You’ve probably heard that Google Analytics for Digital Marketing Professionals is going through a major change. As of July 1, 2023, Universal Google Analytics will no longer accept data. At this point, businesses that want to use a Google product to assess their site analytics will have only one choice: Google Analytics 4.
The new Google Analytics 4 isn’t exactly new: it was introduced two years ago to address user privacy issues and the challenges of managing complex customer journeys. However, this is new to many marketers. That’s why you’ll want to learn how to use Google Analytics for marketing once Universal Analytics is discontinued and GA 4 takes over.
Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics
There’s a lot to look forward to when it comes to implementing Google Analytics 4. Yes, it will be a learning curve, but you’ll find that one of the biggest differentiators of GA 4 – the ability to track events rather than sessions – is very beneficial. This is especially true in an internet-driven world that is moving closer to a cookieless landscape.
It’s no secret that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the US illustrate the growing importance of privacy. These and other proposed laws will make it very difficult for companies to collect data on people. Google knows this, which is why the new Google Analytics 4 and its event-based flexibility combined with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) bypass the need for cookies.
Here is a general overview of how GA 4 events work:
- First, Google Analytics 4 tracks user events, such as video plays, across a myriad of devices.
- Then, the collective user event data is analyzed by predictive software that evaluates these events and builds customer journeys.
- Finally, Google Analytics 4 goes far beyond simply communicating raw numbers, percentages and ratios. It can serve in a prognostic position, giving marketers more in-depth GA information than before.
Really, the benefits of the GA 4 are very extensive. Below are some of the ways this latest Google Analytics management tool is poised to take your marketing to the next level:
1. Google Analytics 4 helps you predict sales.
The ML aspect of Google Analytics 4 is by far one of its best features. Over time, ML will amass your data and learn from it. This way, you can determine which audiences are most likely to convert based on past trends.
For example, you might find that customers who take specific trips end up buying product “X”. Therefore, if you can guide prospects through the same journey, you can expect to sell a predictable amount of “X” products. As good as it was, Universal Analytics didn’t offer this kind of real-time behavior monitoring capability.
2. Google Analytics 4 provides “identity spaces”.
Identity spaces give you the ability to identify consumers using something other than cookies. A consumer who accepts cookies from your site may receive a first-party cookie device ID. Or the consumer can be set up with a user ID that can be tracked across all your channels, such as your website or app.
If someone opts in to personalized ads, the consumer can be tracked across any number of browsers or devices. Identity spaces allow you to better see how consumers move through all your touchpoints.
3. Google Analytics 4 lets you attribute each touchpoint.
Speaking of touchpoints, Google Analytics 4 offers the ability to visualize how consumers move through your sales pipeline. With Universal Analytics, you might have had to make some educated guesses when it came to your marketing attribution model.
The new Google Analytics 4, on the other hand, lets you feel more comfortable knowing exactly how and where to attribute every digital marketing message you send.
4. Google Analytics 4 offers no-code event tracking.
No coding experience? No problem. Events are tracked as they happen in Google Analytics 4. All you have to do is log in and watch what happens as it happens.
You can literally see how many consumers are watching your latest video blog, for example. Don’t worry about fiddling with back-end code, though. Google has integrated event tracking into GA 4 so that it’s closer to a tailored experience.
If you like the idea of being able to predict your potential customers’ browsing habits and have richer data pools, you’ll be delighted with the new Google Analytics 4. Don’t wait to change until the last minute. Set up a Google Analytics 4 account to start collecting data immediately. The more data the tool has, the stronger its predictive power – and the stronger your marketing will be.
Justin Wenokur is Senior Director of Digital Strategy at CMG Local Solutions, a company that provides customized digital marketing solutions that meet your unique business needs.