What is GA4 and What Does it Mean for Your Business?

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Google Analytics (GA) has been the go-to analytics platform for businesses for many years: If you run a business and have a website, you’ve probably heard of it. However, as the digital landscape continues to evolve, it's becoming increasingly important for analytics tools to keep up. Enter GA4 - the latest version of Google Analytics that Google says will be more user-friendly, privacy-focused and better equipped to handle the ever-changing world of online business. In this blog post, we'll explore the key differences between GA4 and the previous version of Google Analytics, and outline some of the ways in which businesses can take advantage of this powerful new tool.

One of the most significant differences between GA4 and the previous version of Google Analytics – Google Analytics Universal – is the focus on user behavior tracking. While the old version relied heavily on tracking pageviews and sessions, GA4 focuses on tracking individual users across multiple devices and sessions. Ideally, this would mean that businesses could get a more comprehensive understanding of how users are interacting with their website over time. Google says that their new method of tracking user data in GA4 will be more accurate for website owners, especially for cross-device tracking.

Another important difference is the shift towards event-based tracking. In Google Analytics Universal, events were tracked separately from pageviews and sessions. In GA4, events are at the center of tracking, and everything else is built around them. This means that businesses should be able to track a wide range of user interactions, including clicks, form submissions and video views, with more granularity and detail, while also giving business owners more customization in terms of tracking user actions.

In addition to these key differences, GA4 also offers a range of new features and improvements. For example, there's a new data modeling feature that uses machine learning to fill in gaps in data and provide more accurate insights. There are also new integration options with other Google products, such as Ads and BigQuery.

What Do You Need To Do To Be Ready For GA4?

So, how should your business respond to GA4? Here are a few tips:

1. Make the switch now! If you haven't already, now is the time to switch to GA4. Effective July 1, 2023, the previous version of Google Analytics will no longer be collecting any data and you will essentially be forced onto GA4 regardless. Google has already been creating GA4 properties for users who have not opted out since March 2023. Because your Google Analytics Universal data will not be transferred to your GA4 account, it’s important to set up your GA4 account as soon as possible so that you have as much data as possible

2. Set up event tracking: Take advantage of the event-based tracking in GA4 by setting up custom events that track specific user interactions on your website. This will give you a detailed picture of user behavior. You can set up event-based conversions to track important metrics of your website’s performance, such as new customer phone calls or users submitting contact forms.

3. Use data modeling: GA4's data modeling feature can help fill in gaps in your data and provide more accurate insights. Make sure to enable this feature and use it to your advantage.

4. Integrate with other Google products: GA4 offers new integration options with other Google products. Explore these options to get a more comprehensive view of your online business.

Are You A Coalmarch Client?

If you’re already partnering with Coalmarch, here’s the good news. Our team is handling these changes for you – we’ve been aware of this impending switchover since it was announced. We’ve been working behind the scenes to make sure that our clients’ websites are fully optimized to collect the data you need to make smart, effective decisions about how to market and grow your business, and we’ll be prepared for additional changes or updates Google makes in the future. 

Questions, concerns or just plain curious about how this works and how we’re handling it? Touch base with your account executive, and they’ll be happy to walk you through it. If you’re not working with us yet and you’re looking for help navigating this major change, the experts at Coalmarch are ready to help – schedule a consultation today to get started.