Google Analytics 4: A sign that the times are a–changin’?
“Come gather ’round people, wherever you roam and admit that the waters around you have grown. And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone.. IN EVENT-BASED ANALYTICS AUTOMATIONS” — Bob Dylan (a slight adaptation by iBec Creative)
We’re no strangers to change over here. We operate largely on the internet, which is in a constant state of flux. Choosing to embrace the unknown means having faith in ourselves to figure it out, especially when faced with a new challenge. So… a GA4 rollout? No sweat! Let’s break it down together so you can understand how you’ll be affected.
The big question: Why?
The big answer: To provide a better service by adapting to the ever-changing internet environment. There have been a couple of Google Analytics updates since their first rollout in 2005. To keep their product relevant, Google knows they must adapt to the ways people are consuming internet content. Universal Analytics itself was an adaptation of the original Google Analytics that (among other updates) featured cross-device tracking. This allowed Google to track a single user across the multiple devices (smartphone, tablet, computer, etc) they were using to access the internet throughout the day. They did this using something called third-party “cookies”: data about your internet behavior saved and shared between your computer and certain websites. In the interest of their users’ privacy, many web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc) are moving towards no longer tracking 3rd party cookies. Hence, Google Analytics 4! An event-based, cookieless way to honor users’ privacy while still providing you with the analytic information you need about your website.
Change is inevitable. Growth is optional:
- Enhanced machine learning and artificial intelligence
With the goal of providing predictive insights about user behavior and conversions, GA4 has the ability to create new audiences full of users that are most likely to convert
- An event-based measurement model
Universal Analytics was organized by independent sessions. Google Analytics 4 allows a more complete view of your customer’s lifecyles using an event-based measurement model. Essentially this means an improved way of understanding how users move through the purchase funnel, allowing better insights into how to reduce user drop off.
- Data-driven attribution
If we were to guess that you’d love to increase your ROI, would we be spot on? Luckily GA4 is rolling out a new way to assign attribution credit to more than just last-click events. This means that you can get a more cohesive picture of how your marketing efforts are impacting the customer journey. With knowledge comes power. The more you’re able to understand about how your marketing activities influence conversions, the more you can customize your plan of attack.
- Expanded integration with other Google products
Optimize your campaigns by exporting your data-driven attribution analysis to Google Ads and Google Marketing Platform.
All good things must come to an end:
Universal Analytics days are numbered but as long as you transition to Google Analytics 4 before July 1, 2023 you’ll be safe (as you can be). We recommend making the move to GA4 as soon as possible because you’ll only be able to access previously processed Universal Analytics data for 6 months after it kicks the bucket. The sooner you move over to GA4, the more time you’ll have to build the historical data you need.
A team of ambitious marketing and development experts, ready to set you up for website analytic tracking bliss. While everyone has started from ground 0 with GA4, we’ve been working hard over the past couple of months to successfully implement it with all of our clients. We’ve learned a lot in that time and are ready to put our knowledge to use helping you implement it on your site as well!
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