As many of you probably remember, about two years ago, Google announced the launch of its latest analytics tool, Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
In this ever-expanding industry, we know that change is constant – but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to adapt when something new comes around the corner.
Have no fear: this week we’re offering our top reasons to upgrade to Google Analytics 4, in order to help you transition to the latest version of this beneficial tool!
What is Google Analytics 4?
GA4 is a Google Analytics property that allows businesses to track website and app analytics together. GA4 also adapts to evolving standards for using cookies to track user activity, allowing users to create a smarter, more data-driven marketing strategy.
Why should I make the switch to Google Analytics 4?
The newest version of Google Analytics is noticeably different from the old one. Here are our top reasons why you should consider upgrading sooner, rather than later:
You’ll have to make the switch eventually
Google recently announced that they will deprecate Universal Analytics on July 1, 2023. Which means that if you want as much data as possible when Universal Analytics disappears altogether, you need to upgrade stat.
Worried about losing access to your current data when you upgrade? Don’t be. Once the new property is created, you’ll be able to access it through your Universal Analytics account, but your current account will not be affected until July 1, 2023. This means that data will still flow through this account, allowing you to collect both sets of data for a year and compare the analyses for year-over-year data.
- Getting a head start will allow your Machine Learning (ML) software to prepare. The sooner you transition, the more your ML can train, helping to narrow the gaps in visitor data, and create a more accurate algorithm. Early adoption will allow you to take advantage of the enhanced data sooner.
- Upgrading early offers you more time to redo event tracking, update Google Data Studio reports, and develop new reports. Since you can’t transfer historical data, the best way to move forward is by linking the GA4 account to your existing UA property. You may not be able to access previous data in your UA property, but you will be able to import your UA tracking configuration into your GA4 property.
- Upgrading will significantly reduce ad spend. With the new audience feature available in GA4, you can create and update audience lists in much more detail. (Ex. if a user is in your Google Ads audience, they will automatically be removed from this list once they have completed your targeted goal for a specific campaign.)
There are flexible new metrics available in GA4.
Bounce rate, pages/session, and average session duration have been replaced with engaged session metrics that are qualified by:
- users being actively engaged with your website/app in the foreground for at least 10 seconds.
- a conversion event firing.
- 2 or more screen/page views firing. These flexible new metrics are also applicable across all types of websites and apps.
- There are three new ‘User Groups’ available in GA4.
Audiences: a saved subset of users targeted in Google ads. Not retroactive, and typically under a time limit. Here’s an example: say someone added an item to their cart but didn’t purchase it, you could add them to a specific audience, target them with a specific ad for 30 days, at which point they would fall out of this audience. You get 100 audiences with GA4 standard and 400 with GA4 360.
Segments: Like UA segments, but in the new version, they’re specific to ‘Explore’ reporting, not standard reporting. They can be saved, and are retroactive since their purpose is for analytics. You can also build an audience based on a segment – there are 10 allowed per exploration.
Comparisons: A temporary subset of users that can be used for quick comparisons in standard reporting. Retroactive. You can build a segment off a comparison if you want to keep it.
GA4 is the future of analytics, so why wait a year when you can enjoy the benefits of better data now? We recommend getting comfortable with the changes and ensuring everything is set up correctly, in order to avoid last minute scrambling when the deadline approaches. It’s always better to act rather than react! Stay tuned for more GA4 tips from Slicedbread.