Save the date: 1st July 2023
Google is set to fully launch Google Analytics 4 as a replacement for Google Analytics Universal in July 2023. This means the analytics you know and love will be gone forever.
Setting up your GA4 accounts now is a great way to be prepared and means you will have data in your account for the rest of the year. At Echo, we’ve been experimenting with the new dashboard and seeing what it has to offer.
In this guide, we’re looking at the key differences between Universal Analytics and GA4, the coolest features you should know about, and how to get started.
GA4 introduces a shift in measurements from session-based data to event-based data. Events refer to actions that users take on your website and can be almost anything from button clicks to page views.
Google will be using advanced machine learning to provide smarter insights. This includes predictive revenue opportunities, real-time visitor trends and reports on Google Ads conversions alongside non-Google channels such as social and email.
There will also be a greater emphasis on customer privacy.
Notable new features
- Create custom reports
This is a huge benefit of GA4. You have more of a say over the tracking and reports. You can see the data that matters most for your business and create your own dashboards. Think less lists and more visual graphs.
- Track events rather than sessions
With Universal Analytics, every event was its own hit type with a Category, Action and Label. GA4 is doing away with these and every “hit” will now be an event.A “hit” refers to a specific interaction between a user and your website.So, whenever someone views one of your website pages, a page_view event is triggered. Or, whenever someone clicks on a “call now” button, a phone_call_click event will be tracked.Events could include: page views, user engagement, first visit, email clicks, contact form completions, etc.
- Tailor your sidebar
You can now tailor the sidebar to show anything you want, which makes it really simple to see your most important stats at a glance. The sidebar is also more minimalist for a less daunting interface.
- See data for websites and apps
Previously, user interactions on your websites were displayed in separate analytics reports from your app-based interactions. However, now, Google has cottoned on to the rise of websites also using apps. So, now you can view the data for both your websites and apps in one place.
- Debug mode
Admin >> DebugView
This new feature may sound like it’s about removing bugs from your IT systems. However, it’s an incredibly useful view that allows you to see what you can track to unlock more events.
Ready to set up your account?
It couldn’t be easier to set up, and Google has provided step-by-step instructions for you to follow.
Admin >> GA4 Set-up Assistant >> Get Started
Once you’re all set up, you will need to add a tracking code to your website.
You will not be transferring your data across from Universal Analytics to GA4. Instead, you will be setting up an entirely new account. That’s why you should prepare now. However, you can migrate your basic Universal Analytics settings, saving you a little time.
Don’t worry! You will still be able to access your historic data in Universal Analytics. There just won’t be any new data coming through.
Finding your way around the new platform
New interfaces, especially for analytics, can be daunting – even for the seasoned analytics enthusiast! You may wonder if there’s a cheat sheet approach to mastering the new account.
The best way is to poke around. There are also plenty of beginner tutorials on YouTube. Names and locations for metrics and data have been changed, so it’s worth familiarising yourself with the new lingo.
Things to bear in mind
Ensure you link any other platforms currently linked with Universal Analytics with your new Google Analytics 4 property. This might include Google Ads, Search Console and Data Studio.
Need help setting up your platform and monitoring how your website and digital marketing channels are performing? The SEO experts at Echo can help.Contact Us Give Us A Call Message Us