Get Ready for Google Analytics 4
Universal Analytics is going away and being replaced by Google Analytics 4 (GA4), with the final shutoff on the old software suite happening 1st July 2023. If you’re still using Universal Analytics, we’d advise that you make the switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible.
But why is this switch happening? And what do you need to do to prepare?
In this post, we’ll detail the key things you need to know about getting ready for Google Analytics 4.
Why is Universal Analytics going away?
The way people browse and buy online is changing, and Google has decided it needs a more sophisticated way to capture the details of user journeys across multiple platforms and devices. That, along with the collection of data in line with increasingly complicated global privacy rules, are really the biggest reason behind the introduction of Google Analytics 4.
Benefits of Google Analytics 4 in a nutshell
- Better understand customer journeys with detailed user data collected across both websites and apps
- Predict user behaviour with tools powered by machine learning
- Boost the performance of your campaigns with enhanced Google Ads integration
- Ensure your digital presence complies with various privacy laws thanks to more robust privacy controls
- Improve your marketing campaigns with data-driven attribution
Website and app integration
Google current analytics tools separate user journeys by different platforms and organise them into separate sessions. Instead, Google Analytics 4 can track a single user across multiple touchpoints. This will allow you to build a much clearer picture of where people are browsing and buying, even when they shift from, for instance, browsing your website in Chrome on their laptop, to buying from your app on their phone or tablet.
Predict the future (sort of)
Google Analytics 4 comes with two predictive metrics:
- Purchase probability shows the likelihood that a web/app visitor will make a purchase in the following seven days
- Churn probability shows the likelihood that a previous visitor or user will fail to return in the next seven days.
Powered by machine learning, these highly useful insights can help you in predicting behaviour and targeting the right groups with your marketing campaigns accordingly.
Boost your ad campaigns
Google Analytics 4 features improved integration with Google Ads, as well as other Google services like Search Ads 360 and Display & Video 360. You can use these insights to further improve your ad campaigns, targeting the right customers to get improved results.
Privacy laws around the sharing of personal data are becoming more and more complex, and Google Analytics 4 is up to the task.
Back in 2018, for example, EU countries transitioned to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation and businesses across Europe (including those in the UK) altered their practices accordingly. However, having left the EU, UK-based businesses now no longer need to comply with GDPR – though businesses that have branches in EU countries might need to make sure that those country-centric sites do so. Helpfully, Google Analytics 4 includes by-country sliders, allowing you to customise your privacy settings to collect user data while complying with each country’s local laws.
Just a quick glance at GA4 training modules also shows that the suite includes the ability to customise who sees what data, meaning you can allow different team members or external clients/working partners the ability to see the data that you need them to.
Improve your digital marketing campaigns
Google Analytics 4 includes data-driven attribution which can tell you in detail which communication has contributed the most to a customer’s purchase journey. This can be used to help you finesse your marketing and produce more effective campaigns driven by data insights.
How do I prepare for Google Analytics 4?
How you get ready for Google Analytics 4 will depend on whether you are a current Universal Analytics user or not.
Moving from Universal Analytics to GA4
You can move from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 at any time between now and 1st July 2023. However, we’d recommend doing it as early as possible. Since the old analytics data can’t be transferred across, making the switch early will give you ample time to build up a bank of data that you can use for comparison purposes moving forwards. This is a switch we’ve already made for our customers – and we’d suggest you make it too!
To get started, log in to your Google Analytics account and set up a Google Analytics 4 ‘property.’ This will run alongside your existing property, meaning you won’t lose any of your existing data. However, it will give you access to the greater degree of depth in the GA4 suite moving forwards.
To use Google’s GA4 setup wizard you’ll need to have an editor role set up on your existing GA account. Find out more on Google’s guide to adding a Google Analytics 4 property to a site that already has Analytics.
To recreate your reporting from Universal Analytics in the new software, it will help to know the data equivalences between the two. Helpfully, Google has put together a handy guide to that here.
To dig further into the ins and outs of switching to Google Analytics 4, you can take Google’s own Google Analytics 4 training at Google Skillshop.
For first time analytics users
If you’re yet to delve into the world of customer data and analytics tools, this is the best time to start!
To begin, head to Google’s page for Google Analytics 4 and hit the blue get started button to create an account, followed by adding your first property. For help on setting this up, check out Google’s guide on setting up Google Analytics 4 for a website or app. SEO specialists Yoast also have plenty of Google Analytics blogs to help get you started with using GA4.
Alternatively, have us help you
Setting up, learning and managing Google Analytics 4 can be time consuming and intensive, whether you’re doing it afresh or recreating your Universal Analytics profile in GA4.
Whichever route you need, our team of SEO experts are equipped to help you make the switch to Google Analytics 4. Take a look at our SEO service page for more information, or get in touch with us to discuss how we can help.