Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 30/05/2023

On 1 July 2023, Google Analytics Universal will stop processing data. If you still want to review your website traffic, you'll have to switch to Google Analytics 4 or another alternative.

Google Analytics is a free website reporting tool that allows you to track performance of your website and mobile apps.

You can use it to see which kind of users are interacting with specific bits of your website or app. Good interaction will increase the chance of more new and repeat customers, and more and better awareness of your business.

What is Google Analytics 4?

Google has been working on a new and improved version of Google Analytics, called Google Analytics 4, or GA4 for short. But it's not just an updated version of the classic programme. It's a completely different tool with a new user interface and a different way to measure and report website performance.

The migration and setup of Google Analytics 4 requires time to rethink the way of traditional website reporting. Google made improvements to the methodology:

New features of Google Analytics 4

  • New metrics

    There are some new metrics (such as engagement rate or engaged sessions) that were not available in the old version of Google Analytics.

  • Different calculations

    Google Analytics 4 measures traditional metrics such as users or engaged sessions in a different way. This is to better reflect the way users move online today. It also means a like for like comparison with the previous version of Google Analytics will not be possible. Thus, please be mindful of some data discrepancy between either version.

  • Future features

    Google Analytics 4 is still a new tool. It's not a finalised product and therefore constantly changing, adding features. You should expect some changes on the interface as time goes on.

How Google Analytics 4 can benefit your tourism business

When people engage with your business website, it benefits both them and yourself if they're quickly able to find what they're looking for. But how do you know if that's the case?

With Google Analytics 4, you can use more advanced user behaviour analysis capabilities than before.

In other words, you can gain even better insights into how visitors navigate your websites or apps. Use this information to your advantage:

  • identify popular pages or sections
  • track conversions (purchases, scroll activity, etc.)
  • understand user engagement (how long do users stay on a page, do they go to other sections of your website, or do they tune out)

Once you know what works well and where there are opportunities for improvement, you can begin to make your website the best it can be.

A good user experience gives a sense of professionalism. And the better perceived your business or product is, the better your chances to attract more customers.

Set yourself up for success by regularly reviewing and analysing your data. This way, you'll stay on top of ways to improve your website and optimise your marketing strategies.

Google Analytics 4 is free and that it pulls data from Google Chrome, the UK's most popular internet browser. According to Statista, nearly 50% of people in the UK used Google Chrome in 2022.

Review Statista's full report on web browser market share in the UK in 2022.

The benefits of Google Analytics 4

  • Cross-platform tracking

    Google Analytics 4 allows you to track user interactions across multiple platforms. This includes websites, mobile apps, and offline touchpoints. Gain a comprehensive view of your customers journey, regardless of the devices or platforms they use.

    Understanding how people use your website across different touchpoints has some benefits. For example, you can use this information to improve your marketing strategies. Or you could offer personalised experiences to your website users.

  • Enhanced event tracking

    The platform introduces an event-driven data model. This enables businesses to track specific user actions and events within their websites or apps.

    This flexibility allows you to define and track custom events that are important for your operations. Think of button clicks, form submissions, video views, or booking completions.

    The granular event tracking capabilities provide deeper insights into user behaviour. They'll also help you optimise marketing campaigns and conversion funnels.

  • Machine learning insights

    Google Analytics 4 uses machine learning to provide automated insights and predictive analytics. It can automatically:

    • detect trends
    • identify anomalies
    • surface valuable insights from the data

    With these insights at your fingertips, you'll be able to better understand what your customers are looking for on your website. This will allow you to make more informed business decisions, reduce risk, and potentially increase revenue.

  • Audience segmentation

    The platform allows businesses to create advanced audience segments. You can base these on various criteria, such as demographics, interests, behaviour, or specific events.

    This opens the door for you to:

    • do targeted marketing campaigns
    • personalise the experience of your website users
    • offer tailored messaging for different customer groups

    By knowing your audience better, you can provide more relevant content, offers, and recommendations. This will enhance customer satisfaction and drive traffic on your website.

  • Data privacy and compliance

    Google Analytics 4 has enhanced privacy controls and is designed to comply with data protection regulations such as GDPR. It provides options to:

    • manage data retention
    • anonymise IP addresses
    • control user data collection

    Strict adherence to privacy regulations builds trust with your customers and is a great boon to your business' reputation.

Help to switch over to Google Analytics 4

It's important to understand that Google Analytics 4 is a technical tool. This means that you'll need to have some degree of technical knowledge to properly set it up.

You can start by reviewing your current Google Analytics setup, reporting needs and key performance indicators. Next, you'll have to determine whether you can transition to Google Analytics 4 by yourself or with professional support.

Google has an extensive range of training resources and other supporting tools. Think of Looker Studio (formerly known as Data Studio) and Google Tag Manager.

Browse free training resources

These free external training resources will help you become confident to use Google Analytics 4.

Alternatives to Google Analytics 4

You can also use other website reporting tools such as Adobe Analytics or Matomo. You might need to pay a monthly fee for their services.

Related links