If you own a website you may have already been notified by Google about the change of Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) into Google Analytics 4 (GA4). If you’re wondering what this means for your website and what you need to do, then we’ve put together a brief overview that should help.
Why should you care?
GA4 looks different but the new update is more than a fancy new interface design, it includes more advanced machine learning capabilities and a complete re-haul of the data collection architecture.
A big fundamental difference with the way their tracking works is that GA4 uses ‘Events’. In short, this means that Google Analytics now tracks events and conversions. This means you are now able to record interactions with elements of your website which aren’t tracked as standard within Google Analytics. Machine learning generates sophisticated predictive insights about user behaviour and conversions, creates new audiences of users likely to purchase or interact and automatically surfaces critical insights to improve your marketing.
To read more about this see Google’s overview here
So what do you need to do?
GA4 will fully replace UA on 1st July 2023, and requires a completely new tag added to your website.
We would recommend adding the GA4 tag soon so you can build up historic data ahead of the change taking full effect. Don’t be caught out having to build historical data from scratch after the 1st July 2023. We don’t know when Google will start to phase out its current analytics system, but with historical data being crucial in how effective analytics is as an SEO tool, it is important to implement things sooner rather than later.
The good news is that adding the new GA4 tag to your website won’t stop Universal Analytics from running as it is, at least for now. Both tags can run at the same time until GA4 eventually takes over from Universal Analytics in July next year.
It’s a big change but taking action sooner will mean you can transition form your current Google analytics to GA4 without any issues.