Why you need to implement Google Analytics 4 today

Google Analytics, one of the most important digital marketing tools in your toolkit (with 85% of businesses using it on their websites) is changing.

Google brought out its newest version of Universal Analytics (UA – commonly known as Google Analytics) in the form of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) back in October 2020. Either you rushed to migrate over to the new version there and then, or you’ve been hanging in there with what you know. If you’re in the latter camp – it’s time you started to shift your focus and get fully acquainted with GA4, and we’re here to tell you why.

If GA4 was released in 2020 – why all the fuss now?

While GA4 has been around since late 2020, it’s only recently that Google has announced:

“We will begin sunsetting Universal Analytics — the previous generation of Analytics — next year. All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023.”

In layman’s terms – this means that from July 1st 2023 the old version of Google Analytics will no longer process any new information – when you open your old dashboard there will be nothing to see. On top of that Google said:

“After that, you’ll be able to access your previously processed data in Universal Analytics for at least six months.”

So not only will the UA cease to process new data, but all the data you’ve collected in that version will likely be deleted at some point in 2024. But if Universal Analytics won’t stop processing data until July 2023, and historic data won’t be deleted until 2024, what’s the rush?

Why you need to migrate over to GA4 today

There are a few reasons you shouldn’t delay with your migration to GA4 – not least because as with any new update to a platform or service it’s likely to be ‘better’ than the previous version.

1. Universal Analytics was first released in 2012 – a lot has changed since then

Marketing in 2012 was very user data centric – with that data being very in-depth and detailed. And while marketing still needs data to perform at its best – society has seen a dramatic shift to individuals preferring privacy and ownership over their personal data – so much so that we now have strict regulations that we must all adhere to – hello GDPR.

Unlike 2012, we now live in a multi-device world where people don’t want to share their data, and the user journey isn’t confined to desktop. Google, realising this, has set about implementing a platform that fills those privacy gaps in a compliant way, while allowing you to track your user’s journey across multiple devices via a single interface. Who wouldn’t want to know this sooner rather than later?

2. Comparing month-over-month data would be like comparing apples and oranges if you don’t make the switch

The way GA4 measures certain metrics is entirely different to Universal Analytics. For instance, with UA, a person on your site at 11:59pm – 12:00am would be logged as two separate sessions. GA4 on the other hand recognises this session as the same person so logs it as a single session. You can see how this difference would skew your data if comparing the two – with your number of sessions likely to be a lot lower when using GA4 (not because you’ve had less sessions than before, but because those sessions are measured differently).

Comparing data month-over-month, or year-over-year will mean you’re not comparing like-for-like data year if you leave it until the deadline to set up GA4. As you have the ability to set up G4A alongside UA in the interim period you can track this difference in numbers so you can understand the trend to better compare that data.

3. GA4 is entirely different to Universal Analytics – give yourself time to prepare

No matter how long you were using UA before, GA4 is completely different. Unlike previous upgrades that were updates made to an existing code base, GA4 is built from the ground up – it’s completely new. So while you may have been able to get to grips with previous updates easily, GA4 may take more time to feel fully confident with the reports you’re looking at so start early or risk an unnecessary headache with your analysis.

4. GA4 is predictive analytics focused – why wouldn’t you want to make use of this ASAP?

GA4 is designed to analyse your data and make suggestions to you based on what it finds – it’s even got the ability to anticipate future growth – something UA didn’t have the capacity to do. As a result, migrating over to GA4 can help you make better decisions for your business, giving you the hard evidence you need to do more of what’s working to get those conversions.

To put it simply, every day you’re not utilising GA4 is a day you’ve missed out on making better, more accurate decisions for your company.

The cost of rushing may be higher than you think

We’ve all been there – when ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ because next week, next month or even next year. But putting off migrating over might be costing you more than you realise. Rather than rushing to implement GA4 later down the line when you’re forced to do so, start that implementation today, while you’ve got time on your side. There are plenty of articles/video tutorials out there to help you if you’re unsure where to start. Your future self with thank you for it!

Don’t settle for mediocre, outdated marketing for a second longer. Schedule a call with STORY22 today and we’ll make this your best year yet.