Transition to the new Google Analytics 4 by July 1, 2023!
Back in 2020, Google announced that they would be sunsetting the current version of Universal Analytics in favour of Google Analytics 4 (GA4). If you pushed your migration to GA4 off because you felt like you had nothing but time to prepare, here is your official warning! On July 1, 2023, it will be out with the old and in with the new. No new data will be processed after this time, and GA4 will be the new standard to measure analytics across websites and apps. It’s time to get on board, and we’re here to guide the transition!
What is Google Analytics 4?
The newest iteration of Google Analytics, GA4 offers promising features that are designed for the future, with cross-channel tracking that now captures users’ journeys across a variety of channels, including websites and apps.
Some of GA4’s more significant changes involve security and privacy. With privacy at its core, the updated platform boasts more comprehensive and granular controls intended for data collection/usage.
What’s different about GA4 again?
GA4 features full cross-device and cross-platform reporting, something that was more limited with Universal Analytics. The ability to track website and app data in the same property should result in more precise reporting, providing you with more accurate insights into your customers’ journey.
Based on a different measurement model, businesses shouldn’t expect to see the same kinds of reports as with Universal Analytics. In GA4, you will see new reports like retention, monetization and engagement.
In Universal Analytics, interactions were captured in sessions composed of different hit types like page views, transactions, and social interactions. In contrast, GA4 will capture every interaction as an event. Event data is anonymous, allowing you to track complex user journeys across multiple devices rather than focusing on the specific users themselves.
In GA4, every event will generate a session ID, with which all subsequent events during the session are associated. Gone are bounce rate metrics; instead, GA4 introduces a new metric called “engaged sessions per user.” This shows how people are engaging with your content. In the Engagement report, you will now find more metrics related to traffic and engagement.
GA4 offers an advanced level of analysis of the data you are tracking. Users can now customize their reports based on what best suits their needs.
GA4 leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide free predictive analytics, which is a great benefit, particularly for eCommerce clients. Anomaly detection is built in, designed to alert you if Google detects something amiss.
GA4 and SEO
With the implementation of GA4, what does this mean for your SEO strategy? Leverage some of the new features to make sure you continue to rank in google:
Use analytics to their full potential
With deeper insights than ever, GA4 provides more predictive analytics you can utilize that result directly from how you use your SEO. Some specific features that will help you utilize SEO more efficiently:
- Landing page reports
- SEO reports permanently in navigation
- Real-time users reports
- User trends/engagement reports
- Traffic acquisition and retention data
First-party data vs third-party cookies
The blocking of third-party cookies means you won’t have access to your audience’s journey or the ability to tailor content to them that you once had. It’s time to start focusing on first-party data!
More reliable than third-party data, you will now source data directly from your users. How? Through subscription forms, polls, and surveys. Add these to your website to start collecting information about your audience.
Why the urgency?
Your current Universal Analytics data and reporting are not compatible with GA4, and you will not be able to access the data you have become used to. We can’t stress it enough: act now to gather as much data as possible to ensure continuity. The sooner you start tracking data in GA4, the better.
Google Analytics is an integral part of helping our clients analyze and understand their website’s performance. Setting up GA4 and running both properties concurrently for as long as possible will help minimize any disruption once July arrives and Universal Analytics is no longer available.
We know it can seem a bit overwhelming to get started — we are here to help! Connect with us to discuss your GA4 migration and the future of your analytics.