Switch to Google Analytics 4: what should you expect for your campaigns?

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You may have already heard about it: on July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics (the version of Google Analytics you are probably used to) will disappear, in favor of Google Analytics 4.

What does this change mean for your digital advertising campaigns? 
Focus on this new analytics platform, its promises, and how to prepare for this change.

Google Analytics 4 in a nutshell

Google Analytics 4 is still a platform that allows you to track your key web performance metrics, just like Universal Analytics did before. 

The big difference between the two platforms? While Universal Analytics was based on sessions and page views, GA4 relies more on web and application events to extract KPIs

This platform allows you to follow the lifecycle of your target-audience, and therefore, get a better understanding of its customer journey. From your Google account, you can analyze the traffic of your website or application, study the sources of traffic and the conversion rate of your web pages, and also follow the behavior of your visitors from start to finish. 

Another promise of Google Analytics 4 is the access to more granular reports on the online customer journey, as well as easier-to-read reports in a very clear dashboard. This makes it easier to make decisions to improve the performance of your campaigns!

Google Analytics 4’s promises

Your Google Analytics account is going to change: what can you expect from it, concretely? Here are some of the benefits that the GAFA giant has already announced for its new platform.  

Respect for the privacy of your users

First of all, let's note that Google Analytics 4 is a web performance tracking tool that has been designed to respect the regulations regarding the privacy of Internet users. This is something that Universal Analytics did not do well, and for which it was highly criticized until now. 

Therefore, with GA4, you’ll be able to… 

  • Anonymize visitors' IP addresses (even though the CNIL, the French regulator concerning personal data, estimates in a recent publication, that anonymization isn’t guaranteed)
  • Set up the data retention period, which by default is set at 14 months, to comply with the legislative framework

The disappearance of certain key metrics (and the appearance of new analytical data)

Second point: in Google Analytics 4, you will see some of the KPIs you are probably used to disappear. 

This is related to the fact that GA4 uses a different method of accounting from Universal Analytics: it switches from a session-based model to an event-based model. Thus, Google Analytics 4 analyzes user actions on your website or application as independent events. 

In short, this method is increasingly similar to that used by DSPs (Demand Side Platforms), ou even Meta.

For instance, in GA4, the bounce rate disappears, in favor of the engagement rate. You will also be able to measure page views, clicks on a specific button, user actions, or conversions per user.

These changes will require you to modify, or even reshape entirely, your webmarketing reporting practices and update your dashboards. 

Using machine learning to gain marketing insights

Google Analytics 4 also promises an integration of a predictive system of user behavior, thanks to an Artificial Intelligence based on machine learning.

The idea is that the platform generates recommendations, allowing you to optimize the ROI of your digital marketing campaigns throughout your customer journey. 

You can set up alerts to be notified when the analysis tool detects a new interesting trend for your strategy. 

Optimal integration with Google's advertising platforms

The last promise of Google Analytics 4, and not the least: the fact that the tool integrates seamlessly with Google advertising tools. The goal? To help you better track the performance of your campaigns, and therefore, to significantly increase their ROI. 

One of the new features introduced in GA4 is the user properties, which define the gender, the city, the interests, the status of the customer (new, old, recurrent...). These properties can then be used in your Google digital advertising campaigns as audiences or audience segments, for optimal targeting of your core target. 

How to prepare for the transition to Google Analytics 4?

"The shift to Google Analytics 4 promises a real change in terms of web performance measurement. By moving from a session-based model to a user action-based model, you will be able to take into account the entire customer journey of your targets on your platforms. However, it's also a great time to make your choice in an informed way, between starting a migration to Google Analytics 4, or changing your measuring tool. This decision should be guided by cost, the tool's compliance with GDPR, or the migration effort involved." Damien Mora, Head Of Operations at Gamned!

Faced with these significant changes, what action plan should you adopt to avoid any break in your performance tracking? 

First, remember the deadlines for this change. 

After July 1, 2023, you will still be able to view your Universal Analytics reports for a period, and your Analytics 360 reports until October 1, 2023. However, any new data generated will only be passed on to Google Analytics 4 properties.

But to prepare yourself, it is recommended to switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible. Good news: Google has already issued recommendations on the subject. 

This includes... 

  • Creating a Google Analytics 4 property on Universal Analytics 
  • Creating data streams
  • Enabling data collection and Google signals
  • Creating an association with Google Ads (with migration of Google Ads links)
  • Migrating goals, conversions, audiences and e-commerce metrics from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 

To do this, and to simplify these tasks, Google provides some handy migration tools. 

But if you need to properly set up Google Analytics 4, and to continue to run Google Ads campaigns whose performance will be well tracked in your analytics tool, don't hesitate to ask for support! Our Gamned! experts are already familiar with GA4 best practices and can help you: contact us now to discuss your project. 


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