Google Analytics 4 is the new analytics game in town.

On July 1, 2023, GA4 will become the default version of Google Analytics, and Universal Analytics will no longer process any data.

It’s going to be a massive change, especially since Universal Analytics has been around since 2012. We have all gotten quite comfortable with how it operates.

Yet, we all know Google doesn’t sit idle. There are always going to be new technologies, updates, and ways of doing business online.

To help you get ready for the shift, here is what to expect between now and next summer.

But first, here’s a glimpse inside the new analytics update.

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What’s Different Between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics

Universal Analytics gives marketers the ability to build reports around sessions. In Google Analytics 4, however, you are going to be able to build reports around users and events instead. This new capability enables cross-platform analysis and greater capacity for path analysis, providing insight into “looping behavior” where customers may be getting stuck in the process.

Another major difference between UA and GA4 is the means to predict user behavior while maintaining user privacy — a very critical improvement at a time when data privacy is becoming highly scrutinized and regulated. The latest Analytics update uses data modeling and machine learning to fill in those gaps left by privacy and security implementations.

All in all, the new Google Analytics gives you access to a single user journey across all platforms and devices.

The Current State of GA4

While GA4 was introduced a couple of years ago, it’s only now that this latest version is ready for action. In fact, any new properties created in GA automatically default to the GA4 setup.

You can also setup GA4 properties alongside existing ones, giving GA time to learn and start predicting before the official switchover next year. Google recommends this, in fact, to help prepare for the change.

With Google Analytics 4, you will enjoy a host of new benefits:

  • Life cycle reporting – Analyze how users enter the conversion funnel and how they behave once they are there.
  • Events-based model – As we mentioned earlier, this new GA release is going to help you build reports around users and events rather than sessions like you have been doing in UA.
  • New user snapshot – While in GA4’s Realtime data, you can view a map of active users and click on a single user to view the events triggered along their journey.
  • Analysis Hub – This new resource is an attractive feature for marketers and their teams. Not only does it help you create, analyze, and visualize specific sets of data, but it does so with template galleries you can choose from to prepare your data in a visually interesting and engaging way. You can start to tell a story from the data collected in GA4.

What to Do Between Now and July 2023

By reading this article, you have taken the first step toward understanding the new Google Analytics update.

If you haven’t done so already, you should also watch this video update from Simplilearn. It explains GA4 in even more detail.

Finally, try incorporating GA4 into your marketing routine by:

  • Setting up a new GA property, if you do not have any existing ones
  • Or, setting up a GA4 property alongside an existing one

By doing this last step, you can get familiar with how the new Analytics works. You can compare the new reporting features to the ones you use right now, and you can try out the new tools mentioned earlier.

Once you give the new Google Analytics 4 a try, we think you will like how it helps inform your current marketing strategies with better insights into the user journey.

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About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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