If you or your agency are not aware of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) it is something you need to look at now. Running GA4 alongside your current Universal Analytics (UA) account will ensure you get a year of history at switchover and give you the chance to learn and refine your data. Setting up your call tracking data in GA4 is equally important. We can help and advise you.
Back in October 2020 Google Announced the introduction of Google Analytics 4 (GA4). On the 1st of July 2023, GA4 will fully take over from UA (Universal Analytics) which will no longer record data. That means your history from UA will not be visible in GA4. This makes sense as the data is not directly comparable, so you need to build up data on GA4 now
What’s new with GA4?
GA4 has the the ability to bring a hybrid of data, from web and app performance, together to provide a single cross-platform view. As most consumers frequently flip between their mobile, the laptop and even their tablet having a complete view of the customer journey should provide much clearer data. Google does not track calls on UA, or GA4, so call tracking software like Calltracks can help fill in the important gaps.
Targeting has needed to be developed due to changes in data legislation and the ability of iOS14 users to opt out of cookies. The new platform makes a far greater use of Google’s machine-learning algorithms. This AI is able to categorise users using trend and pattern behaviour so ads can still target them as part of specific audiences, even without specific personal cookie data.
Reporting has also changed. GA4 does not use UA’s 4 standard areas of reporting; Audience, Acquisition, Behaviour, and Conversions. The new metrics are Acquisition, Engagement, Monetisation, and Retention focussing more on the customer journey and lifecycle. You can also view demographic and device data, further building a complete picture of web and app performance. However, it excludes phone calls so there is a gap in your data.
But what about the phone calls?
For businesses that receive a lot of leads and enquiries by phone, they need to weave these calls (and returned calls) into their analytics data. Whilst GA4 may provide a new picture compared to UA, it is vital to build a complete picture of web and phone leads combined. We have worked our way through GA4 and can advise how to include your call tracking in the set up.
You will need to set up a two custom dimensions and create 2 measurement ID’s to enable things to be set up in GA4. We have created some step by step instructions to help.
Integrating call tracking software, like Calltracks, into GA4 will allow you to see everything in one place – web activity and calls combined. Once set up, our software will collect your call data and it will appear in your GA4 dashboard providing you with a complete view of your marketing efforts across channels and devices.
Why is it important to act now?
On the 1st of July next year, you will only have GA4 and no longer be able to use UA. UA will be retired and stop collecting data (historical data will still be accessible for at least six months). We recommend to our Calltracks customers to set up GA4 now and integrate their call data.
With iOS 14’s ‘privacy mode’ allowing users to restrict cookie use, and tighter personal data regulations, GA4 will help. By anonymising IP addresses by default and providing a consent mode for cookie use, GA4 always remains compliant of GDPR and industry standards. As such, GA4 also only holds data for 2-14 months, in contrast to UA’s unlimited expiry.
What you need to do?
The sooner you act the better. By acting now and running GA4 alongside UA you will have nearly a years worth of valuable data at switchover. We’re ready at Calltracks and happy to help and advise you.
Our advice is free of charge!
This post was written by nick frost