5 Misconceptions About Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
July 1, 2023, GA4 will replace Universal Analytics. The shift to has left marketers with more questions than answers. Plus, plenty of misconceptions.
Truths Behind The Myths
In less than six minutes, Tessa Burg, Chief Technology Officer of Mod Op, quickly hits on five common myths about GA4. She then delivers the truths behind them as well as some tips on how to make the most of the new GA4 platform.
5 Misconceptions Covered In This Episode:
- UA will automatically update to GA4
- I should map everything from UA to GA4
- I must transition to GA4 asap
- GA4 will be my single source for marketing data
- GA4 is fully compliant with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
Watch the Live Recording
Full Episode Transcript
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Tessa Burg: Hello, my name is Tessa Burg. I’m the host of the Leader Generation Podcast and CTO at Mod Op. Today I wanted to clear up five misconceptions about Google Analytics 4.
Tessa Burg: If you haven’t heard, Google Analytics is going away, but don’t panic. Let’s walk through these misconceptions and get you prepared.
Tessa Burg: Misconception number one, Google Analytics will automatically update to GA4. Misconception two, you should cut over right now. Misconception three, you should map everything you have in Google Analytics to GA4. Misconception four, GA4 can be your new single source of truth. And misconception number five, GA4 is fully GDPR compliant. So, if you don’t listen to anything else, you now know none of that is true, but there are some kernels of truth so let’s dig in a little deeper.
Tessa Burg: Misconception one, Google Analytics will automatically update to GA4. This isn’t true, and actually from our conversations with Google and what they’re doing with their own clients is they’re standing up the GA4 container to run in parallel with Google Analytics.
Tessa Burg: This brings us to misconception number two. You should just cut over right now. You don’t have to cut over right now. Run them in parallel. And the reason that we don’t want to just turn one off and go to the other, is there’s a lot of strategic thought that must first take place, which brings us to misconception number three.
Tessa Burg: You should map everything you have in Google Analytics to GA4. I know you’ve invested a lot of time in Google Analytics. I feel like I’ve been using it since it was invented, but I will tell you, when we went back and looked at how GA4 was actually functioning in the containers we stood up back in October, 2020, it’s totally different. This requires a complete mindset shift. You don’t necessarily have to throw away everything you know, but think about it. Google Analytics was created at a time when hits were really important. This feels like centuries ago, and think about your business. You’ve evolved as a business as well. What you’re tracking now, does it really help you get the metrics that matter to your business objectives tomorrow?
Tessa Burg: The approach that we’re taking at Mod Op is day one, week one, month one. Day one, stand up the container. Week one, center on your business objectives, and in month one, do a SWOT of all of your marketing analytics including your existing instance of Google Analytics. I know for me personally and a lot of people on the team, we spend a ton of time just trying to make Google Analytics more accurate, but GA4 solves that. It’s a machine learning-powered, event-based data model that will be smarter. So, use that brain space, use that time and that energy to really think about, what do we have to track in order to be successful and what is the role of GA4 in our overall marketing and technology landscape?
Tessa Burg: That brings us to misconception number four. GA4 can now be your single source of truth for websites and marketing performance. Can it? Yes. If you’re fully in all on the Google-verse, or if you’re a smaller company, it can be your single source of truth. If you are in an international multidimensional business and you have CRMs, CDPs, maybe a data warehouse in the cloud where you pull additional points from your ERP or E-commerce systems, then GA4 is going to play a really important role, but it might not be your single source of truth. And the best way, again, to figure out where GA4 sits in all of this, is to go through that SWOT analysis and really marry back to your business objectives.
Tessa Burg: Fifth misconception, GA4 is fully GDPR compliant. It’s not, so it doesn’t rely on cookies, and it will anonymize and doesn’t store IP information anymore, which keeps you compliant with privacy laws, but it does not meet that threshold of GDPR.
Tessa Burg: So, this is a lot in a short amount of time, trying to keep it concise and not technical. But if you need help, feel free to reach out to us at Mod Op. You can message me directly on LinkedIn at Tessa Burg. Last name is B-U-R-G.
Tessa Burg: Our analytics team is a cross-section of expert resources from media management, digital strategy, and technology. Together, we have over 30 years combined in working with global brands in Google Analytics and digital marketing. We have stood up GA4. We know the roadblocks and challenges you’re going to hit, and we can take you through that model to make sure that what you measure tomorrow really drives your business and helps you meet those objectives.
Tessa Burg: You can also visit Mod Op’s website, modop.com, and if you’re an existing client, just reach out to your account manager or client strategist. Thanks so much. Look forward to any questions, and I hope that you are now clear on these five common misconceptions about GA4.
Chief Technology Officer at Mod Op | Host of Leader Generation
Originally part of Tenlo, Tessa became part of the Mod Op team in 2022 after Mod Op’s acquisition of the company. In her previous role as Vice President of Technology, she helped clients execute engaging, multi-platform experiences and products to bring their brands to life. Moving into her role as CTO, she’ll oversee Mod Op’s technology stack to ensure the agency is leveraging the right platforms to deliver valuable and measurable marketing communications, entertainment and experiences.