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By Shelby Carter

In my prior Account Manager role, half of my job was relationship building, the other half was numbers driven. Accomplish this goal, sell more than last quarter, so on and so forth.

That job was where I learned and developed an interest in understanding the science behind numbers and how we can use them to inform our decisions and measure our success.

When I came to LKF, I became acquainted with Google Analytics and was shocked to discover all of the data the platform was able to collect followed by the different ways that information could be utilized.

Universal Analytics (UA), the version of Google Analytics I was introduced to, was intimidating and a lot for any mind to take in. However, I continued to work at it and things became easier and easier to understand.

Only once I began to feel somewhat comfortable navigating my way through UA did its big, lumbering, newer (and probably cooler) sister come into play, AKA Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

For some backstory, last year Google announced that it would be sunsetting, or getting rid of, UA on July 1 of this year. There have been and continue to be several shifts in data privacy, with different countries and even certain states cracking down on how much data Google can mine from its users.

In recent years, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have shaken up a great deal of how marketers communicate electronically with users. These regulations and acts give users more control over the personal information that is collected about them.

At LKF, we’ve been closely following and tracking the changes that have been happening in the data world to better serve and inform our clients.

Some of the key items that have come out of the transition from UA to GA4 are:

  • No IP addresses – In GA4, user IP addresses are anonymized and not stored as they were in UA.
  • Bounce rate – This was originally the percentage of single-page sessions where there was no interaction beyond the landing page. In GA4, it is the percentage of unengaged sessions. For example, in GA4 if we know that 80% of users came to the website and didn’t engage in any of your content, that likely means it wasn’t engaging or helpful, so we should consider updating the content or the overall design!
  • Engagement rate – While previously unavailable in UA, GA4 will allow us to pay attention to how much time users spend on your website. This, in turn, helps the LKF team understand if your content is getting the necessary results.
  • Session duration tracking – In UA, a session is a series of pageviews, events, social interactions, and ecommerce transactions that happen within a defined time period. After a period of inactivity (usually around 30 minutes), the session is considered complete. In GA4, a session is based on the time span between the first event and the last event. An example of GA4’s session tracking would be if a user found a blog from your website via searching on Google for it, opened it, bookmarked it for later (less than 30 minutes), reopened it, and read it, that whole series of events would be considered one session. GA4 follows a user through their whole event cycle!

There are so many other interesting things that have come out of the transition from UA to GA4, and we’re excited to learn and share all of the new ways we’ll be able to achieve goals for our clients with the help of data and analytics.

If you’re still feeling confused and don’t know what this platform change could mean for your organization, reach out to your account team at LKF! We’ll work our way through it together.