As you might have already heard, Google has created Google Analytics 4 to replace Universal Analytics, which is their current data analytic system. All standard Universal Analytic properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023, and 360 Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on October 1, 2023. You probably have many questions of what to expect in your digital marketing experience in the future, so here’s everything you need to know about Google Analytics 4.
Why Google is Making the Switch
The previous analytic system, Universal Analytics, was created to mainly serve data collection through desktop users and cookies. Universal Analytics is no longer as valuable to marketers as they once were, as many consumers have made the switch from desktop to mobile. Google Analytics 4 gathers data from every tap, swipe, and scroll of a user. Getting observable data from only cookies is now considered out dated, as there are now better ways to collect first-party data. Google Analytics 4 collects data from many platforms and sessions, which beats Universal Analytics as they rely on data from independent sessions. Google Analytics 4 is designed with key marketing objectives in mind, like connecting online and offline customer engagement and by driving app installs.
Features of Google Analytics 4
On top of being cookie-less and able to collect data cross multiple platform sessions, Google Analytics 4 offers a better privacy and data collection experience for both users. The increase in privacy controls meets today’s expectations regarding protecting your data online, making it more appealing for users. The new system does not store IP addresses, unlike Universal Analytics. Although it offers better privacy protection, it also offers more in-depth controls for data collection and uses. This is what really sets Google Analytics 4 apart from its previous system. The machine learning capabilities allow you to see data on an event-based model which lets you to see insight regarding the way people use their devices and also give predictive insights. McDonald’s in Hong Kong was able to use predictive insights to their advantage to increase mobile orders. According to Google,
“McDonald’s Hong Kong met its goal to grow mobile orders using a predictive audience of “likely seven-day purchasers” and exporting it to Google Ads — increasing app orders more than six times. The team saw a 2.3 times stronger ROI, a 5.6 times increase in revenue, and a 63% reduction in cost per action.”
By better understanding how customers move through the purchase funnel, businesses can create better campaigns that overall increase their revenue and help to gain more customers. Google Analytics 4 is the future of optimizing online data to convert into marketing and sales opportunities for your business by using first-party data.
Changes to Expect
Some noticeable changes to expect in the transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 include views no longer being a supported feature, annotations being removed, and overall processing data differently. In the new and improved Google Analytics 4, Properties will replace Views, as Views is no longer a supported feature. Annotations will be a thing of the past, which limits your ability to take short notes within the platform. Processing data will be different in the sense that Google Analytics 4 will only process data and give specific analysis as needed. Configuring your data, like setting up goals and goal values, will be done in Google Tag Manager.
Things to Keep in Mind During the Transition
In the move over to Google Analytics 4, you should keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily an upgrade to Universal Analytics, but instead it completely replaces it. You will not have the option to transfer the data from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. The new analytics system requires you to only collect new data going forward. You will need to have access to your previous Universal Analytics reports if you wish to see historical data. Keep in mind that you will only have access to previous data in Universal Analytics for up to six months after they plan to stop processing hits. Make the switch over to Google Analytics 4 sooner rather than later to familiarize yourself with the new user experience.
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