June 27, 2023

Are You Ready for GA4? Enhancements for Measuring Engagement

Image of a Phone with Google search

Every marketer wants to better understand their customer’s journey, but consumer privacy and security has been a looming and increasing concern over the last few years. In October 2020, Google introduced Google Analytics 4 (GA4) as its next data model to keep up with these changes while safeguarding privacy. However, marketers could still utilize standard Universal Analytics to process data.

“GA4 is a new property designed for the future of measurement: Collects both website and app data to better understand the customer journey. Uses events instead of session-based data. Includes privacy controls such as cookie-less measurement, and behavioral and conversion modeling.” – Google

Now, Google is encouraging organizations to make the switch to GA4 because, on July 1, 2023, it will replace the once industry standard analytics platform for good. This means Universal Analytics will stop processing data that’s highly sought-after to inform marketing strategies, inhibiting marketers to substantiate their investments. So, are you ready to migrate to G4A to focus more on user engagement with your brand? Now is the time to prepare, learn about the changes and pivot the way you’re tracking brand ROI.

While material exists online to help users “migrate” from the current version of Universal Analytics to GA4, we’ve rounded up the main differences of how data is tracked and the impact on website analytics.

  • Sessions – The metric is calculated in a different way to dedupe users and could result in sessions appearing deflated compared to Universal Analytics.
  • NEW! Engaged Sessions – Engaged Sessions is the number of sessions that last 10 seconds or longer or have 1 or more conversion events* or 2 or more page or screen views.​ *EVERSANA INTOUCH notes that conversions are at the Event Name level.
  • NEW! Engagement Rate – Engagement rate is the percentage of Engaged Sessions divided by the number of sessions.
  • NEW! Low Engagement Sessions and Rate replaces Bounces and Bounce Rate – Inverse of engaged session rate; users who did not meet the criteria listed for that metric.
  • Average Engagement Time per Session replaces Average Session Duration (Time on Site) – The time that your website was in focus in a user’s browser, or mobile app was in the foreground of a user’s device. This metric is calculated as the sum of user engagement durations per active user OR per session.
  • Events – Event Name and Detail replaces Event Category, Action, and Label. Based on this new metric and way of reporting, it is vital to partner with a tagging solutions expert to successfully tag the site that follows the GA4 event structure model.
  • Conversions – Additional consideration: Once implemented, conversions can be used to aid optimization strategies of linked media platforms like Google Ads, Search Ads 360 or Display Video 360. Using conversions allows you to track and optimize, and complements the use of the following GA4 features:

As we near July 1, the best thing that can be done is to continue to learn the nuances of GA4 and make plans for measurement and reporting approaches now that will reflect this new way of thinking. As Google adjusts features of GA4, EVERSANA INTOUCH will have a continuous pulse on its impact to marketing, technology and development teams.

For the latest updates coming directly from Google, follow Google’s What’s New.