Since its roll-out in 2012, Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) has been the go-to analytics service for tracking the performance of your website and marketing campaigns. In 2019, Google Analytics users made up over 85% of the people who used analytics tools. On June 1, 2023, Universal Analytics will make way for Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to receive and analyze all new data.
How will this change impact your business? Is your existing data in trouble?
Read on to learn what will be changing, why the change is necessary, and what your contracting business needs to do about it.
Before we dive into the changes you can expect in the near future, let’s first review the history of Google Analytics. What does this software do for companies and organizations? And why is it so helpful?
The first iteration of Google Analytics launched in 2005. It was the first web analytics service offered by Google, and it set the standard for web analytics software. Google introduced Universal Analytics in 2012. This included updated methodology to keep up with advances in technology and digital marketing trends. Next came Google Analytics 360 in 2016, and Google Analytics 4 in October 2020.
Google Analytics analyzes web traffic to collect and organize marketing data. It collects information about who visited your contracting business’ website, where these users came from, how they found your website, and what they did once they were there. Business owners and marketers use this data to gauge how successful a campaign was. Then, they can efficiently channel their future time, money, and effort.
Google Analytics also allows you to set your website conversions and their worth for your business. This data outlines a number of KPIs that business owners can review. Having clear targets, such as a sales growth KPI for example, helps business owners and contractors adjust their marketing strategies to create more reliable ROIs.
Universal Analytics runs with a session-based nature, regarding page views as the most important metric of website success. It was designed around desktop web traffic, and it relies heavily on cookie data.
Over the years, UA has helped millions of organizations track and analyze their website traffic to help them grow and thrive. So why is Google phasing it out for GA4?
The answer has to do with two things:
Google Analytics 4 is not an expanded version of Universal Analytics, but rather it looks at data collection and usage from an entirely different foundation.
Universal Analytics relies on cookie data to track users, which made sense when the internet was rooted in desktop web and independent sessions. But as more and more websites prioritize user privacy, cookie data has become obsolete.
Google Analytics 4 operates across multiple platforms, across computers, phones, websites, and apps. It tracks events, rather than sessions, and uses a machine-learning algorithm to fill in the gaps where VPNs or browsers block certain information. This helps websites preserve user privacy while still giving a well-rounded picture of user behavior.
Universal Analytics recorded user interactions as different hits.
Google Analytics 4 is event-based. Any type of user interaction can be recorded to help website owners understand how their content is interacted with.
Events can include:
Google Analytics 4 launched in October of 2020 and became the default analytical tool. If you created your business' property (the website or app you’re tracking) after October 14, 2020, you are already using GA4. If your contracting business used analytics before that date, you are probably using UA.
You can check your property type by clicking on the down arrow next to your property name in the top left of your account. Look at your Property ID underneath the “Properties & Apps” tab.
UA property IDs start with “UA” and end with a number. GA4 properties use numbers only.
If you have a UA property, you will want to make the switch to GA4 as soon as possible. The easiest way to switch your account is to email or call us!
Here is how you do it:
You can set up a GA4 property while your website or app is still a UA property. Google’s GA4 Setup Assistant includes the option of creating a new GA4 property or connecting to an existing GA4 property.
Once your GA4 property is set up, you can see your Analytics data inside your Google Ads account. If you have conversion tracking set up, you will want to import that data into your Google Ads account. Go to Tools & Settings > Conversions > Add new conversion action > Import.
From here, you can select the types of conversion events you want to import. This will also remove existing UA goals to prevent duplicates.
Worry not - your contracting business’ existing analytical data is not going anywhere for a while! Google will allow you to access your UA data for at least 6 months after the switch to GA4 on July 1, 2023.
Export any UA data that is important to your business by exporting individual reports, using the Google Analytics Reporting API, or exporting to BigQuery.
As the internet grows and evolves, it only makes sense for your analytics tools to adapt too. Google Analytics 4 gives you deep insights into user behavior and campaign successes, giving you the chance to grow your online presence with informed decisions and strategic marketing.
Ready for your contracting business to grow? We are here to help. Alta Vista Strategic Partners is the nation’s leading contractor marketing company.
Contact our experienced team today to switch over, build, and expand your online presence using the power of Google Analytics 4.