The marketing landscape is always changing, and staying up to date on the latest trends and technologies is essential for any business looking to succeed. One of the latest changes in the world of digital marketing is the transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4.

One of the key benefits of Google analytics is it that allow you to measure the valuable actions that people take on your website.

The use of Google Analytics has greatly expanded since it was introduced in 2005 as a paid service and then made available to everyone in 2006 as Google sought to offer audiences the best possible user experience.

Google analytics helps businesses to track website performance and collect visitor insights which helps organizations in determining the top sources of user traffic, gauge the success of their marketing activities and campaigns, track goal completions and discover patterns and trends in user engagement.

Google analytics has undergone significant improvements and modifications, to enhance its functionality and user experience. 2011, remains a remarkable year for GA as Google released its first ever, JavaScript tracking code that let website owners to incorporate the code into their websites, enabling them to collect data more effectively and provide insightful data on online traffic and user activity.

In 2015, Google launched Universal Analytics introducing new features such as cross-device tracking, user ID tracking, and improved data collection and processing. Universal Analytics also provided website owners with more flexible tracking options, allowing them to customize and track specific user actions, such as clicks and form submissions. According to Google the introduction of Universal Analytics was geared to addressing evolving measurement standards and help businesses succeed.

In recent years, Google encountered a number of issues relating to the privacy of its users and has been the target of numerous lawsuits in this regard. With the release of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), Google aims to provide its users with a more privacy-centric solution in response privacy concerns among its users. GA4 was largely created to replace and enhance Universal Analytics privacy settings.

GA4 incorporates machine learning modelling to provide data on Users, Interactions and Events, while Universal Analytics relies on cookies to track sessions on websites.

As cookies are phased out, it will be more and more difficult to use Universal Analytics to track your website performance, hence the need for Google Analytics 4.

Unlike its predecessor, GA4 is not built to measure website visits or sessions, but rather to measure website and mobile app interactions. These interactions are known as events which can be actions like starting a visit, watching a video, downloading content, or viewing a specific page.

It's important to note that starting July 1st, 2023, Universal Analytics will stop collecting data. In light of this, its advisable that businesses are advised to run GA4 and UA in parallel to ensure that they are collecting data that can easily be propagated.

By Job Ogamba