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Google Analytics 4: What You Need to Know

You’re probably already familiar with Google Analytics, the platform that helps you track all the essential metrics about how visitors behave on your website.

The current version is Google Analytics 3, known as Universal Analytics. However, Google has announced that they are retiring Universal Analytics as of 1st July 2023 and replacing it with a new version: Google Analytics 4.

Google Analytics 4 has been available for a while, and if you created your website after October 2020, you might already be using it. See which version you’re on here, or get in touch with us if you need help checking.

What’s new in Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 is more technically advanced than its predecessor. The most impressive feature is that it analyses the customer journey across multiple platforms and devices. The new version of Analytics also integrates seamlessly with Google Ads to optimise performance.

What does that mean for business owners?

For us, the standout benefit of Google Analytics 4 is that businesses will be able to see user metrics across their website and apps. With a whopping 230bn global mobile app downloads in 2020, companies need to be considering apps as part of their digital presence – and Google Analytics 4 is making this easier.

Google has made technical changes that give you a deeper understanding of visitor behaviour. You can also customise your new dashboard to show the metrics that are important to you.

In 2021, Google announced the end of third-party cookies to retarget website visitors after research showed that cookies are eroding the trust of internet users (we all know how it feels to be ‘followed around the web’ by a company we may have Googled once).

However, Google Analytics 4 uses advanced AI tools to help analyse visitor behaviour and predict what they’re likely to do next. So, although you may not be able to track individual behaviours with cookies, you can use Google intelligence to retarget groups or types of users rather than individuals.

What to do next

You need to act sooner rather than later. July 2023 might sound far away, but this will become pretty stressful if you leave it until the last minute.

Google gives the following timeline:

  • Universal Analytics will stop processing data on 1st July 2023
  • Your data will be accessible for around 6 months after this date (so, January 2024 or thereabouts)
  • Google will soon announce the date when you will no longer be able to access Universal Analytics

We recommend that you start migrating to Google Analytics 4 now, so you’re switched over long before the cut-off date of 1st July 2023.

Acting early means you can continue to track visitors without any interruptions. It doesn’t have to be a sudden change either; you can run Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 side by side while getting used to the new interface and ironing out any teething problems.

If you phase over now, you’ll also start to build up data on Google Analytics 4 before the deadline. That means you’ll have 2022 metrics to compare to next year’s data without having to switch between two platforms to see it (and you’ll have no interruptions to your nice yearly comparison charts!).

Final thoughts

Here at Zesty, we welcome these changes. Google Analytics 4 takes visitor tracking to a whole new level. Tracking websites and apps from the same platform will save businesses time and streamline their marketing efforts. Using AI to predict user behaviour rather than cookies will hopefully regain the trust of internet users, which can only be a good thing.

If you want help managing your website and analytics, including switching over to Google Analytics 4, contact us for an informal chat about how we can support you.

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