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The importance of planning for Google Analytics 4 and making the switch

Google is making big changes in 2023 with its latest version of Analytics and that’s going to worry many marketers and businesses because of the implications for their campaigns. Indaru can help you plan for the transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) so you’re ready before it happens.

Google Analytics Deadline 4: What it means for your business

When the extinction of Universal Analytics and the impending introduction of Google Analytics 4 was announced, it seemed to many that there was plenty of time to make the switch. However, with the official migration date of June 2023 getting closer and closer, it’s better to make the switch sooner rather than later.

Why you should migrate to GA4 immediately

GA4 is a major upgrade with a much more powerful and accurate interface to give you much clearer information going forward. If you wait until June 2023 to switch to GA4, you will run out of data on your UA property, which can make it difficult to create year-over-year comparisons or projections based on historical data. The sooner you move, the more historical data you will have to work with once UA is mothballed.

Finally, you should make the switch close to the deadline, it is very possible that there will be too many companies making the switch at the same time, which will create high demand and server issues. You will also be speeding up the setup of your GA4 account and you could make mistakes with your setup that affect the accuracy of your data insights.

GA4 is a much more powerful and accurate interface that can provide much clearer information in the future.

Key differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics.

There are several key differences between Universal Analytics (UA) and GA4.

1. Data models

The biggest difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics is that GA4 uses an “event-based” approach, while Universal Analytics uses a “hit-based” approach. With GA4, you specify the type of event you want to track before collecting any data (e.g. page views, add to cart, checkout, registrations, etc.). This helps ensure that all the data you collect is useful and relevant to your business goals. Universal Analytics, on the other hand, starts with collecting visits and then tries to infer meaning from the data collected.

2. Machine learning

GA4 offers you a new machine learning powered feature that automatically shows you insights from your data and gives you recommendations to improve the performance of your campaign and website. You can analyse metrics such as the likelihood of people making a purchase, audience churn and projected revenue. You can use these predictions to target new audiences with your retargeting campaigns. This is a new technology and, although it is robust, it is still in development, so it will continue to improve its predictions over time.

3. Reporting

GA4 offers you more customisable report templates instead of relying on standard templates. You can also link your GA4 account to BigQuery to access raw data and execute SQL commands, as well as to Looker Studio, to get more information about your data.

4. Metrics

GA4 allows you to create custom dimensions and metrics through event parameters and track more useful data through enhanced measurement events. This is a shift from session-based data to event-based data. Instead of just looking at page views or sessions, you can now limit your analysis to specific interactions (i.e. events). For example, you’ll be able to track scrolling, searches on your site, outbound clicks, video interaction rates and demographics for detailed reporting.

While UA requires you to create your conversion tags through the Google Ads interface, events and conversions can be created in the GA4 interface so you can get a quick overview of important metrics without having to pull parameter reports. You can set up your event, test it in real time and then mark the event as a conversion for seamless integration and ease of use.

Overall, GA4 gives you a more holistic and accurate view of your website visitors than Universal Analytics. It is important to note that switching to GA4 will require some planning and effort, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Google Analytics 4 implementation

New features in GA4

GA4 has a number of new features that will help you get clear information about your audiences and campaigns.

1. Dashboard

The new GA4 dashboard is much more streamlined and has quick links to key reports and popular features to make it easier for you to interact.

2. Cross-platform tracking

Cross-platform tracking allows you to track users across all devices and platforms, including websites and apps. This can help you understand how your customers interact with your business at every touchpoint and ensure you are delivering a consistent experience. This is achieved by assigning each user a unique ID that GA4 can track as the user moves from one platform to another.

A Cross-Platform Tracking allows you to track users across devices and platforms, including websites and apps.

3. Audience targeting

Audience targeting allows you to create custom audiences based on user behaviour. For example, you can create an audience based on people in a geographic location who took a specific action when they visited your website. This can help you target your marketing campaigns more effectively.

4. Suggested audiences

With its advanced machine learning capabilities, GA4 can recommend audiences based on the information you provide about your business. This can help you access new markets or expand your reach.

5. Enhanced tracking capabilities

GA4 allows you to track up to 300 events per property and 30 conversions, giving you enormous flexibility and scalability in terms of the data you collect.

How Indaru can help you prepare for GA4

When it comes to your Google Analytics (GA) implementation, you want to be sure you’re ready for the next GA4 update. As digital marketing experts, we have experience with over 100 GA4 implementations and know how to set up GA4 accounts correctly.

With enhanced customisation capabilities, GA4 has a steep learning curve, but we’ll offer you ongoing support after the switch to GA4 rather than you trying to familiarise yourself with the system on your own.