History of Google Analytics
November 2005 saw a fundamental shift in the way marketers analyzed the performance of their websites. Google made a free web tool (Google Analytics) available to analyze performance and sales (after buying it from Urchin). Fast forward to 2022 and Google Analytics (GA) is still the gold standard used by a variety of companies around the world.
GA has recently announced that it will phase out its Universal Analytics (UA) and replace it with Google Analytics 4 (GA4). GA4 recently came out of Beta testing and was known as G4, App & Web, the name hints at things to come. This means you can now see all your website and app data in one place and see how it interacts with each other to form a customer journey.
Google recently announced: “On July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics standard properties will no longer process data. You will be able to view your Universal Analytics reports for a period of time after July 1, 2023. However, new data will only flow to your GA 4 properties.”
What do the new Google Analytics changes mean for businesses and marketers?
GA4 will offer a number of new tools than its predecessor UA and is preparing for the future with GDPR, user privacy and data collection in mind.These are just some of the fundamental changes that are happening within GA4:
event-basedAU was session-based. However, GA4 is changing to event based. In a nutshell, an event is button clicks, time spent watching a video, page clicks, sessions, and anything a user does on your website or app. GA4 will track all events like the aforementioned much more easily than it currently does in UA. For businesses, this means a much easier way to create and analyze reports, as well as view a customer’s journey to purchase.
UA was originally designed with just website traffic in mind. In recent years, companies have created applications for customers, and for this reason, GA4 allows companies to see their customer’s journey on their website and in compatible applications. As a business, this helps you manage your audiences and track user behavior across multiple platforms. GA4 now allows you to create ad hoc funnels based on an event (a previously paid feature).
Complete user journeyUA breaks down interactions into sessions, devices, and platforms, but GA4 will focus on the entire user journey, all of the above. There is a new “Lifecycle” section with reports on Acquisition, Engagement, Retention, and Monetization to help businesses and marketers better understand their users.
Machine learningGA4 is less reliant on cookies and third-party privacy data and will use machine learning to fill in the gaps. This, in turn, will be a benefit to future industry changes and gaps in your data. There is also a new feature where you can group users based on how likely they are to purchase within the next 7 days. This will help marketers re-market to those users.
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Should I upgrade to Google Analytics 4 now?
In short, yes! While UA is still in use as of July 2023, you can and should upgrade to GA4 as soon as possible. After July 1, 2023, UA will not provide any new data, although you can still view historical data approximately six months after this date.It’s best to be an early adopter of this technology and have plenty of time to learn, rather than wait until July 2023. By installing GA4 now, you can still switch between UA and GA4, this will allow GA4 to collect data for your machine. . learning while you yourself also learn the innovative technology. By adapting now, you’re also starting the machine learning process as soon as possible, putting your business at a head start in July 2023.
GA has already installed an update button that will guide you through the GA4 installation process. Additionally, Google has been hard at work producing a large number of documents to help you set up GA4, as well as ongoing training and support.
What are the benefits of Google Analytics 4?
From everything that has been written so far, there seem to be several key benefits for businesses:
1. Analyze and integrate data from both the website and applications
2. Get a better understanding of the customer journey
3. Intelligent business insights through machine learning
4. Ability to act on data to achieve your business goals
5. Segmentation and target audiences. Any published audiences you make will also be shared with Google Ads, allowing you to really target your key audiences.
6. Adapts to new and emerging environments around privacy and data management.7. Simplified conversion tracking. In UA I could only track a maximum of 20 conversions, with GA4 this is now unlimited
8. Automatic tracking of events, such as downloads, clicks on external links, etc.
9. Predictive Metrics:
* Whether a user is likely to buy in the next 7 days
* Drop rate
* Income prediction for the next 28 days
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