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Why it’s more important than ever to make the switch to GA4

By Christopher Attewell |

Search Laboratory

|

The Drum Network article

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March 29, 2022 | 6 min read

Google’s innovation with GA4 (Google Analytics 4) provides next-level modeling and attribution, getting marketers closer to their audiences. Chris Attewell, chief executive officer at Search Laboratory, looks at how data can be used to reprioritize the customer’s experience.

Search Laboratory on the biggest benefits of GA4.

Search Laboratory on the biggest benefits to GA4

Now the official retirement date has been released for Universal Analytics, it is more important than ever to make the switch to GA4. Google has announced that from July 1 2023, Universal Google Analytics (GA) will be discontinued and GA4 will become the only version of Google Analytics.

To ensure your year-on-year data is retained, GA4 needs to be set up by the end of June this year to achieve a full 12-month year-on-year data history. The interface will also need to be customized to ensure you are getting the same reporting capabilities best suited to your business. After July 1 2023, Universal Analytics will no longer record data.

The next-generation GA4 platform comes with an array of innovative features ready to bring your insights to life. Designed to adapt to the modern, multi-device landscape, the evolution of Google Analytics allows you to get closer to your audience than ever before.

Data-driven attribution

Moving away from the traditional last-click attribution models, data-driven attribution considers each individual touchpoint on the user journey. Distributing credit to each visit enables more intimate insights into conversion paths, revealing which was the most significant in leading to conversion and filling the gaps in customer journeys. From this heightened perspective and additional data, you can tailor your marketing to specific, highly-targeted leads.

The data-driven model was previously only available for GA360 users and will now be available to all accounts as the default option. This is a huge advancement for the platform, making it more accessible to gain next-level insights into your audience and avoid touchpoints being missed in attribution.

Configuration within GA4 brings your data together, making it easy to draw from and act. After selecting the attribution model you want to use, this will apply throughout your reports, interface and any conversion exports to ad platforms such as Google Ads and the Google Marketing Platform.

Reconnecting the customer journey

The need for analytics advancements has been on the rise for many months as we move further into the loss of cookies and increasing data governance policies. GA4’s unified analytics enables brands to construct a holistic view of the customer journey and aid advanced analysis by using privacy-safe tracking and modeling that allows marketers to see touchpoints that had been lost due to regulations such as GDPR and browser changes including ITP.

New and improved modeling

GA4’s modeling uses artifical intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to fill in the gaps left from Universal Analytics. By collecting user data across multiple devices, the platform links with Google Signals to join up the full cross-device paths much more accurately.

Google then uses this subset of observed data to predict the behavior of the rest of your data. This allows you to gain a closer understanding of the ‘unique users’ metric and avoid broken and often deceptive conversion paths. Learn more about GA4’s improved modeling and attribution in this recent blog walking through how to reap the benefits of the innovation.

Adapting to the changing world of digital, the platform makes it much easier to join users’ multiple touchpoints and consider multiple apps and devices, browser treatment of cookies and the increasing number of privacy laws. Combining the now default data-driven attribution with the new and improved modeled paths, GA4’s evolution allows you to move closer to your audience and their behaviors than ever before.

Search Laboratory’s recent workshop goes into detail about the plethora of new features and how to get the best from them. Head of analytics and data science Paul Shearing explores how to apply GA4’s new features and optimize cross-platform insights. Head of digital strategy Jimmy McCann walks through GA4’s solutions for reconnecting the customer journey, cookieless challenges and the opportunities the platform can provide for brands.

Watch the online workshop to hear about all of the benefits of GA4 and why you need to make the switch now.

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