Google’s Universal Analytics, which has been around since 2012, will no longer be supported after July 1, 2023. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will be taking over, and it’s advantageous for dealers to start the switch now to make sure the transition is seamless.
GA4 has been testing since 2020 and will help dealers with the rapid changes happening in the marketplace regarding privacy and multiple device usage, said Sarah Olsen, the head of analytics and measurement for Google’s automotive division.
“GA4 delivers an enhanced measurement solution, and we’re excited about it,” Olsen said recently in a Digital Air Strike-hosted webinar. “I’m a big fan of this tool because it enables you to see users across websites and apps since customers are bouncing between devices.”
GA4 will help dealers look at all the media the consumer used to get to your site. It will help you better understand your clients, help you make better, smarter decisions, and help you dig into your reporting.
“GA4 can answer what are your user demographics and are you appealing to younger or older consumers,” she said. “It can also answer simple, intuitive questions, like what was the change in traffic day over day.”
GA4 is designed with privacy first in mind as privacy laws have gotten more stringent. It will evolve with the imminent loss of cookies. Olsen said that there is less data available because of the privacy changes, so the new GA4 will help dealers quickly adapt to the changing ecosystem.
“This tool really helps you make sure you’re respecting (consumers’ privacy),” she said. “This integrates all of that into your system.”
Many dealers (48%) have already switched to GA4, while others (35%) are planning to make the switch in the next 90 days, according to a Digital Air Strike poll during the GA4 webinar. The rest (17%) want to switch but need more information.
GA4 measures the performance across all dealer’s campaigns. The analytics can drill down to how consumers engage with the campaigns and figure out which ones work and don’t work. The goal is for the dealer to know which strategies are working best, said Phil Valachi, senior vice president of operations and client success for Digital Air Strike.
“GA4 gives the dealers and their trusted digital marketing partners the ability to use the data to make those data-driven decisions,” Valachi said. “Our goal from Digital Air Strike is to truly be a partner and be an extension of your dealership.”
GA4 is designed to close the gaps in your data because it’s well integrated with multiple platforms, such as when a consumer starts their research on their smartphone and then switches to the dealer’s website.
“GA4 has the great reporting to track customer usage from when they first land on your website to when they request a quote,” Olsen said.
GA4 is designed to be easy to understand. She said you don’t need an analytics degree to get this information.
“Something that would take an analyst a while to figure out now surfaces fast, saving a lot of time,” Olsen said. “Time is invaluable. There are lots of great things about the analytics and insight, such as seeing a decrease or increase in traffic. All of that can be automated.”
Now is the time to prepare for this upgrade to Google Analytics 4. Dual Setup and dual tagging are both recommended to take right now since the older and newer analytics tools measure the data differently. She said this is the way to go, so you have both versions to compare before converting over to GA4 next year.
Work with your website administrator to get your analytics up to date. If tagging is set up correctly, it’s a seamless process and an easy transition. If you’ve already converted, make sure everything is being tracked. If you start now, you can have up to a year’s worth of data to compare, Valachi said.
“The sooner you start, the sooner you can take advantage of all the intel,” he said. “DAS is ready to review these goals with you and can help you get fully set up.”
In July 2023, GA4 will be the source of truth. You don’t want to scramble last minute. You want that trending data as soon as possible. Reach out to Digital Air Strike; our team can help you quickly meet this deadline.
To learn more about why your dealership should migrate to Google Analytics 4, click here to watch Digital Air Strike’s featured on-demand webinar.