Insights:Google Analytics 4 and the End of an Era
Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) was originally launched in 2005, enduring for over 17 years as the standard digital measurement tool for most marketers. In the digital world, very few applications last more than a decade, but in 2019, when Google announced they were beta testing a new measurement protocol named App + Web, the end of UA’s long reign was finally on the horizon. A year later, App + Web evolved into Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and by the middle of 2020, it was announced that in July 2023 UA will stop tracking website traffic altogether (although historical data will still be available for the foreseeable future). GA4 was to become the new standard.
For marketers who grew up on UA, the transition was jarring. Not only was the interface and account structure of GA4 updated, how the new platform interpreted and presented data was different. Without getting too technical, UA interprets website traffic data based on ”Sessions”, or user interactions that take place on your website within a given period of time, while GA4 interprets data based on “Events” like link clicks, video views, purchases etc. GA4 presented a steep learning curve for many people, but once familiar with the new interface it reveals a number of advanced features, including:
- Simplified Cross Domain Tracking Options
- Simplified Goals and Events Setup
- Powerful Audience Customization
- Improved Machine Learning
- Advanced Measurement Metrics
Insight’s digital marketing and web development team has been working on managing this transition for many months now, including the creation of new GA4 accounts for all of our digital clients, integrating the new platform with ad servers like Google Ads and updating and testing conversions’ tracking codes. Getting used to working with this powerful tool and finding our way around the new digital intelligence it provides has been challenging and exciting.
If you have dipped your toe into Google Analytics 4 and find you need some guidance on how to navigate the interface, find pertinent data or make heads or tails of what it is you are seeing, give Insight a call at 605-275-0011 or send an email to Roger Nolan, VP of Client Services at [email protected].