The Landscape of Marketing Analytics on Google Is Changing
If you are immersed in the marketing world, more specifically in digital marketing, you are well aware that Google is no stranger to making both minor and sweeping platform changes. These changes are put in place to ultimately to improve your marketing efforts and the experience of the users interacting with those efforts.
The most recent product that was the target of change is analytics, with the introduction of Google Analytics 4. Brandon Davis, paid media and analytics manager at iFocus Marketing, explains the new system and outlines how digital marketing agencies will need to keep up.
Tried & True Universal Analytics Is Being Left In The Dust
If you have not heard yet, Google made the announcement recently that it will be sunsetting its Universal Analytics properties, or what many consider just “Google Analytics.”
On July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics will stop processing hits. Your UA properties will continue to function as normal until that date, but after that you won’t see any new data come in, although you’ll have access to your data for at least six months. (Google has yet to announce the date that UA properties will no longer be available and when the switch to GA4 will be permanent.)
To ensure your Google display advertising and PPC campaigns aren’t negatively affected, brush up on the big changes now.
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics have the same primary goal: track the users that visit a website or app, and provide insights on how they interact with them.
The differences lie in how they track those users. Google Analytics 4 processes all hits as events, whereas Universal Analytics has a number of different hit types that can be recorded. This change, along with additional machine learning, is meant to help streamline the information that is being tracked and make it possible to track users throughout their customer journey from across platforms and devices. (We recommend reviewing Google’s breakdown of the updated hit types and their functions.)
Another difference between the two properties is how success metrics are set up. In Universal Analytics, marketers had to create goals using the various types of web hits. But Google Analytics 4 uses conversions, which are created from the events mentioned. You can set any pre-existing event as a conversion or create custom events and designate those as a conversion.
If you want to learn how to copy UA goals to GA4, unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to. Because the hits are different, there isn’t necessarily a way to create the same goals from UA and add them as conversion events in GA4. Following Google’s documentation, digital marketers can replicate goals from UA in GA4 fairly closely.
Google Analytics 4 is also an upgrade from Universal Analytics in its focus on privacy. The demand for improved privacy of users across all platforms has more or less made this necessary change to allow marketers and Google to continue to provide the best services to their customers.
One more major difference that came about with the change to Google Analytics 4 was the removal of property views. GA4 offers one property for your business, whereas Universal Analytics allows you to create multiple views within a single property to track multiple URLs or filtered views. You can set up custom audiences within GA4 and filter the overall data, but this could end up being the biggest cause for concern when looking to make the switch.
How Will GA4 Affect Digital Marketing Strategy?
As digital marketers, it can be difficult at times to see how changes on this scale are beneficial, but as paid media professionals, we’re confident that this change in particular will have great long-term benefits.
If you want to learn how to use GA4 quickly, we advise:
Discovering as much as you can about the specifics of Google Analytics 4 and how it works. You first need to learn how the new property works before you can focus on benefits it can provide.
Changing your mindset about data tracking moving forward. Adopting a new mindset rather than focusing on what’s different and what you can and can’t do now, will have a large impact on how quickly you can start seeing those benefits. Recognizing that this is the new norm rather than trying to do this the old way will play a big part in your success.
At iFocus Marketing, our paid media team has already done both, and we’re excited to see how the new Analytics platform will help our digital marketing strategies.
To give you a head start on step two, let’s review some of the benefits of GA4:
Positioning your business/website/app in a way that will continue to track your valuable data as we continue to move towards a more privacy-centric landscape.
Being able to track your users’ journeys across multiple platforms, rather than remaining focused on a single session. That ultimately provides much more insight to how your customers interact with all of what you have to offer.
Google Analytics 4 is a much cleaner, more user-friendly version of the platform.
Bypass The Headache With The Help Of Analytics Experts at Kansas City’s Best Digital Marketing Agency
Adopting a new metrics and analytics platform is definitely easier said than done. To get the most out of these changes and fully understand them will take time. And because GA4 is still in its early stages, we anticipate that it will continue to change and improve.
If you want to know how to use analytics in your business’s digital marketing strategy, look to the experts at iFocus Marketing. As lifelong learners, we’re excited to soak up all the latest information from Google and put it into practice to help you meet your goals. You can then dedicate your time to business development instead of learning a new platform or trying to decipher Google’s search engine optimization algorithm.
To see how our digital marketing agency can help you build your business, request a free discovery call and consultation with iFocus Marketing. All you have to do is call us at (913) 708-8567, or send us a message.
Brandon Davis is the director of paid media at iFocus Marketing. At work, he’s known for his uncanny understanding of marketing data and his flowing hair. Brandon has developed expertise in a plethora of paid media platforms including Google, Programmatic Display, Spotify, Microsoft, and more, and has produced award-winning campaigns. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and exploring new places with his fiancée, watching anime, playing video games, and learning Japanese.