Last year, Google announced that the analytics tool Google Universal Analytics will no longer be developed. Instead, Google Analytics 4 takes over to measure traffic on your website. What does this mean for you, and what should you do now?
Maksimer offers assistance in getting started with Google Analytics 4 for all existing and new clients.
– Get started right away
Tom Hope, a technical SEO specialist on Maksimer’s Growth team, emphasizes the importance of everyone using this tool to start using Google Analytics 4 (GA4) as soon as possible.
– The earlier you get started, the better data foundation you’ll have to analyze your website. You really can’t afford to wait, he says.
The current analytics tool, Google Universal Analytics (UA), will be discontinued on July 1, 2023.
What happens if you don’t switch to GA4 before July 1, 2023?
From this date, Google UA will no longer track hits on your website. Therefore, you will no longer have an analytics tool that collects data about the traffic on your site.
But you don’t need to turn off Google UA now. The best approach is to run both the old and the new solutions in parallel to create a basis for comparison when interpreting the new tool.
How is more important than who
– The way to interpret data is a bit different in GA4, says Hope. The reports must be interpreted somewhat differently than in the old system. It may, therefore, be challenging to compare reports from the old to the new system in certain areas.
Google Analytics, as it is often referred to, has been the best way to measure traffic, clicks, and events on websites for many years. The tool has been the primary resource for seeing how visitors navigate the website, which pages they visit, the time they spend, whether they add items to the cart without completing the purchase, which pages generate the most sales, and what they click on.
What’s new with GA4:
- Combines data from both apps and websites
- GA4 is event-based, meaning all actions on a page are defined as an event that can be broken down into new sub-events (page views, time, transactions, etc.)
- Session behavior changes. It does not create a new session if the user, for example, visits the website just before midnight.
- No tracking of IP addresses
- Easier to delete data
- New and different reports
In essence, Google Analytics 4 aims to better track how the website is used, focusing on actions rather than identifying individual visitors.
We help you get started with the new tool
A benefit of getting started early is that you have time to learn and observe differences between the new and the old.
– If you start well before UA is turned off, you’ll be better able to see what the differences are and thus make necessary adjustments in GA4, says Tom Hope.
Many want to see the same reports they have become familiar with in Universal Analytics. And since GA4 is a new tool with new metrics, one should not assume that GA4 will show exactly the same.
– This needs to be set up and requires adjustments to measure the same parameters as before, concludes Hope.