Are you ready for the new Google Analytics 4 upgrade? If not, you still have some time. But not much.

In this article, we’ll look at the key benefits of the new upgrade, how business owners can prepare, and what will happen to historical data from Universal Analytics.

The History of Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool that websites have used to track their traffic since 2005. In 2013, Google released Universal Analytics, which made vast improvements to the original Google Analytics. It has remained the standard tracking tool for most businesses since.

Since 84% of all websites that use traffic analytics solutions use Google Analytics, if you’re using an analytics tool for your website, chances are you do, too.

It’s a free tool that’s a piece of cake to set up and use. It automatically gathers data about how people interact with your website, such as which pages they visit, how long they stay on each page, and more.

Universal Analytics offered businesses the ability to track their website traffic on web and mobile. Google Analytics 4 builds on that by offering even more robust tracking capabilities, making it the most powerful version of the tool yet.

Key Changes in the Google Analytics 4 Upgrade

Although Universal Analytics has been the gold standard to measure website traffic and performance for years, the Google Analytics 4 upgrade offers some exciting advantages.

Cross-Device Tracking

Google Analytics 4 can track users across all devices (desktop, mobile, app, smart TV, etc.), whereas Universal Analytics can only track users on desktop and mobile.

This more robust tracking will help businesses understand their customers better. For example, a customer might see an ad for a product on a mobile app, do more product research on a desktop, and then buy the product in a physical store. With Google Analytics 4 tracking, businesses can track the entire buyer journey, beginning to end.

The new life cycle reporting in Google Analytics 4, which is based on the customer life cycle, added ecommerce reporting as well. This was one of the most requested reporting additions from business owners.

Enhanced Privacy

The Google Analytics 4 upgrade offers more privacy features in response to new privacy laws like the E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Google Analytics 4 will no longer rely heavily on the use of cookies, unlike its predecessor Universal Analytics. For example, businesses can now anonymize user data, meaning that personal information, like names and addresses, will be hidden, and it won’t store IP addresses.

More Robust Data

Google Analytics 4 provides more robust data than Universal Analytics. This means that businesses can track how users specifically interact with their website or app. With Google Analytics 4, a user landing on the page is no longer the goal; the goal is what they do next. This upgrade will help you track beyond pageviews to the next steps.

Overall, Google Analytics 4 is a more powerful tool that offers businesses more — and deeper — insights into their website traffic and performance, allowing for more meaningful marketing decisions.

How Google Analytics 4 Works

When Google decided to build this upgrade, they didn’t make a few tweaks to Universal Analytics and give it a new name. They went deep and developed a new, better system that provides businesses with a better experience.

Google Analytics 4 tracks events more adaptively to better meet users’ needs. Universal Analytics measured events independently from the webpage or screen load. Google Analytics 4 can measure events either concurrently or independently.

Also unique to Google Analytics 4 is that events can be edited, corrected, and fine-tuned all within the UI with no need for coding.

Machine learning is at the core of Google Analytics 4, making more conclusive predictions and helping business owners understand their customers better, even when there are gaps in the data. It also uses modeling, so you can learn more about your customers over time.

The upgrade also features better integration with other Google products, like Google Ads. This makes your marketing efforts simpler and more effective. For example, you can use customer insights to target a specific market when running an ad campaign to reach more qualified prospects with greater success. 

 

Infographic: Your Guide to the Google Analytics 4 Upgrade

Countdown to Google Analytics 4 Upgrade

On July 1, 2023, the new Google Analytics 4 upgrade will take effect. After that, Google will no longer support Universal Analytics. Businesses will still be able to access their historical data from Universal Analytics for about six months, but the program will stop collecting new data.

Since Google recently launched the Universal Analytics 360 experience, those properties will receive an additional three months of new data collection, ending on October 1, 2023.

It may not seem like a priority now, but it’s important to start taking action as soon as possible so you’re ready for the transition. Though the new interface has the familiar look and feel of Google Analytics, the navigation is tricky and the learning curve is steep.

Start learning now so you’re familiar with the platform when the changeover goes into full effect. You don’t want to miss out on marketing data or lose a competitive advantage because you’re still getting to know the tools. By taking strategic next steps now, you can help your business stay ahead of the competition.

Next Steps to Prepare for the Google Analytics 4 Upgrade

To upgrade to Google Analytics 4, the best next step you can take is to reach out to an expert who can help you make the transition. The changeover to Google Analytics 4 is complicated and highly technical, and trying to do it yourself can lead to headaches and confusion. An expert will ensure that the upgrade goes smoothly and that you can access all your new data whenever you need it.

Someone must install the upgrade properly for your analytics to work. It’s a sound business decision to let an expert handle it for you.

If you have experience as a web developer or coder and feel that upgrading to Google Analytics 4 is within your skill set, Google provides instructions on their Support page. We strongly suggest having an expert guide you through the process, but if you are that expert, we’ve provided the link for your convenience.

Conclusion

The Google Analytics 4 upgrade will no doubt revolutionize the website tracking game. With all the advantages it brings over Universal Analytics, businesses will be flush with new marketing data for strategizing.

We can’t recommend this enough: Don’t drag your feet when switching over to Google Analytics 4. The sooner you upgrade, the sooner you’ll learn how to take advantage of the improved analytics, machine learning, and deeper insights. Your marketing department — and your business — will thank you.

As always, stay tuned for future tips and tricks on how to maximize your Google Analytics experience. We’re here to help!

 

Subscribe

Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates.

2 + 5 =