Big changes are on the horizon for the marketing world as, from 1st July 2023, Google will sunset its Universal Analytics (UA) platform, replacing it with Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
Whilst Google Analytics 4 will provide much of the same data, this will be reported in a relatively different way than its predecessor, and as a result, it might take you just that little bit longer to become accustomed to this new platform.
One thing to note is that GA4 will not show historical data, and therefore for the past few months we have been advising clients to install this new version at the earliest opportunity to ensure that, once UA is gone for good, there will at least be some previous data in the account. As it stands, Google has stated that UA will remain to show historical reports.
So, what are some of the differences between UA and GA4?
Cross device tracking
If your business has both a web and an app offering, you can now put this into one GA4 property. This means that GA4 will allow you to track user interactions across multiple devices, greatly expanding what you can learn about how users are engaging with your business across different platforms.
No two businesses are the same, and therefore it stands to reason that your analytics will be used for different purposes depending on your business model. GA4 solves this problem by allowing you to customise the navigation bar so that you can use your analytics and the data it provides exactly how you wish.
Events and conversions
Hits within GA4 will be tracked as events, which could potentially save you some time as the likes of outbound clicks or file downloads will be automatically tracked. Whilst in Universal Analytics conversions (or goals) provided multiple options, GA4 only allows for events to be turned into conversions, this means that the targets such as ‘session duration’ will no longer be able to be tracked.
Of course, we are only scratching the surface of the capabilities of GA4 and as we all become accustomed to this newer platform, inevitably we expect Google to make tweaks as time goes on to ensure it matches requirements. Watch this space 👀