Have you switched to Analytics 4? You have time until July
Google has already been beta testing the new Google Analytics 4 in 2019, and it looks like it will soon become common for online marketers. Since then, the new web analytics has been stirring up a lot of dust, but it looks like this sandstorm is now leading to a brighter future. Our article explains why the new Analytics 4 is needed, what the benefits are and how long it will take to make the switch.
The end of Universal Analytics: Analytics 4
If you’ve used Google Analytics before, you’ll know that it’s been called Universal Analytics. From 1 July 2023, the switchover is definitive, and from then on you’ll be able to view year/year data if you have Google Analytics 4 active on your website by then. So, if you don’t make the switch by 1 July, you won’t be able to clearly compare this year with previous years (and future years).
Why Google Analytics 4?
Apart from the fact that Google is “forcing” the changeover, there are many positive benefits. Online marketing has changed a lot in recent years. Think of the developments of Facebook, Twitter and Google over the last three years. What used to be the mainstay of Universal Analytics, with website and visits as the main dimensions to measure, is no longer the case.
Analytics 4 (or GA4) now takes into account the fact that many marketers have their own apps and other interfaces that they want to measure. Events need to be measured not in visits but in interactions. And all of these (website, app and other platforms used) need to be aligned into a valuable report.
It’s simple: if you don’t switch to Analytics 4, you could lose money
Universal Analytics and GA4 use two completely different data models for the reasons I’ve just explained. To put it crisply and simplify: while one accounts for visits on the web, the other accounts for all the events across all our platforms. And because of this, Google Analytics 4 has to do its job with a new form of code. If the GA4 migration doesn’t happen, you won’t actually have any information about how your website and app are performing. In other words, you’ll be in the dark, and that could mean lost revenue.
And if you don’t make the transition on time, you’ll have to reconcile your year/year comparisons with the fact that the two different metrics and data from Universal Analytics and GA4 are not aligned. So, if we can give you a million pieces of advice: make the transition on time, by June 30.
This is what the new web analytics will be good for
Cross-platform event instead of site visit
While Universal Analytics was based on page views and downloads, GA4 now focuses on what events happen. It’s not uncommon for a user to go from a website to an app. And to avoid showing this as two separate visitors in the statistics, GA4 will be able to track visitors across platforms.
More precise tracking and measurement
Because different types of events are measured using different methods, the new technology will allow for more data to be analysed. This will give us a more accurate picture of our customers and the customer journey they have taken.
No fake data, no fake traffic
Bots and similar tricks can be forgotten for a while. GA4 can filter out fake traffic and only data that is realistic actually makes it into the statistics. What does this mean? More accurate measurement = more accurate picture = more accurate fine tuning = better results.
A system based on machine learning can identify audiences who are more likely to buy in the near future. So GA4 itself can recommend better performing audiences that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself.
Measurement code vs. tracking code
It follows from the above that while Universal Analytics used a tracking ID, GA4 now uses a measurement ID.
Those with high traffic could run into barriers: the old system had an upper limit of 10 million queries. In GA4, there is only a limit on the number of events that can be recorded: 500.
In summary: Universal Analytics bad, GA4 good
- If you want to start enjoying the benefits of GA4 now, it’s time to make the switch – you have time until 1 July 2023.
- If you want to make sure that this year’s part of your year/year report doesn’t slip, make sure you switch by 30 June 2023.
- If you don’t switch by then, you will have no data from then on and will remain blind.
- GA4 measures on a cross-platform and event basis, so you’ll get a more accurate picture of your visitors.
- GA4 is more unlimited, based on machine learning, works with big data sets and can filter out fake data.