Community banks are always looking for ways to improve their online presence and better understand their customers. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) provides a number of features and enhancements that can help with both of these goals.
GA4 is the latest version of Google's popular website analytics platform. But what does it do, and how does it differ from Universal Analytics? In this article, we will discuss the key differences between GA4 and UA, as well as how community banks can benefit from using GA4.
What is GA4?
GA4 is a complete rewrite of Universal Analytics (UA), and introduces a number of new features and enhancements. GA4 uses a data-first approach that allows users to collect data from any source, including web, mobile, apps, and IoT devices. This data can then be used to create insights and drive better decision-making.
Some of the key benefits of GA4 include:
- The ability to collect data from any source
- A robust set of tools for creating insights
- Enhanced measurement capabilities
- Improved user id tracking
- Better cross-device tracking
How is GA4 different from Universal Analytics?
There are several key differences including:
- Data collection: GA4 uses a data-first approach that allows for the collection of data from any source. UA, on the other hand, only allows for the collection of web data.
- Data streams: GA4 uses data streams to collect and process data. UA does not have this feature.
- User id tracking: GA4 offers improved user id tracking capabilities. UA does not have this feature.
- Recommended events: GA4 comes with a set of recommended events that can be used to track key interactions on a website or app. UA does not have this feature.
- Cross-device tracking: GA4 offers improved cross-device tracking capabilities. UA does not have this feature.
- Enhanced measurement events: GA4 offers enhanced measurement capabilities that allow for more granular tracking of events. UA does not have this feature.
What are the key metrics community banks will want to track in GA4?
Key metrics community banks will want to track in GA4 include:
- Conversions: This metric measures how many users take a desired action on a website or app, such as signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase.
- Bounce rate: This metric measures the percentage of users who leave a website or app after viewing only one page.
- Loan applications
- Account openings
- Customer service interactions
When will Universal Analytics stop tracking data?
On July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new data. Until this date, you can continue to use and collect new data in your Universal Analytics properties. That being said, Google strongly advises you connect GA4 well before this date.
What will happen to historical data in Universal Analytics?
Eventually it will no longer be accessible. Google states historical data will be deleted for 'at least 6 months' after July 1, 2023. They also strongly recommend prioritizing the exporting your historical data.
Why should a community bank set up their GA4 accounts sooner than later?
- GA4 Learning Curve: give yourself time to learn the new analytics interface
- Smooth Transition to GA4: you can run GA4 and Universal in parallel as you get up to speed with GA4
What are the steps involved in setting up GA4?
There are a few steps involved in setting up GA4, including:
- Creating a GA4 property: The first step can be done through the Google Analytics interface
- Connecting GA4 to a data source: This can be done through the Google Analytics interface or by using the Google Tag Manager
- Configuring GA4 tracking code: Once you have created your GA4 property and connected it to a data source, you will need to configure GA4 tracking code. This code needs to be placed on every page you want to track.
- Sending data to GA4: After the GA4 tracking code has been added to your website, GA4 will start collecting data. This data is then sent to GA4 for processing.
- Creating GA4 reports and dashboards: Can be created through the Google Analytics interface
Community Banks FAQs about GA4
- Is Google Analytics free? Yes, GA4 is free for everyone
- Can I have both GA4 and Universal Analytics? Yes, you can have both GA4 and Universal Analytics properties. In fact, initially it could be beneficial to run both in parallel while you get up to speed on GA4. But remember, Universal Analytics stops collecting data next July.
- What's the GA4 learning curve like? GA4 has a different interface than Universal Analytics, but it is not difficult to learn. Google offers several resources to help you get started, including an introductory guide, a GA4 Academy, and GA4 support forums.
It’s important to start preparing for the switchover now so that your website can reap all of the benefits that come with upgrading to GA4. It provides community banks more accurate data, better insights, and new features to help you improve your website. GA4 is also free for everyone, so there’s no reason not to upgrade. Especially as it will eventually be your only option. Not sure where your bank stands? Check out this quick personalized assessment.
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