GA4: 5 knowledge bombs to calm your nerves as you make the transition
Big changes have arrived at Google, and they impact every business owner who uses Google Analytics. As of July 2023, Google has retired Universal Analytics. You’ll still be able to collect your data in the new version of Google Analytics, GA4.
How will this change impact your Business?
Change is hard, and especially if it’s a change that involves technology.
It’s important to remember that this change doesn’t affect your site’s user experience or change the user behavior in your store. It’s very much different from the change we experienced when the iOS14 update was released.
When iOS14 was released, users had the ability to opt out of tracking. Many store owners felt the effect of this change because when users “opted out”, our ability to retarget web visitors was significantly reduced.
GA4 is Google’s solution to gathering data online, in a “cookie-less” world.
Google Analytics is a free tool that collects data that I can use to make informed decisions.
The GA4 update changes the way my data is displayed
Here’s what you need to do today
It’s going to take several months for the industry to find the best way to find the opportunities and understand the limitations of GA4.
Our best first steps are to learn what’s changed, understand what the “new” metrics mean, and develop solid benchmarks for the metrics that store owners should be tracking.
Leona Griffin is our Inner Circle Ecommerce Coach, specializing in Google products.
A few days ago, I sat down with Leona for a discussion about the most important changes our Inner Circle Members need to know when they start using GA4.
- Expect to see a significant decrease in traffic. You might be used to tracking the number of “sessions” which includes multiple visits from all users. GA4 is reporting the number of unique “users” that visit your site.
- Bounce Rates are “out” and Engagement is “in”. Most of us are accustomed to checking our Bounce Rate to determine the quality of the traffic we send to our sites, or the user experience on a page. When you use GA4, you’ll use Engagement to make the same assessments. I think this is a good change, because Google counts an “engagement” when a user lands on your site and clicks on something or spends 10 seconds or more on your site. An “engaged session” is more likely to be a quality session than a visitor that didn’t bounce, but spent just a few seconds on your site.
- Estimations are the new normal. Google Analytics G4 will apply estimations on the number of sessions which may cause your number of sessions to look higher or lower than what you were seeing in UA. Going forward, we’ll recommend target “ranges” as benchmarks for the metrics that we track and measure.
- Multiple Conversion Events. When you’re using GA4, expect to see multiple conversion events in one session. Each event in a session is counted in GA4, versus UA which counted an event only one time per session. A perfect example of this is an “Add to cart” event. If a user adds 8 items to their cart, it will display as 8 add to carts.
- Fewer Reports. It’s significantly harder to get the data that you’ve been used to seeing in the UA version of Google Analytics. Looker Studio is a free tool offered by Google that you can use to create dashboards that are customized for your store.
- Shipping and Tax Revenue is not reported in your sales. You might get a shock when you log into GA4 and see that your sales are suddenly lower than you expect. Don’t panic, it’s just a change in reporting. In the past, Universal Analytics tracked the revenue you generate from shipping and taxes. Going forward, GA4 does not include that revenue in your sales.
What are your next steps?
If you haven’t installed and configured your store’s GA4 product, you should do it now.
Every member of the Inner Circle has the complete GA4 training in their classroom.
Inner Circle Members, can access their training here.
We know you might need some support. The Mentors can answer your questions in the member’s group. If you need 1:1 help, you can book a session with our Inner Circle Ecommerce Coaches Leona and Sarah.
If you want to skip the set up, and get it done for you, you can book a done for you package with Leona Griffin here.
The Last Word
Google Analytics is an important tool that helps store owners like us understand more about the behavior of our website traffic, troubleshoot problems, and identify opportunities.
Our team is committed to finding a way to simplify the data collected by GA4 and present our members and followers with an effective method of viewing and analyzing their data.
While it’s a great tool, Google Analytics does not provide the insight that every store owner can by building a sales funnel for your store. When you build your Sales Funnel, you’ll be able to predict your sales by tracking the number of people in each stage of your funnel. You’ll understand where you need to focus your attention in order to grow your sales, and you’ll be able to see your progress every month.
I encourage everyone to do this work.
Inner Circle Members, the training is here in your classroom.
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