Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is Google’s new and updated analytics platform designed specifically for your company, helping to collect the most relevant, up-to-date statistics, so you can make informed decisions in relation to your marketing strategy. Since its conception in 2020, more and more companies are upgrading from Universal Analytics (UA), Google’s older analytics programme, to GA4 and taking advantage of the benefits at no extra cost.
Analytics plays an essential role in any marketing strategy and it is therefore essential you use the best tool available. Arguably, this is Google Analytics 4. Although Universal Analytics remains popular and is still used by around 30 million websites, the data model used is around 20 years old and deemed outdated. As well as making certain features more effective, Google has fixed previous issues encountered in UA including inaccuracies relating to cross device tracking and security concerns over cookie usage. In order to do so, Google has not simply enhanced UA in the creation of GA4 but built a completely new product using a different data model to cater for consumer needs.
In what ways is Google Analytics 4 better than Universal Analytics and how does it benefit my company?
One of the most important updates made to GA4 is altering data measurement methods. Whilst Universal Analytics is session based and provides information based on the length of time a user spent on a website, Google Analytics 4 is event based. It focuses on the actions of users when they visit your website e.g. pages visited, how far they scrolled, if they watched any videos, submitted a form, purchased any products etc. In doing so, the data collected is not fragmented between device and provides a more accurate depiction of how users are interacting with your website and what they are using it for instead of simply confirming they have found it. Not only does this feature provide a comprehensive view of the overall success of your marketing strategy, but it also allows the user to identify problem areas so you can make the necessary amendments to aid company growth. For example, you may wish to increase sales on your e-commerce website but you are failing to do so. Analytics can show that most users are leaving your website after viewing the homepage. With this information, you can look into why. Maybe your website is reaching the wrong audience or the homepage is difficult to navigate so people click off. You can then make the necessary alterations and track the statistics until you see your desired outcome.
With GA4, Google has also updated how data is recorded. UA provides multiple set reports with a wide range of information which although useful, it can be difficult to find the necessary information and there is little option to customise these reports. GA4 however, enables the user to select what data is important to them and receive reports exclusively detailing this data. It also provides a series of options which allow you to select how you would like the report to look. These customisable reports significantly reduce the amount of time required to sift through reports to find the relevant information, thereby increasing the time available to develop a realistic, data driven marketing strategy that will aid company growth.
Google has also altered the way in which the two programmes are set up. Universal Analytics uses a property and view set up and can only obtain data from one domain whereas Google Analytics 4 combines data from multiple, allowing you to combine and compare this information on one account. This enables you to combine data from multiple websites and mobile applications and analyse the data in one place, providing your company with a more accurate overview of customer behaviour and a better insight on how best to target them and facilitate company growth.
These improvements have significantly altered the way in which websites collect and analyse data making it easier for companies to get a good overview of their customer behaviour and build a marketing strategy accordingly. What’s more, it’s only going to get better. The analytics programme is still relatively new and Google are constantly looking for new ways to improve it. The option to transfer features from your current UA account to your GA4 account will soon be available and other features are likely to be added too. Because of this, it is seen as the best analytics tool out there and as of July 1st 2023, Universal Analytics will stop processing data and Google Analytics 4 will replace it.
Here at Lambourn Digital we have jumped ahead of the bandwagon and moved all our clients from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 to take advantage of the benefits it provides. We recognise the importance of utilising an accurate, up-to-date analytics tool throughout the development and completion of your marketing strategy and believe Google Analytics 4 is the best tool to do so..