Since July 1st 2023 we have witnessed a major shift in the landscape with the end of Google’s Universal Analytics (GA3) platform, meaning GA3 will no longer receive any data from your website and you must migrate to Google’s new and improved platform, “GA4”. In this article, we will explore the implications of this transition, its benefits, and how marketing directors and professionals alike can effectively navigate the changes ahead.
Universal Analytics has been a linchpin in the digital marketing realm since its introduction in 2012 by providing invaluable insights into user behaviour, conversion tracking, and website performance. As readers may already know, the ability to track data across various devices and channels has empowered marketers to make informed decisions and optimise their strategies.
Key Benefits of Google Analytics 4
Marketers can now seamlessly track user interactions as “events” across websites, mobile apps, and other digital touchpoints, enabling more accurate attribution and conversion analysis. This marks the departure from “hit” based tracking in UA and allows you to track any type of user interaction, including custom events that are specified by you.
Advanced Machine Learning Insights
GA4 leverages the power of machine learning to provide actionable insights, helping marketers predict future outcomes and optimise campaigns based on data-driven recommendations. Between predicting the likelihood of purchases, churn rate and revenue generated per user respectively, the machine learning insights introduced in GA4 provide valuable information to all businesses looking to grow their operations and better serve their customers.
“Bounce Rate” vs ”Engagement Rate”
Instead of simply measuring whether a user “stays or leaves” a landing page, GA4 tracks an improved stat named “engagement rate”! With more comprehensive metrics available like “engaged sessions”, “engagement rate” and “engaged sessions per user”, utilising this new metric can guide your website and funnel tweaks with more precision than was previously available in UA.
As privacy concerns become increasingly prominent, GA4 takes a privacy-centric approach by anonymising and aggregating user data. First party cookies are used to track website performance without being blocked by ad-blockers and user defined cookie preferences. Alongside this, GA4 moves away from collecting IP addresses as was standard in UA – this allows for respect of sensitive customer data while still providing valuable insights for marketers.
Navigating the Transition
As marketing directors and professionals, it is essential to have a well-defined strategy when navigating the transition from Universal Analytics to GA4. Here are some key steps to consider:
Assess Your Current Analytics Setup
Your current team have probably been using UA for a little while, and the idea of migrating to new software might seem daunting. Assess how your team have been operating so far with UA and identify the strong/weak points in your operations that might be impacted by learning a new system.
Plan and Implement GA4 Tracking
Develop a comprehensive implementation plan for GA4 tracking. As of July 1st 2023, UA will no longer be collecting data, so it is essential to create, launch and start tracking your GA4 property as soon as possible. This means adding the new GA4 tracking tag to your site (you can use Google’s Tag Manager for this) and double-checking your tracking items to confirm that they are tracking properly. We know this might sound complicated and we’re happy to give you a hand – book in a call with our team for more advice.
Learn and Adapt
Invest time in understanding GA4’s features and functionalities. Ruler Analytics asked marketers what they struggled most with about GA4, and in both cases, a quarter of users reported difficulties with reporting (30%) and the steep learning curve (24%) associated with the new platform. Explore the available resources, such as Google’s documentation and online courses, to upskill your team and leverage GA4’s full potential. Stay updated with new updates and features released by Google to adapt your strategies accordingly.
The end of Google’s Universal Analytics platform marks a significant milestone in the digital marketing world. Embracing the transition to Google Analytics 4 opens doors to a more comprehensive and insightful analytics solution. By adopting a customer-centric approach, harnessing cross-platform tracking, leveraging advanced machine learning insights, and maintaining a privacy-centric mindset, marketing directors and professionals can navigate this transition successfully.
As the industry continues to evolve, it is imperative to remain at the forefront of digital marketing trends. Embrace the shift, leverage the opportunities that GA4 brings, and continue to innovate in the pursuit of marketing excellence. At Iconic Digital, this is what we do for our clients and we’re happy to extend that service to you; Book a free marketing audit with us today and continue to grow your business – we’re rooting for you!