Google Analytics GA4 – What’s changing?
Google Analytics 4 is Google’s next-generation measurement solution, and it’s replacing Universal Analytics (traditional Google Analytics as we know it). From 1st July 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits.
What is Universal Analytics?
- Universal Analytics is the default version of Google Analytics that you are familiar with at the moment. If you still rely on Universal Analytics, Google recommends that you migrate and prepare to use Google Analytics 4 as soon as is possible.
What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
- Google Analytics GA4 is the latest version of Google’s web analytics platform, designed to provide a more intuitive and user-friendly experience for tracking and analysing website traffic.
- One of the key features of GA4 is its focus on event-based tracking. This means that rather than just tracking page views, you can set up specific events on your website that can be tracked and analysed. For example, you might set up events to track button clicks, form submissions, or video plays. This allows you to get a much more detailed understanding of how users are interacting with your website and what actions they are taking. It fills in a lot of the blanks
- GA4 also integrates with Google’s BigQuery data warehouse, which allows you to easily export and analyse your website data in greater depth using SQL queries. This is particularly useful for businesses that want to conduct more advanced analysis on their website data, such as building custom dashboards or integrating with other tools.
- In addition to these features, GA4 includes real-time tracking, enhanced reporting, and integration with Google Ads. It also has a new interface that is designed to be more user-friendly and easier to navigate.
- From July 1 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits
- Businesses can still access their UA data for 6 months after this
Why the switch?
“Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies,” Russell Ketchum, director, product management at Google, said in the announcement. “This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete.”
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) differs from its predecessor in that it operates across platforms, doesn’t rely on cookies and uses an event-based data model for measurement. It also does not store IP addresses, which can help brands stay on the right side of privacy regulations.
What do I need to do?
The sooner you’re set up with GA4, the better. By setting up your GA4 property well in advance of the July deadline you’ll ensure you have some historical data to compare when the changeover comes around. It will also help you to familiarise yourself with the new look dashboard.
There’s a step-by-step guide from Google available here which guides you through the process – https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/10110290?hl=en#zippy=%2Cin-this-article
Existing Creatomatic clients looking for help with setting GA4 up or understanding how to interpret your data, please get in touch with us today for advice.