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GA4: A Guide to the Latest Google Analytics Update.
In October, Google announced the latest version of Google Analytics, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which is set to roll out on 4 July 2022. As of July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics will stop processing data, meaning GA4 will become your default analytics platform.
Although this may seem like a long time away, getting set up on GA4 before this date will be hugely beneficial. When you first log on, a lot of regular reports and metrics will be missing or changed, so a strong understanding of the platform before previous iterations are discontinued will be crucial to staying ahead of the curve. It will also provide you with adequate time to collect data in GA4 without losing any from your current accounts.
We’ve created this helpful guide touching on what you need to know about the update, including why it is happening, how it will benefit your business and best practices when making the transition.
What is GA4?
Google Analytics 4, or GA4, is the latest evolution of the Google Analytics platform which will become the default as of July 1, 2023. You will still be able to access and use the old platform for a short period of time after this date, but new data will only be available through GA4.
Why are Google implementing GA4?
The primary intent behind the change is to bring together the measurement of both website and mobile app data usage onto one platform for unified reporting when creating a new property. This coincides with a greater effort to track the entire user journey, as opposed to segmenting user interaction between platform, users or sessions.
As previously mentioned, many reports you may be familiar with will have been replaced or removed for the sake of streamlining the platform. This is a conscious effort from Google to encourage the use of Google Data Studio for reporting, or for you to create your own reports using the Explorations report template.
The move also coincides with Google embracing the new cookieless landscape, offering a far more flexible approach to measuring engagement both with or without identifiers or cookies. This reduced reliance on cookies will be countered with machine learning, which is designed to fill in the gaps where user consent is not offered for tracking.
How will GA4 benefit my business?
Below are seven reasons the latest Google Analytics platform will provide a smoother and more interactive experience when tracking your data.
- GA4 collects both website and app data, whereas previously you would have to use the specific GA property for website use and Google Analytics for Firebase or Google Analytics APP view for mobile app usage data.
- Instead of session-based data, GA4 uses ‘events’ for a less-segmented approach.
- With GA4, there are no limits to the volume of data you can send.
- GA4 uses a new set of privacy controls, including cookieless measurement and behavioural and conversion modelling, utiliing predictive capabilities which offer guidance without complex models where data may be incomplete. This means greater accuracy in reporting on unique users across all platforms.
- With the intention of driving actions, GA4 uses direct integrations to media platforms.
- You will be given free access to BigQuery, a cloud data warehouse which helps you manage and analyze your data with built-in features.
- Debugging is readily available within the GA4 reporting interface.
How can I get started with GA4?
If you are currently using a Universal Analytics account, the upgrade will be available as of 4 July 2022. This means that the new property will be created, which you will be able to access through your Universal Analytics account, but your current account will not be affected until July 1, 2023, meaning data will still flow through this account also. Similarly, Firebase Analytics accounts (used for apps) will be automatically upgraded.
In many cases, there will be a change in language and labelling, meaning it is important that dev teams for ecommerce sites update their transaction data layers. For instance, the data layer parameters currently labelled ‘impression’ or ‘product’ have been consolidated into ‘items’. A full list can be found here.
How can Sagittarius help you with setting up GA4?
Sagittarius can assist with implementing GA4 ID via Goole Tag Manager and creating GA4 property, as well as migrating your existing goals from Universal Analytics to GA4. If necessary, we can also provide a full audit of your current set up to help you choose your next moves.
Additionally, we can provide a live reporting dashboard that surfaces business and marketing performance indicators in an easy to use, easy to digest interface. Find out more about how Sagittarius can help you with the transition to GA4 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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