What You Need to Know About Google Analytics 4

On July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics properties will stop processing website traffic and will be replaced with Google Analytics 4 (GA4). If you and your organization still rely on Universal Analytics to gather data and track how your website is performing (or haven’t utilized these tools before), here’s what you need to know.

The transition to GA4 requires someone to be comfortable with implementing code. If done improperly, this could prevent proper tracking or even break your website.

If you’re not comfortable working with code, the AccessU team has the expertise to get this done for you and get it done right.

Why do we need Google Analytics?

What makes a website rank in organic search? How do you get more traffic and enhance engagement on your website? What are the top pages, and which devices are people using to look at your site?

Programming the website with search performance in mind and monitoring the site using Google Analytics can help you answer these questions and analyze important data, getting you closer to achieving your organizational goals.

In order to use Google Analytics 4, you must implement script on the web pages you wish to track data. The specific information gathered when someone visits your site is truly fascinating, and when you look at the big picture, it can be a huge help in understanding how well your website is working and who your target audiences are. As marketers, this is an invaluable tool in our digital world.

At AccessU, we code sites to perform well and be optimized for search engines, (known as search engine optimization or SEO). Using Google Analytics reporting, we can help explain what your analytics mean.

For example, if we’re redesigning a website for one of our clients, we always start with generating a Google Analytics report to see what’s functioning well and what isn’t. We look at your website navigation, page load times, and then use Google Analytics to show which pages are looked at most, what information users are after, how long and to what extent people engage with the site, whether user experience is optimized, what devices people are using, where they are using the site and how they got to that webpage, and more. We always do a deep dive before giving any advice on site updates and changes because each website’s data is unique.

Plus, we use tools to assess your site’s performance and rank. If your site doesn’t perform well, your website will rank lower in organic search, and that’s an important determinant of whether people can find your site.

What exactly is Google Analytics 4?

GA4 will be an entirely new method of data analysis. Again, Universal Analytics is going away, completely, and will no longer capture data by the time it reaches end of life on July 1, 2023. And eventually, you won’t be able to access data captured by Universal Analytics at all. That may seem a long way away, but there are many reasons to make the switch now.

Most importantly, you’ll want to make the switch now to start gathering data in GA4 while historical data is still accessible in Universal Analytics. Since you cannot transfer data from Universal Analytics to GA4, it’s important to start capturing as much data as you can to compare to what you currently have, and recording data in GA4 that you’ll be able to benchmark back to in the future will prove useful. The more data you have, the better.

GA4 also offers many new features which make the switch compelling, but the biggest change can be found within the back-end architecture of GA4, which now relies on user-based events rather than Universal’s session-based pageviews/events. As a result, insights are much more intuitive and enriched, with an overall smarter way of displaying the data so it can be understood and used for improvements.

Keep in mind that the interface for GA4 looks significantly different compared to Universal Analytics, and a new script will need to be installed for your site to run it. Syntax errors when manually implementing code could break your site, and the site could go down. Blank screen. Bye-bye until the errors are fixed.

How can AccessU help?

The web development and digital team at AccessU is accustomed to writing and reading code and analyzing web data. We can ensure peace of mind and convenience by implementing updates for you, including installing GA4, in a way that works best for your business with no interruptions to service.

And, there are several other BIG reasons to have your site built by a professional developer. SEO is one thing, but if site navigation is poor, traffic will suffer. Monitoring this aspect of your website alone is key to achieving organizational goals. Good site navigation helps pull users through the marketing funnel, helping them find what they’re looking for and helping you gain more business, faster. Google Analytics is an important part of this process as it provides valuable insight into how navigation should be laid out. For example, if we find that your most highly viewed pages aren’t easily accessible, our developers can fix that to create the best user experience possible.

Working with AccessU, you’ll have a team of experienced professionals looking at these measurements and making recommendations on what could improve the bottom line.

Connect with us today if you’re ready to do something big and make a difference in your website performance.

About the Author

Lucas Weaver

Lucas Weaver spearheads AccessU’s internal digital marketing strategy and analytics services. His expertise in digital and paid media strategy, content marketing, social media, website and paid digital analytics, UX, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and more are vital to the success of our digital marketing department. Lucas began his...

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Niki Sebastino

Niki has over 12 years of experience in website design and development and is an expert in myriad industry-standard programs, including WordPress, Drupal, PHP, HTML, SCSS/CSS, Javascript, jQuery, and MySQL. Her exceptional knowledge in web development enables her to deliver outstanding client results. She specializes in custom WordPress and Drupal...

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