Big changes are coming next summer! You’ll want to be prepared! Google Analytics 4 will be replacing Google Universal Analytics 3.
Starting on July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics properties will no longer process new hits. If you’re still relying on Universal Analytics, it is recommended that you complete your move to Google Analytics 4 sooner than later.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about the new Google Analytics, from the special features it offers to the best ways its usage can grow your business.
Google Analytics 4: New Features
From changes to Facebook to a new version of Google Analytics, updates are always happening in the tech world. Sometimes, it seems like changes are happening so fast that we don’t even have time to figure out what kinds of features they offer.
Before we get into the process of using Google Analytics 4, let’s break down some of the most important features it will provide you and your team:
More Customer Insights
The new Google Analytics will provide users with a complete view of the customer lifecycle. It uses an event-based measurement model that helps you see how members of your audience move through the purchase funnel.
Improved Return on Investment
Most marketers — and other professionals, for that matter — are always looking for ways to improve the return on their investments.
Google Analytics 4 helps with this because it uses data-driven attribution to analyze a business’s marketing strategy across the entire customer journey. Users can then export these analyses to other tools, like Google Ads and Google Marketing Platform, to better optimize their campaigns.
Better Engagement and Conversion Measurement
The newest version of Google Analytics 4 makes it easier for marketers to measure online engagement and conversions. It specifically factors in country-level privacy laws and allows brands to minimize their use of tools like cookies and metadata without sacrificing their ability to gather valuable insights.
More Value from Business Data
With the help of machine learning and predictive insights, Google Analytics 4 allows marketers to gain more value from their business data.
This new tool helps you figure out the likelihood that a person will make a purchase or churn. It also provides critical insights based on this information to help you improve future marketing efforts.
Easy Insight Activation
Google Analytics 4 features expanded integrations and works well with other Google products, including Google Ads. This makes it easier for marketers to use their Google Analytics insights and optimize their campaigns for better results.
More Customization Options
The new Google Analytics also works with the newest version of Analytics 360.
When you use these two tools in tandem, you can customize your Google Analytics 4 properties to meet specific data governance needs. It also allows various teams and partners — like advertising agencies — to access important data while still complying with your unique business policies.
Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4: What’s the Difference?
Some people have held off on switching to the new version of Google Analytics because they don’t understand the differences between the two platforms. If you’re still holding out on transitioning to Google Analytics 4, consider these 10 important distinctions:
- Reporting Interface: Google Analytics 4 features new and more detailed reports; they are similar to those created by Google Analytics for Firebase.
- Measurement Model: Google Analytics 4 uses a measurement model based on events and parameters; Universal Google Analytics 3 uses a measurement model based on sessions and page views.
- Measurement IDs: Instead of tracking IDs, the new Google Analytics uses measurement IDs
- Views vs Data Streams: Rather than using views, which is the case for Universal Google Analytics 3, Google Analytics 4 requires you to data streams for different websites, apps, etc.
- Event Tracking Setup: Google Analytics 4 offers a more flexible event-tracking setup; you also don’t have to rely on the category-action-label-value schema that Universal Google Analytics 3 requires.
- Event Tracking Automation: Google Analytics 4 offers automatic tracking for various events without requiring you to do any additional coding or tagging.
- User and Event Data Retention: Google Analytics 4 requires you to choose between storing data for either 2 months or 14; there are no other options.
- Cross-Device and Cross-Platform Tracking: Google Analytics 4 offers much more robust and reliable cross-device and cross-platform tracking compared to Universal Google Analytics 3.
- Custom Metrics: The process of creating custom metrics is different in Google Analytics 4; everything is handled through the event scope.
- Debugging: It’s easier to eliminate bugs with Google Analytics 4 thanks to the DebugView Report.
As you can see, there are plenty of differences between Universal Google Analytics 3 and Google Analytics 4. New users will likely experience a learning curve when they first make the switch, so it’s a good idea to make it sooner rather than later.
How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 in WordPress
After learning about the differences between these two versions of Google Analytics, are you feeling a little more curious about setting up Google Analytics 4 and adding it to your WordPress site? If so, here are the steps you’ll need to transition to the new platform:
Create a Google Analytics Account
Do the following to create a Google Analytics account:
- Go to analytics.google.com
- Click on the “use it for free” button
- Sign into Google Analytics using your Google account
- Fill in account details (including your account name); click “next”
- Fill in property details (property name, reporting time zone, currency, etc.); click “next”
- Fill in business details; click “create”
From here, the last step is to accept the Google Analytics terms of service. Then, you’ll be ready to get to work.
Connect Google Analytics to WordPress
There are two ways to connect Google Analytics to your WordPress site.
The easiest option is to use the “Insert Headers and Footers” plugin. This plugin makes it easy for you to copy the Google Analytics 4 code and connect it to your WordPress site.
You can also use the Google Tag Manager platform by taking the following steps:
- Go to the Google Tag Manager dashboard; click on “New Tag”
- Add your container name; click on “Choose a tag type to begin set-up”; choose the “Google Analytics: GA4 configuration” option
- Go to Google Analytics; copy your measurement ID; paste it into Google Tag Manager
- Click on “Choose a Trigger to Make This Tag Fire”; choose “All pages”; click the “Save” button
- Submit the newly created tag by selecting “Tags” and then clicking the “Submit” button
- Write the version name and version description on the “Submit Changes” page; click the “Publish” button to deploy the container
This process requires a few more steps than the previous option. If you are already comfortable with Google Tag Manager, though, and don’t want to install a new plugin on your WordPress site, this can still be a viable choice.
Tips for Using Google Analytics 4
As a marketing professional, you’re likely already using Google Universal Analytics 3 to gain insights and monitor your business’s performance. This doesn’t mean you know all of the best practices for the new Google Analytics, though.
When you make the switch to Google Analytics 4, follow these best practices to ensure you’re getting the most out of it:
Group Users and Create Specific Audiences
Google Analytics 4 does a great job of making predictions from first-party behavior. This includes giving you insight into the probability of whether or not a user will make a purchase.
You can use this data to group users and create specific audiences. This, in turn, allows you to better tailor your content to each group.
Analyze New Metrics
Google Analytics 4 provides new and more detailed metrics for user engagement. Marketers should use these metrics to monitor who is engaged with their content and look into how they’re interacting with their website or app.
Utilize Life-Cycle Reporting
Google Analytics 4 provides marketers with a more in-depth understanding of the user journey with the help of life-cycle reporting. Instead of focusing too much on individual metrics, it evaluates the entire buyer journey and gives marketers much more information to work with.
Assess Data Trends
The New Google Analytics will alert you to various data trends. This will help you to respond to changes quickly and make the right decisions — and at the right time.
Collect Data without Cookies
Stop relying on cookies to collect data and gain insights into your target audience. Google Analytics 4 allows you to collect data without cookies, which helps you to futureproof your marketing strategy.
Need Help Prepping for the New Google Analytics?
Making the move from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 might seem like a daunting task at first. With some careful planning and preparation, though, you can navigate this transition with ease and see great results from the change.
If you need help mastering the new Google Analytics — or improving your digital marketing strategy across the board — we can help at Socialistics.
We are social media marketing experts and can assist with organic social, paid social, influencer marketing, and more. Get in touch today to learn more.