The evolution of Google Analytics has been revolutionary, and Currently, Google Analytics is the most used and preferred web analytics platform.
Since it was launched in 2005, Google Analytics has remained largely the same. While there have been slight changes to the world’s number one web analytics platform, the launching of Google Analytics 4, also known as GA4, is revolutionary.
Before we delve into the monumental changes in Google Analytics and explain how it will work, let’s first find out what Google Analytics is and does.
What Is Google Analytics?
Google provides marketing platforms for its users where they can access essential analytical tools for search engine optimisation. Therefore, Google Analytics is a service part of the Google marketing platform accessible to any user with a Google account.
Google Analytics operates by acquiring data from every website user or visitor. It gets the information through the use of page tags. Google Analytics uses the received data to analyse the number of website users, bounce rates, average time spent on the site, and page views.
Why The Changes In Google Analytics?
The digital space of 2005 is entirely different from what we currently have. There have been massive changes that continue to redefine and remould the dynamic space. We can all agree that there was an inevitable need to develop a different yet efficient way to collect and analyse data.
Another reason for this unavoidable change is that several other platforms continue to emerge. These platforms are equally embracing data and providing reliable analytical tools for businesses.
Just to be clear from the onset, GA4 is not an up-to-date version of Universal Analytics Google. The new GA4 that has caught the digital space by frenzy is an entirely new platform that provides users with new analytical features.
There are new GA4 features that define the new platform. But there are also fundamental shifts that are going on in the whole platform, which you need to understand equally.
So before we outline the features, let us find out what these essential shifts are.
4 Major Changes In The New Platform
- Device Support for websites and mobile devices – For many years, the tracking of data on mobile devices has proved a challenge for many people. The introduction of the GA4 comes just at the right time. One of the significant changes here is that you can now easily send multiple data streams into Google Analytics 4. It is also easier to track both the mobile and web devices in one account.
- A Unified Data Model – There has been a need to put all these data collection methods into one place. Most of the data come from different devices and need to be unified into one place. Mobile apps operate entirely differently from websites, and the need to have a system that unified all the data from different devices was vital. Google Analytics has gotten rid of the many page views, social interactions, and other engagements in the new platform and put them under one concept. The new integration is now referred to as events.
- New Views For Reporting – There is also a change in viewing data from different devices and streams. The new developments in Google Analytics provide a better way to receive and analyse data from various sources. Under Universal Analytics, you had the option of answering questions you might have for your data. However, the new GA4 comes with less standard reporting and provides an Analysis Hub that makes it easier to query your data more conveniently.
- A New Way Of Thinking About Google Analytics – Google Analytics provides a new way of handling and analysing data. It’s a platform that provides users with a unique perspective on data and how to integrate it seamlessly. This new model offers a flexible way to send the information into the system. The latest upgrade allows Google to plug data into your existing machine.
UA Vs G4
Google Analytics 4 is not an upgrade to the old UA-Google Analytics. Two significant factors distinguish these two platforms:
Universal Analytics adopts the page views within a session. You can use a session-based structure to create a hierarchy of data. GA4, however, doesn’t focus on sessions. It focuses on specific actions users take on sites.
UA embraces the use of a standard page views tag. Under this arrangement, you can track users who visit your site and ultimately know those who don’t take any action. It means as a developer, you can acquire the data such as video views and convert them to PDF downloads for better analysis of data.
When Is The Change Happening?
Google Analytics is already replacing the standard Universal Analytics. Google Analytics 4 still operates alongside Universal Analytics. However, UA will become almost obsolete and will not process any hits from July 1, 2023. That is barely a year from now. It would be best if you began using Google Analytics 4 moving forward.
Migrating UA To GA4 Is Inevitable
GA4 is the new Google Analytics Google enforcing, leaving the old UA (universal analytics) redundant. The old UA tracking codes won’t track anything when the update is rolled out, meaning everyone needs to switch to GA4.
Google favours the new GA4 over the old UA and believes it offers more valuable features than the old UA – Switch Now!
Should I Switch Now?
Yes, you should. And it should be immediately because Google uses up-to-date learning machine models that can detect and alert you about the most significant trends in the digital space. Moreover, the new GA can even anticipate your visitors’ actions and help you implement better ways of social engagement. Doing it now will give you historical data to compare to when UA gets abandoned.
Implications Of Not Transferring To Google Analytics
Using Google Analytics 4 doesn’t mean that all your current data from Universal Analytics will be transferred to Google Analytics. However, not upgrading to the new Google Analytics 4 means you won’t access the most reliable eCommerce reporting. You also miss out on the latest digital trends that form the basis of most marketing decisions.
If you’re thinking about transferring across but struggling with where to start. We’re here to help you out. Get in contact!