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As technology continues to evolve, so does the world of digital marketing. Google Analytics has been a staple tool for us marketers since its launch in 2005, and it has undergone significant changes over the years. In October 2020, Google introduced its latest version, Google Analytics 4 (G4), which replaces the previous version, Universal Analytics. In this article, we explore the differences between the two and why it’s essential for marketers to upgrade to G4.

What is Google Analytics G4?

Google Analytics G4 is the latest version of Google Analytics that provides businesses with valuable insights into their website and app performance. It was designed to help marketers better understand customer behaviour, preferences, and the customer journey across various platforms.

How is it different from Universal Analytics?

Google Analytics G4 differs from Universal Analytics in several ways. Firstly, it uses machine learning to help businesses gain deeper insights into customers’ behaviour. It provides more extensive data coverage and tracks events such as scroll, video engagement, and file downloads without the need for additional coding. It also allows businesses to analyse data from multiple platforms, including iOS and Android apps, YouTube, and more.

Another significant difference is the way it handles user tracking. Unlike Universal Analytics, G4 uses an event-driven data model that tracks user interactions, including clicks, pageviews, and other custom events. This means that businesses can create custom events to track specific user behaviour, making it easier to analyse across multiple channels and platforms.

Why is it essential for marketers to upgrade to G4?

On July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data. Hence, Google strongly encourages all users to make the switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible.

After July 1, 2023, you’ll be able to access your previously processed data in your Universal Analytics property for at least six months, and Google encourages everyone to export their historical reports during this time.

Google Analytics G4 offers several benefits for marketers. Firstly, it provides a more comprehensive view of customer behaviour, including data from mobile apps and cross-device tracking. This means businesses can gain a better understanding of how their customers interact with their brand across multiple platforms, allowing them to create more effective marketing campaigns.

Another reason why upgrading to G4 is essential is that it provides better privacy controls. With the introduction of GDPR and CCPA, data privacy has become a significant concern for businesses. Google Analytics G4 is designed to help businesses comply with these regulations by providing better data controls and user consent management.

Finally, upgrading to G4 ensures that businesses can take advantage of the latest features and capabilities. As Google continues to update its analytics platform, businesses that stick with outdated versions may miss out on valuable insights and optimisation opportunities.

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