Google Analytics 4 — why do you need to adopt it?
If you’re a regular user of Google Analytics and you have not yet transferred to Google Analytics 4, you should. Google will deprecate Universal Analytics next year, which means they will stop processing any new hits after 1st October 2023.
Any data that is processed within Universal Analytics will be stored for six months after the 1st October 2023, before being lost. As marketers, we’ve all dug our heels in over the change (because if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right?), refusing to move. However, it looks like Google is now forcing the change upon us all next year.
Why the sudden change?
Here is what Russell Ketchum, Director & Product Management of Google Analytics has to say: “Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions, and more easily observable data from cookies. This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete.”
As Russell says, it’s partly down to the movement of brands and the transition to mobile apps, that have driven this change. Also, Google Analytics captures traffic via user data; creating a unique ID for that user. If you’re a brand, it’s a big ‘no’, as we have to start moving to protect people’s privacy and their data; potentially saying goodbye to that annoying ‘We have cookies on our website, please accept.’
You can hear more from Russell Ketchum in this article: https://blog.google/products/marketingplatform/analytics/prepare-for-future-with-google-analytics-4/
How is Google Analytics 4 different?
Google Analytics 4 has been around for a while, since October 2020 in fact, and the main distinction between Google Analytics v4 and Universal Analytics is the measurement model. For example, the Universal Analytics model is based upon sessions and page views. Whereas the Google Analytics 4 model is based upon events and parameters; effectively every interaction on your website will now be an event.
How Google Analytics 4 works
- Privacy-focused and durable for the future.
- Intelligence: using machine learning to unearth insights about the customer journey across platforms and devices.
- Enhanced: seamless integrations with Google’s advertising platforms to optimise campaign performance and drive greater marketing ROI (return of investment).
Should I move to Google Analytics 4 now?
Yes, it’s advisable to move to Google Analytics 4 sooner rather than later. Making the change soon will allow you to adjust to the changes and also understand how Google Analytics 4 works. There are a couple of way in which you can make the move easier for yourself…
Rather than just binning off Universal Analytics, consider running them in unison. This will allow you to compare data between the two. Another significant change in Google Analytics 4 is machine learning (artificial intelligence). By enabling Google Analytics 4 on your website, you are allowing Google to find out how your website works. This is a benefit as you can then make changes that will create value for your website visitors, through the insights of your analytical data.
Stay tuned for another blog on this, shortly. We will explain how to connect your current Universal Analytics tag to Google Analytics 4, also giving you an explanation of how each data parameter works.