What Do You Need to Know?

Google Analytics 4 is the latest generation of the search engine company’s system for collecting data on web traffic and user engagement. This new update, introduced in 2019, adds new features that allow marketers to track users across different platforms, accounting for mobile users and others who search outside the usual desktop/laptop browser environment.

While this will be a welcome change for many data analysts, preparations for the switchover from the current Universal Analytics (UA) systems are vital for a smooth transition.

Companies have until July 1st, 2023, to get ready.

How Did GA 4 Develop, and What Does It Promise?

The Universal Analytics platform (also known as Google Analytics 3) has been the primary tool for measuring user engagement online since the early 2010s. As it developed, UA added features to track mobile and app users. However, analysts could not unify data from different sources into one place.

GA 4 was designed to fix this problem by allowing you to track users across multiple platforms, focusing on events and engagement to gauge users’ activities regardless of how they view the content. The system also promises to address some of the privacy concerns that have arisen as a result of aggressive online data collection.

What Advantages Does Google Analytics 4 Offer?

Because GA 4 focuses on events, analysts can set metrics based on different actions and collect information based on these variables regardless of operating system or timeframe. Also, GA 4 allows analysts to look at the entire lifecycle of a customer’s interactions. They can track the journey from initial engagement to purchase to retention as a repeat customer.

GA 4 is also more customizable, with users able to select from an exhaustive menu of events. This helps tailor analysis for specific needs without having to alter data collection with complex computer code. Finally, GA 4 will have a central Analysis Hub where you can collect data and visualize it to create reports.

pictured is a conference room with people looking at charts on the screen

Are There Any Drawbacks to Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 has plenty of positive attributes, but you will also need to be prepared for drawbacks. Most importantly, you will not be able to import historical data from UA to GA 4. This means you cannot compare past data with information collected with GA 4. While you can save statistics from UA on other software, you cannot analyze them using GA 4.

Secondly, GA 4 has a different approach, so analysts who have spent the past decade with Universal Analytics will have to negotiate a learning curve when switching over to the new platform. Some critics say that the user interface is not as intuitive as past versions.

Find More Information About the Switch 

Regardless of your opinion of Google Analytics 4, the switch is coming in July 2023, and the increased use of different devices and platforms necessitates the change to an event-based analytics system. At In Context Inc., we understand that you need to keep up with critical industry developments, like the switch to GA 4. We aim to provide you with all the information you need to make adopting these changes easier.

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