Privacy-Forward Advertising

GA4: The future for performance marketers

by Lynn Makela | February 26, 2021

A big change is taking place in the world of web analytics in the form of Google Analytics 4 (GA4). There’s no question this major update (and we mean major!) will end up impacting the way you track customer behavior on your site (translation: how they interact—or don’t—with your brand). 

Eventually, you’ll need to address this update and it might as well be now. Why? You’ll have an edge over competitors with a clearer, more focused picture of customer needs—especially since the web universe is moving away from cookies for tracking online browsing behavior. 

A unified view for creating a great customer experience

GA4 will slowly be replacing Universal Analytics which we conjecture will likely cease to exist once the rollout is complete. 

In the 15-year history of Universal Analytics, you have no doubt become comfortable with data, tracking, and understanding site performance within the current methodology and user interface. During this time we have evolved—our device and shopping preferences have changed, and we’ve seen the rise and fall of countless new apps to characterize how we interact in this digital landscape. GA4 will tackle the unification of these experiences across platforms, devices, and, the icing on the cake: GA4 will consider the customer first! The tool’s functionality will be far more user-centric, designed to help us understand user behavior instead of website behavior.

For the marketing world, this shift in focus is a very good thing. We will get a clearer picture of customer behavior through insights driven by machine learning, more data controls, and time-savings processes.

How to get started with Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Getting started with Google’s latest innovation in analytics is as simple as a tag. Okay, it’s not quite that simple, or digital marketing specialists like Apiary Digital would be out of a job. Google provides a ton of technical documentation on how to upgrade, and even offers a setup wizard within Google Analytics. Depending on the size of your organization, reporting structures, and number of profiles, this can; however, be a really overwhelming, cumbersome task. 

To make this transition easier, at Apiary, we offer a GA4 setup package to reduce the resource strain of your busy dev team, and the time needed to consider the best approach for your data. Apiary can: 

  • Verify the right approach for your GA4 implementation
  • Specify impacts to any current data trends and reporting
  • Build a custom set of recommendations to be implemented by your dev team 
  • QA the data to ensure you’re seeing the conversions and tracking needed for your organization (that is, make sure the data you were collecting in the old environment is showing up properly in the new one)
  • Training on how to use the new setup

Schedule an intro call with us today to learn more about how Apiary can help you with your GA4 setup. 

More on the positive impact of GA4
The new tracking methodology in GA4 could lead to a complete overhaul of your measurement strategy and brand KPIs to account for enhanced measurement capabilities the upgrade provides. Understanding things like the shift from session-based to event-based data models will help inform your marketing efforts and how you measure success as an organization. 

With access to new features like cross-platform user identification, new engagement metrics, and expanded privacy functionality, the ways you approach your organization’s marketing campaigns can evolve. As new insights arise at the user level, the real successful marketers will learn the GA4 interface and use the new data collection methodology to lead change in performance marketing strategies. GA4 is available now and it’s time to take the plunge! We’re here to help.

Subject matter expertise for this article provided by Apiary analytics consultant, Kevin Tadtman. Kevin has 11 years of analytics experience working for brands including Intouch Solutions, Cox Automotive, and VML.