It’s 2023’s hottest digital topic (for some) - the changes in how Google will collect and report data - and it’s said to be major. So let’s dive into GA4 data and why it’s so important for business..
Firstly, form the 1st of July 2023 a move to GA4 will be mandatory if you wish to collect and analyse website data. From this date, Google Analytics current system, Universal Analytics will stop collecting website data. Historical data will still be available for 6 months before the platform is completely retired.
Google Analytics (GA) has been an integral part of digital marketing strategies for quite some time, and the introduction of GA4 has quickly become the new standard for digital analytics - allowing marketers to understand their customers, to track and measure KPIs and maximise ROI. GA4 has been around since 2020, but in 2023 Google is making significant changes to the platform to ensure it continues to meet the needs and demands of marketers.
What is GA4?
The latest version of Google Analytics, which provides users with a comprehensive insight into customer journey and behaviour.
How does it work?
GA4 uses features from GA and App and Web to gain real time insights on both websites and apps. The information collected from users is done so through events which are triggered by user interactions such as a webpage view, a login, a download etc. This information is then used to create user profiles and analytics reports.
What are the changes?
The existing GA platform offers reporting data, but a shift this year will see GA4 offering more comprehensive reporting, and better insights to customers, their journey and behaviour. While GA is a fairly simple platform to navigate, GA4 is said to be even more so, with updates to the user interface such as drag and drop capabilities, bespoke dashboards and more.
With brands having more and more consumer touchpoints, the need for tracking these has become increasingly apparent. Unlike GA, GA4 can collect independent data from the various platforms - website, mobile, app and more - meaning marketers can get a deeper understanding of their customer, their experience and insight to their behaviour. GA4 will also provide options for marketers to measure custom events and develop reports that are more specific to your business.
Privacy is a big trend we are seeing in 2023 (check out this blog for more on this year’s marketing trends), and Google is respecting that. Currently GA tracks data through cookies, but with many sites seeking approval to do this, for those that decline GA is unable to gather any data or insight. GA4 however will use machine based learning to model user behaviour from those who have accepted cookies and share a similar digital profile, allowing marketers to ascertain insights and useful data without breaching users privacy.
Existing integrations will also receive an update, and additional integrations becoming available through GA4. This allows marketers to link data to other platforms such as CRM systems for a more holistic view of their users.
So if you’re not yet thinking about these changes and how they affect your business, start to ask yourself (or your digital lead) how you’ll go about collecting data in GA4 against your digital touchpoints, what reporting functions do you want/need, are all your conversion points set up as events for real time transaction tracking..
These changes are all positive for marketers, and with a sound strategy in place GA4 will help gather valuable data, information and insights about customers in order to maximise ROI.
If you need a hand with ensuring your GA4 is set up and fit for purpose for your business, get in touch with our team today - we would love to help.