5 Reasons Why You Can No Longer Ignore GA4
Universal Analytics as we know it will be gone in July 2023. If you haven’t moved to GA4, you need to act now.
It’s crucial you set up a new Google Analytics 4 property and start collecting data. Consider what data is valuable to your business, Is the data you have through analytics useful, or is it data bloat?
The quicker you can get to grips with the new platform, the more impactful it will be in terms of getting really meaningful insights.
1. Time is Running Out
Google is retiring Universal Analytics in July 2023.
“On July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits” – Google
This does not mean wait until June to move over to Google Analytics 4. If you have not yet adopted Google Analytics 4, you are already missing out on capturing key data right now. Start your transition to Google Analytics 4 today.
To get started, ask yourself:
- What are your main objectives?
- What are your main KPIs?
- How can you translate these to goals on Google Analytics 4?
The adoption of Google Analytics 4 right now is the best opportunity for you to narrow down your data to the most important information and capture it on Google Analytics 4. GA4 allows you to look at things on a much more granular level than on Universal Analytics. For example, brochure downloads or whether someone scrolls to the bottom of your blog.
2. Better Reporting Capabilities
GA4 has extremely strong reporting capabilities.
Exploration is one of the most important features of GA4. This is a collection of advanced techniques that go beyond standard reports to help you uncover deeper insights about your customer’s behaviour.
There are 6 standard exploration templates you are able to access, for example, setting up your own free-form reporting. You are also able to set up your own user flow reporting, which is useful if you want to narrow down specific events that are happening on your site.
Universal Analytics did make use of some of these reports but the problem with that was because its platform session was oriented through a data model, it placed limitations on how granular you could get with your insights.
Moving across to Google Analytics 4 is the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to reporting.
The Universal Analytics’ data model is based on sessions and page views, which can place limitations on how granular you can get with your insights. On the other hand, GA4 is built using an event-based data model, which will allow you to segment your data more granularly via Explorations.
3. New Automatic Tracking
One of the more innovative things that GA4 offers in terms of tracking is Enhanced Event Measurement. These allow marketers to leverage a suite of automatic event-tracking features that make it so you are able to get more data straight out of the box.
Some examples of these features are page view, scroll, outbound link click, site search, video engagement, file download, and form interactions.
4. Predictive Analytics
Predictive Analytics is one of the most exciting features of GA4. It combines machine learning, AI, and algorithms to predict the future behaviour of users.
Cookies use personally identifiable information (PII), which is a privacy risk. Predictive Analytics will use AI and Machine Learning to eliminate the need for PII. Instead, AI advertising algorithms will use user behaviour to group people into different audiences based on their preferences.
In short, AI helps to protect the customer by addressing privacy concerns, whilst allowing marketers to leverage more accurate audiences based on AI.
Examples of audiences GA4 will be able to predict:
- Likely 7-day purchasers
- Likely 7-day churning users
- Predicted 28-day top spenders
- Likely first-time 7-day purchasers
- Likely 7-day churning purchasers
This will be powerful in being able to find new audiences as well as remarketing to existing audiences.
5. Privacy Controls
As previously mentioned, privacy is the most fundamental reason for moving to Google Analytics 4.
Google Analytics 4 is a privacy-first analytics platform, which makes it easier for you to comply with privacy laws. Google wants to be more transparent and sensitive about how data is handled.
On Google Analytics 4 IP anonymisation is standard, data retention is limited to 2 or 14 months and specific user information is easy to delete. For more information on user privacy, check out our blog here.
It is understandable to worry about this change, but at Tag Digital we have a team of experts who are specialised in GA4, so reach out to our team. The team can audit your existing account to check your account is set up correctly to reach your objectives, or make your life easy and start from scratch.
What have we learned?
- Ensure to track macro and micro-conversions via GA4
- Leverage event-focused exploration reports
- Embrace the switch to AI and Machine Learning
- Start measuring with GA4 today
Google Analytics 4 is moving towards a more event-oriented data model and the more data you feed into the platform, the more benefits you will get from it.
Tag Digital’s Response to Common Google Analytics Questions:
Where can I find the bounce rate in GA4?
Google did not include the bounce rate in the initial launch of GA4. In July 2022, Google reversed this decision and introduced the popular metric to the new platform.
It is worthwhile noting that you can instead refer to ‘engagement rate’ as a replacement for bounce rate. Engaged users are those who have visited two or more pages on your website, so all you have to do is inverse the engagement figure to get your bounce rate.
Is GTM still needed to set up tags and triggers for customer events, or do we set these up on GA4?
It is possible to set up your conversions on Google Analytics, but we recommend focusing on Google Tag Manager (GTM). GTM has been tried and tested, it works really well and gives full visibility of all options you can deploy. Overall GTM is better for tracking.
Although you can theoretically set up events with the help of the debugger via Google Analytics 4, GTM provides a much more strategic and robust solution to setting up events.
If you can, set up your events on GTM instead of GA4.
Can you run Universal Analytics and GA4 on the same website?
Yes, Tag Digital would recommend doing so between now and when Universal Analytics is retired in July.
You can cross-compare data from both platforms. If it is taking some time to get used to GA4, you can always refer to your tried and tested data whilst you are getting up to speed.