Are you ready to switch to Google Analytics 4?
Two days from now, Google will shelve away Universal Analytics to give way to the hard launch of Google Analytics (GA) 4. Whether you like it or not, Google will automatically migrate your analytics data for you. The question is, are you ready for this inevitable switch?
While GA4 is a free analytics platform, which is believed to be a step up from Universal Analytics, not many people, especially those who have migrated their data months earlier think that it requires a ton of reckoning to assess the efficacy of the new Analytics version.
To what do we attribute the doubts? It’s because GA4 evidently is fundamentally different from Universal Analytics. If you have been so familiar with UA, you might need a longer learning curve because it is an entirely new system.
Is it the right one, you may ask? We’ll explore that question deeper.
What to expect in GA4?
First off, Google Analytics mainly uses event-based tracking, meaning it tracks user interactions with your website or app as individual events. In Universal Analytics, user sessions are defined as a series of hits.
There are many positive reasons for this change. An event-based tracking model allows you to track a wider range of user interactions, gives you more details about user behaviour, and is less reliant on cookies, therefore making the tracking future-proof.
For webmasters who made the shift early, the new version analytics dredges some privacy issues. In addition, how you control the data is another ball game to play and be concerned about.
It doesn’t help that GA4 doesn’t provide a dedicated onboarding support to assist platform users during migration. If you’re in charge of managing enterprise-level data for huge businesses with deep websites and complex data, there’s a lot of work involved in mapping it on Google Analytics 4. Remember that Google will now start charging money for long-term data storage. GA4 comes with a free connection to Google’s data warehouse, BigQuery, but there’s a cost to accessing and processing your data.
Is GA4 the right web analytics platform for you?
For many webmasters, GA4 may not be the right analytics platform to next land on after the changes. However, you can find out for yourself if it’s better to learn the new tool or invest in a different platform. Here are some factors to consider:
- GOALS AND OBJECTIVES. How does a particular analytics platform support your goals? What type of data do you need for that end - sales, leads, web traffic, etc.?
- FEATURES. Does it have all the functionalities you require? Can it integrate with other tools or analytics?
- DATA AND INTEGRATION. Does it allow integration with other marketing tools? Can it allow segmenting and processing of large amounts of data? Can you generate data that is easy to curate into a meaningful report?
- EASY-TO-LEARN. How easy is it to learn and navigate the tool? Are there available resources and tutorials to help shorten the learning curve?
- SUPPORT. Is there support available when you run into issues? How quickly can you get answers in case there are challenges?
- COST. How much do you pay for the tool? Is there a free plan or a trial version, so you can try its features? Is there an additional fee for data storage or maintenance?
By considering the above factors, you have an even better idea how to select your next analytics platform, whether it’s GA4 or something else.
For more details about transitioning to Google Analytics 4, read our dedicated GA4 resource page.