Dealers, Are You Ready For GA4?
Last March, Google announced that as of July 31st, 2023- they are ending all new data stream support for Google Universal Analytics (UA) properties. This means that all your dealership’s reporting and analysis will essentially cease to populate at that time, and eventually- your reports will cease to exist altogether on UA. Nobody ever said change was easy, but it is often necessary.
Dealers have had a range of mixed reactions to the Google announcement, from the indifferent to the incredulous. However, Google has been very proactive about preparing its user network for these changes. They announced the end of UA support well over a year in advance because they knew this transition would take time and resources for advertisers like yourself to become fully versed.
There is much that your dealership should understand about Google Analytics 4 (GA4) before UA is discontinued, and a lot of dealers are feeling a little overwhelmed by it. Therefore, we wanted to help reduce the learning curve and surprises that some automotive professionals will undoubtedly experience related to the transition. In our first article of the GA4 series, we are taking a zoomed-out look at why this is all happening.
So, to that point, why is Google doing this? Why did they make the claim that UA was essentially antiquated and had ‘run its course’?
- “Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies,” said Russell Ketchum, Director of Product Management for Google. “This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete.”].
In-a-nutshell, Google is saying that UA is unable to keep up with changing devices, general data protection regulations (GDPR), and technology advances on the web. GA4 Allows you to track across platforms (i.e. mobile app versus web), across different consumer devices, and based on events rather than page views (since many apps do not have “pages”).
Google is touting some of GA4s new features as being solutions to some of the most obvious issues that have begun to plague the older UA platform. Features such as:
- Predictive Analytics
- Data Studio (better custom report creation)
- Enhanced Event and Conversion Tracking
- Easy Audience Segmentation
In addition, changes to data privacy and advanced data sets (along with A.I. and machine learning) will provide better insights into user behavior and conversions while complying with privacy regulations. Moreover, your dealership will be provided with better attribution models across the entire customer journey.
At the end of the day, Google Analytics 4 is going to be a very good thing for your dealership, you will be able to make better sense of your advertising and in turn- your customers. Nearly every week Google is releasing new features and expanding on the functionality of the service. A gradual and concerted effort to familiarize yourself with this new and exciting platform is all your dealership needs to concern itself with at this point. Just take it one day at a time, ignore all the fearmongering and hysteria, and find yourself a technology partner who is willing to walk you through this transition.
In this series of informative articles on GA4, we will cover a range of important topics like first steps, concerns, setting up relevant reports, best practices, and new feature implementations. In our next article of the series, we will discuss the first steps your dealership should take in setting up your GA4- and when you should do it.