First off let’s say that Google Analytics is a tool to understand your customers and how they have arrived at your website, how they engaged with your website and then hopefully the journey they took to completing key actions like contacting you or buying a product. It is a great nerdy data tool and breathes life into your website.
So when Google updated the default analytics to be the version that has been in beta for ages I was excited, confused and troubled all at once.
Give me data in an interesting but easily readable way and I will be happy. From the get-go this is what Google Analytics 4 aims to achieve and if you are new to all this, I think you can get a good idea on your website’s or app’s performance without clicking through endless tabs like the previous version. Their own marketing spin on what this upgrade will do also sounds promising
“It has machine learning at its core to automatically surface helpful insights and gives you a complete understanding of your customers across devices and platforms. It’s privacy-centric by design, so you can rely on Analytics even as industry changes like restrictions on cookies and identifiers create gaps in your data. The new Google Analytics will give you the essential insights you need to be ready for what’s next.”
Though I did say it should give any newbies better website info, I think there is a case of learning how to set up the dashboard to show what you care about, and not what Google thinks you should care about. A perfect example is that one of the top homepage graphs is to do with weekly product sales – an automatically redundant graph for most businesses.
Additionally jumping on the bandwagon as soon as it was launched I noticed that not all website data was pulled through or was false. For example many of the upgraded GA4 sites I was running tests on thought my computer was located in Auckland.
If you already have Analytics running you can set-up GA4 alongside your existing property. But if you are to launch a website next weekend you will automatically be stuck with the new version. A version that is so new that currently there are not enough YouTube videos, blogs or tutorials to guide you through the setup process or any issues.
In many ways, this version is still in beta mode and so forcing new websites to take it up means that for many they are not getting the full picture, a necessary thing to know seeing as you just spent a lot of time and money getting the site launched.
All in all, it is predominantly a case of sitting down, reading a nice book and just waiting for Google to turn GA4 into the best analytical tool out there. Afterall in their own announcement, they have said future improvements are to come to make sure we fully understand customer lifecycles. I just wish it stayed a little bit longer in beta mode with them sorting out the issues rather than leaving it down to us data analytical freaks to figure out.
Here at Beck & Caul we have the skills, designers and developers to set up a website with any version of analytics and the ability to delve into the data and give you the best reports on what users are doing and how we can drive them to complete key goal conversions – Give the team a call to find out more