Is Your Small Business Ready for Google Analytics 4?

Access Google Analytics (GA) 4 on your smartphone

Millions of websites worldwide rely on Google's Universal Analytics and Universal Analytics 360 for measuring website performance. But with stricter privacy regulations popping up, this old tracking method became more demanding for businesses to remain compliant.

Meet Google Analytics 4, formerly known as 'app + web,' the next generation for website measurement and analysis. As a result, Google announced that it is sunsetting its Universal Analytics properties on July 1, 2023. So, if you want to continue tracking website visitors beyond that date, you will need to ready your website for Google Analytics 4.

What is the Difference?

The main difference is that Google Analytics 4 doesn’t use cookies or store IP addresses, so complying with the ever-changing privacy laws worldwide is simpler for large or small businesses. Although you will no longer be able to see visitor IP addresses, its internal event triggers provide deeper insight into how visitors interact with your website, like clicking a link, downloading a brochure, or scrolling through the page. It also streamlines tracking conversions, online purchases, and other events.

Another big difference is that GA 4 uses cards (widgets) instead of Data Studio for adding metrics to your reports. It has several pre-built reports, but you can modify them on-the-fly by reordering the cards or selecting/deselecting cards to customize the layout for your reporting requirements.

With Universal Analytics, tracking clicks from apps and mobile websites was cumbersome. What's nice about GA-4 is that it is easy to link your apps, mobile, and any other website you may have for your business without creating a separate property for each website unless that is your preference.

Finally, those spambots that skew your analytics data are gone. Plus, you can easily apply filters that disregard IP addresses from internal or remote employees, developers, or other websites that you don't want to be processed in your analytical reporting.

How to Prepare Your Website for the Change

Google Analytics 4 is an entirely separate property from Universal Analytics properties. Your Google Analytics administrator must create a new GA-4 property for your domain and add the Javascript code to your website. The good news is that you don’t need to create separate properties for apps, mobile websites, and brand websites. With GA-4, you can link all of your apps and websites to a single GA-4 property, combining visitor metrics across multiple platforms and devices. In the meantime, you can use UA alongside GA-4.

So, if you implement GA-4 now, you will have plenty of time to familiarize yourself with its slick new interface and customizable modular dashboard before Universal Analytics ends.

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