For over 15 years Google has had a solution for website analytics. Their first iteration in 2005 might have been basic but over the decades, the solution has become better and more complex. In 2012, Universal Analytics(GA3) was launched, introducing cross-platform tracking, custom dimensions and metrics and a whole lot of other revolutionary components. With the launch of GA4 in 2020, upwards of approx. 60% of the analytics industry users were expecting alot. Google Analytics 4 is full of new features, smart with the help of artificial intelligence, scalable with countless integrations and still free. I want to tell you about some of its benefits and how you should make the move from UA to GA4 now.
Google Analytics 4 comes with a lot of features that are powerful and intelligent. One will confront you from the very start; enhanced measurement, an easy to use datastream option that will collect pageviews, scrolls, outbound links, site search, downloads and video engagement automatically. Another fantastic feature that was not possible in the previous version of GA is the ability to track both apps and websites together in one property.
GA4 also offers a new-generation of features that use machine learning to give you the best insights. For example their predictive metrics that include purchase and churn probability as well as revenue prediction can open a world of possibilities for you and your business. These features can also alert you on significant trends that might be developing without your knowledge.
New data model
GA4 is not only collecting data differently, it also serves it up differently; without sampling and in easier to understand and customized graphs. The new data model is based on events and only events. UA’s data model compiled of separated pageviews and events is left in the past. This switch in the data collection is the main reason why historical data cannot be transferred from your UA to your GA4 property.
Google’s developers have put a lot of effort into visualizing and analyzing the customer journey. The event-driven data model makes it easier to put together the steps a user took on your website and/or app over the course of some hours, days or months and on different devices. This holistic approach allows for a better understanding of the data and in turn a better ROI.
Using machine learning in data analysis is nothing new but with growing data sets from multiple sources, GA4 is making a good case for its use. The integration of BigQuery, Google’s multi cloud data warehouse, offers users of GA4 a taste of big data analytics and this offering could be revolutionary for small and medium sized companies alike.
Google Ads also received a deeper integration with GA4 and now you will be able to create audiences from your website and app data to target users with more relevant and engaging content. Salesforce and other CRMs(customer resource management) can also be integrated as well as the usual social media platforms.
So what happens with Universal Analytics (GA3)? No concrete date has been set to discontinue it but we are pretty certain that that day will come soon. GA4 might no longer be in Beta, but there are still bugs to be fixed and improvements to be made. What we recommend is that you open a GA4 account as soon as possible and start collecting data in parallel to your UA property. The benefit to this is that when UA does finally get dropped, you will have plenty of data to work with and already be acquainted with the new platform. Moreover, GA4 works best with more data, feed the beast early and start seeing the benefits earlier!
Our team of analytics specialists are already opening GA4 accounts with our clients and we would be happy to support you with your move!