There is still time to learn about and collect data on the new analytics possibilities. Organizations can quickly accomplish this by establishing a new GA4 property.
Google Analytics (GA) is a free Google service available to all digital platforms. It tracks user behavior, site traffic, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) performance. Millions of organizations have been using Google Analytics for marketing.
The free version of Google’s Universal Analytics (UA), used by over 28 million websites, will be phased out soon.
Because Google controls so many elements of the internet, every change it announces will be met with outrage. The transition to Google Analytics’ fourth edition is no exception.
The interface has changed dramatically since Google originally launched it in the early 2000s. The most recent edition includes a slew of new features.
The new version, GA4, is a powerful and affordable tool (the basic version is free). However, since it fundamentally differs from UA, companies must learn to navigate the new interfaces and data tracking methods.
What exactly is GA4?
To begin, Google Analytics was launched in 2005. It has been providing tools to provide insights about website traffic.
According to a study, Google Analytics is used by 55% of all websites. Google Analytics can track everything with a unique tracking ID, including websites, mobile apps, and blogs. Without question, Google Analytics has been the most widely used traffic analysis tool. That may seem impressive on its own. However, since over one-third of websites do not use other monitoring solutions, marketers recognize Google Analytics’ massive market share. Because Google controls so many elements of the internet, every change it announces will be met with extreme reactions. The transition to Google Analytics’ fourth edition is no different.
When Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is released, it will stop processing data in the Universal Analytics version. This will impact millions of digital operators. Many businesses rely on historical data to develop and evaluate marketing objectives. Marketers should act immediately to save your data and move on.
Here’s what you need to know and how to get started.
Understanding the most recent version of Google Analytics
Unlike Google’s Universal Analytics (UA), GA4 collects data from both platforms into a single view. Using machine learning algorithms, users may track site visitors’ journeys and acquire a deeper knowledge of engagements.
GA4 also provides direct media channel integrations so you can learn what encourages customers to utilize your app or website. Google states that GA4 aims for privacy at its core. The most recent version adds privacy features such as cookieless measurement and behavioral and conversion modeling.
What’s the difference between Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Universal Analytics?
The next version of Google Analytics, or Google Analytics 4, offers better and more sophisticated features than Universal Analytics. GA4 incorporates ML and AI into its analytics to better understand customer behavior across channels and devices. This is unlike Universal Analytics, which concentrates on tracking individual user interactions on a website.
Google Analytics vs. Universal Analytics
There are a few basic differences between the two:
- While Universal Analytics classifies mobile data as a separate property, GA4 classifies data from mobile websites and apps as a single property.
- The metrics differ. GA4, for example, counts all conversions, regardless of whether they occurred concurrently or not. Universal Analytics only captured one activity per session.
- The GA4 page view data includes online and app screen views. But with UA, you must check two properties to get the total.
- The biggest difference is the measurement model that each uses. Universal Analytics employs a measurement model based on sessions and page views. Google Analytics 4 uses a measurement model based on events and parameters.
So, a session is a collection of user interactions (hits) with a website over a predetermined period for UA. Multiple page views, events, and eCommerce transactions can occur during a single session.
According to the underlying theory, any interaction can be recorded as an event. As a result, GA4 events correspond to all Universal Analytics hit types.
Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics
- Every event in Universal Analytics (and all earlier versions of GA) has a category, action, and label and is its hit type.
- There are no categories, activities, or labels in GA4. Each hit results in an event that may or may not have parameters.
- Enhanced Measurement events can be turned on or off depending on the functionality of a website.
These events are also automatically collected along with the base code. These events could be scrolling, outbound clicks, site searches, and video engagement.
Events categorized by industry type are ones that Google suggests to organize. The recommended events from Google, except the eCommerce recommended events, are general recommendations, and the naming conventions are unnecessary.
Businesses can design and implement custom events and parameters according to the website’s needs. The limit is 500 named events, which may increase or decrease.
- Another notable distinction is the end of Universal Analytics and GA4 monthly hit limits. The monthly cap for Universal Analytics’ free version was 10 million hits. That does not exist anymore.
Some clients need help gathering all the necessary data while staying within this cap. Instead, GA4 has a cap of 500 on the variety of recordable events. As of this writing, there is no cap on the number of hits. As a result, many clients have already chosen to approach their analytics using GA4 first.
Preparing for the Transition
Google provides a how-to guide for transitioning to Google Analytics 4. It is a migration path for content management system (CMS) users, new administrators, and users upgrading to GA4
Google rates each technique’s difficulty and includes links to relevant tools such as the GA4 Setup Assistant and the Goals Migration tool.
Each step in the migration path guarantees that Google Analytics can collect data and generate relevant results.
The six stages are as follows:
- Choosing your account structure.
- Establishing a data stream and a GA4 property.
- Gathering information about apps and websites.
- Google signals are turned on.
- Creating conversions.
- Increasing the number of individuals.
Is GA4 better Than its Predecessors?
GA4’s and Universal Analytics’ platforms are substantially different. There are various advantages to using the GA4 event-based monitoring methodology.
- It allows you to track a wider range of user behaviors.
- It provides more detailed information about user behavior.
- It is less dependent on cookies, so it is future-proof.
Lack of Assistance
However, aside from privacy concerns, there are various other issues to be concerned about. One of them is losing control of your information. GA4 requires specialized help or onboarding. This procedure is time-consuming for large organizations that must install and customize it independently and have complex websites and data.
Businesses of all sizes should know that long-term data storage now has a cost. Even though GA4 comes with a free connection to BigQuery, Google’s data warehouse, there may be fees for accessing and using your data.
Also Read: Best Alternatives for Google Analytics (GA)
How will GA4 affect your company?
Businesses must begin saving historical data. The GA4 is a new paradigm that Google will implement before the shift in analytics characteristics in 2023.
There is still time to learn about and collect data on the new analytics possibilities. Organizations can quickly achieve this by Creating a new GA4 property.
Using dual tagging, it can run with Universal Analytics. It is vital to emphasize that this action will cause no harm to any data. Businesses can use this strategy to save old data while learning about the new data model.
It will also help firms move from Universal Analytics to GA4, allowing them to improve their marketing plans and client experiences.