If you’re in the world of marketing, you’ve heard the talk about Google Analytics 4. It’s been a topic of conversation since Google’s announcement that Universal Analytics will be unsupported from July 2023. For businesses that are data-driven (Zinc and all of our marketing clients being amongst them), this presents a huge change. Google is changing the way that data is collected, analysed, and therefore actioned.
Why is this change happening?
Currently, Universal Analytics is reliant on cookies. Cookies are files created by the website you’re browsing, used to remember useful information such as your progress on a form, what you put in your basket, or your login details. The installation of Universal Analytics on a website means that it will keep track of the pages each user visits, how long they stayed there, where they came from, with lots of other key information. It can’t store any personally identifiable information about website users, however. There’s been a lot of conversation about cookies, with many people concerned about protecting personal information. Cookies are no longer a fully reliable way to track user activity on a site.
Google is building a way to get the data that website owners want that will work with or without cookies. GA4 works by using events, instead of the previous session-based data collection. With cookieless measurement, it can protect user privacy whilst gathering customer journey information.
Will this be better or worse than Universal Analytics?
Google Analytics 4 promises to be smarter and more accurate than Universal Analytics. It offers a lot of new features that weren’t previously available, due to the new machine learning capabilities.
AI based insights & predictions.
GA4 is able to pinpoint data trends, such as an increase in interest on particular pages and products. This data can be key, especially for eCommerce sites, as it will enable you to predict revenues and allow you to make reactive decisions quickly, and understand which audiences to invest in.
Google Ads and Analytics have always worked hand-in-hand, but with GA4 the level of information that can be passed between the two is even better. Audience lists can now be automatically updated, moving users from remarketing lists to purchasers lists to prevent extra ad spend.
A focus on customer journey
The end result of most of these new features is a better look at customer journey. The reporting is framed around this, with a focus on a more accurate picture from start to finish, showing engagement across devices and channels to provide a unified narrative. From a marketing perspective, this is great. We offer many different services which act as touchpoints along the way, and it’s always been vital that we understand how each one plays a part. We hope that GA4 will be able to support the way that we already work in a more complete way, allowing us to guide customers to a more effective way to bring in leads.
Should I get GA4?
Even with these new features, the response to GA4 has been mixed. Many marketers prefer the idea of Universal Analytics, a platform that they know inside out, to a relative unknown such as GA4. Nevertheless, it’s not a question of ‘should’. It’s just a question of when you start getting to grips with what will become the new normal. With universal analytics stopping in less than a year, it should be sooner rather than later.
Our marketing team have all spent a lot of time understanding the new GA4 interface so that we can confidently set it up, explain it, and use it to our clients benefit.
If you’d like an explanation of how GA4 can work from you, straight from the digital experts, talk to Zinc.
We can help set up your GA4 property, and support the setup that works for your business.Careers