Google Analytics 4: The Complete Guide to Switching to GA4

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Google Analytics 4: The Complete Guide to Switching to GA4

Marketing analytics nerds rejoice—Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is here! Google announced that GA4 will replace Google Universal Analytics (UA), and that UA will stop processing new hits starting in July 2023. This may be less-than-great news if you fear change, but the new functionality is designed to provide superior analytics in a third-party-cookieless world, and that alone should assuage any trepidation you may have about moving to GA4.

Yes, this means it’s best to move from Google UA to GA4 sooner than later. We’ve made the transition simple for Invoca conversation intelligence users with a new no-code integration with GA4, so you don’t have to sweat about getting your conversation data flowing into the new platform when you decide to make the switch. Check out this video for Google's overview of the new GA4 property:

What’s New in Google Analytics 4

Invoca first previewed its Google Analytics 4 (GA4) integration at fall 2021 Invoca Summit conference. Derek Tucker, Measurement Lead at Google, spoke at Summit and detailed the benefits for mutual customers. “Google Analytics 4 is an amazing tool when it comes to tying behaviors together across mobile, desktop, and app experiences for a more complete analysis across platforms,” Tucker said during his presentation. 

“When you can segment and categorize calls with conversation intelligence and bring that to Google Analytics 4, you’ll be able to uncover the high-value online actions that lead to the sales calls you really want to drive. GA4 makes that easy with tools like Predictive Audiences that it builds automatically to identify users that are more likely to generate the outcomes you’re interested in.” You can watch his full presentation on-demand here.

Mobile App Activity Tracking

The big GA4 news is that users can track app activity alongside web tracking, allowing a more complete and unified view of the consumer journey. That’s a pretty big deal. Consumers are turning to mobile apps at increasing rates and mobile apps are expected to generate $935 billion by 2023. That means GA4 is going to eliminate the blind spot for app traffic and activity, making your marketing data significantly more accurate. That attribution accuracy will result in less wasted spend and much more accurate customer segments. 

Less Reliance on Cookies in GA4

GA4 was built with the privacy concerns of today and tomorrow in mind. It does not rely exclusively on cookies and no longer stores IP addresses. This is a boon for international data privacy restrictions and addresses the growing demand from consumers and brands around data management and security.

Data-Driven Attribution 

Last-click attribution is so last year, and it leaves a lot of blank spots in your customer journey tracking. With data driven attribution, you can track and analyze the full impact of your marketing across the entire customer journey, assigning credit across the journey using your analytics data. This helps you get a true understanding of how your marketing influences your conversions. You can also export the analysis to Google Ads and Google Marketing Platform media tools to optimize campaigns. 

Google has changed the default attribution model for new conversion actions in Google Ads from last-click to data-driven attribution, unless you specifically opt out. You can learn more about data-driven attribution in this post

New Predictive Modeling and Audience Building

I think some of the coolest features in GA4 are the machine learning-driven predictive modeling tools that can help you predict the future actions that a customer might take. One of the new predictive metrics is Purchase Probability, which predicts the likelihood that users who have visited your app or site will purchase in the next seven days. Churn Probability predicts how likely it is that recently active users will not visit your app or site in the next seven days. You can use these metrics to help drive growth for your business by reaching the people most likely to purchase and retaining the people who might not return to your app or site via Google Ads.

Churn probability in Google Analytics 4

You can also build more robust audiences in Audience Builder with Google Analytics 4. Using the Purchasing Probability metrics, GA4 can create an audience of “likely 7-day purchasers” who are most likely to make a purchase in the next week. Equally useful is Churn Probability, which suggests an audience of active users who are not likely to visit your site our app in the next seven days, allowing you to get them in campaigns to keep them engaged.  

What You Do with the Google Analytics 4 Invoca Integration

Of course, Invoca has a great no-code integration with GA4 that improves upon our current integration with Google Universal Analytics. With GA4 and Invoca conversation intelligence you get:

  1. More accurate phone call conversion reporting: When you use a call tracking platform like Invoca with Google Ads, you can use AI-powered conversational analytics to accurately and automatically detect conversions that happen on the phone. You can also detect, segment, and report on more phone call events with call tracking, like product interest shown, service call, appointment set, or any call outcome that matters to your business.
  2. Insight into what is happening on sales calls: Using AI-powered conversational analytics tools like Invoca Signal Discovery, you can uncover customer interactions that you did not know were happening, like customer complaints, website issues, or people calling to buy products that you aren’t advertising. This data is used to create new event Signals so you can report and track them in Google Analytics.
  3. Additional call data for ad optimization: Using call tracking with Google Analytics gives you a wealth of information like keywords, ads and campaigns, and specific web pages that drove calls, and even keywords that were spoken on the calls to help you optimize your campaigns. You can also access call recordings and listen to exactly what your customers are saying.
  4. Ability to track calls that aren’t from ad clicks: When you use a call tracking platform with Google Analytics, you can also track calls from your website that were from direct or organic traffic. You can also track calls from all types of paid media including display, paid search, YouTube ads, and more. Note that you can only view your website call data and data from Google properties in Google Ads. Microsoft Ads (aka Bing) for example cannot be viewed in Google Analytics, but can be seen in their analytics platform or in Invoca’s reporting.
  5. Data to create call-based customer segments in Google Analytics: You can drive even more conversions by creating call-based segments in Google Analytics using call tracking data. For example, you can identify callers who did not submit an application, and create an audience that you can send to Google Ads or Google display network. This audience can be retargeted or pushed for paid search to help re-engage people who did not finish their application.

You can read even more on how to use Google Analytics in this guide.

What Invoca Customers Need to Know About Switching to GA4

If you’re an Invoca customer who is already using UA, there are just a few steps you need to follow to upgrade to GA4 and the best part is that the entire process is self-service.

  1. Your first step is to enable your Google Analytics account to use the new GA4 integration. In your UA user interface, navigate to the Admin Settings cog (lower left of screen) Admin and follow Google’s convenient guide to Upgrade to GA4. This doesn’t impact your existing Google Analytics data. (Phew!) For this upgrade you’re actually creating a new property for GA4 that collects data in parallel with your existing UA property. This will allow you to collect data in GA4 while still preserving your UA data.
  2. From here, you’ll set up your Invoca account to use the new integration. You can access step-by-step instructions in the knowledge base article
  3. Now it’s time to put it all together by connecting your GA4 property (created in the first step above) with your Invoca account. It’s all outlined in step three, “Configure your Integration in Invoca,” in the knowledge base article.
  4. The final steps are to decide what types of data you’ll send to GA4, either call events which means you’ll send all calls to GA4 or Signal events which means you’ll only send calls that meet your specific criteria.
  5. Once you’ve completed all the steps in the Knowledge Base article you’re up and running with GA4 and can exhale and relax in the face of the upcoming UA sunset.

Google Analytics Universal Sunset Timeline

GA Universal will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023.  For those using 360 Universal Analytics, new hits will stop processing on October 1, 2023. According to Google, previous data in UA will be accessible for approximately six months after the cutoff. Their current guidance is to make the switch to GA4 as soon as possible, and with the added benefits that product offers, we couldn’t agree more. 

Schedule a personalized demo to learn more about how you can get more from GA4 with Invoca conversation intelligence.

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