Introducing Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Google Universal Analytics is coming to an end. Google Analytics 4 is the new kid on the block. If you’re using Universal Analytics, you should transition to GA4 as soon as possible, as UA will become redundant from July 2023.
Google is clearly ahead of the pack when it comes to the web analytics technology sector. In 2022, Google Analytics dominated 29.62% of the industry, Google Global Site Tag represented 23.73% of the market, and Google Universal Analytics made up 19.61%.
One of the reasons Google has such a dominant position in terms of web services, in general, is that the search engine giant never remains stagnant. It’s constantly updating its algorithms and services to provide users with the best possible experience and results.
This is something we’ve seen with Universal Google Analytics, as Google Analytics 4 was recently introduced. This also means that Universal Analytics properties will become redundant as of 1 July 2023. (Something you should take note of for your sites running analytics).
In this blog, we explore what you need to know about Google Analytics 4 and how to get started.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a web analytics service that provides you with the tools to analyse your site’s performance. The data you gather and analyse enables you to optimise your marketing initiatives for your target audience. This service is free for anyone with a Google account and is part of the Google Marketing Platform.
You can use Google Analytics to track site performance and gather visitor insights. It can help businesses to:
- discover trends and patterns in user engagement;
- track goal completions;
- gauge the success of marketing campaigns and activities;
- determine top sources of traffic and more.
Small and medium-sized law firms often use Google Analytics to understand how potential clients use their websites so they can enhance their marketing efforts, drive website traffic, and retain visitor engagement.
Introducing Google Analytics 4: the next generation of analytics
There are currently two types of properties that Google uses:
- Google Analytics 4
- Universal Analytics
Universal Analytics will stop processing data in just a few months. While you can view your Universal Analytics reports for a period of time after the 1 July, 2023, new data is only going to flow into Google Analytics 4 properties.
GA4 has been created for the future of measurement. Let’s take a look at some of the key highlights:
- Direct integrations with media platforms that help drive actions on your app or website;
- Predictive capabilities that provide guidance without complicated models;
- Private controls are included, such as conversion modelling, behavioural modelling, and cookieless measurement ;
- GA4 utilises event-based data rather than session-based data;
- GA4 will collate both app and website data better to understand the consumer/visitor journey.
So, what’s actually changed with GA4?
The short answer: a lot!
Google Analytics 4 utilises significantly different data collection and data structure logic.
Rather than everything being built around sessions, it’s built around events and users. An events-based model like this processes every user interaction as a standalone event.
This change is a monumental one, as we’ve historically relied on a session-based model where user interactions are grouped within a specified time frame.
By moving the focus onto events, there are major advantages you can gain, including an enhanced capacity for path analysis and cross-platform analysis.
The move to an event-based model means that Google Analytics 4 is more flexible and better able to predict how a user will behave.
GA4 revolutionises reporting
Google Analytics 4 is a forward-thinking solution that utilises enhanced machine learning techniques to effectively fill data gaps. It creates a single-user journey for all data connected to the same identity.
Further, as the reporting interface is simple and easy to use (although a little overwhelming when moving from Universal Analytics), marketers should be able to spot data irregularities and trends with ease.
GA4 makes the most of overview reports in summary cards, instead of presenting you with an extensive list of predefined reports that attempt to cover every use case. If you do want to dig a little bit deeper, all you need to do is click on the scorecard.
Do I need to move from Universal Analytics to GA4?
It’s imperative that your law firm makes the switch to Google Analytics 4. Right now, you can run a GA4 property in parallel with Universal Analytics. However, as mentioned, in just a few months' time, Universal Analytics won’t collate new data anymore, meaning it’s pretty much going to become redundant.
Gathering data and strengthening your machine learning (MIL) models will ensure that analysis in the future is much more meaningful. When you collect data more effectively, you’re able to make more intelligent marketing strategy decisions.
How can I get started with Google Analytics 4?
There are three possible options when getting started with Google Analytics 4.
- Setting up Analytics data collection for the first time - to do this, you’ll need to create an Analytics account and then a new GA4 property. You can then add a data stream and set up data collection for all of your websites.
- Adding GA4 to a website that already uses Universal Analytics - the good news is that there is a GA4 Setup Assistant Wizard that will guide you through all of the steps. You’ll find this by going to your Google Analytics account and then clicking on the following: Admin > Account > Property > GA4 Setup Assistant.
- Adding GA4 to a CMS or website builder platform - the process depends on the website builder you use. The majority of website builders enable you to provide your “G-” code to set up analytics. This includes WordPress, WooCommerce, Wix, TYPO3, Squarespace, One.com, Magento, HubSpot, Google Sites, GoDaddy, Duda, Drupal, Blogger, Awesome Motive and many more.
Making the transition to Google Analytics 4
So there you have it. Everything you need to know about the introduction of Google Analytics 4.
A #1 takeaway
If you’re still using Universal Analytics properties on your website or app at the time of publication of this article (March 2023), it’s time to make the switch.
Contacting Social Hive
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