Google Analytics Update: What You Need to Know
July 12, 2021
Google has updated their website metrics tracking platform and released Google Analytics 4. This new version of Google Analytics brings some big changes. Here’s everything you need to know about the update.
Events vs. Sessions
The Google Analytics update shifts emphasize user engagement over user awareness. This approach is led by a new event-based data model, which is a shift from the previous version’s session-based data-model. This change means Google Analytics 4 properties will focus on what users are doing on your site rather than how often or how long they visit your site.
Cross-Device and Cross-Platform Reporting
The previous Google Analytics versions had limited cross-device and cross-platform reporting. The recent Google Analytics update now includes full cross-device and cross-platform reporting. This means you will be able to capture a specific user’s activity on your site when they are visiting from a laptop, mobile browser, or application rather than measuring that user’s activity as separate sessions.
The new Google Analytics update includes machine learning throughout the platform to improve data visualization and insight discovery. The new tools make it easy to navigate the platform and get the most value of how you organize your data.
What’s the Impact?
- The event-based data model allows Google Analytics to measure web traffic quality and offer more flexible and custom calculations
- The cross-device and cross-platform captures better insights into user journeys and decreases duplicate users in tracking
- The flexibility in the platform gives more options for custom analysis and audience segmentation
What DMOs Should Do?
Create a Google Analytics 4 Property
DMOs should set up new property with Google Analytics 4 in parallel to their current Google Analytics properties. Use this time to familiarize yourself with the platform and the differences between your existing Google Analytics. The change will affect everyone differently, and it’s important to use this time to learn how your current tracking will need to adjust.
Identify Top Events and Establish Triggers
Utilizing the new event-based data model in the Google Analytics update, determine what user events you care about and create event triggers to track the user activity that matters most to your organization. Doing this early also means you will be banking historical data that you can analyze as time passes to track improvements.
Make Plans to Optimize Your Website and Evolve KPIs
With the shift towards an event-based data model, DMOs should use this time to understand how the Google Analytics update should lead to changes in other elements of their marketing program. Organizations should analyze their existing website and digital KPIs and determine changes need to be made to optimize their websites towards events and if their measurement programs would benefit from prioritizing user engagement rather than user awareness.
Integrated Destination Marketing
As part of our full-service capabilities and destination marketing partnership, we believe it’s our job to help destinations understand how changes in the industry will affect their marketing programs. Madden’s MarTech and Media experts are standing by to help DMOs understand how the Google Analytics update will affect their website metric tracking and plan for any necessary adjustments.