Home > GA4 > Google’s Updated Google Analytics Platform
Google has been implementing some pretty big changes for businesses that use their platform (see our post about changes to Google My Business), and Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) is seeing some of the biggest changes. In fact, on July 1, 2023, UA will stop collecting data altogether. Don’t worry, for six months after that date you will still have access to historical data collected by UA, but once those six months are up then even that data will be gone.
The new platform Google is rolling out to replace UA is called Google Analytics 4 or also known as GA4. We know that changes can seem overwhelming which is why we are going to break down everything you need to know about the updated platform, GA4, so you can be ready to make the switch for your business analytics.
Just to be clear, GA4 is not necessarily ‘new.’ While most businesses currently use UA, GA4 was first released in October 2020. With new changes in behavior and privacy standard, Google has decided that GA4 is better for collecting data than UA so switching to GA4 will allow you to continue to collect and receive data after the deadline in June of 2023. That being said, you will have to export the historical data for your site to GA4 if you want to keep it because UA uses a different application to visualize it and the structure is not the same.
GA4 boats a new data collection model that was designed to solve the need for tracking that is not limited by the device being used. Currently, UA does not automatically track data from mobile app users, you have to set up platform-specific tracking using Google’s Firebase SDK to collect that information. GA4 will track information regardless of the device being used. This will provide new insights about cross-device usage and track how users are accessing your information from different devices.
GA4 aims to solve privacy concerns about third-party cookies, which are cookies that have been placed on a website by someone other than the site’s owner. UA is powered by first- and third-party cookies, so GA4 is changing what Google and other advertisers are able to track and how they collect data by removing third-party cookies. This means that GA4 will not track third-party cookies, and, instead, focus solely on first-party cookies that have been put there by that specific website’s owner.
The primary data point in GA4 uses different events that are more granular and descriptive of the specific action that triggers them. For UA to perform this way, you have to manually configure them.
With GA4, you will not have to implement Google Tag Manager because it can easily follow a visitor’s course of action.
The different data collection model used by GA4 means that key metrics will change. One of the metrics that UA uses and GA4 is changing is the ‘bounce rate.’ The bounce rate represents the percentage of sessions that end without any interaction on the page. GA4 replaces bounce rate with ‘engagement rate,’ which represents the percentage of engaged sessions, or sessions that last longer than 10 seconds, have a conversion event and have at least two page or screen views.
Understanding the new metrics and what they represent will take some time, but we can help you with that. In fact, we can help you better understand all the changes coming with GA4 and help with transition planning so we can take advantage of all GA4 offers for your business as soon as it takes over. Give Spot On Solutions a call today and we can help make this change one step at a time.