Google Analytics GA4 Rollout: What Does it Mean for Your Business?
Google is updating its analytics offerings with a transition from its Universal Analytics to its new Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming transition and what it means for your brand’s tracking and data history.
Brands should note that starting on July 1, 2023, Google will complete the transition to GA4 and Universal Analytics will no longer track data. Those using Google Analytics 360 will be eligible for one processing extension through October 1, 2023. Older data reports will be available for about six months after the final transition period.
Per Google, GA4 will provide enhanced measurement capabilities. Some new features include:
- Collects both website and app data to better understand the customer journey
- Uses events instead of session-based data
- Features privacy controls such as cookieless measurement, and behavioral and conversion modeling
- Predictive capabilities to offer guidance without complex models
- Direct integrations to media platforms to help drive actions
“Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies…This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete,” said Russel Ketchum, Google’s director, product management.
Basically, GA4 will provide cookieless tracking that doesn’t store IP addresses to help overcome many of the privacy concerns that have been raised over the past few years, and ensure brands comply with new privacy regulations.
What should brands do now?
Brands that haven’t yet transitioned to GA4 tracking run the risk of losing important data once the transition takes place. It won’t benefit brands to hold out on making the update to GA4 tracking, because the year’s data will eventually be inaccessible. Brands should switch over as soon as possible to start tracking under the new system. This also avoids a major scramble at the end as the deadline approaches. Google recommends acting now with one of three options:
- Any new webpage should set up GA4 from the very beginning
- Add GA4 to an existing website that is currently using Universal Analytics
- Add GA4 to a website builder platform or content management system (CMS) if your brand uses platforms including Wix, Squarespace, Shopify or Hubspot
Switch to GA4
No matter what state your website is in – whether you have an established site, you’re doing a refresh or starting from scratch—now is the time to switch to GA4. There will be some loss in data due to the transition, but the tracking history will still be accessible for some time. Taking the time to swap out tracking systems now, will not only help you avoid a crunch as Universal Analytics gets phased out, but also allows your brand to start building important data history through GA4.
Connect with our agency’s digital media experts to learn how Beyond Fifteen can help your brand make the transition to GA4.