Important news for anyone with an active website!
By: Walton Kay
Anyone who has been paying attention to SEO industry updates has probably been hearing rumblings about Google Analytics 4 (GA4) since it was originally scheduled to launch in October 2020. However, in a recent update, Google has officially announced that the current version of Google Analytics, Universal Analytics, will be discontinued in favor of GA4. As of July 1, 2023, all standard Universal Analytics properties will stop collecting ANY data (such as new website traffic). After that date, previously tracked data in UA will be kept for at least 6 months. It’s safe to say that the SEO community was not pleased with this announcement:
With the release of this information, it’s important that you stay ahead of the curve and promptly begin to set up your new GA4 properties. Even though this change won’t be fully implemented until 2023, migrating to GA4 will allow you to track established valuable metrics and accrue data for when you need to reference historical comparisons. It is not possible for existing historical data to be transferred into your new GA4 account.
Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics: What are Some Differences?
By fully committing to GA4, Google has promised to deliver several changes that will make their new analytics tool more “user-centric.” By prioritizing the tracking of user journeys and key objectives, such as total sales, generated leads, or business related events (product downloads or installs), GA4 will be able to provide businesses with a clearer visualization of what actions customers are taking while on their website or app. Other features of GA4 include:
- Enhanced privacy controls that provide a better experience for users and businesses.
- Updated interface highlighting event tracking and user’s journey throughout the website or mobile app.
- Improved data attribution capabilities that allow a business to understand the effectiveness of marketing efforts and how they relate to conversions.
- Engagement rate has replaced bounce rate, which provides similar, and arguably more useful information than before.
- Using measurement based metrics on events and parameters instead of sessions and pageviews. Every activity a user takes, can be tracked as an event.
- Sessions are no longer limited by time. Additionally average pages per session are no longer measured.
For more detailed information on the differences between UA and GA4, we encourage you to visit the Google Help Center.
Your RyTech SEO Team is On The Case!
The RyTech SEO team is currently in the process of setting up and configuring all clients’ new GA4 accounts with expected completion of all migrations in mid-May. We know that these huge changes to foundational tools can be a challenge, which is why we’re building out a healthy runway to introduce these changes in gradual phases to reduce whiplash and misunderstandings, while building our clients’ understanding of the new tool.
Our plan of attack can be explained in three simple phases:
- Set up GA4 accounts for all of our clients to begin accumulating data so that we have over a full year of historical web traffic information to benchmark against after the July 2023 cutoff. This will be completed for all monthly clients by mid-May.
- Continue to use Universal Analytics alongside GA4 until January 2023 to give the most complete and accurate metrics reporting. This will allow us to slowly introduce new metrics and educate our clients on what is important moving forward. You may begin to see new metrics introduced in your monthly reporting, but we will always include a detailed explanation as to what metrics mean and are happy to answer your questions!
- Fully migrate to GA4 for all clients by May 2023. By this time, our new internal processes will be set in stone and all of our clients will have had some exposure to this brave new world.
If you are NOT a current RyTech client but are looking to enhance your website tracking and measurement, contact RyTech today. Our digital marketing experts would be happy to assist you in updating or installing Google Analytics 4 as well as introduce you to our other suite of services.
Google Analytics 4 Resources
Adapting to GA4 will certainly provide its fair share of challenges for businesses and individuals looking to update their tracking. If you’re left with questions or are in need of guidance, we recommend checking out these Google resources that we have found extremely helpful: