-on-year data.

Also, we’d strongly recommend exporting and storing this data as soon as possible as this feature won’t be available forever.

Are There Any Negatives With GA4?

As mentioned before, there are some flaws in the product already which makes sense why Google has set an end date of July 1 2023 to iron out any of these flaws and ensure effective analytics.

We don’t necessarily see this as a negative but as something to consider with GA4.

Furthermore, for all users, there will be a lack of familiarity with the product which means there will be a learning curve involved.

The good news is that it’s going to affect everyone using the Google Analytics platform and thus we’re all in the same boat to an extent.

Summing up...
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Install GA4 as soon as you can
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Measure your performance within the new era of Google Analytics
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