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You may recently have noticed a banner appearing at the top of the Google Analytics account for your business:

Fear not. Although the upcoming abandonment of Universal Analytics in favour of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) may appear quite daunting; it’s not an unusual or uncommon step for Google to take following a 5-10 year period.

Google Analytics was launched way back in 2005, a great solution to all businesses with a website to start to understand site engagement and performance. In October 2012 another new version of Google Analytics was announced, called Universal Analytics which we have all been working with since 2015 when this was rolled out. 

It’s been plain sailing since 2015, with website data such as number of sessions (visits), breakdown of traffic by source/medium (organic/paid), key goals and and e-commerce data such as transactions and revenue (if applicable) tracking. This key data and information delivered by Google Analytics feeds back into business intelligence to make smarter decisions around marketing spend/budgeting and where to focus attention on when making website improvements.

Do we have a choice?

No, as this rule applies for absolutely everyone who has Google Analytics added to their website. Let’s face it, no one likes change or disruption, so the news (although not welcome news for many) can also be seen as a positive step. There are, after all, some key benefits to switching from Universal Analytics to GA4, and we would advise to do so without delay; so as not to lose important historical data. 

With GA4, Google promises to deliver more powerful tracking and journey data, improved campaign audiences and enhanced visualisations for reporting. These are just a few of the benefits or improvements to what we have been used to for so long now. 

New view of ‘events’

Old View of ‘events’

The user interface (what you see when you log in) does look quite a bit different, so this will take a couple of days to get used to. What is imperative though is not to sit on your hands, but to react as quickly as possible to getting GA4 added onto your business website. 

Is simply adding in the GA4 tracking script enough?

Unfortunately not. We emphasise this point very strongly, from our many years of experience. Although at top level your business might find it quite interesting how many people discover and crawl around your website; there really is a limit to how much you can read into user behaviour when you are only tracking website hits at top level.

When we onboard new clients, it’s amazing just how many websites we work with that have very little tracking in place. Historical data not only helps to push your business forward, but also provides the key ingredients to marketing activity and the decisions you decide to take with your marketing campaigns. If you merely just have the GA4 tracking script on your website, you are only delivering information to yourself and your marketing team (in-house or agency side) how many people visited your business ‘online’. Nothing about how many of these people who visited your website converted, completed X, Y or Z steps (contact form submission, click to call), or even (if your website is transactional) purchased a product, and at what value?

Do you require support setting up GA4 for your business and tracking the key touch-points (calls to action) across your website? Let us do the hard graft, to make Google Analytics easy for you to understand. Don’t let it become a minefield moving forward. Although the deadline set by Google is to switchover to GA4 by July 2023, our advice would be not to leave it too late, as it’s likely that the task will otherwise be put on the back-burner and either hurried (where mistakes can easily occur) or forgotten about. 

Get in contact with our team to see how we can help support your transition across from Universal Analytics to GA4.

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