Oh… another Google Analytics 4 (GA4) blog you say. Well, yes actually. But now we’ve actually got our heads around what this means for our ecommerce partners, we’re able to give you some actionable tips to navigate this huge change and protect your analytics data before you lose year-on-year visibility.
Act now and protect your website’s year on year data
- This isn’t new information – Google Analytics 4 has been ‘on the horizon’ for over two years
- The official announcement detailing Google’s timeline to sunset Universal Analytics was released on 16th March 2022
- All standard Universal Analytics (UA) properties will stop processing new data on 01st July 2023
- Anyone with a Universal Analytics 360 property will be given an additional 3 months to process new data, ending on 1st October 2023
- GA4 will incorporate more predictive analysis powered by Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, including AI-powered anomaly detectors
- It enables more sophisticated event collection which used to be custom coded by a GA expert or dev (e.g.) scroll, video view etc.
- To be able to complete year on year analysis with comparable metrics once UA is no more, we (and Google!) suggest implementing parallel tracking prior to 01st July 2022.
Who is going to be impacted the most?
Small and Medium (SME) Ecommerce brands using out of the box GA integrations on web platforms like Shopify are likely to be impacted the most by the change. For example, right now, Shopify doesn’t have a native integration to Google Analytics 4. We’re sure one is on the way but the announcement fixing the date for sunsetting UA took lots of people by surprise, so platforms like Shopify are behind the curve.
You need to be aware that the native UA integration will not automatically upgrade when it is time to switch, so some (relatively straightforward but) manual tagging work will need to be done ASAP to protect yourself from losing your year-on-year analytics visibility.Anyone who tracks and measures marketing KPIs for management / board reports, or to make optimisations will see some differences between the metrics on UA and GA4. That’s why it’s key to get parallel tracking in place now, so you have time to identify the anomalies and gradually change over your reporting metrics so you are comparing apples with apples from 01st July 2023, when comparing year on year data, for example.
What’s getting the boot?
Some metrics aren’t going to be included in GA4 at all, these include:
- Bounce Rate (being sunsetted with UA)
- Total Events (Being replaced with Event count)
- Unique Pageview
- Session (session start)
What should you do next?
- Leave your UA set up as is – this will retain all the current settings and configuration
- Set up GA4 on your website asap to ensure you are parallel tracking with your existing UA solution
- Note – if you are using Shopify or another platform without a native integration to GA4, you will need a GTM (Google Tag Manager) account and a dataLayer
- Solutions such as Elevar can also provide more robust data implementation, especially in conjunction with privacy policies etc.
- Monitor the results and get to know the new metrics and predictive analysis functions
- Ensure you are using ‘collecting a unique transaction_id’ value in both GA4 and UA to ensure you are comparing similar metrics
How we can help:
- Infinity Nation can advise on the best method for GA4 implementation, depending on your tech stack
- We can provide implementation instructions for your website manager / developers
- We can check your implementation and ensure everything is firing as it should be
- We work with all the main ecommerce platforms, so can suggest specialists for bespoke dataLayer specification writing for developers on more complex custom set ups.
If you are interested in learning more about GA4 and how Infinity Nation can assist with this transition, please get in touch for a no-catch chat!