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Should You move to Google Analytics 4?

If you haven’t heard, Google introduced Google Analytics 4 in October 2020. It is the newest product on its analytics platform. It isn’t just Google Analytics with a fresh layer of paint—it promises new features such as app compatibility, machine learning and more to be discussed later. Currently, the question of the hour is: should you add GA4 to your analytics toolbox with these new features and should you do away with Universal Analytics?

If you’re thinking the same, you’re definitely not alone. Read on to know more about what you, as a marketer, should be doing.

What is the New Upgrade All About?

Google Analytics 4 introduces a line of robust new features. Google Analytics 4 is created to give you vital insights in order to be prepared for what might be coming next, which allows you to build a comprehensive customer journey, in order to maximise profit. So, what else is GA4 promising you?

Artificial Intelligence-powered Predictions and Insights

Insights powered by machine learning have been in analytics for some time, however, GA4 is now equipped to highlight data trends such as growing demand for a service or product.

The brand-new technology can be used to predict outcomes, such as potential profit a business can earn from a specific customer segment. Those insights can then assist you in expecting the actions your customer may take in the future. Therefore, it will let you focus on audiences with higher values.

New Data Model

GA4 has an entirely different data model than the older version. GA4 is solely based on Users and Events. Each session is an event, a page view is an event, every communication inside the browser is tracked immediately as an event.

Deeper Audience Integration with Google Ads

Creating and maintaining audience lists is improved. Here’s how: if a user has qualified for your Google Ads audience list due to an action they took while browsing an app or webpage, they can be automatically eliminated from that list once they have reached the established goal for that specific campaign. This basically indicates that you spend less on ads.

Customer Lifecycle-framed Reporting

Report organisation is different this time—GA4 aims to present a complete view of how customers are engaging with your business across channels and devices. You can also allocate users with an ID or allow Google alerts to deduplicate users over devices for enhanced reporting and ad targeting.

Analytics in a Future Free of Cookies

Third-party cookies are slowly phasing out, so Google anticipates that scattered data will become the new normal. Therefore, GA4 will depend on machine learning to fill in the blanks, which will help to ensure accuracy when reporting and improve insights.

Should You Move to GA4 Now?

The short answer to this question is yes. Universal Analytics probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon—Google hasn’t explicitly stated when they are completely retiring AU— but it is highly recommended that you add GA4 property to your running Google Analytics account.

GA4 doesn’t migrate your data over when you shift, which means you don’t have any old data available when you move to the new version. If you move over to Google Analytics 4 now, you can run both your new and old accounts alongside each other and start collecting data in GA4 before the old version is phased out. This way, you get the best of both worlds and conduct experiments with GA4 as it develops. You will be able to migrate your data over time.

What If You Don’t Upgrade? Can You Still Use Your Existing Setup for GA4?

The change won’t be radical. Google Analytics 4 won’t just show up one day and make Universal Analytics null and void. Your present Google Analytics will work as it is. However, it is highly recommended that you upgrade to GA4 because, as mentioned above, GA4 will provide a much better data model than UA.

You don’t need to use GA4 right away for analysis and reporting but it will provide you with the option to try out new things. While you can keep using the same Google Tag Manager account, you will need to set up GA4 from the ground up. GA4 tracking is very different from Universal Analytics tracking. Your current event tracking will cease to work.

In the end, if you’re trying to target users that perform an event on your website, then you need to decide which is significant. Are you leveraging for all sessions or only the people who perform the event? Data is similar in both GA3 and GA4, so if you’re just tracking events and need to ensure whether the event is triggered, it all depends on individual preference.

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