I’ve been working on the migration of website analytics GA3 (Universal) to GA4 for my clients, which is a whole new way of measuring and tracking activity on your website.
Why should I care?
Oooo, great question! It’s possible you’ve never looked at your website traffic reports. (How many visit? How long do they stay? Which pages do they visit?) But I do configure Google Analytics for every site I build. Even if you don’t review the analytics, I do. I want to know if anything isn’t working as anticipated after building your site. And, ideally, what is working fabulously?!
GA3 (Universal) vs. GA4
Why didn’t Google just upgrade their code and let the reporting continue as it has for years? Well, it’s been 10 years since Universal tracking was introduced (a millenium in technology time). A lot has changed. Here are a couple of reasons they stated:
“Cross-device tracking: GA4 provides more advanced cross-device tracking capabilities (website and app), allowing marketers better to understand the customer journey across multiple devices and touch points.”
“Why is GA4 replacing UA? Because GA4 is designed to work without cookies, machine learning and statistical modeling are now essential to fill in any data gaps. Thus, machine learning is now the main form of data measurement, extrapolating from existing data to make assumptions about site traffic or user behavior.”
(Yadda, yadda, yadda!)
Cut to the Chase, Please!
Fair enough! It means that right now websites are awash in a continual stream of software updates. As Google makes their big change (effective July 1st), all the producers of website themes and plugins are busily updating theirs to meet new requirements. And while many of these updates are blessedly automated, saving you $$, some of it is not.
Translation: As soon as I complete one set of changes I find a fresh set of updates. Grrr! But it will all quiet down soon. Phew!