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What Google Analytics 4 means for your eCommerce business

On the 1st July 2023 Google is ending support for Universal Analytics and is set to be replaced by Google Analytics 4. You need to be prepared for this change. Some key features of Google Analytics 4 include:

  • Important tracking metrics — build meaningful KPIs around page views, demographics, desktop and mobile device optimization, and more
  • Traffic analysis — understand your website and cross-platform user experience from the user’s point of view
  • User behaviour analysis — learn more about your customers and improve customer retention by tracking analytics by user, not session
  • Event tracking — decide which user events to track, set goals, and track conversions with data-driven attribution

The way we measure digital analytics has changed. Currently, Universal Analytics (UA) measures activity predominantly from desktop activity. Sessions are measured independently and through cookie data. In response to growing privacy concerns, new international data requirements and the changing in user behaviour, Google Analytics 4 will focus more on interactions.

What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 isn’t exactly new. It was introduced in 2019 to address changing measurement requirements to help businesses access and measure various types of data. It’s a privacy focused measuring tool that allows you to analyse the customer journey of your website. 

GA4 uses an event-based data model to deliver user-based measurements. It operates across multiple digital platforms, providing you with data based on mobile, tablet and desktop browsing in contrast to the desktop-limited Universal Analytics.

What does this mean for your eCommerce business?

Support for Universal Analytics ends on 1st July 2023 and is set to be replaced by Google Analytics 4 (GA4). From July new traffic to your eCommerce website won’t appear in your usual Google analytics account and by the end of the year Google will start deleting your old data. If you use Analytics 360 you’ll have a little more time to continue processing your data, with support ending in October 2023. 

This is a big change for any business that uses data, so you need to prepare.

How do eCommerce businesses prepare for Google Analytics 4?

If you created your analytics property before 14th October 2020 then you’ll need to prepare for the change. Businesses that created their properties after this date are most likely to be GA4 properties already, so further action may not be necessary.

Google Analytics 4 will run in parallel with your existing UA account for now, but you should aim to have GA4 live on your eCommerce site as soon as possible. This will give you as much data as possible before the switchover. 

While Universal Analytics allows you to collect a lot of data to use later, Google Analytics 4 provides you with a limited amount which you will need to curate manually. It provides top-level reporting acquisition, engagement, monetisation and retention along with some demographic and technical information. While these reports can’t be filtered easily, you can use ‘explorations’ to generate customised reports in advance.

It’s important to remember that Google Analytics 4 only holds data for two months at default. This will limit your data set unless you manually configure the maximum holding time of 14 months. 

Work with experts

Is the thought of the change playing on your mind? We can help.

Get in touch on to see how we can support you.