Google Analytics has long been the go-to platform for tracking website performance. But from the 1st July, the previous version of Google Analytics; Universal Analytics (UA) which has been around for more than a decade, will no longer collect any data.
This means that if you haven’t migrated to the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) by then, you will lose access to the valuable data and insights that Google Analytics provides.
Quick Note – If you are an XposureWEB or XposureHUB customer, we have already set up your Google Tag with GA4 tracking, so no need to worry!
Migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4 might seem daunting, but you’ll ensure uninterrupted access to Google Analytics and its advanced features. You’ll be able to leverage the power of machine learning, gain deeper audience insights, and make data-driven decisions to fuel your marketing strategies.
If you haven’t already done your migration to GA4, we urge you to start as soon as possible to allow for a smooth transition and avoid any disruption in your data tracking.
Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4 at a Glance
Not sure what the difference is? There are many differences, and the two versions have different approaches to tracking and analysing website traffic. The big headline differences are in the Data Models, Tracking Methods, and Privacy Settings…
Universal Analytics (UA)
- Data Model: Focused primarily on tracking pageviews, organised into “sessions”.
- Tracking Method: Relies on heavily on cookies to track users and collect data.
- Privacy and User Consent: Compliance with privacy regulations, such as GDPR, requires careful configuration.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
- Data Model: Uses a new event-driven data model, so a page view is an event, but so are other interactions with your website, such as clicks, downloads, or form submissions.
- Privacy and User Consent: GA4 has been designed with privacy in mind. It allows for more flexible consent management and offers options to respect users’ privacy preferences.
- Also Predictive Metrics: leverages machine learning algorithms to provide valuable insights, such as predictive analytics that can help you uncover trends and patterns in your data for more informed decision-making.
As you can see, beyond losing access to Universal Analytics on 1st July, there are many advantages to upgrading to GA4 sooner rather than later, with its advanced features and enhanced capabilities.
However, this does mean the two versions handle data collection, schemas, dimensions, calculations, etc very differently, and unfortunately, you can’t simply import the data from UA into GA4 – another reason to get GA4 set up as soon as possible and run it alongside your current Google Analytics.
Google Analytics 4’s Advanced Features
Event-Based Data Model
In Universal Analytics, tracking was primarily focused on pageviews, which provided limited insights into user interactions. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) introduces an event-driven model that enhances user behaviour tracking. Here’s how the event-driven model in GA4 improves upon pageviews:
- Granular Tracking: GA4 captures specific user actions like clicks, downloads, form submissions, and even custom events, providing a more detailed understanding of user engagement.
- Actionable Insights: Events better indicate user intent, interests, and preferences.
- Enhanced Conversion Tracking: The event-driven model accurately tracks conversions and attributes them to specific actions or events, optimising conversion funnels and resource allocation for better ROI.
This advancement in analytics provides a more detailed view of user experiences, letting you make better data-driven decisions and reach your business goals.
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Enhanced Cross-Platform Tracking
In the era of multi-channel marketing, tracking user interactions across different platforms is crucial. While Universal Analytics offered limited support for mobile apps, GA4 provides seamless tracking capabilities across websites, mobile apps, and even offline interactions. Here’s how GA4 improves cross-platform tracking:
- Seamless Tracking: GA4 combines data from different platforms, offering a unified view of user engagement. You can track how users interact with your brand across various touchpoints, regardless of whether they are on your website, using your mobile app, or engaging offline.
- User Journey Insights: By tracking interactions across platforms, GA4 helps map the complete user journey, understand how users move across different touchpoints, and identify conversion paths.
- Enhanced Attribution: More accurately attribute conversions to specific channels, see the impact of each platform, so you know where to focus or make improvements in your marketing efforts.
This enhancement enables you to gain deeper insights into how users engage with your brand across various touchpoints, providing a holistic view of the user journey and allowing you to optimize your marketing strategies accordingly.
Smarter Insights with predictive metrics
Google Analytics 4 takes a significant leap forward harnessing the power of advanced machine-learning algorithms. By leveraging these algorithms, GA4 can automatically analyze large volumes of data and unveil hidden patterns and trends that may not be easily identifiable through manual analysis alone.
