GA4 – The Pros & Cons
We sat down with Matt Bentley and Rob McLaughlin to discuss their views on Google Analytics 4 (GA4) adoption and what it could mean for businesses going forward. Both Matt & Rob had some very strong points to make on why GA4 should be understood as an opportunity rather than a challenge, in fact they see it as something of a coming of age for digital analytics in general.
As discussed previously, GA4 offers an amazing opportunity for organisations to step up their analytics maturity and this is an exciting time to consider the pros and cons of adoption. Knowledge is power in everything we do so, we have a list of the main talking points regarding the switch to GA4 and why we are so excited about this new and improved technology.
SPOILER ALERT: Overall, the PROS definitively outweigh the CONS, GA4 is a huge step forwardRob McLaughlin
PRO – FRESH START & REDEFINING THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR DATA
GA4 provides a new interface, designed from the ground up. By taking things back to the bare bones you have the choice to either utilise this new interface and adapt the new layout OR use an alternative interface that appeals directly to yourself and that you find helpful to use. You can extract the data and send it directly into an interface such as DataStudio or PowerBI that is more compatible with your business. You can leverage Google Analytics 4 as a way to tidy up your data collection and optimise your setup. The ability to send the data through Big Query can be accessed via an interface.
GA4 provides a new interface, designed from the ground upMatt Bentley
CON- TIME & CHANGE
Some people do not like the new interface and the way it has changed. Learning the way GA4 works and being able to navigate it with confidence for the information they are requiring is going to be key. The loss of historical data is another complaint as data from previous years will no longer be available, the ability to compare year on year data will not be available until you have a GA4 account for over a year.
However, with time being considered it is important to remember that Google Analytics 4 was created with long term use in mind and the time spent learning it now will be worth it in the long run.
The loss of historical data is another complaint as data from previous years will no longer be availableMatt Bentley
PRO – GA4 IS MORE VERSITILE & VALUED
Google Analytics 4 takes digital analytics from a vanity metric generator to a genuine operational tool for business. GA4 has a working partnership with Big Query so they can directly transfer data through the pipeline into a chosen cloud system making it accessible to all, as well as having all the newly collected data now sitting side by side with all your other data. GA4 is growing the business potential of digital analytics – a move away from basic digital analytics and move towards customer analytics, using this data is now a powerful way to know your customers deeper.
Google Analytics 4 takes digital analytics from a vanity metric generator to a genuine operational tool for businessRob McLaughlin
CON – IMPLEMENTATION & CHANGES
GA4 has been referred to as difficult to implement. The data model changes have been causing people difficulties, getting used to the changes in the data collected. The new data model fits the modern web and its progression bringing GA4 forward to be consistent with all data models across channels, helping to improve all enterprise databases. GA4 applies to every platform and to every interaction that a business will have with its customer; registering all the collected data along the customer journey. GA4 gives its users the ability to access unsampled data free of charge which has not always accessible to everyone in the past whereas now everyone has the chance to access it.
The new data model fits the modern web and its progression bringing GA4 forward to be consistent with all data models across channelsMatt Bentley
PRO – MODERN WAY OF THINKING
GA4 is digital analytics reimagined for the 21st century. Google has recognised where the modern internet is headed and has adapted the way it works. The new way of working has privacy at the centre. With GA4 you are able to gain better insight into your customers with it’s the ability to better leverage machine learning. A big part of the new system is the ability to better use prediction abilities rather than relying on basic data analysis.
GA4 is digital analytics reimagined for the 21st centuryRob McLaughlin
CON- SLIGHTLY ANNOYING
Cardinality – a big issue with Google Analytics is the ability to pass custom data, customer ID for one. This causes issues for many businesses, but Big Query can eliminate this issue. So, it is not even that big of a ‘con,’ more of a slight annoyance than anything but it is easily fixable.
Overall, the PROS definitively outweigh the CONS, GA4 is a huge step forward. Our recommendation to all is to start the adoption process as soon as possible and start gaining that vital customer data sooner rather than later, guaranteeing that you are ahead of the game when Google stops collecting data on the previous platforms.
Matt Bentley, Head of Data Architecture & Digital Analytics
Loop’s data and digital analytics expert, with over ten years’ experience working in marketing and technology teams across a number of businesses
Before joining Loop Horizon, Matt’s experience was client-side; in financial services and the media and entertainment industry
Having managed centralised analytics and data collection functions, he’s worked across numerous verticals covering both business and technology teams, giving him the tools to tailor communication effectively on both a strategic and technical level
Matt specialises in data collection strategy, tag management, data layers, analytics tool configuration, reporting and analysis, bringing business stakeholders and development teams closer together in order to better connect data to business performance
Rob McLaughlin, Co-Founder
An experienced digital marketing professional and a proven leader in the field of data & analytics with a track record of bringing customer data into the complex marketing and technology landscape.
A combination of visionary and pragmatist, Rob’s expertise in strategic planning, data-driven transformation and marketing technology vision creates solutions which blend established business processes with bleeding edge techniques.
Having worked both as a consultant and in-house he has in depth knowledge of how businesses from multiple verticals can leverage data to power efficiency and growth.