In marketing, most of your decisions are going to be based on information you have gathered through different analysis methods. This new age of digital marketing has made it so much easier to gather information about your customers and how they interact with your brand. Tools like HubSpot, Mixpanel, and Google Analytics are all great options for doing so, but keeping up with the latest in these tools is important for gathering accurate data.
If you've been tracking your website data for a while now, you are probably already familiar with Google Analytics. If not, now is a great time to get started! Google Analytics is an incredibly useful tool because it's free, easy to use, and helps you track all kinds of data from your website. However, Google launched an update to Google Analytics that has proven to be useful for SEOs everywhere. This update is called Google Analytics 4 (GA 4).
GA 4 is an analytics service that enables you to measure traffic and engagement across your website and apps. GA 4 will also take the information it gathers and provide implementation instructions and reference materials to help you use this data to your advantage in your marketing strategy. It was launched in October of 2020, but we are mentioning it now because if you're still using the standard Universal Analytics, it's time to make a switch! According to Google, starting July 1st, standard Universal Analytics properties will no longer be processing data. You will have access to your reports for a period of time after July 1st, but you will not see any new data flowing through Universal Analytics.
Note: Universal Analytics is the name given to the original Google Analytics platform
However, Google claims GA 4 is designed for the future of measurement. Here are some things you can expect to find in GA 4:
On this list, one thing of importance to note is that GA 4 is entirely event-based. So instead of having several different 'hit' types, every interaction with your site can be captured as an event. This a big change, but it allows for additional information to be passed to GA alongside each interaction while making it easier for users to create funnels and be more flexible. The reason this change is so monumental is that, now, marketers can't get stuck on 'vanity metrics'. While vanity metrics make us feel good about our marketing, they have no clear intent and do not guide any action. In doing away with them, we are opening the door to create more intentional and effective marketing strategies.
Event-based hits are not the only reason you should move to GA4. There are major upgrades from Universal Analytics that are more powerful, flexible, and accurate. If you are serious about data analysis, GA4 might just be the thing for you.
One of the most powerful features of GA4 is being able to track users across different platforms. This is useful for understanding where users are coming from, and how they are interacting with your brand. This type of tracking also makes it easier to track conversions, as you will know exactly what they were doing from start to finish. Knowing how your customers are getting from one place to another is incredibly useful for optimizing your content.
This feature was part of Universal Analytics, but was only available to those paying for GA360. However, with GA4, this feature is built into the program and allows you to create reports for various visualization and analysis methods. This feature is different from standard reports because it allows you to do a deep dive into the data and create your own customer analyses about your website performance.
Customization is incredibly useful for any business. No interface is perfect, but being able to customize based on your needs is essential. GA4 has made it easier to do so with the report customization and library features. You can store all of your collections in reports, customize them, and create more all in one place. You can also customize the presentation of your reports in the navigation so you have a curated view of all your most important data. This section of GA4 is not perfect and still needs some work, but it has great potential for all types of businesses.
A controversial change that came along with GA4 was losing Bounce Rate. Some SEOs were unsure whether this was actually beneficial or not. However, after having the opportunity to learn and engage with GA4, SEOs have determined that its replacement is entirely sufficient. GA4 replaced the bounce rate from Universal Analytics with Engagement Rate. The consensus on bounce rate is inconclusive. Many think it's not really that helpful because it doesn't focus on time spent on your site. Therefore, the engagement rate has been an excellent tool for determining exactly how consumers are engaging with your site. Some may spend a lot of time on one page watching a video or reading a blog. If they don't click anything else, the bounce rate would assume the customer is not interested. Engagement rate would tell you that's not the case! Overall, engagement rate is better at helping you determine a page's effectiveness.
Whether you are using Google Analytics, or any other analytics platform, knowledge is power! We highly recommend gathering as much insight as you can about your business. These tools are incredibly valuable to optimizing your SEO strategies and getting yourself right in front of your customers. If you’re unsure how to use all these new insights, learn how to become the CEO of SEO here! Make sure you’re staying up to date so you can market your business on Google effectively. If you’re still struggling, don’t worry, we have services available to help you succeed!