Google is sunsetting Universal Analytics, which has been the web’s favourite analytics platform for ten years, in favour of its new Google Analytics 4 platform. But when do you need to make the switch, and what does swapping to GA4 mean?
Google Analytics 4, or GA4, is the next generation of Google measurement software. While Universal Analytics was built around desktop views and easily measurable cookies, GA4 uses different signals to measure user activity while maintaining privacy, making it more mobile friendly and compliant with updates like iOS 14.5.
Universal Analytics will be officially retired on 1 July 2023 for most users. That means it won’t register any new hits on your website. You’ll still be able to access any existing data, but no new visits will be recorded. You’ll need to make sure that GA4 is already up and running ahead of this date.
Luckily, you can have both platforms running alongside each other easily, and you can even access them from the same dashboard – no need to create a new bookmark!
GA4 has been designed to make it easier to understand your funnel and track events. While Universal Analytics based its measurement around sessions, GA4 works primarily on users and specific activity they undertake, such as adding a product to their cart, or visiting a certain page.
It’s much easier to track certain events, but others will still require some work in Google Tag Manager to be effectively measured. This includes any third-party events, such as those that take place within an iframe, and form submissions.
Reports also look different – there’s now a much greater emphasis on dashboards to give you a quick overview, and the option to create even more detailed reports further down the line. The new Explore hub allows you to create reports based around a number of key areas, including:
These are only some of the new reports that can be generated, and while the Explore hub looks and feels a lot different to the reports in Universal Analytics, it offers much more powerful insights. This is absolutely vital now that your website is most likely your customer’s first port of call and can help you to keep making better improvements as time goes, rather than just gather a bunch of data that doesn’t properly reflect how your business works.
Not sure how to get your analytics under control? Need a hand to get everything set up and moved across? Our digital experts are here to help you wrangle your tags and get tracking successfully. We’d love to hear from you – drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
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