Despite Google Analytics 4 (GA4) being around for the last three years, many users haven’t had the time to understand the new interface or why it needed to change. In addition, widespread privacy concerns with the current Google Universal Analytics (UA) have forced Google to set a date of July 2023 to switch off UA.
The next generation of Google Analytics GA4 uses a privacy-first approach to recording information about website and application visitors to ensure better compliance with ever-tightening privacy regulations.
Businesses have relied on insights from Google Analytics for over a decade, understanding user engagement and online performance data to make informed decisions. Whilst GA4 provides similar insights to UA, Google completely overhauled the application meaning its data will not be migrated from the old platform.
In 2018 the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) meant businesses were forced to take privacy seriously and get a better understanding of how they handled user data.
GA4 is Google’s response to a future where users no longer want to store third-party trackers on their devices. With the help of AI, Google claims to allow businesses to continue tracking user engagement using machine learning to “complete missing data” for users who choose not to be tracked.
Google first introduced Universal Analytics in 2012, intending to provide a more reliable approach to Google Analytics users for collecting data. But unfortunately, the platform is still built on outdated foundations incompatible with today’s web.
GA4 is an overhaul of Universal Analytics. It’s built to track complete user journeys across multiple devices, allowing it to follow user sessions as they move between laptops, mobiles, apps, tablets, and other devices.
As the methods for gathering user data have changed, it’s unlikely your traffic data will match up between the two versions of Google Analytics, which is why there’s no easy way to migrate from Universal Analytics to GA4. The same goes for other metrics, including bounce rate and conversions.
Have you been putting off switching to GA4? Now is the time to start. Even if you’re not ready to leap, you can run the UA and GA4 analytics platforms in parallel. This will give you at least six months of GA4 data when the UA service is shut down.
Google Analytics can be a dark art, but GA4 represents a significant upgrade to the most comprehensive website and application analytics platforms. If you want to learn more about GA4 and use the new features to maximise your online goals, you should enrol on the Google Analytics training programme.
Confused? Not to worry, we will be in touch to discuss updating your website but feel free to call us for more information.