Google Analytics is changing. The current version, Universal Analytics (known as UA), will be retired on July 1, 2023. A new version, GA4, will replace it. And it is vital that you update your Google Analytics account to keep up to date.
Back in March 2022, Google announced that they would be changing their Analytics tool, Universal Analytics. What are the Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 tools?
GA4 and UA are both analytical tools provided for free by Google. They offer you a view of the traffic to your website. Using Universal Analytics, you can understand who is coming to your website. You get a picture of how they interact with your site.
Google Analytics tools can tell you things about your website visitors like their ages and gender. It can even tell you how long they spend on your website. Visit this page to read in detail about what sort of information you can find in your GA4 or UA Google Analytics tools.When you have a website built, your web design agency or web developer will add special code into the ‘backend’ of the website. This code will then enable GA4 or UA to watch what happens on your site. It’s as ‘simple’ as that (ok, it does require training and knowhow – so definitely get in touch with us and let us do it for you).
What are the differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4?
There are several key differences between UA and GA4. One is the way data is collected and stored. UA uses a session-based model, while GA4 uses an event-based model. This means that GA4 can track more interactions with your website or app, including things like button clicks and form submissions. So basically, it gives you more of a picture of what users do when they visit your website.
Universal Analytics didn’t give you a complete picture. At midnight, the clock resets and anyone who was on there at 11.59pm will be counted as a new session at 12.00am. Additionally, if someone looks on their mobile first, then moves to your website on their laptop to convert, this is counted as two separate sessions. With GA4 this is now counted as one event, Google gives you a clearer perspective of the person and how they use their devices with your website.
Another difference is the way reports are generated. Universal Analytics uses a standard set of reports, while GA4 allows you to create custom reports. This gives you more flexibility to see the data that’s most important to you.
An interesting feature of Google Analytics 4 is that you can type a question into the search bar about how users have interacted with your site and GA4 will generate the reports needed to answer your question. For example, you could find out how much traffic your site gets from people living in an area local to you that you may be interested in moving into.
Finally, GA4 uses machine learning to provide more insights into your website or app traffic. This can help you understand how users are interacting with your content and make changes to improve their experience.
Get started with Google Analytics 4
If you’re using UA, you should start planning your transition to GA4 now. There are a few things you can do to get started:
- Create a GA4 property and start collecting data.
- Learn about the new reports and features in GA4.
- Update your tracking code to collect GA4 data.
- Start using GA4 to make decisions about your website or app.
The transition to GA4 may seem daunting, but it’s important to remember that it’s a gradual process. You can start using GA4 alongside UA and gradually phase out UA over time.
If you have a site, speak to your web developer on how to make the changes. Or give Digital Paw a call and we can help you. Google Analytics is important because it can, and should, be linked to your Pay Per Click advertising. Linking the two tools will make your adverts work so much better because they will be fuelled by visitor data. If you already have a PPC Google account then you really need to make sure you add GA4 to your Google Ads account now. Otherwise you’ll lose some historical tracking information which could really help you to reduce your spend.
By planning and taking the time to learn about GA4, you can make the transition as smooth as possible.Trust us. We may be small, but we’re mighty. Just like you. Get in touch if you want to know more about the amazing bespoke site we can build you or how we can help you with migrating to the new Google Analytics 4.