Google Analytics is an essential tool for understanding how a website performs. It provides valuable insights into user behaviour, including how visitors interact with your website, which pages are popular, and where users are coming from. Recently, Google introduced Google Analytics 4 (GA4), a new version of its popular analytics platform.
However, it's worth noting that UA will end on July 1st, 2023, so you will need to switch to GA4 soon.
This update brings many new features and capabilities, but is it worth switching? In this article, we'll explore the benefits of GA4 and what you need to know.
Benefits of GA4
Before we dive into the benefits of GA4, it's important to note that this new version is significantly different from the previous version of Google Analytics. While the older version focused on pageviews and sessions, GA4 is designed to provide a more complete view of user behaviour.
Here are some of the benefits of GA4:
- Enhanced Data Tracking: GA4 uses event-based tracking to provide a complete picture of user behaviour. This allows you to track more granular data, such as button clicks, video views, and form submissions.
- Improved Cross-Device Tracking: With GA4, you can track user behaviour across multiple devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones. This is especially important in today's world, where users increasingly use various devices to browse the internet.
- More Intelligent Insights: GA4 includes machine learning capabilities that can help you identify trends and patterns in your data. This can help you make more informed decisions about your website and marketing efforts.
- Privacy-Centric: GA4 is designed to be more privacy-centric than its predecessor. It allows users to opt out of tracking and includes features such as data deletion on demand.
"GA4 has the capability to give a much clearer and more accurate picture of all the ways (on and offline) a person interacts with a brand along their way to convert, or not. Giving those brands the opportunity to better tailor their user experiences and messaging at each touchpoint.”
Emma Haslam — Founder of Borago Insights
Things to Remember Ahead of the Switch
While there are many benefits to GA4, there are also some things to consider before making the switch.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
GA4 significantly differs from the previous version of Google Analytics, which means there may be a learning curve when you start using it. However, many resources are available to help you get up to speed, including documentation and online forums.
Lack of Historical Data
Because GA4 is a new platform, it doesn't include historical data from the previous version of Google Analytics, so you'll need to start collecting new data from scratch. However, running both versions of Google Analytics in parallel is possible to avoid losing historical data.
Integration with Other Tools
If you currently use other tools that integrate with Google Analytics, such as AdWords or Google Optimise, you'll need to ensure that they're compatible with GA4 before making the switch.
While both Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Universal Analytics (UA) are tools that help you track and analyse user behaviour on your website, there are several differences between the two platforms.
Here's a table comparing some of the key differences:
As you can see, GA4 offers several benefits over UA, including more granular data tracking, more intelligent insights, and a focus on user privacy. However, because it's a new platform, it may take some time to get used to and may not be compatible with all third-party tools.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the idea of switching to GA4 on your own? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Our team of experts can take care of the entire process for you, from setting up your GA4 account to ensuring a smooth transition of your data. We can guarantee you that your website analytics will be up-to-date and working for you in no time. Don't let the fear of a complicated switch hold you back from experiencing the benefits of GA4. Let us handle the switch for you and start taking advantage of all the new features and capabilities that GA4 has to offer.
Key Metrics That GA4 Will Change
As you switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), it's important to remember that the new version may change some of the key metrics you're used to track. Here are some of the metrics that may be affected:
- Bounce rate: In GA4, bounce rate is calculated differently than in previous versions. Instead of a bounce being defined as a single-page session, GA4 considers a bounce to be a session without user interaction.
- Session duration: GA4 measures session duration differently as well. Instead of measuring the time between the first and last user interaction, GA4 measures the time between the first user interaction and the end of the session.
- Goal conversion rate: In GA4, goal conversion rate is calculated based on the total number of sessions a goal completed rather than the total number of sessions overall.
- User engagement: GA4 provides more granular data on user engagement, allowing you to track specific user interactions such as scrolling or video plays.
- Events: 1. GA4 is more event-focused than previous versions, so you'll need to set up and track events to get a complete picture of user behaviour.
While these changes may take some time, they can ultimately provide a more accurate and nuanced view of your website's performance. By taking the time to understand how GA4 calculates metrics, you can continue to make informed decisions based on your data.
Who Can Benefit the Most from Switching to GA4?
While any website can benefit from switching to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), other may see the most significant benefits. Here are some examples:
- E-commerce websites: If you run an e-commerce website, switching to GA4 can provide more granular data tracking and better insights into user behaviour, which can help you optimise your sales funnel and improve your conversion rates.
- Multi-device websites: Websites accessed across multiple devices can benefit from GA4's improved cross-device tracking, which can help you better understand how users interact with your site across different devices.
- Websites with long sales cycles: If your website has a long sales cycle, GA4's machine learning capabilities can help you identify patterns and trends that you might not have noticed otherwise, which can help you make better decisions about your marketing and sales strategies.
- Websites with strict privacy regulations: GA4's privacy-centric design can be especially beneficial for websites subject to strict privacy regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA.
- Websites with a lot of custom events: GA4's event-based tracking can be especially useful for websites with many custom events that need to be tracked, such as video plays or form submissions.
Overall, any website that wants to gain more insights into user behaviour and make data-driven decisions can benefit from making the switch to GA4.
In conclusion, switching to Google Analytics 4 can seem daunting, and it's crucial to remember that UA will shut down on July 1st 2023. Going ahead with switching is only beneficial because you will gain enough time to move everything and, most importantly, ensure everything's set up correctly and works.
While adjusting to the new interface and features may take some time, the benefits of GA4 are undeniable. With its machine learning capabilities, improved user tracking, and simplified implementation, GA4 will offer the tools to gain deeper insights into your website's performance and make informed decisions about your online business.
So, should you switch to GA4 now? The answer is yes if you're ready to take your website analytics to the next level. Don't be afraid to take the leap and start exploring all that GA4 has to offer. With the right approach and a little bit of practice, you'll be on your way to unlocking the full potential of your website data.