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Google Analytics 4 Replaces Universal Analytics – How Does This Impact Your Digital Marketing

Google Analytics 4 replaces Universal Analytics from July 2023.
What does the change mean for your website and digital marketing?

Web analytics is essential for all businesses who wish to drive business from their website, including the life sciences sector, whether you have an e-commerce or business website. Google Analytics tracks data and website activity, providing valuable you with customer insights so you can make informed, action-oriented marketing decisions.

Google Analytics (GA) is the most popular and powerful tracking tool used by slightly more than 55% of all websites. It allows you to track and understand your customer’s behaviour, user experience, online content, device functionality, etc. Google Analytics gives you the information to help you shape a successful life science business strategy.

Since the autumn of 2020, there have been two versions of GA running – Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4). However, Google has announced that from 1st July 2023, UA will no longer collect data or process data into reports. So, your UA reports will start to show a zero for page views, sessions etc., from this date. In addition, your historical UA data will only be accessible until potentially the end of 2023 (although Google has not yet confirmed this cut-off point).

What is Universal Analytics?

Universal Analytics (UA) has been the standard Google Analytics website and app data tracking platform since 2013. If you set up Google Analytics for your website before October 14, 2020, you probably have Universal Analytics. UA’s data model focuses on page views, and your website will show property tracking IDs in the format UA-XXXXXX.

What is Google Analytics 4?

In the autumn of 2020, Google started to roll out the next version of its analytics platform. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is not just another iteration of UA. It is an entirely new analytics property that changes the way data is collected and processed. For this reason, you can’t upgrade from Universal Analytics to GA4.

You will need to create a brand-new property. GA4 shows property tracking IDs in the format G-XXXXXX.

Why the change to GA4, and how will it benefit your business?

Over the years, Google has made minor changes to its analytics platform and incorporated them through a simple update on your website. However, more recently, the online world has seen dramatic regulatory changes toward protecting end-user privacy. And with increased privacy, we have to change how we track and collect data.

GA4 is a more secure analytics platform that uses a significantly different data collection and analysis model based on users and events rather than page views or sessions. GA4 offers many benefits to your life science business, including:

  • End-user privacy focussed
  • Intelligent data modelling through machine learning helps fill in the gaps in the vast amount of available data, giving a complete picture of how customers interact with your business
  • Better data navigation gives you smarter insights to improve your marketing decisions and get better ROI
  • An analytics platform that is built with the future in mind

What do you need to do before July 2023?

All businesses need a full year of analytic data to compare month on month changes and trends, seasonal changes and comparisons between the same month in different years. Thus, we advise setting up a new GA4 property alongside your UA property, allowing a phased changeover between Universal Analytics and GA4 without losing crucial data and insights.

Why run the two versions of GA together?

The two versions of GA can currently be run in tandem, allowing you to continue collecting data through UA while starting to collect data through GA4. This dual setup gives you time to learn the GA4 user interface and check everything is working and collecting data correctly before UA phases out in July 2023.

How can we at Arttia Creative help you transition to GA4?

As with all new things, Google Analytics 4 takes time to set up correctly. We understand that as a start-up or growing life science business, you don’t always have the time or expertise to commit to implementing changes to your website when you already have a multitude of other business, financial and operational objectives to meet.

We can handle the migration to GA4 for you, allowing you to focus on what you do best.

Our team at Arttia Creative can:

  • Integrate GA4 set up into a new website build/project
  • Integrate GA4 set up as an additional service within our SEO services
  • Set up and customise your Universal Analytics and GA4 properties to run in tandem on your current website
  • Add GA4 tracking codes to your website
  • Customise the GA4 property to include your key performance indicators, e.g. conversion tracking

The Takeaway.

Apart from adding another task to your digital marketing data activity list, we see it as positive that Google Analytics is addressing privacy of data with this new iteration. There are other ways to obtain digital data for your website activity

If we currently don't provide you with our SEO services, contact us, and we can tailor a GA4 solution for you.

More information will follow this article. Watch this space.

We will follow this article with additional updates as the GA4 change rolls out.

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Belinda White | Creative Director

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