If you are responsible for managing a website, or work in a digital marketing team, you will already be using Google Analytics (GA) and harnessing its insights to improve engagement and conversions for your organisation's products and services.
Now that Google has launched the latest version, you will no doubt have several questions, including:
- What new functionality does it offer?
- How do I get started?
Some of the new features focus around:
- The use of Google's advanced machine learning models to alert users about customer trends in their data,
- Deeper integration with other Google ad-related data sources, to help understand brand interactions,
- The introduction of new reports, including churn and retention.
One thing to note in the announcement from Google is that the new platform requires a new property to function moving forward. A 'property' is essentially the website or mobile application that you wish to track. The property has a unique code that, once embedded, allows GA to track usage data.
A property can only collect future data, so even if you have no interest in the new features, perhaps because you don’t use Google Ads, it is the new standard so it’s best to start collecting usage data ASAP so you have a base of historic data.
You can run the new property alongside your existing property – this is recommended so you can continue to use your existing reports until you have got to grips with the new features and can check if you need to amend any KPIs you report on.
When you’re ready to set up your new property you should see an ‘upgrade to GA4’ button to guide you through the process. Once set up, you can either add the tag manually to your website or via Google Tag Manager which is our recommended option.
You will notice that there are different descriptors and ways of doing things. For example, views are now called streams. This may introduce a learning curve, but the main point is that by setting up the property now, you are ensuring that you will have data collection up and running for 2021 and can then collect a few years of data moving forward.
Along with setting up the new property, remember to double-check how this could impact your privacy and cookie policies, so you may need to check with your legal team.
If you would like any more information on anything we’ve discussed above, please get in contact.
Nick David is Principal Consultant at Cantarus