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A quick guide to GA4 for marketing agencies

Data Analytics

If you haven’t already heard or if it slipped your mind, here’s a reminder about an industry-changing event.

Starting from July 2023, Google will be transitioning all Universal Analytics users to its latest version, Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Don’t worry, these updates won’t directly affect the everyday user’s online search and browsing experience. However, marketers and businesses will need to adapt to these changes. Although you may be a bit late to the game, we’re here to simplify and guide you, helping you optimize your online presence or your clients. In this blog post, we’ll delve into why GA4 is crucial for unlocking actionable insights and achieving success in today’s digital landscape. We’ll also address the important questions that marketers may have regarding this significant Google update.

What is Google Analytics 4 for marketers?

Google Analytics 4 is an analytics service that enables marketers to measure traffic and engagement across clients websites and apps. It offers a comprehensive set of tools and features to help marketers gain valuable insights into user behavior, measure marketing campaign effectiveness, and optimize their strategies.

What is different about GA4 compared to UA?

What sets GA4 apart from its predecessor is its customer-centric approach, placing a greater emphasis on individual users and their interactions rather than simply focusing on pageviews. This shift in perspective provides marketers with a more comprehensive understanding of their audience and enables them to make well-informed decisions based on data. 

With GA4, marketers can take advantage of enhanced event tracking capabilities, allowing them to track a wider range of user actions and identify valuable micro-conversions. Additionally, GA4 leverages advanced AI-powered insights to uncover hidden patterns and correlations within the data, offering valuable guidance for user acquisition, engagement, and retention strategies. The seamless integration of GA4 with other Google tools enables marketers to break down data silos and gain a holistic view of the customer journey. By utilizing GA4, marketers can  uncover valuable data about user journeys, optimize marketing campaigns, and discover new avenues for business growth. 

It’s also worth noting that GA4 also addresses privacy concerns by changing how data is collected and reorienting metrics from sessions to events, demonstrating a commitment to consumer privacy and keeping up with the evolving landscape of cookie tracking. 

Does GA4 use cookies?

When it comes to cookies, GA4 employs a combination of approaches. First, it utilizes first-party cookies, which play a role in tracking user behavior and collecting data. However, GA4 takes a step further by limiting the use of third-party cookies. Instead, it incorporates signals into the equation, which includes session data from websites and applications associated with users who have signed into their Google accounts and enabled Ads Personalization.

The shift away from relying heavily on third-party cookies is motivated by several factors. Firstly, the increasing prevalence of mobile devices as the primary means of accessing the internet has prompted this change. Additionally, statistics indicate that a significant portion, approximately 90%, of mobile usage is devoted to utilizing mobile apps. Consequently, GA4 adapts to this mobile-centric landscape by prioritizing alternative data signals while reducing reliance on third-party cookies.

What can the clients gain and lose through the upgrade?

Similar to any system upgrade, the transition to Google Analytics 4 will bring both improvements and potential drawbacks. The true impact on you and your clients can only be determined over time.

What you’ll gain:

  • Event-based tracking, providing a more holistic view of user engagement across web and app platforms, offering potential for richer journey insights.
  • Better reporting and analysis with user-friendly templates borrowed from Google Data Studio for creating custom reports.
  • Automated insights powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, highlighting new and valuable insights.

What you’ll lose:

  • Historical data and tags from Universal Analytics (UA) won’t migrate to GA4, requiring you to start from scratch with new data.
  • Your conversions will be different in GA4 as the underlying measurements have changed.
  • Views, which were used in UA for configuring tests and filtering internal traffic, are currently not available in GA4.
  • Limits on filters and customer dimensions, with IP and hostname filtering being limited or deprecated, and custom dimensions restricted to 50.
  • Third-party integrations that were built on UA’s measurements, such as CRMs, ecommerce platforms, and CMSs, will no longer work until they are updated to support GA4.

However, if your clients don’t have data analytics set up, now is a good time to start tracking with the latest version of Google Analytics. By doing so, you will avoid the hassle of GA4 migration. As previously mentioned, having analytics set up will not only help you gain deep insights into consumer behavior and preferences but also allow you to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to assess the impact of your marketing activities. For more information on GA4 for business, click here.

Client problems you may encounter with GA4 that we can help you solve

  • GA4 Training
  • UA Data storage
  • GA4 ecommerce tracking
  • DataLayer design and configuration
  • UA vs GA4 data discrepancies
  • React GA4 tracking
  • Shopify GA4 tracking
  • Angular GA4 tracking
  • Custom dimension/metric set up
  • Missing ecommerce events in GA4 reports
  • GA4 API reporting quotas in Looker studio
  • GA4 tracking audit
  • Bigquery integration
  • Cross domain tracking
  • Single page application (SPA) tracking
  • Conversion event set up in GA4
  • GA4 exploration and standard reporting
  • WordPress GA4 tracking
  • Bigcommerce GA4 tracking
  • Magento GA4 tracking

Still confused about Google Analytics 4 or need more assistance with GA4, don’t hesitate to contact us. At metric labs , we are your data analytic experts and here to make your marketing life easier.

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Reminder: Google UA Historical Data to be Deleted in July 2024

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