Search Marketers Encouraged to Prepare as Google Announces Switch from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4

06 Oct, 2021 Google Analytics

On Tuesday of this week (5th October), Google announced that a new Google Analytics 4 update will be taking place but have not said exactly when. The GA4 update will include data driven attribution, a new Search Console integration and new machine learning models.

Although no switch over date has been announced, Google has advised search marketers to prepare for the new features of GA4:

“With these additional capabilities, we encourage you to use the new Google Analytics as your primary web and app analytics solution going forward,”

Search Console Integration:

The new Search Console integration which will allow marketers to analyse information and data, such as which queries increased traffic and site ranking position, from within Google Analytics 4, without the need to open Search Console.

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Data Driven Attribution:

Data driven attribution with no minimum thresholds are to become available in attribution reports in the weeks to come. This comes following the announcement by Google that they would be making data driven attribution the default model, whilst moving away from last-click data, when it comes to Google Ad conversion actions.

Soon after it rolls out, data-driven attribution will be accessible at the property level. Site managers will be able to use conversion reports and Explorations, to analyse conversions and attributed revenue.

Machine Learning:

Two new modelling capabilities are being introduced to GA4 by Google, namely, behavioural modelling and conversion modelling. This will assist marketers to identify gaps by having a better understanding of customer behaviour when cookies are not available.

Attribution reports now include conversion modelling; Explorations and Conversion report is used to analyse where conversions are coming from and ensure that they are assigned to the relevant Google and non-Google channels.

 “Behavioural modelling uses rigorously tested and validated machine learning to fill gaps in behavioural data, like daily active users or average revenue per user,” Google commented in the announcement.

Why Does it Matter?

When you need an accurate overview of the way conversions are supported by various channels, data-driven attribution is absolutely vital. With last-click, total credit is given to the last interaction which is not as effective as data-driven attribution which provides better data for marketers to make decisions on which areas to invest in.

The new Search Console integration will enable marketers to access data easily through Google Analytics 4, removing the need to open Search Console at all.

Google stated in its conversion modelling help page, “Including modelled conversions allows Google to offer more accurate reporting, optimize advertising campaigns, and improve automated bidding,”

Behaviour modelling will help marketers to analyse things, like how many new users were acquired from a specific campaign or at which point users drop off, in order to improve future ad campaigns.

While it’s been almost a year since GA4 was first announced, Google has not yet said when it will deprecate Universal Analytics, but there is a clear message that the company is planning on moving away from Universal Analytics. Marketers should act now and start familiarising themselves with the new platform and should start setting up their GA4 properties now in order to gather as much data as possible.