Google Analytics is a tool for your website that google provides for free, so that you can ‘gain complete understanding of your understanding of your customers across devices and platforms… to understand the customer journey and improve marketing ROI.’ If this is the first you’ve heard about it then you can find out a lot more here. 

For those of you who already know and love it you might not have heard about the latest update and all the changes it brings.

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) was first released a couple years ago to replace its predecessor Universal Analytics. GA4 is the next generation of analytics which collects individual user interactions from both your websites and apps.

So what has changed?

The biggest difference is that GA4 focuses on users and events, whereas Universal Analytics focused on sessions. To put it simply, GA4 collects your website and app data and records each user interaction as standalone event rather than grouping user interactions together into a session.

This allows you to track each user interaction more accurately, making it easier to predict their behaviour so your organisation can make better decisions when planning future communications.

GA4 also uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help collect any missing data caused by cookie-consent rules, or JavaScript blocking – an increasing issue under GDPR regulations. 

What should I be looking at in Google Analytics?

GA4 now has summary cards to help you see useful data. These include Realtime reports, useful if you want to see how a campaign is doing and Life cycle reporting, which is a collection of reports showing how people are progressing through your site. Very useful if you want to see where people are coming from (acquisition) and track donations or sales (monetisation).

There’s a really good blog on the CharityComms site which goes through what to look for if you’re a small to medium charity.

This google help article also tells you how to customise the standard dashboard so that you can get the most useful overview for you every time you log in.

What do I need to do next?

If you want to start using GA4 then there are three options available to you:

Anything else I need to know?

Google have already started the countdown to phasing out Universal Analytics and by 1 July 2023, they will stop processing Universal Analytics data.

By taking one of the steps above you will give your organisation time to become familiar with the new interface, event tracking and new reporting features before Universal Analytics is phased out.

There’s more information about this on the Charity Digital site too.

I hope this has helped you understand a little more. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss your communications challenges – we’d love to help.

H is for Hello >

Amy Helliwell
Marketing Project Manager