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Google Analytics 4 has arrived – what is it and what should I do now?

Gordon Murray

Digital Production Manager at Shaw

As many of you will be aware, Google has introduced a new version of its analytics tool called Google Analytics 4, or GA4 for short. If you’ve been using the older version, Universal Analytics, don’t panic – GA4 is a big improvement, but it might take a little getting used to.

So, what’s the big deal with GA4? Well, the way it handles data is different. In the older version, data was categorised into various ‘hit’ types, like page hits and event hits. But with GA4, everything is event-based. What does that mean? Well, it simply means that any interaction on your website or app can be captured as an event. For example, when someone adds an item to their wish list on your online store or when a user signs up to be a member, those actions can be tracked as events.

And here’s another bonus – GA4 collects data from both your website and your app. This means you’ll get a better understanding of your customers’ journeys. For instance, you can track events such as when someone starts a tutorial on a mobile game from their smartphone.

This may all sound a bit technical, but don’t worry – we’re here to help you out! Setting up GA4 involves defining these events, among other things like adjusting user session timeouts, defining internal traffic, and dealing with unwanted referrals. In GA4, they’re no longer focused on bounce rates; instead, they’re more interested in engaged sessions, which take into account factors like conversions, duration, and page views. It gives you a more comprehensive view of how users interact with your website or app.

The thing is, Universal Analytics has gone and we will all now have to work with GA4. But that’s actually a great opportunity. It means you get to explore and invest in analytics solutions which fit your business needs better. GA4 has fewer built-in reports, but don’t worry – you can create custom reports to track what matters most to you.

The earlier you make the switch and get into the way of working with GA4, the faster you’ll start gathering valuable information about your users and how well your website is doing. It might seem a bit overwhelming, but we promise it’s worth it. Once everything is set up correctly, GA4 will provide you with more data and flexibility.

If you need any assistance with GA4, we’re here for you. Whether it’s planning GA4 events, implementing website coding, or monitoring results, just reach out to us, and we’ll be delighted to help you get the most out of GA4.