The latest generation of Google Analytics, the popular free digital analytics software for marketers and business owners, was released in October 2020, leading to the question on everyone’s minds, ‘when should I make the switch?’
In this guide, we answer this question for you and give you the lowdown on all things Google Analytics 4, including why you need to care about it.
What is Google Analytics 4?
As you’re probably aware, Google Analytics is a free tracking tool offered by Google that, simply put, shows you how visitors use your website. The relatively new product, Google Analytics 4, is not an update of the existing version, but an entirely new platform with some stark differences.
For example, GA4 uses machine learning to help reveal insights from the data collected. Plus, Google has claimed that the program’s new iteration is “privacy-centric by design.” In other words, the tool can fill in the information gaps for you as the gathering and sharing of people’s data become increasingly regulated
You may currently be using Universal Analytics and are happy with how it works. Well, we hate to break it to you, but now is the time to start learning about the features and functions of GA4, as it’s set to replace UA and will be the only product available from July 1st 2023. Don’t worry though, we promise you it’s worth it! The new product has some excellent benefits that we’ve listed below.
Benefits of GA4
1. Simpler user experience
Being powerful tools, both UA and GA4 can be complicated to get to grips with at first. Fortunately, Google has done us all a favour and made GA4 easier to navigate and more intuitive than UA, especially for beginners. If you’re a marketer, data is your bread and butter, so easier access to this is great news.
2. More AI power
The power of AI is nothing new to Google, but they’ve turned it up a notch with GA4 and extended the predictive capabilities. Here are some examples:
– AI can fill in the gaps where your monthly report is lacking data
– Customers are automatically removed from your targeted ad lists, ensuring they won’t be re-targeted after making a purchase
– Users receive automatic alerts on specific data trends
– GA4 calculates valuable metrics, such as revenue potential and churn rates
All of these insights and predictive capabilities can be utilised to better anticipate customers’ actions and make the appropriate moves to drive sales, and revenue.
3. Tracking across web and app
You can now track analytics across both web and app which means you won’t need separate marketing tools for the job. We don’t need to tell you that fewer tools = easier life.
4. Holistic measurements
UA was designed with page views as the most important measurement in mind, whereas GA4 is built to recognise a wider range of metrics. Instead of tracking a variety of “hit types”, GA4 has more measurement types available such as scrolling, outbound link clicks, document link clicks, and website searches.
This lets you track each customer/ audience journey as an “event”, instead of requiring support from developers to help you set up custom events. Additionally, it means that you can more clearly see the buyer’s journey on your website. This is great intel for when you want to make improvements to your site, as it shows you where your customers are landing, and what pages they are exploring before they decide to buy.
5. More customisable
Finally, if you’re familiar with the UA dashboard, you’ll know that it’s a little rigid. With GA4, you can essentially design your own dashboard, with more control over what reports and snapshots you see up there.
When should I switch to GA4?
Google Analytics 4 is slightly more powerful and slightly easier to use than Universal Analytics. You may be happy with the current version, but it’s worth it to note that Google has locked their focus on GA4, and plan to make UA unusable after the 1st June 2023.
Although Google is encouraging users to make the switch as soon as possible, here’s our honest advice: set up GA4 ASAP, but don’t rush to make the switch completely.
Why? For three reasons.
You can run both tools simultaneously, so there’s no need to stop using your current tool if it’s working for you. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
You do need to be prepared for when the deadline comes, which is why we’ve recommended getting GA4 up and running now so that it can collect ample data by June 2023.
Lastly, business owners and marketers always have too much to do, always. Make your life simpler by setting up GA4 now, and learn how to use it at your own pace. If you leave it until the last minute, you’re bound to regret it!
Ultimately, you can make the switch when the time is right for you, as long as it’s before the deadline on the 1st of June 2023.
How can I set up Google Analytics 4?
If you’re ready to bite the bullet, but unsure where to start, don’t sweat. If you already have a Google Analytics account, you can access the GA4 Setup Assistant from your admin page. Remember, it can be set up and collecting data alongside your current account.
If you don’t have an account yet, head to Google Analytics and create one. Then follow these simple steps:
- Click on “Start Measuring” Button.
- Enter the name of your account (Usually a company name).
- Provide a “Property Name” here and select “Reporting Time Zone” and “Currency”.
- If you want to make a Universal Analytics Property along with GA4 analytics property click on the “Show Advanced Options”.
- Switch the toggle from Off to On, and it will turn bright blue.
- Now provide a website URL and select the option to create either GA4 and Universal Analytics Property or only a Universal Analytics Property.
- Click “Next” after selecting your desired option.
- Fill in the “About Your Business” details.
- Click “Create” after selecting all the relevant options to create GA4 and Universal Analytics Property.
- Check the relevant boxes to accept the Data Processing Terms as required by GDPR and the Measurement Controller–Controller Data Protection Terms of the data.
- Finally, click “I Accept”. And you’re done!
Accepting the terms will land you on the “Web Stream Details” screen, where you can find the Measurement ID in the top right corner.
We hope you found this guide to GA4 helpful, and feel equipped to take the next steps in your quest for smarter insights and intelligent marketing. If you need any more information or assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us.