What Small Businesses Need to Know About the Latest Google Analytics Updates

12.15.2022 Sara Brasfield4 min

If your business relies on Google Analytics to power its advertising and marketing campaigns, you’ve probably heard the company promote its modernized Google Analytics 4 solution. GA4 was launched in late 2020 with the promise of more powerful, predictive analytics to improve ad campaign performance for all of its users.

Although the new ad solution was pitched as a clear upgrade, many businesses have dragged their heels when making the switch from Google’s Universal analytics, which had been the company’s default analytics solution since 2012.

It’s easy to understand why small businesses would be slow to make the transition. Change is hard, and it requires more resources and attention than simply sticking with the status quo. And, for businesses already pleased with their ad campaigns and data-driven insights, there wasn’t as much urgency to embark on a new analytics journey with a different platform.

Now, though, that urgency has arrived. Google has announced that Universal Analytics will stop collecting new data for advertisers to use starting on July 1, 2023. Sometime in 2024, the company plans to remove all of that data from the platform, meaning your business won’t be able to access and use any data it has already collected.

Although businesses still have several months to safely make this transition, there’s no time like the present—and making this move now could end up benefiting your business in the long run.

The Benefits of Switching to Google Analytics 4

Businesses may experience an adjustment period when moving from Universal Analytics to GA4, but the benefits are well worth this minor short-term inconvenience. Compared to its predecessor, Google Analytics 4 delivers a number of powerful capabilities and benefits, including:

  • The ability to collect and consolidate data from both website and app-based activity, creating a more complete picture of the customer journey;
  • Improved user tracking across the customer journey;
  • Enhanced audience targeting to improve ad relevance and performance;
  • Intelligent privacy controls including cookieless measurement, behavioral modeling, and conversion modeling;
  • Predictive capabilities that offer simple guidance for the end user;
  • Easy integrations with media platforms to harmonize and enhance your campaign management.

This package of new features and tools will make it much easier for small businesses to build, manage and optimize ad campaigns for greater success and ROI in the future.

Why Your Business Shouldn’t Wait to Make the Switch

The improved performance and value of GA4 offers plenty of incentive to switch over sooner than later. But there’s another big reason why your business should prioritize a move to GA4 as quickly as possible.

It all has to do with the quality of the data GA4 gathers, and the siloed nature of your Universal Analytics data. When you do make the switch, Universal Analytics data won’t be coming with you. While you can still view and access this data through the GA4 platform, it won’t be used to power your GA4 campaigns because the data is fundamentally different, and can’t be utilized by the new capabilities of GA4.

This isn’t a big problem, since Google Analytics 4 will quickly begin supplying your advertising with far superior, and more comprehensive, data. But it will still take time for the volume of that data to be built up. The sooner you switch over, the faster you can begin realizing the full potential of GA4.

Alternatively, if you aren’t ready or don’t have time to transition to GA4, you can activate this analytics solution on your website and have it run concurrently with Universal Analytics. As you continue to work with UA data and insights, GA4 can build up its data in parallel, allowing you to hit the ground running when you finally do make the jump.

How to Get Started With Google Analytics 4

When you’re ready to start using GA4 on your business website, Google makes it easy to navigate this process. For businesses that already have a Universal Analytics account, the easiest way is to use the GA4 Setup Assistant to walk you through this process and make sure it’s done correctly.

This setup assistant will implement GA4 without disrupting Universal Analytics, so you can continue using UA until you’re ready to switch platforms—minimizing the time investment to manage this change, while also retaining control over when this change occurs.

Analytics are the foundation to intelligent, cost-optimized campaigns that connect with your audience and create new value and revenue for your business. A digital advertising partner can help you leverage the new capabilities of GA4 to push your ad campaign performance to the next level.

And if you need help migrating away from Universal Analytics, we can help with that, too. Contact us today to learn more.

About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is the Content Marketing Manager for Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than seven years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the (now virtual!) office, Sara loves spending time running, reading and supporting her favorite teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

View All of Sara Brasfield's Blog Posts

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