Do you still use Google Universal Analytics for your business? Then this article is for you.
As of 1 July 2023, Universal Analytics (UA) will be permanently replaced with Google Analytics 4(GA4). Users will be able to retrieve or export their data for at least six more months after the replacement, however, UA property will not be processing any data after July. We highly recommend exporting your historical reports for future reference. It’s time to add GA4 in your property right away, or Google will create one based on existing UA property with existing site tags.
UA is a free tool that allows you to track your website’s performance in many ways. It helps you understand how people interact on your website, where they navigate on the website, click or exit from, and much more. These data points were helpful in optimizing the marketing strategies, improving conversions and increasing sales.
GA4 is an upgraded & new version of Universal Analytics, therefore it will improve brand’s ability to track and measure the customer journey in depth. Let’s look at the pros and cons of using Google analytics 4 (GA4) service in comparison to Universal Analytics (UA).
- One place to track the website as well as the app.
Google Analytics-4 or GA4 as we know it, allows us to track both Website & App traffic in the same property unlike UA, however, we need to create filters to view them separately now, to avoid overlapping of user’s data. E.g: when you view page views, it will now contain data from both platforms, to view data for website or application make sure to filter data to see specific pageviews.
- Better Insights on Buyer Journey
GA4 is firmly focused on its users and their interactions. It tracks every move of the user to provide accurate data. For instance, if a user visits your website on a desktop and revisits or purchases via mobile, tablet or app. GA4 will gather combined insight & track journeys across platforms.
- Improvement in tracking user engagement
In Universal Analytics, you can track scrolling, outbound link clicks, document link clicks, video engagement, site search, and many other measurable events whereas in GA-4, everything needs to be set up as a custom event.
GA4 will not track third-party cookies, meaning no other party other than the website owners can trace any activity of the audience. The GA4 platform will collect data across devices using first-party cookies and signals.
- Addition Benefits:
Apart from the above mentioned benefits, there are some additional features that make GA-4 the next-generation measurement solution.
- Creating segments based on events
- Specific funnels customization
- Heat maps
- Three predictive metrics have been added in GA4 which are Purchase Probability, Churn Probability, and Revenue Prediction.
- New Interface
Analysts might face difficulty while transferring UA to GA4 as it has a new interface that is different from Universal Analytics. Users might end up having skewed data while readjusting to the new configurations.
- Limitations on properties still exist.
Analysts are only allowed to create 25 user properties and 50 events under a single property.
If you are planning to migrate data, then it might consume a lot of time. Also without a tag or data migration, all historical data would not be available to you.
- Conversions are Events
GA4 has introduced an event-based model where every activity on the app or website will be recorded as an event, for instance if any visitors visit any page of the website, the activity will be recorded as an event, not as a pageview.
To set an event as conversion, users will have to mark it as conversion in existing events. It can track simple conversions but you need technical knowledge to set up complex conversions.
GA4 might have some drawbacks but it is just a start, and eventually the drawbacks will be worked on by the respective organisation. As we approach the deadline, we can expect google to release more features and educational resources to help businesses understand GA4 better.
It is going to be the ultimate tool for marketers to conduct their website traffic analysis and measure marketing performance.