Have you ever been the last to hear about something when it seems the whole world knew before you did? Well, those moments are personally tragic but, professionally, often fatal.
On March 16, 2022, Google announced the end-of-life date for Google Analytics 3 (GA3), which GA4 will replace. Companies are scrambling to understand what this means for tracking data and revising their marketing strategies. But amidst the panicked environment, we've been keeping on top of things and how it will affect your clients. We think this change will be a (very) good thing for not just for marketing strategy and analytics, but also for driving business results.
Here's what you need to know about GA4 at a glance...
GA4 is transformative in many ways. It is designed for today's digital needs, not the least of which is user privacy. Not only does GA4 enable compliance, machine learning and AI-first analysis; it also provides users with visibility into the user journey across devices (websites, mobile, apps and more—something that is key in today's market and moving into the future). What does this mean from a business perspective? Simply put: Greater efficiency, better analytics with less time spent on data analysis processes and the potential for higher ROI. If companies were to launch into a trade-off conversation, GA4 would surface as the clear winner from both a data and business perspective.
While these technical enhancements will appeal to data analysts, the potential for step-change improvements in the business impact is most compelling about GA4. The more granular and intelligent architecture of the platform, when utilized strategically, can enable benefits such as those found in the chart below:
You need to future-proof your digital analytics—yesterday!
While the impact of GA4 varies by company, all businesses who rely on Google Analytics need to pay attention and get planning now. Why?
- The end of life for GA3 is set for July 1, 2023. While GA4 will provide a six-month look-back window of historical data, the sooner you implement the GA4 tags? The better. By implementing GA4 now, you extend the six-month window, allowing for a year-over-year comparison of analytics. Simply put, if you don't start capturing your historical data by June 1, 2022, you'll be without it in the future.
- The increased complexity and possibilities of GA4 require more strategic thought and configuration than flicking a switch at your choosing. Getting your staffing, dashboards and partners aligned for this change is not trivial and will take time to implement correctly.
- GA4's data model focuses on the concept of "an engaged user," meaning your marketing strategy needs to be sure to focus on creating richer, more engaging content for your audience.
- GA4 will allow businesses to harness their new platform to look at data differently and glean insights about their audience that competitors who are slow to transition may miss.
- Multi-channel attribution and performance measurement of defined conversion events (e.g., a click-through) is baked in (including the cost of conversions analysis with the integration of Google Ads).
Those seeking an alternative to GA4 will be hard-pressed to find a worthy competitor. There are few attractive alternatives, particularly for mid-market companies. And (stubbornly), GA4 remains free.
Short-term migration consequences will include business/budget disruptions and self-service analysis limitations.
- GA4 requires configuration that an experienced resource should do. To implement correctly, companies need to recognize that the process will involve resources such as time and money, which may fall outside of your regular budget.
- DIY configuration and ongoing self-service are recommended if you have a specialized, in-house Google Analytics professional.
Below is Primacy's end-to-end process for strategic migration:
Depending on the complexity of implementation, migration can take from a few weeks up to 12 months or more.
Our team at Primacy provides expertise and assistance at every stage.
Have questions about Google Analytics 4 and what it means for your business? Want to discuss all-things data?