Google Analytics is a longstanding platform for measuring valuable website data. This data can be used to optimize your sales funnel and maximize ROI for digital marketing. Google is making a big shift to an updated version of Analytics, and that shift may impact your website. Read on to learn more about Google Analytics 4.
Key Differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4
Universal Analytics is the version that GA4 is replacing. It was designed for a different era of internet use, rooted in desktop-based data like as cookies and independent sessions.
In today’s world, users often switch between a desktop computer and a mobile device when researching a business, product or website. Thus it is difficult to accurately track behavior using Universal Analytics. Google Analytics 4 is designed with a more holistic approach in mind, to assess how users interact with a site regardless of the device they’re on.
GA4 also puts a stronger emphasis on data security and privacy. The updated Analytics platform does not store IP addresses, and it gives businesses the opportunity to take action based on real-time data. Not only is it easier to measure key performance indicators with GA4, but it’s also easier to formulate SEO strategies and digital marketing campaigns.
When Will the Transition to GA4 Occur?
Google Analytics 4 was released in October 2020, and many site managers have already made the switch to GA4. Google will stop processing hits on Universal Analytics in July 2023, and they’ll stop processing for the updated Universal Analytics 360 on October 1, 2023.
The transition is already happening, but it’s a gradual one. Over the next year, any sites that use Universal Analytics will be forced to make the switch over to GA4.
What to Expect during the Transition
There may be some historical data lost during the switch from Universal Analytics to GA4. The sooner the transition happens, the sooner you can get new data from the Analytics update.
Think of this much like switching to a new phone. While most of your information from the old phone may transition over, some things could be lost along the way. After the switch though, you’ll have an updated platform to gather more relevant and more accurate data about your visitor’s interactions on the site.
Case Study: Gymshark Switched to GA4 and Improved Their Sales Funnel
The UK brand Gymshark was an early adapter of GA4. The fitness brand uses GA4 on both their website and their app to track how customers move through the sales funnel. After making the switch, they found new data that allowed them to improve their sales funnel and streamline the conversion from lead to customer.
Gymshark increased page clickthroughs by 5% and reduced dropoff rates by 9%. They also reduced the amount of time spent analyzing user data by 30%. And as with any data-based digital marketing, their performance should only get better the longer they use Google Analytics 4.
Benefits of GA4 over Universal Analytics
Here is an overview of the benefits Google Analytics 4 offers over its predecessor, Universal Analytics:
- A more transparent overview of user interaction, regardless of the platform. GA4 can monitor as users move between your app and website, or a mobile device and a desktop computer. Universal Analytics would break these movements into individual sessions, but GA4 can identify a chain of connecting events. This makes it easier to see the overall user experience.
- Performance data with privacy in mind. You can adjust the amount of user-level data collected without impacting the measurement of key performance indicators.
- Predictive insights to make proactive adjustments. The machine learning equipped in GA4 can suggest predictive audiences that are likely to engage with your site. This also projects the “user lifetime,” which shows which audiences have the highest purchase probability.
- A better perspective on how digital marketing efforts impact the overall user experience. With the data-driven attribution, GA4 can pinpoint top-performing digital marketing campaigns, as well as campaigns that aren’t converting at all. Each step in a user’s journey receives an attribution, and Google can connect the dots to see which attributions yield the most success for your website.
- Stronger integrations with other Google products, such as Google Ads. Google Ads is one of the most popular pay-per-click platforms in the SEO world, and it’s an integral part in many digital marketing strategies. GA4 utilizes data from Google Ads and its other products to optimize data collection and measurement.
Actionable Benefits to Look forward to with GA4
Perhaps we’re a little biased, but Google Analytics 4 is exciting to us! At Detroit Internet Marketing, we’ve always used data-driven SEO to market websites effectively. We want to understand your target audience inside and out to create valuable connections for your business.
GA4 provides more comprehensive data that’s more adaptable than ever before. We can see where clients are falling off the sales funnel and create more efficient paths for lead conversion. GA4 allows us to tailor data collection based on the indicators you care about most, which ultimately leads to a better digital marketing plan. This is personalization at its finest, and we can’t wait to see where it takes our clients.
The Main Difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics
The reason for the switch is simple. People have changed the way they use the internet, and Google has changed the way it tracks that usage. Universal Analytics was made for the desktop era, where cookies and independent sessions could paint a picture of how someone interacted with a website. That’s not what happens anymore.
Users frequently shift between devices, and privacy is more important than ever before. GA4 was adapted to this new era of the internet, and it’ll be here until yet another new era emerges.
How Soon Will I See the Benefits of GA4 on My Website?
All site masters will be forced to transition to GA4 over the coming year, if they haven’t started already. The sooner your site transitions, the sooner you can start collecting new and improved data with Google Analytics 4.
Data collection always gets better with time. That’s why the SEO strategists at Detroit Internet Marketing persistently optimize digital marketing campaigns. Every month, every keyword, and every technique we try yields more data for better lead conversion. The benefits of GA4 will only grow with time.