On July 1, 2023 your website’s traffic data reporting will shift to a new version of Google Analytics. The version of Google Analytics that has been in place for years will no longer receive data.
Stop Worrying and Love the Future of Website Reporting
Be honest. The change between the Analytics we knew and (kinda) loved to the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) scares the bejesus out of you.
It should. Very little is the same. Metrics we grew comfortable with are gone. Terms like Bounce Rate and Average Time on Site are now history.
It feels like Google marooned everyone on a strange island and then set the ships on fire.
Overly dramatic? Yeah, but it fits.
Here are three great reasons why you’ll celebrate GA4 and we’ve even included a step-by-step video at the end.
Three Key Features That Make GA4 Better
1) Going From Cookies to Events
The old version of Analytics (Universal Analytics or UA for short) relied on trackable snippets of code called “cookies” to collect and track data. Cookies captured information about page views, events, conversions, and user behavior on your website.
The problem was a lot of personal information got stored in cookies. Google needed a way to provide traffic insights without risking your personal data.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4 for short) takes a more privacy-conscious approach to data collection. GA4 uses an event-based method where every interaction is considered an “event.” These events can include page views, button clicks, video plays, or any other user engagement.
Using events instead of cookies keeps personal data safe while more anonymously tracking behavior.
Some data points have disappeared, but vastly improved data is taking their place:
- Seeing organic social media visits separately from paid social media traffic
- Go deeper than just the number of page visitors to your member listings, but measure how deeply they scrolled or if they clicked to a member website
- Defining a successful site experience and customize conversions such as completing a vacation guide request form or watching a sample itinerary video
You will understand more than your guest’s activity on the site—you’ll better understand their journey getting to your site.
2) Audiences Provides Insight into Similar Site Visitors
Imagine being able to gather a complete data picture of site visitors who only arrived through your Google pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Almost like a separate Analytics dashboard just for them.
These audiences can be created based on a variety of criteria, such as demographics, user behavior, or specific actions taken on your site.
By defining audiences, GA4 allows you to gain insights into the different types of users visiting your platform and understand their behaviors and preferences.
Because audiences can be constructed based on a wide variety of event or user criteria, the information can be invaluable for tailoring marketing strategies, optimizing user experiences, and ultimately improving your online performance.
3) Customize. Customize. Customize.
What if you could track how many people clicked on the Visitor Center’s phone number to call? Imaging having a count of how many vendors clicked on the application for the upcoming fine art festival?
The ability to customize what data GA4 tracks is unparalleled. There are two specific customizations: Events and Conversions.
Events can track a world of different actions ranging from clicking outbound links (example: outside event ticketing platform) to completing an online form submission. GA4 events will share more about user behaviors than you have ever experienced.
You can tell GA4 which events should be considered conversions, too.
Conversions aren’t the simple Goals that we knew in the old Analytics. Conversions in GA4 are enhanced with the functionality from Google Tag Managers. You can now associate an individual action with a conversion.
For example, if you wanted to measure how many site visitors arrived on your site from a Google PPC campaign AND clicked beyond the landing page, you can!
By setting up a combination of the right event and conditions you will be able to trigger a conversion. GA4 will support 30 individual conversion that can all be tracked and displayed.
You May Hate GA4 in the Beginning…
Google Analytics 4 might be the “upgrade” no one asked for, but it will be the tool you’ll quickly grow to love.
If you’re looking to leverage the power of GA4, we’re here to help! Our team can guide you through the GA4 update process, ensure a solid start to your GA4 experience, and unlock valuable insights for your organization.
Contact us today for a no-cost consultation and let us help you take you to the next level of data reporting.