Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 170 – Is This The Death of Google Analytics?
Buckle up, folks. Google Analytics as you know it may be on its way out and will soon be replaced by Google Analytics 4. This completely new product is not an evolution, it is a complete re-architecture of how analytics works. If you’re not informed, you may miss out on a major opportunity for your business.. In this episode, the Fueligans breakdown everything you need to know about the new platform and give you advice on how to navigate the changes.
If you have access to a Google Analytics account, you probably received an email from Google near the end of October entitled, “Welcome to the future of Google Analytics.” In it, it said, “we’re introducing a new, more intelligent Analytics experience that delivers the essential customer insights you need to be ready for whatever comes next. Get started today with just a few clicks.”
You’re probably wondering what this is all about and how it affects your current Google Analytics. Wonder no more.
This is a NEW version of Google Analytics that they have now named GA4 (previously App + Web while in Beta). Why 4? Believe it or not, there have been 3 previous core measurement protocols before this release. The new GA4 is where Google has been spending all of its analytics resources recently. It IS the future for Google from an analytics perspective.
How is Google Analytics 4 Different from Universal Google Analytics?
- GA4 is completely separate from the “old” Universal Analytics. It will have its own Google Analytics property within your account,
- Google claims that we will be able to better track users across multiple devices
- This data collection will be free from any cookie issues (listen to the episode on how to prepare for a cookieless world for more info on why this is important.
- It is built with machine learning to automatically find insights from the data (we’ll see about that).
- It has a completely new UI, with an incredibly powerful reporting interface. One that is nearly on-par with Adobe Analytics’ Analysis Workspace. The new reporting abilities will allow you to drill down into all depths of your data.
- There is a drag and drop interface that allows you to build out custom reports.
- That said, for an average Google Analytics user, this is going to be quite overwhelming. It is not nearly as intuitive as the current reporting interface. For example, there is no landing page report.
- There is no traffic threshold for sampled data, but there is a maximum of 500 unique events (for the free version).
- Bounce rate is gone! Instead we have engagement rate/time.
Great, so let’s get this new, shiny analytics reporting going!
STOP. NOT SO FAST. Let’s look at some repercussions.
- This is an entirely new implementation of your website. When Google said, “Get started today with just a few clicks,” they blatantly lied.
- The ONLY data that will magically appear in your GA4 property when you upgrade are: pageviews, downloads, outbound clicks
- Every single other thing that you have already set up tracking for in Universal Analytics has to be set up again, through event-based tracking.
- Instead of pre-defined types of “hits” like pageviews, ecommerce, and timing, GA4 uses events, along with parameters. These are completely customizable.
- This will be NEW data – no retroactive data will carry over into this new property.
- There is no such thing as a “view” with these properties. That means that you can no longer have a “raw,” “testing” and “live” view of your data. It also means you can’t have a different view that filters out certain IPs, or focuses on part of your website, or a million other reasons you would have multiple views set up.
- There are very limited filters
- No query parameter exclusions
- There are bugs being fixed and new features being rolled out very quickly right now. eCommerce tracking was just enabled! Cross-domain tracking was just enabled!
- There is no API, though it does connect to BigQuery and Google Data Studio
- It integrates with Google Ads, but not Google Search Console
Soooo….What Should You Do?
- We DO NOT recommend jumping into the deep end of the pool with GA4 right now. The idea of spending hours and hours of implementation time right now, to possibly have to redo that in the near future as more features come out is not appealing. Additionally, you will be dependent on your booking engine provider to provide a solution in order to track revenue.
- We DO recommend setting up the new GA4 property with the bare-naked tracking. This will give you the opportunity to get familiar with the new reporting interface and play around with all of the advanced features.
- DO start thinking about an implementation plan
- DO NOT stop collecting data in your existing Google Analytics property. It is NOT dead…yet. There is no harm in running both UA and GA4 in parallel. At the moment, there is no information about when or if Universal Analytics will stop being supported and/or sunsetted. We assume that this will happen at some point.
- DO Be on the lookout for a full blog post on GA4 including fun screenshots in the very near future.
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In The Newsaroos:
- Man nearly goes to prison for a bad review (Ep 170 & 171)
- Wesley Barnes, the American guest, publicly apologized on Friday for his blunt online reviews of the Sea View Koh Chang resort in Thailand. In exchange, the hotel promised it would drop the complaint that led the authorities in Thailand to file criminal defamation charges against him.
- In Thailand, criminal defamation charges can result in a prison term of up to two years. Mr. Barnes had already spent two days in jail after his arrest on those charges last month before posting bail.
- After issuing an official apology and stating that the claims he made were untrue, the hotel dropped the charges
- There is a lot of criticism of the hotel for even bringing the charges as it could definitely deter people from traveling to Thailand and especially to the Sea View resort