Keep on trackin’
In March this year, Google Analytics announced that Universal Analytics (UA) – the web analytics tool we’ve been using since 2012 – would stop processing hits in July 2023.
We know, change is hard. But there’s nothing to fear. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is here to help you keep tracking. Here are the top reasons to take the plunge and switch to GA4 sooner rather than later:
At first, the new dashboard might look intimidating as many of the metrics and reports you’re familiar with aren’t there. This is in part due to GA4 being based on a different measurement model and many reports are only generated when you start tracking events.
While UA uses a model based on sessions and page views, GA4’s model is based on events and parameters. Every tracked activity is considered an event – for example, page view, session start, scroll, file download – and these can provide detailed information on how people interact with your website.
With UA, the emphasis was on predefined reports. GA4 is more flexible in that users are encouraged to take greater ownership of their data and design custom reporting templates. Google Data Studio is an excellent tool for data visualisation and interactive dashboards.
UA’s page views and bounce rate metrics have received an upgrade in GA4. Bounce rate is no longer measurable, but the engagement reporting view now provides a new set of metrics to track users’ engagement much more accurately. These include engaged sessions, engagement rate, engaged sessions per user and average engagement time.
A focus on enhanced online privacy and users wanting to opt out of sharing their data is making it harder to track users with cookies. With machine learning filling in data gaps, GA4 makes the need for cookies obsolete.
Inaccurate data due to spam was a problem with UA, but this has since been fixed with GA4. Traffic from known bots and spiders is now automatically excluded, ensuring, where possible, that your data is free from known bot events.
While the free version of UA had a monthly limit of 10 million hits, GA4 has a limit only on the number of events which can be captured – with a maximum of 500 events per month – and no limit to the volume of hits thereof.
Connection to BigQuery
Previously a big differentiator between the free and paid versions of GA, GA4 offers free connection to BigQuery. BigQuery allows for large and complex data to be queried very quickly, taking the data out and allowing you to interrogate it without the issue of sampling.
From the above, we’re sure you can see you’re not only getting an upgrade when you migrate to GA4, you’re getting a whole new interface and analytics. Our advice: start preparing now so you have historical data available to do a year-on-year analysis in 2023.
If it all feels a bit like you’re looking at an aircraft flight control system with no flying hours behind you, we can set up a custom dashboard for you to review your analytics results seamlessly, with monthly reporting included. Get in touch if you’d like a quote on our dashboard services.