As of July, Google Analytics 4, or GA4, will be replacing Universal Analytics and introducing a new range of features.
If you haven’t already made the switch to GA4, this guide will explain what it means and how to do it so that you can get the most from it.
GA4 is available to switch to right away if you want to do so before the change is automatically made at the beginning of July.
As your local marketing agency in Essex, if you need help, our team can assist.
The Importance of Monitoring Website Traffic
Monitoring your website traffic and the way users behave on your site is essential if you want to improve your site’s performance.
Getting insight into the way your website visitors and customers behave enables you to keep making improvements in terms of SEO, site usability, and customer experience.
When you monitor your website traffic and metrics, you learn about how people are finding your website and what they do when they get there.
These are both crucial pieces of information that allow you to determine how well your site is performing and what you can do to improve it.
If you have Google Analytics installed on your website and you’re not paying attention to it, now is a good time to start.
What are Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a web-based analytics platform provided by Google that collects data from your website and apps to provide insights into how people are using your website.
As most website owners use their website as a hub for their marketing campaigns, it can also help you track the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns.
Unsure you have Google Analytics set up on your website?
As a web design agency, we install Google Analytics software as part of our web design process.
If you’re unsure if your website has analytics set up or not speak to your current web developer, who’ll be able to assist.
What Is GA4?
GA4 is the new Google Analytics version, which is replacing Universal Analytics.
This new generation of web analytics is designed to enable website owners to analyse customer usage metrics, giving them more than just insights into their traffic.
GA4, uses AI and machine learning to deliver more in-depth insights into who is using your website and how they’re using it.
It even allows you to watch the whole customer journey unfold across different channels.
GA4 can also track metrics across both websites and applications, and it features an all-new dashboard to deliver this data.
Historically analytics focused on data points about the individual customer, rather than the success of a product.
To combat this, Google Analytics 4 now records all of the data it collects as events.
If you’re new to analytics, an event is a measurable user interaction, and whilst available in the previous version of Google Analytics, events now have the capacity to be set with more custom parameters.
This new approach to events provides a more holistic view of customer interactions with your product, rather than custom events being focused on the user that triggered them.
These events will help to gather more in-depth user insights, such as engaged sessions, engagement rate, and engagement time.
Another feature that we can see being very beneficial when it comes to marketing is predictive insights, which help you to see how your website or app might perform in the future.
These Predictive insights also sit alongside predictive audiences, which allows you to create look-a-like data, similar to Facebook ads targeting.
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Compared to previous versions of Google Analytics, GA4 also provides greater emphasis on customer privacy.
This is partly due to changing laws around the world, which are giving more rights to users who want to keep their personal data safe.
Overall, in comparison to Universal Analytics GA4 will allow you to have more control and can even view user data across different platforms.
Why Is Google Upgrading to GA4?
Google is upgrading to GA4 to deliver the next generation of analytics.
GA4 will allow you to collect data across your website and any apps to get a better understanding of the customer journey.
It has new core features, including being event-based instead of session-based, new privacy controls, predictive capabilities, and direct integrations to media platforms.
Cross-device tracking gives you a more complete overview of what your customers are doing and where they’re from.
What Is the Deadline for GA4 Migration?
The deadline for GA4 migration is July 1, 2023. This is when standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data.
So, if you haven’t already made the switch, you need to urgently turn your attention to GA4 and make sure that you’re on board.
What Will Happen to My Universal Analytics Data?
Although Universal Analytics properties will no longer be processing data, you will still have access to your data for at least 6 months after July 1st.
However, it likely won’t be available forever.
We recommend exporting any data that you want to keep so that you don’t lose it.
Will Google Analytics Update to GA4 Automatically?
If you don’t do anything to upgrade to GA4, the switch will happen automatically.
The problem is that by simply leaving it to switch on its own, you could be missing out on some important configurations that help you to ensure you’re collecting the right data.
If you want to get the most out of GA4, it’s a good idea to perform the switch so that you can check it’s all set up correctly.
If you do choose to let Google move you over automatically, you might want to check that everything is as it should be later.
How Do I Switch from Universal Analytics to GA4?
One way to switch to GA4 is simply to let the switch happen on its own.
If you do nothing, you will be moved to GA4 anyway. But if you want it all to be set up properly, you can also switch manually.
You can add Google Analytics 4 to a site that already has Univeral Analytics, or you can create a new GA4 property for your site if you’re not using Google Analytics already.
Need some help? As a digital marketing agency, we can make sure you get it right by lending a hand and helping you make the switch.
How Can I Best Configure My GA4 Settings?
Google Analytics will help you set up your GA4 property with their wizard when you use the GA4 Setup Assistant.
Learning to use the new dashboard and features can take some time, but it’s worth it to familiarise yourself with how it works.
One of the first things you might want to do is customise your reports snapshot, so you can quickly see the most important metrics.
You will also want to start creating new events and take a look at your suggested audiences.
If you want help with setting up GA4 and ensuring you have configured it optimally, get in touch with our team.
We will help to ensure you have the best settings to meet your needs and you can make GA4 work for you.
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To find out how we can help your business today call us today on 01702 471 015 or fill out our contact form and a member of our team will be in touch.