The Rebirth of Google Analytics
Google Analytics as we know it will die in July 2023.
Act now to save your comparative data!
The platform that allows you to see how people are using your website is changing, thanks to the introduction of what Google is calling “a new property designed for the future of measurement.” If you already enjoy Google’s Universal Analytics on your website, setting up Google Analytics 4 is easy, but it won’t roll over automatically so you will need to act!
An Introduction to Google Analytics
Launched in November 2005, Google Analytics has been giving businesses the capability to identify trends in how visitors interact with their websites for close to two decades. The data has proven to be priceless for millions of organisations around the world, informing decisions in all areas of businesses across every industry.
However, stricter data privacy laws across Europe are pushing user monitoring and data collection in a new direction. 2018’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires all data controllers to be able to prove that they are GDPR compliant, demonstrating lawful, fair and transparent practices for processing personal data. Spread across several hundred pages, the new security laws pose stricter standards on all European businesses, threatening hefty fines against companies who fail to comply.
What is Google Analytics 4 and why should I be using it?
Enter Google Analytics 4 (GA4), Google’s upcoming solution to these stricter compliance regulations.
According to Google, the tech giant currently plans to sunset Universal Analytics in July next year, meaning that the programme will no longer process any new hits.
Users will still be able to access their previous data for the following six months but are advised to transfer to GA4 sooner rather than later in order to start building a new portfolio of data. So, what can Google Analytics 4 do to help your business?
Getting to grips with your customers’ touchpointsGoogle Analytics 4 is offering companies a far more rounded view of their customers’ lifecycles, replacing session-based tracking with an event-based model. Sounds complex, but it simply means this; all types of interaction, regardless of the device or platform, are processed as an event across all website and app visits.
Rather than being presented with fragments of data from multiple platforms, this new feature provides the capability to identify behaviour patterns of users rather than the more traditional sessions, which can be used to draw up new strategies designed to boost conversion rates, retention and engagement levels.
Putting privacy at the forefrontPrivacy has always been a point of contention when it comes to the amount of access that companies should be able to have to their customers’ browsing data. Google often relies on cookies to track this data, using the figures to support its Universal Analytics and measure website conversions. As data collection evolves, so too do data breaches.
Data breaches are a common occurrence in the digital age, with sophisticated technologies allowing hackers to steal private data from websites in a matter of minutes. This can have a potentially detrimental impact on businesses, particularly those that rely on the collection of personal data in order to deliver their services. In June 2021, for example, LinkedIn became the victim of a data hacker under the name ‘God User’, who stole personal information from over 700 million users and posted it on the dark web. The personal data for sale included email addresses, mobile numbers, geolocation records and social media account details.
Google Analytics claims to have created GA4 with privacy in mind, hoping to prevent the rapid growth of data breaches. Their solution? A new ‘Consent Mode’, which helps prevent third-party cookies from storing user data without their consent. Consent has become an important part of Europe’s new data regulations, which require websites to ask for the user’s permission in order to process data and issue cookies.
Consent Mode can be applied to third-party websites to alter the way they use visitor data, with data retrieval being entirely dependent on the consent status of said visitor. Certain pieces of data can be collected anonymously, for example, preventing hackers from selling personal data to other companies.
Activating your insights with easeGoogle’s new GA4 has been built to integrate easily with other Google products, such as Google Ads, under the umbrella of Google Marketing Platform. The combination of web and app data is incredibly useful when it comes to identifying trends in analytics, as companies can track buyer journeys across multiple touchpoints without having to compare different browsing sessions. Simple access to such detailed analytics can then play a huge role in informing future marketing messages, advertising campaigns and even product lines.
McDonalds Hong Kong, for example, used this new feature to dramatically grow its mobile orders; the fast-food giant exported its predictive ‘likely seven-day purchasers’ into Google Ads and increased app orders by more than six times.
With 17,556,243 websites currently utilising Google Analytics, the platform is unlikely to experience a dip in popularity when it makes the transition to Google Analytics 4. Analytics can be an incredibly important part of delivering a successful marketing campaign, providing invaluable insights into customer profiles and their browsing habits.
So, make sure you save the date – July 1st 2023, and start gathering new data using Google Analytics 4 sooner rather than later!
Already have Google’s Universal Analytics? Click here to learn how to connect to GA4 in just a few clicks.