Across the globe, digital marketers are getting ready for Google Analytics 4. Since its inception over 18 years ago, the digital marketing industry has focused on improving what came to be known as the ‘user journey’. Now, the sun will set on Google’s traditional format as of July 2023. Enter Google Analytics 4 which marks a turn towards a new focus, in essence it ushers in an ‘aha moment’ one which all digital marketers will realize, ‘This changes everything!’  In this posting Active Web Group will provide an overview of GA4, what it entails, what it means to our agency/industry, and most important, to our clients.

For almost two decades, Google Analytics has been the benchmark reporting tool most widely used to track user interaction for millions of online businesses across their web domain, mobile apps, and offline data storage APIs. To AWG’s clients, this platform is known as the tool that keeps track of the number of visitors to their site, and monitor key marketing channels as well as measure their main Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Now, and for the first time, Google Analytics 4 is the new analytics version, destined to become the new industry benchmark, and it is very different from Google’s traditional platform.

What’s so new? And what can users expect? To begin, GA4’s key updates include a new data modeling feature that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to fill in data gaps in those instances where traditional Analytics may be blocked or excluded by cookie-consent rules, JavaScript blockages and an ever-growing focus on user privacy. The user-interface is different as well. Read on for an overview of Google Analytics 4’s major updates.

Google Analytics 4 Defined

Essentially, GA4 is a next level approach to confront trending ‘privacy first’ tracking, x-channel measurement, and AI-based predictive data. Its advanced machine learning models enable Google Analytics 4 to predict web traffic data and user behavior without compiling ‘hits’ from every site page. We are starting to get the feeling that your eyes are glazing over. Okay. We’ll cut to the chase. The key difference between traditional analytics of the past decade and a half and GA4 is that the platform’s main goal is to shift the way data is shown away from the present user journey focus from arrival to conversion. Google Analytics 4 focuses on ‘events’ and only on ‘events’. It is a more accurate way to gauge that journey based on events that occur along an individual visit.

This sweeping change was necessitated by increasing ‘stops’ that impede the collection of analytics data. New Privacy Protection laws have diminished the capability of data collection. Internet users are simply demanding more privacy and security, so some browsers, such as Mozilla, have taken steps to block traditional analytics collection. More and more websites are using visitor consent to allow analytics tracking, with increased security measures to come. Simply put, Google Analytics 4 promises to provide accurate data collection without breaching privacy mandates. It is scalable and designed for present and future data collections requirements.

Google Analytics 4 Highlights

Here’s the 30,000-foot view of GA4 and what to expect:

    • Increases Your ROI: GA4 uses data-driven attribution to analyze the full impact of AWG’s marketing initiatives across the entire scope of your customer’s journey. It assigns attribution credit more effectively than before and helps you understand how your marketing campaigns collectively influence your conversions. Additionally, analytics can be exported to Google Ads and Google Marketing Platform media tools to optimize strategies.
    • Measures engagement and conversions focused to client businesses and compliance regulations: GA4 features new country-level privacy controls, to manage and minimize the collection of user-level data  (i.e.cookies and metadata) without sacrificing key measurement functionality.
    • Provides greater value from your data: Google Analytics 4 is AI driven. Machine learning generates sophisticated predictive insights about user behavior and conversions. These insights can be used to attract users demographics, those likely to purchase. This feature along can provide critical insights to improve AWG’s digital marketing campaigns and initiatives. Through the use of expanded integrations, GA4 interacts with other Google products such as Google Ads to enhance your overall digital marketing campaigns.

The predictive audience feature of GA4 has enabled one of the test marketing firms, a global brand, to increase its app orders by more than 6x. Additionally, its ROI increased by 5.6x yet at a 63% cost per action. Active Web Group cannot guarantee similar results, however we realize we are poised at a time of great and exciting change in the market tools we use to enable our clients to achieve, maintain, and grow their stated business goals.

What Can AWG’s Clients Do Now to Prepare for GA4?

At this point, you may be asking yourself, surely there is something AWG can be doing to my site now to position it well for the GA4 rollout? Yes, yes there is. Here is what we are proposing:

    • Update Tagging Structure: All existing tags will be rebuilt to support the new GA4 tags, which capture data differently. Each existing tag in Google’s Tag Manager will need a twin tag tied to the same trigger to report data back to GA4.
      eCommerce data will rely on a different dataLayer structure (which holds all data to be processed and passed from your website (or other digital context) to other applications that you have linked to) as well. The options here are to reconstruct their site dataLayers or use Google Tag Manager’s custom JavaScript variables to reformat their data.
    • Update Reporting Structure: Google Analytics 4’s capture system is based on a platform that is optimized for data collection from mobile devices and applications. It is highly customizable. These features will also have to be rebuilt to accommodate GA4 data collection methodologies. AWG has access will compare the equivalencies between tradition and GA4 to facilitate the historical reporting process, but the time to act is now. 

If this all has your head spinning, take heart! These are all services that you’ve partnered with Active Web Group to provide. Sit back and get ready for improved data collection, and AWG will do the rest.

Speak with our team now to get started. July 2023 and Google Analytics 4 will be here before you know it! Contact AWG today!