Google Analytics 4 – Upgrade right away!

When it comes to search, Google is the big gorilla in the room and has a reputation for making disruptive changes. In characteristic fashion, Google made a major announcement last week about Google Analytics. 

Specifically, they released the latest version of Google Analytics, which they are now calling Google Analytics 4 (GA4). 

I am implementing GA4 for my own business, and am recommending to all of my clients that they implement it right away, too. 

There are a lot of features in this new GA4 release (see below), but the bottom line is this: Even if you’re not regularly looking at Google Analytics data right now, it’s a good idea to be collecting that data regardless, because if you decide in the future to amp up your marketing efforts by leveraging Google Analytics data, you will want to have some historical Google Analytics data to reference.

Here are three critical take-aways about this launch:

  1. Companies are going to lose their old Google Analytics data
  2. Companies that want to use Google Analytices in the future will need to have GA4 running, collecting data in this new platform.
  3. The sooner they implement GA4, the sooner they can start collecting data.

Additional Information About GA4

Changing to GA4 will set you up for success in this world of rising consumer expectations, regulatory developments, and changing technology standards for user privacy. 

GA4 promises some excellent improvements, including:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Machine learning
  • Predictive technology
  • Better reporting
  • More granular user data controls
  • Better tracking of events (examples of events include when a user plays a video, clicks a button, scrolls through a page, etc.)
  • Separate opt-in mechanisms for Google Analytics and Google Ads. (NOTE: This is important because prior to now, if users opted out of Google Ads, they were also automatically opted out of Analytics, meaning that website owners could no longer see how people were interacting with their websites, even if the users merely wanted to opt out of paid ads.)
  • Better General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) compliance. (NOTE: These two important laws have received a lot of attention, but there are currently over a dozen states have proposed or already are implementing privacy laws to protect the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of its citizens.)
  • Deeper integration with Google Ads, YouTube video, and other Google properties, both paid and organic

Basic Facts for Business Owners

  • Google recommends site owners set up both property types and run them in parallel. While the old GA will continue to work for now, new feature development will be focused on GA4.
  • Your old GA will eventually go away. 
  • Your old GA data can not be transferred to GA4.
  • GA4 will start collecting data as soon as it’s implemented.
  • GA and GA4 can run concurrently
  • We can set this up for you.

My Recommendation, & What I’m Doing for My Own Sites:

  1. Implement GA4 ASAP.
  2. Keep the old GA code in place.
  3. Run both GA and GA4 through at least the end of 2020
  4. After the first of the next year, if all looks good, I will remove the old GA code, opting to stick with GA4 moving forward. 

When it comes to the web, today’s businesses need to prepare for rising consumer expectations, regulatory developments, and changing technology standards for user privacy. 

Smart Data SEO is prepared to help our clients meet these challenges with offerings like:

Google Analytics 4 set up.

Implementation of legally reviewed Privacy Policies, Terms of Service, DIsclaimers, and EULAs.

If you need help with any of these, contact us to get started.

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