GA4: Go fourth and conquer

Data Science
Data Management
Data Architecture
Online Analytics/Measurables
Attribution & ROI
PPC Analytics

Like a fine wine, Google Analytics has been maturing and getting better with age for the past 15 years. But what if we told you that the latest instalment is not just an update, but an entirely new platform? And that the time to act is right now.

Let us introduce you to the fourth sequel from the Google Analytics team and the finest maturing to date: GA4.

“To enable early gains from Google Ads and comparative analysis year-on-year down the line, businesses that want to retain the competitive edge need to be getting GA4 set up now”

— Daniel Ward, Head of Performance, Accord Marketing

With machine learning at its core, GA4 opens up a whole new world of possibilities to improve ROI on your marketing efforts. This is a new data model that looks, feels, acts and measures in a completely different way to the current Universal Analytics (UA) service, so trust us when we say that the transfer is not going to be an overnight job. But fret not, our data and acquisition experts are here to help. As Google reinvents the wheel, we can steer you in the right direction, ensuring your team is ahead of curve (and the competition).

Why is this an evolution? Because GA4 has been designed with privacy and the unknown in mind. Through the use of new modelling and algorithms, it can adapt to a future, with or without the likes of cookies and identifiers, by filling in the gaps where data may be incomplete. It is now a futureproof tool that can withstand changes, whilst also providing better analytics. As 2020 has shown, the future is anything but certain, so what better time to be prepared.

GA4 is a service that has also been built to keep up with the evolving customer journey, which is anything but linear these days. We now operate in multi-layered mazes; using several devices at once, constantly switching between the web and our apps. GA4 exists as a single system that will work the same across all platforms - giving you a better view of how customers are interacting with your business and how to target them more effectively.

These changes are down to its all new tracking system. Google is shifting from the session-based model we used in UA to a flexible event-based model in GA4. Marketers can now track a more diverse range of user interactions, including several new automatically collected events like video plays and PDF downloads. This makes it easier for marketers to understand the combined impact of their efforts, since GA4 can measure across several devices and networks all at the same time. While this is a massive leap in user-centric tracking that we are all very excited about, it will require a full review of how marketers collect their data.

This might all seem like a lot of work, given that UA is still operating as usual, but by upgrading now, you are buying yourself time and historic data that is suited to GA4’s new parameters. This means that when UA does eventually fade into the abyss, your business will be armed with a nice back catalogue of insights, allowing you to make more informed decisions for the future. Also, with a shiny new interface and features that are exclusive to GA4, why would you not want to check it out right away?

Whilst this is the biggest analytics change in the past decade, Accord has been leading with data for far longer. We, along with our partners at Google, thoroughly recommend running the two versions of Google Analytics alongside one another to maximise all the benefits available. Moving forward in this parallel position means you will be gaining familiarity ahead of the competition, whilst also helping to make the eventual transition as smooth as possible. So, what are you waiting for?

Go fourth and conquer!