A website is one of the most crucial customer touchpoints for every business. Knowing what is happening on your website is vital to help you make informed decisions about your business and its marketing.
Google Analytics has been a powerful web traffic tool since its launch in 2005. It can provide detailed insights into the actions taken by users on your website, how they got there, and much more.
Since its launch, there have been many versions and upgrades to keep ahead of modern technology. Version 3, called Universal Analytics (UA), has been used from 2012 until October 2020, when Google released Version 4 (GA4). In March this year, Google finally announced that they would be discontinuing UA as of July 1st, 2023; it will stop receiving data, and any UA property data will only be available for 6 months after this. This means that users must upgrade to GA4 now in preparation for the retirement of the old version. If it’s set up now, your new GA4 will begin gathering data from when it’s installed rather than waiting to do so.
What’s the difference between UA and GA4?
While there are numerous differences between the two versions, we’ve listed some of the main ones below:
- The measurement model has changed dramatically between the two versions. UA was built based on sessions and pageviews, whereas GA4 was created based on events and parameters focused on the user journey instead of individual sessions.
- A key difference is that GA4 can not only be used on websites but only on apps, allowing easier tracking of cross channel use. This gives business owners better insight into customer use across both platforms with a website and app.
- One downside is that in its current form, GA4 is lacking in comparison to UA when it comes to e-commerce tracking. We expect Google to work on getting this functionality ready between now and July 1st, 2023.
You might be worried about losing the data you’ve gathered on UA for years, but there is a fine line to walk between relying on historical data and testing new strategies. Customer habits and behaviour change so often now that it’s likely that much of your historical data is outdated and irrelevant to current decisions.
Whilst there is a significant learning curve to getting familiar with the new GA4, the move shows Google’s confidence in and commitment to the latest version of the platform, and with continual development, it will be ready for July 1, 2023. Like everything in business and the world, change is inevitable, so act now to make sure your business’s website is ready for the switch.
If your business needs assistance with the Analytics changeover, or you are completely lost when it comes to anything website related, the expert team at Adllins Media can help.