Google Analytics – Updates, Transitions, and (more) Changes

Google Analytics is an expansive tool you are likely to use to understand how visitors are interacting with your website. Analytics can tell you:

  • How much traffic you’re getting
  • How long a visitor spends on your site
  • Where they came from when they completed the action you wanted them to
  • And so much more. 

The current version is referred to as Universal Analytics. Google started talking about an updated version, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in 2020. However, recently Google announced that standard Universal Analytics will no longer process data after July 1, 2023. You will be able to continue seeing your data for an undetermined time after that, but it is becoming increasingly important to start the transition to GA4 now. 

Why is GA4 a Good Thing?

In recent years privacy regulations have changed with the implementation of things such as the Apple IOS updates. This has forced marketers to make strategic decisions based on a smaller sample set of website visitors and unreliable reporting metrics. Google has designed GA4 with “data privacy by design” in mind to help businesses make more accurate assessments of the traffic coming to their website and their audience’s journey. Using artificial intelligence or machine learning, data is measured and fed into algorithms that build reports. Smarter insights can help you make better marketing decisions, leading to a higher return on investment. And that is a win for everyone. 

Built for the Future

GA4 is built to adapt as technologies evolve, with or without cookies or identifiers. It will be easier to manage how analytics data is collected and retained with more granular and comprehensive filters. Modeling will fill in the gaps where data may be incomplete, which means you can rely on Google Analytics with confidence as you track, measure, and plan future campaigns.

What Do You Need To Do?

  1. Universal Analytics will not stop processing data until July 1, 2023, however, MWF strongly suggests you start dual tagging your website now so that you send information to both platforms. 
  1. MWF recommends having at least enough data in GA4 to run year-over-year comparisons before using GA4 as your primary data source. Another reason to start tracking now.
  2. The new GA4 platform revolutionizes the way we look at website data. With customer-centricity at the forefront, certain KPIs such as bounce rate and time on page will no longer be a standard measurement. This is because Google recognizes, with the never-ending technology evolution and consumer trends, the growing importance of measuring event-based data versus device or platform. This means you will be able to better understand your customers’ entire lifecycle, from acquisition to retention. That said, it is a good idea to start thinking about how you will update your benchmark KPIs to align with this customer-centric environment. Our expert strategists can help you through this process. 

If you are not sure how your website is performing or if it is helping your business grow, we can help. Please reach out to discuss your marketing strategy.


Cortney Stoner

Cortney Stoner

Cortney works as the Lead SEO-Specialist at Mid-West Family Madison. With over 16 years of experience in design and marketing, she has worn many hats—from email berets to PPC top hats. She has made it her mission to produce data-driven campaigns across all marketing channels, with a strong focus on cohesive branding. A storyteller by nature, she can’t wait to help you tell your story and use it to fuel an enriching customer journey.