digital marketing services, Google Analytics

What You Need to Know About GA4 and Why You Need to Use it Now

March 24, 2023 | 6 minutes to read
What you need to know about GA4 and why you need to use it now
Summary:Summary: Google Analytics is changing in a few months, whether you like it or not. Here is what you need to know and what to do to keep on top of your business KPI’s. For digital marketers, Google Analytics is an invaluable reporting tool. It provides us with data that helps us understand and analyze …

Summary: Google Analytics is changing in a few months, whether you like it or not. Here is what you need to know and what to do to keep on top of your business KPI’s.

For digital marketers, Google Analytics is an invaluable reporting tool. It provides us with data that helps us understand and analyze customer behavior, which in turn allows us to make better marketing decisions, create better customer experiences, and improve our overall marketing results.

Last year, Google announced the upcoming sunsetting of Universal Analytics (GA3) and the introduction of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which they have dubbed “the next generation of analytics” and “the future of measurement.” GA4 offers a new set of features and improvements designed to provide businesses with more detailed insights into user behavior.

Starting on July 1st, 2023, GA4 will become the default platform for collating and analyzing website data. Standard Universal Analytics Properties will no longer collect data, and businesses must migrate to GA4 to continue collecting and analyzing data effectively. While previously processed data will still be accessible for about six months, businesses that haven’t started the migration process are strongly recommended to export their historical data/reports before losing full access to their account (date still to be determined by Google).

Given the scale of this announcement, it’s no surprise that it has caused shockwaves in the digital marketing world. However, with the sunset date for UA fast approaching, businesses need to start preparing for the migration to GA4. By embracing GA4, businesses can gain deeper insights into user behavior, which will help them make more informed decisions and ultimately improve their online presence.

What is GA4?Google Analytics Metrics

Google Analytics 4, or GA4 for short, is the latest version of Google Analytics. It was released in October 2020 and is a significant update to the previous version, Universal Analytics (UA). GA4 is designed to help businesses gain deeper insights into user behavior and improve their online presence. It includes new features such as cross-device tracking, event tracking, and machine learning.

Why You Need to Set Up GA4 Now

If you’re a business owner or marketer, you must set up GA4 now. The reason is simple: UA will eventually be phased out, and GA4 will become the default version of Google Analytics. Google has stated that they will continue supporting UA but will focus their development efforts on GA4. This means that you need to start using GA4 now to avoid being left behind as new features and capabilities are added.

Additionally, GA4 provides several benefits that UA does not. These benefits include enhanced cross-device tracking, better event tracking, improved machine learning, improved data privacy, and customizable reports. By using GA4, you’ll be able to gain deeper insights into your audience and make data-driven decisions that can help you improve your online presence.

What Will Happen if My Business Doesn’t Migrate to GA4?

If your business doesn’t migrate to GA4, you’ll miss out on several key benefits the new version provides. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, UA will eventually be phased out, which means that you’ll need to migrate to GA4 eventually. By waiting to migrate, you’ll be left behind as new features and capabilities are added to GA4.

Additionally, not migrating to GA4 can hurt your business in other ways. For example, you may need help to track user behavior more effectively with GA4, which means that you’ll miss out on critical insights that could help you improve your website and marketing efforts. Furthermore, you may need more time to meet data privacy requirements, which could result in legal and regulatory issues. Overall, migrating to GA4 is essential for any business that wants to stay competitive in today’s digital landscape.

The Benefits that GA4 Provides to Your BusinessDefine Digital Marketing Goals

With the introduction of Google Analytics 4, businesses and marketers will have complete access to their own first-party data. This includes valuable assets such as mailing lists, digital loyalty cards, and other data that can provide insights into user behavior. As the competition for primary user data intensifies, the ability to track user actions on your platform becomes increasingly important. With GA4, businesses can expect to see an increase in engaged sessions, conversions, and goal completions, resulting in better overall performance.

GA4 also gives businesses ownership over their collected data, enabling greater control over analysis, segmentation, and audience and acquisition data reporting. This allows businesses to better understand their customers, which can lead to more effective optimization of site content and an increase in sales. With the potential to be a game-changing pivot in digital marketing data reporting, GA4 is expected to deliver more heavily drilled-down insights than ever before. Below are the primary benefits that GA4 provides specifically as it applies to B2B companies:

1. Ehanced Cross-Device Tracking

One of the most significant benefits that GA4 provides for B2B companies is enhanced cross-device tracking. With UA, tracking users across multiple devices or sessions can be challenging, which means that businesses may need help tracking critical data that could help them understand how users interact with their website. This can be especially problematic for B2B companies that have long sales cycles, where users may interact with the website multiple times before converting.

GA4’s cross-device tracking feature provides a more complete view of user behavior across devices, allowing businesses to see how users interact with their website across devices. This feature is critical for B2B companies, as it helps them understand how users are interacting with their website throughout the entire sales cycle. By understanding how users are interacting with their website across devices, businesses can optimize their website and marketing efforts to better meet the needs of their audience.

If you need help understanding and setting up your new GA4 property, we can help. Contact us today for experienced digital marketing assistance that you can trust.

2. Better Event Tracking

Event tracking is crucial for B2B companies to understand which marketing campaigns and website interactions are driving engagement and conversions. With GA4’s enhanced event tracking, businesses can track a wide range of user interactions, such as video plays, file downloads, and form submissions. This allows B2B companies to gain insights into user behavior that they may have missed with UA.

For example, a B2B company may be able to identify which whitepapers, case studies, or other content are driving the most engagement and conversions, allowing them to create more content that resonates with their audience. By tracking a wide range of user interactions, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their audience and create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns.

3. Improved Machine Learningmachine learning

GA4’s machine learning capabilities allow businesses to automatically identify insights and opportunities that may have gone unnoticed with UA. This is especially important for B2B companies that may need more resources to manually analyze their website data.

For example, GA4’s machine learning can help businesses identify which user segments are most likely to convert, allowing them to create targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with their audience. Additionally, machine learning can help businesses identify website pages that are not performing as well as they should be, allowing them to optimize those pages for better performance.

4. Improved Data Privacy

With increased concerns about data privacy, it’s essential for businesses to be transparent about how they collect and use user data. GA4 includes several features that can help businesses meet these privacy requirements.

For example, GA4 includes a consent mode feature that allows businesses to control the collection of user data based on user consent. Additionally, GA4’s data retention controls allow businesses to control how long user data is stored, ensuring that businesses are only keeping data that is necessary for their operations.

5. Customizable Reports customization

One of the benefits of GA4 is that it allows businesses to create customizable reports that meet their unique needs. With UA, businesses were limited to pre-built reports, which may not have provided the insights they needed.

With GA4, businesses can create custom reports that focus on the metrics that are most important to their operations. This allows businesses, especially those with a B2B focus gain a deeper understanding of their website performance and make data-driven decisions that can help them improve their online presence.

 

If you need help understanding and setting up your new GA4 property, we can help. Smart Web Marketing is a San Jose Digital Marketing Agency that serves the needs of small and mid-sized businesses in the Bay Area and California. Contact us today for experienced digital marketing assistance that you can trust.

About the Author

Howard Walker is a Digital Marketing Consultant and owner of WSI Smart Web Marketing. He serves as a manager and strategic advisor and uses his experience, expertise, and knowledge from many years of experience in the tech industry as a product marketing engineer and project manager. His experience with digital marketing services and the use of online analysis tools allow him to implement strategies and recommendations that provide the best-in-class services and results for clients.

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