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Hey LS Family,
If you’re using Google Analytics to track how visitors to your website behave, then you’ve already seen this:
This big red alert hitting you over the head letting you know that Google’s old analytics tool, Universal Analytics, is being replaced by GA4.
(btw – if you aren’t using Google Analytics on your site yet… go set it up. It’s free and provides a TON of data you can use to make your business better).
Marketing employees and agencies everywhere are freaking out. Universal Analytics has been a tool that, despite its faults, has been a staple used to make better, more informed decisions around digital marketing.
But new tech = better tech, right?
The answer is Yes, but…
You’re Losing Historical Data
I’m listing this as the #1 concern for business owners using Google Analytics right now. If you rely on historical data to make decisions about your business, you absolutely have to download your historical reports from your Universal Analytics properties.
You or your marketing team are likely looking at this data to make decisions and predictions for your business. If you’ve ever asked yourself “Wow… it seems slow this month. Was it slow this month last year, too?” – the answer could be found in Google Analytics. But big G is not doing us any favors. In 6 months, everyone will lose access to data collected by a Universal Analytics Tag.
Which brings us to the next issue…
Data Collection in GA4 is Completely Different
And this isn’t a bad thing. Even though the new GA4 Dashboard seems convoluted on the surface, there are dozens of pre-built report templates that will allow you to see your data more easily with a little elbow grease.
GA4 tracks data in terms of events rather than the Sessions/Pageviews model presented by the soon-defunct UA. What this means is that instead of seeing “145 Users visited this page during this time period,” by default you’ll see that “145 events were triggered that indicate this page was viewed during this time period.”
While it might sound like those are the same thing, the key distinction is in how they’re reported. When we think of our numbers in terms of Page Views, we fail to consider the human element behind using a website. Page View = The Page Loaded. By contrast, Event Triggered = A Person Did This Particular Thing.
In addition to seeing events associated with pages loading, we’re also able to see scroll behavior, video views, link clicks, screen size changes, and way more, all by default.
GA4 definitely presents learning curve, but we can get so much more out of this tool than we ever could with UA.
Be Prepared: Use Corroborating Tools
Using tools in addition to Google Analytics will be more important than ever. While we all adjust to the new Google Analytics experience, there are plenty of tools out there that allow us to see at a glance how people are behaving when they visit our site. What’s scaring them away? What’s making them take action? How can we get more pest and wildlife jobs with this data?
Here are a couple tools we love:
- Microsoft Clarity: This free tool allows you to see heatmaps and session recordings of visitors on your site. If people are coming to your site but they aren’t reaching out, this tool helps you identify what’s leading visitors astray. You might find that people are clicking a link that doesn’t go anywhere, or they’re trying to submit a form but the form is failing. Clarity helps you clean your site up to make it easier for people to reach out.
- CallRail: While it’s not free, CallRail is invaluable in my opinion. CallRail allows you to create multiple phone numbers that all ring to your main office. You can then put these different phone numbers in different places. CallRail then tracks which number is dialed, giving you insight into which marketing channels are generating the most pest and wildlife calls. Think of it this way – one number for Google Ads, one number for Facebook Ads, one number for your mailers, and one number for the billboard you bought last week. CallRail shows you which number is ringing the most, so you know where to focus your efforts.
GA4 is either the savior or the big bad wolf, depending on who you ask. It’s a bit intimidating, but the tool is incredibly useful when used correctly. We’re loving it so far. Take 15 minutes to run through the GA4 setup within Google Analytics. (And if you’re currently a LeadSquirrel Partner, we’ve started the GA4 migration for you already).
Google Analytics is well worth the learning curve.
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