- What is GA4, and how does it differ from Universal Analytics?
- What are the long-term benefits of GA4?
- What happens if you don't switch to GA4?
- Why should Hubspot users also use GA4?
- Do you need help setting up GA4?
What is GA4, and how does it differ from Universal Analytics?
What's the difference between GA4 and UA?2
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google's analytics tool for websites and mobile apps. GA4 differs from Universal Analytics (UA) by using an event-based model. This model records specific actions of a user on the website or in the app, enabling a more precise analysis of user behaviour. Additionally, GA4 utilizes machine learning technology and offers more opportunities for data integration across different platforms and devices, such as desktop, mobile, and tablet. Finally, the 'bounce rate' also disappears. The engagement rate has been introduced in its place, which says more about the engagement of website visitors: Instead of looking at sessions where no interaction took place, sessions with interaction are now focused on. In short, GA4 is a powerful tool for analyzing user behaviour and optimizing marketing activities.
Due to these changes, we are moving towards a cookieless era, where machine learning techniques will provide more data enrichment. For example, predictions are made about dependent customers, revenue, products, and other essential data. Furthermore, cross-channel/platform/device tracking is becoming increasingly important, meaning you get more insights into users across different devices and platforms (desktop, mobile, tablet, etc).
What are the long-term benefits of GA4?
What efforts come with the transition?
The transition from UA to GA4 may require some effort. This has to do with the fact that GA4 uses a different approach to data collection and analysis compared to UA. Starting to measure visitors and conversions is the most important first step. You must ensure that data and conversions come into the platform again. Reports from UA no longer work in GA4, meaning the reports need to be set up again. Finally, you must understand the entire new structure of GA4.
What are the long-term benefits of GA4?
There are several long-term benefits that GA4 brings:
- Deeper insights into user behaviour - Enhanced analysis functions provide deeper insights into user behaviour. The new features offer better segmentation opportunities, targeting specific user groups and analyzing interactions more accurately. The customer's life cycle is also mapped, and touchpoints are analyzed to optimize the customer journey. Finally, GA4 uses an event-driven approach instead of sessions, allowing you to collect more detailed information about user interactions.
- Cross-device tracking - GA4 offers more opportunities for cross-device tracking. This means you can see how users use your websites or apps on devices such as mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. Cross-device tracking can help you get a complete picture of users and their behaviour, such as improving the data-driven attribution model (which measures which channels contribute and how much per cent) and developing and optimizing remarketing campaigns.
- New features and capabilities - GA4 offers renewed and new capabilities that are not available within UA. These new features relate to more flexibility in defining goals, the ability to map certain custom events, and the ability to apply machine learning to gain improved insights.
- Improved integration with Google Ads: GA4 is currently better integrated with Google Ads & Google Search Console compared to earlier versions of Google Analytics. It offers you multiple opportunities to optimize campaigns and ads and targets retargeting more specifically. All this can lead to higher conversions. Some improved retargeting possibilities are:
- Cross-platform retargeting;
- Machine learning retargeting;
- Audience building;
- Event-based retargeting.
What happens if you don't switch to GA4?
It's essential for you to use the right analysis tools to gain insights into the behaviour of users on your website and the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Universal Analytics (UA) is currently the most used analysis tool for gaining these web data insights. However, due to different privacy laws, not all data points can be stored and released anymore. This is why GA4 was introduced and UA is phasing out. If you don't switch to GA4, you will fall behind in the digital race. From July 1, 2023, UA will no longer collect data, which essentially means you won't receive new data insights. Here are some problems you may experience if you don't switch to GA4:
- Limited support: As UA is phasing out, UA won't provide support for data analysis anymore. This is a disadvantage for your business, which can grow significantly through data-driven decision-making;
- New features: GA4 offers new features that UA doesn't, such as event-based advanced machine learning models and improved support for cross-device tracking (tracking users across multiple devices). By not switching to GA4, you will miss important opportunities in terms of gaining user behaviour and marketing efforts;
- Lack of future-proofing: As mentioned above, UA has been on the market for some time and will not be supported after July 1. By switching to GA4 now, you are future-proof and ready for changes and developments in the field of web and data analysis;
- Loss of historical data: It's important to realize that GA4 has an entirely new tracking code, which means historical data from UA will not automatically be transferred. If you don't switch to GA4, you lose the ability to compare historical data with new insights and trends.
Overall, it's necessary to consider the switch to GA4 to get the most out of your web analytics and be future-proof. Only in this way can you stay ahead of the competition in the field of web analytics. While switching may require extra effort, it can yield significant benefits in the long run.
Why should Hubspot users also use GA4?
Adding Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to your marketing stack as a HubSpot user can offer many benefits. While HubSpot provides comprehensive analysis tools, using GA4 is a good addition to your marketing strategy. Here are some reasons why HubSpot users should also use GA4:
- Deeper insights into visitor behaviour: GA4 provides more extensive insights into your visitors' behaviour than HubSpot Analytics;
- It gives you access to information about how visitors interact with your website, including clicks, scrolls, page views, conversions, and more;
- Direct link to Google products, such as Google Search Console, Looker, Google Ads, and Google Optimize. Because of the direct integration with other Google products, data points are displayed more specifically;
- Using multiple analytics tools gives you a more complete picture of the data.
Do you need help setting up GA4?
Hopefully, you understand why switching from Universal Analytics to GA4 is necessary. Definitely make this switch before July 2023, but be smart and make the switch today.