Google Analytics 4 is the latest iteration of the platform that provides crucial data about website traffic and users. Since the initial launch of Google Analytics 4 in October of 2020, Google has deployed many updates on the data it provides regarding website analytics. Most of those are in response to privacy regulations and concerns.
As a media seller, you will likely get questions from advertisers about the latest changes. Use this as a guide to answer those. You can download a summary “cheat sheet” at the bottom of the post.
Explaining Google Analytics 4 to Advertisers
First, you should encourage your advertisers to upgrade to Google Analytics 4, including updating their Google Analytics tags. Explain that the newest version provides many of the same insights but focuses more on mobile devices, which have the highest percentage of traffic. As mentioned, this new version is very privacy-centric, eliminating third-party cookies as the way to obtain user data.
Universal Analytics will officially be sunset in July 2023, so any company should adopt the new platform sooner versus later. Advise clients that after the sunset, they will only have access to historical data for six months, so they’ll need to export it before then.
What Google Analytics 4 Improves Upon
One of the most critical improvements is the ability to have more transparency of the user journey and cross-platform tracking. It should give businesses more insight into their sales funnel and how they acquire customers.
Another excellent feature is user engagement analysis. It should provide clarity around how users interact with brands online. The more your advertisers know about their customers, the better they can target them. It also helps them build out buyer persona segments, which they can use to target new prospects across digital advertising tactics.
Google Analytics 4 is also event-based versus session-based, which was the premise for Universal Analytics. That’s a good thing because it allows for better tracking of button clicks or video plays on pages.
Cookies are no longer tokens for tracking users. In response to privacy priorities and Google’s end of third-party cookies (now delayed to 2024), Google Analytics 4 uses machine learning and other protocols to fill the gap, which the company calls “blended data.”
Next, we’ll look at the most recent updates and what they mean.
2022 Google Analytics 4 Updates
Here are some of the most critical updates, from newest to oldest.
- New dimensions and metrics: Several metrics are receiving an upgrade in how the platform calculates them, including:
- Bounce rate: It’s now the percentage of sessions that were not engaged, so it’s the inverse of engagement rate.
- Conversion rate: The metric now has two parts — user conversion rates and session conversion rates.
- Google Ads conversion tracking: After updating to Google Analytics 4, there will be new data available in the Google Ads account. Advertisers must import Analytics conversions into Google Ads and remove any Universal Analytics goals.
- Search Ads 360 integration: Users can gain direct access to Search Ads 360 reporting and attribution. The integration enables the linking of Google Analytics 4 and Search Ads 360. Analytics exports audiences and conversions to the new Search Ads 360 experience. Search Ads 360 shares cost data to Analytics.
- Reporting: Users will have more flexibility for custom reports, and since data collection is different, old reports may not be possible.
- Spam detection: Spammers can send fake data to Google Analytics accounts, but they’ve fixed the problem to detect and block this activity.
View the entire list of 2022 updates here.
A New Frontier for Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the most critical tools to manage and measure digital footprints. Your advertisers will want to update as soon as possible. Your role as a media seller is to support and advise them on how it impacts Google Ads.
To help you, we created this Key Takeaways document.