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New Google Analytics Updates: What You Need to Know

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Google Analytics launched 15 years ago this month and is one of the most popular analytics systems in the world. Over 84% of websites with analytics tracking installed use it!

Recently a brand-new version of Google Analytics was launched: Google Analytics 4, which was known as App+Web when it was in beta mode.

Google is touting it as an intelligent version of Analytics, which will not only look at what your visitors are doing, but what they will do in the future.

Join us as we look at Google Analytics 4, who the changes will impact and what you need to do to implement the new functionality on your website.

Who should care about these changes?

These changes will impact anyone who uses Google Analytics on their website or is planning to use it in the future.

If you use Google Ads, these changes will impact you there too.

What has changed?

  • Predictive metrics:
    Google Analytics 4 lets you identify trends and outcomes, ensuring you are always one step ahead of your customers. For example, it can offer a probability of how likely active customers are to buy from you over the next 28 days.
  • Better integration with Google Ads:
    While both systems have always worked together, Google Analytics 4 now has additional functionality. For example, customers on remarketing lists that complete purchases are now automatically removed from the list, so they are no longer served ads.
  • Clearer reporting:
    Reports are organized more intuitively, with reports now organized around the customer lifecycle, making it easier to make decisions.
  • Improved event tracking:
    Event tracking (for example, playing a video) can now be carried out without having to add code to your site or amending Google Tag Manager. Information is now also available in real-time, meaning you do not have to wait until the next day to see stats.
  • The ability to track users across devices:
    People are now more likely to access sites several times across multiple devices, and Google Analytics 4 lets web administrators identify unique users across smartphones, tablets, and various computers. This makes for more precise reporting and targeting.
  • More control over user data:
    If you are based in the US or Europe, you need to comply with CCPA and GDPR respectively. Consent mode provides separate opt-ins for analytics and Google Ads, giving web visitors more control over their data.

The new Google Analytics also gives businesses more control over data deletion, meaning they can comply with ‘the right to be forgotten’ requests efficiently.

The pros and cons of the new update

The update was brought in to accommodate the phase-out of third-party cookies, which Google has pledged to remove from its systems over the next two years.

As the removal of third-party cookies means less data will be available, Google is starting to rely on machine learning to provide information to users.

There are not a lot of reports available on Google Analytics 4 just yet, but the amount of data available will grow over the months to come.

What do I need to do?

When you set up a new property moving forward, Google Analytics 4 will be the default option. The old system will continue to be available. We recommend you set up both types and run them together, especially while you are getting used to the terminology used by Google Analytics 4.

If you want to start using Google Analytics 4 right away, all you need to do is create a new property in your admin settings, selecting ‘apps and web’. You can use the existing tag on your website or set up a new one.

When do I need to set it up by?

There is no news on when the old system (also known as Universal Analytics) will be sunsetted. Still, by 2022 when third-party cookies are phased out, a lot of the reports currently provided will no longer be accurate.

So, get Google Analytics 4 set up, have a click around, and see how you can use it to refine your reporting and supercharge your return on investment!

portrait of Kim Dofler

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