21 Aug, 2022
Making the switch to Google Analytics 4 and how the removal of Universal Analytics could impact your business.
Change is coming. Next July, Universal Analytics (UA) will stop processing new data and you’ll need to make the switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Read on to find out why you should switch now and what’s involved.
Why do we need a new version?
The deprecation of Google Universal Analytics is no small update. Long recognised as the best-in-class analysis tool by marketers, UA measures website performance and deep customer insights that help inform marketing decisions. It also has provided an easy experience and set-up.
However, the current version of UA heavily relies on the third-party cookie. For those unfamiliar, cookies are bits of code added to a website to track user activity and behaviour. Instead of hosting user website activity on company servers, cookies are stored on the user’s browser. This means that businesses can track a user's behaviour across the entire web then use this data to sell and serve up new products to new people.
As businesses seek to implement privacy preserving policies such as first-party data, Google has put businesses on notice (until July 2023) to remove ALL third-party cookies from its browsers and have introduced GA4 as their solution. This is very much a sign of the times, as businesses begin to comply with internet and government privacy regulations.
Although the switch itself may sound daunting there is a long list of benefits for brands - allowing even more oversight into their entire customer experience, all in one place.
Here’s how GA4 can fuel your marketing insights:
Understand your customers across touchpoints
Get a complete view of the customer lifecycle with an event-based measurement model that isn’t fragmented by platform or organized into independent sessions. With GA4, you get more insight into what a user is actually doing on your website once they arrive, and you can consolidate data across your platforms to track a user between streams (your website and iOS app for example), unlocking new opportunities to understand and improve the customer journey.
Improve ROI with data-driven attribution
Use data-driven attribution to analyse the full impact of your marketing across the customer journey. GA4 assigns attribution credit to more than just the last click using your Analytics data, helping you understand how your marketing activities collectively influence conversions.
Remain privacy conscious as you measure
With new country-level privacy controls, you can manage and minimise the collection of user-level data — like cookies and metadata — while preserving measurement functionality.
Easily activate your insights
Expanded integrations with other Google products, like Google Ads, work across your combined web and app data, making it easy to use Analytics insights to optimize your campaigns.
Get greater value from your data
Machine learning generates sophisticated predictive insights about user behavior and conversions, creates new audiences of users likely to purchase or churn and automatically delivers critical insights to improve your marketing.
Why you should create a GA4 property now
GA4 is forward facing only; it only collects data from the time of creation. It won’t import historical data from UA. And while UA will still be available for use until July 1, 2023 it is recommended that businesses start to create their new GA4 property now to begin collecting data.
The good news is that you can have both a new GA4 account and your existing UA set up at the same time. A win, win really.
Getting it done
While there are plenty of guidelines online on exactly how to set up your GA4 property, we're encouraging our clients to take this time to evaluate their existing tech stack and understand if their current tools are serving the business' needs.
This begins with asking yourself and your stakeholders a few questions:
- What bottlenecks exist in our customer journey?
- Which KPIs are we looking to drive?
- What touchpoints are involved in our customer journey?
- What questions do we have about our customer that we cannot answer at the moment?
Applying this business logic while setting up your new GA4 property ensures your customer data is being collected in a way that is meaningful to you, your customers, and to your growth.
Finally, if you’re a Flight client, in most cases we’ll take care of the switch-over process on your behalf as part of our performance marketing offering. Leaving you all set for this next phase of customer lifecycle tracking, and free to focus on the here and now.
If you’d like a chat about how we could help you craft meaningful customer experiences through creativity and tech and then effectively fuel these with performance marketing, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.