Here’s how GA4’s machine learning capabilities provide smarter insights and predictive analytics to optimize your marketing strategies:
- Automated Pattern Discovery: Go beyond historical data analysis and leverage predictive analytics. By analyzing past user behaviour, trends, interactions and demographics, GA4 can generate predictions about future user actions and behaviours to anticipate customer needs to improve your conversion rate.
- User Lifetime Value Prediction: the machine learning algorithms can analyse various data points, including purchase history, engagement patterns, and customer characteristics, to predict the User Lifetime Value (ULV). This prediction allows you to focus your marketing efforts on acquiring and retaining high-value customers.
- Automated Recommendations: provides automated insights provide valuable guidance, highlighting areas of improvement, identifying emerging trends, and suggesting opportunities.
- Intelligent Anomaly Detection: GA4 can identify anomalies and deviations from expected patterns in your data, this helps you quickly spot and investigate unusual user behaviour or performance issues, allowing for quicker troubleshooting and optimisation.
Google Analytics 4 introduces better audience segmentation capabilities so you can create custom audiences based on user behaviour, demographics, and specific events. Some examples of how this can be used:
- Precise Targeting: Advanced segmentation lets you target specific users more precisely. Personalized messages, offers, and experiences can be tailored to match the preferences and needs of different audiences, driving higher engagement and conversion rates.
- Remarketing Opportunities: GA4’s advanced segmentation works hand in hand with Google Ads by allowing the creation of remarketing lists based on user actions or behaviours. Targeting users who have shown previous interest increases the likelihood of conversions and repeat engagements.
- Testing and Optimisation: GA4 supports A/B testing and optimization through audience segmentation, previously part of Google Optimize. By comparing the performance of different strategies, you can improve campaign effectiveness and ROI
Enhanced Data Controls and Privacy
GA4 places a strong emphasis on user privacy and offers enhanced data controls, addressing concerns raised by the heavy reliance on cookies for data collection in Universal Analytics. You can now ensure compliance with privacy regulations like GDPR. Here’s how GA4 prioritizes data controls and privacy, while still providing valuable insights for optimizing digital marketing strategies:
- Flexible Consent Management: GA4 offers flexible options for consent management, allowing businesses to respect users’ privacy preferences. It provides mechanisms to obtain and manage user consent for data collection and processing, ensuring compliance with privacy regulations. By honouring users’ choices, businesses can build trust and maintain transparency in data practices.
- Limited Data Retention: With GA4, you can set specific data retention periods to control how long user data is stored. This feature aligns with privacy principles by only retaining data for as long as necessary, minimizing potential risks associated with data storage and enhancing user privacy.
- Anonymization and Aggregation: GA4 enables the anonymization and aggregation of data, providing an additional layer of privacy protection. By anonymizing personal identifiers and aggregating data, businesses can protect user privacy while still gaining valuable insights from the collective data.
- Data Deletion Options: GA4 allows businesses to delete user data when required easily. This capability ensures compliance with user requests and privacy regulations, offering users control over their personal information.
GA4 has been designed with privacy in mind. It incorporates privacy-enhancing features, practices data minimization, and adopts privacy-focused methodologies. This proactive approach to privacy ensures that data collection and analysis prioritize user privacy and adhere to privacy regulations.
Google Analytics 4 brings a new era of advanced analytics and insights to help you understand user behaviour, optimize your marketing strategies, and enhance your digital presence. With its event-driven model, machine learning capabilities, and improved privacy controls, GA4 better places you to make data-driven decisions.
To ensure uninterrupted access to Google Analytics and take advantage of the advanced features, it’s vital to migrate from Universal Analytics to GA4 before the 1st July deadline. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to supercharge your analytics efforts and stay ahead in the digital marketing landscape.
If you need help migrating to GA4 before the deadline get in touch with us below and we’d be happy to discuss your requirements with you.
Xposure & Google Analytics
We work with business owners & marketing directors to build creative and results-driven marketing campaigns that deliver an ROI. Based between Mansfield & Newark in Nottinghamshire our boutique marketing agency services provide hands-on experience and knowledge to businesses throughout the East Midlands.
If you need help with your Google Analytics, migration or setup, or if you feel your current supplier is not delivering for you or you are ready to proceed to the next level, then please get in touch. We work with businesses on a monthly bases to help them identify potential markets, create exciting online marketing campaigns and deliver leads and sales to the bottom line.