Throughout the last decade, a series of high-profile scandals involving the non-consensual collection of personal online data have emerged, sparking gargantuan public interest in the way a web user’s personal data is used. As a result, user expectations have evolved, with people rightfully demanding more control over their own data, and increased privacy protections.

In October 2020, as a response to requests for increased privacy from the public, Google unveiled a brand-new product – Google Analytics 4.

What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 is a web analytics service that traces and documents website traffic, which is used to determine the number of people visiting your website, the pages that they view, and the amount of time they spend on a website. This is incredibly important information for a business, as it can help identify which of their products or services are most profitable, as well as a business’s overall success.

Why did Google build Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 was built to replace its previous iteration, Universal Analytics. This change is necessary as Universal was created to measure analytics at a time when cookies and browsing on the desktop were the main vessels from which to extract data.

Web browsing and public awareness have evolved immensely since, making Universal’s technology outdated. A new analytics service that respects users’ right to more privacy online and one that accurately tracks data in a contemporary way was needed.

How is Google Analytics 4 different to Universal Analytics?

Google Analytics 4 was built with user privacy in mind – wider and highly detailed data collection and usage controls were implemented. Furthermore, Analytics 4 does not store a user’s IP address.

Analytics 4 also comes with modernised measurement methods: Analytics 4 uses machine learning to create insights predicting user behaviour and new user audiences. The system also manages and minimises user-level data, allowing for a smoother and streamlined experience.

What have company heads said about Google Analytics 4?

Maxwell Petitjean, Head of Product Insights at Gymshark, a British fitness apparel and accessories brand has praised Analytics 4 as ‘the perfect choice in understanding and improving our new e-commerce app’. Gymshark reduced the time spent on analysing user journeys by 30% and their user drop-off by 9%, whilst increasing product page clickthroughs by 5%.

Similarly, Tina Chao, the Chief of Marketing and Digital Customer Experience Officer at McDonald’s Hong Kong, has described Analytics 4 as ‘a strong measurement foundation […] driving impressive results’.

How does this affect my business?

We would like to inform our clients ahead of time that all websites were built with Universal Analytics in mind. As of 1 July 2023, Universal Analytics will stop processing data. To continue receiving updates on website traffic, website owners are advised to upgrade to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible. 

The Web Theoria team considers the review of insights essential for any successful digital marketing campaign. All our clients will be informed to ensure that the right tracking capabilities are always in place.

Published on September 28, 2022