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What is Google Analytics 4 and how can it support eCommerce growth?

    Google Analytics is one of the leading tools used to track and analyse digital customer data. 

     

    The intricate insights are simplified through a variety of reports that help form a deeper understanding of the customer. As we reach an inevitable high in online shopping, getting to grips with customer preferences has never been as important as it is today.

    With that said, Google has recently launched Google Analytics 4 (GA4). The launch has been fuelled by businesses eager to achieve an improved all-rounded view of a customer in order to make smarter decisions. 

    We’ve taken a whistle stop tour around some of the recent updates that are bound to have a positive impact on eCommerce. 

     

    Smarter learning powered by AI 
    The introduction of AI in eCommerce has been a game changer - helping online retailers to strengthen their user experiences through the likes of personalisation. By utilising machine learning, relevant and complementing products can be served to customers on-site and through connecting channels. 

    AI technology has also been used in the background to help form insights for many years but the new Analytics update has seen the arrival of predictive metrics that can automatically alert retailers to data trends such as surging demand for a product they sell. This will allow retailers to quickly reposition their products to support customer preferences and no doubt increase sales and boost a user experience. 

    The all-rounded customer view 
    Google Analytics has been one of the most powerful tools to help form a bigger picture of customer behaviour. As competition increases, understanding your customer and their preferences has been crucial in order to form a leading advantage. 

    Through Universal Analytics, we’ve been able to analyse device data to know how customers are accessing sites and although these insights are still relevant and useful, Google is taking this one step further.  By introducing customer-centric measurements, businesses can now form a complete view of how customers interact with their business - including seeing web and app data side by side. 

    The update will see retailers able to measure the effectiveness of their channels that drive traffic to their store. Not only that but it will form a bigger picture of your customers across their entire lifecycle - this will help identify possible changes that need to be made in order to attract and retain new customers. 

    New approach to data controls 
    There is an increasing awareness around data, how this is collected, managed and used. To support the heightened pressures surrounding data, Google has updated their controls to give businesses better tools in order to manage their data obtained by Analytics. 

    Adding further granular controls, businesses can now choose when to use and limit their data. This will of course help businesses to comply with data regulations such as GDPR.

    The demise of cookies 
    By 2022, the way we use cookies could look very different. Google announced earlier this year that it will phase out third-party cookies on Chrome browsers. 

    As Google will focus its investments on GA4, we’ll start to see how it’s using machine learning to support the way data is captured, stored and used. Using the tools within analytics, we’ll be able to create a mixed set of data to form an understanding of a user.

    Codeless Event tracking
    In order to set custom event tracking, code was required along with setting up events in Tag Manager. The update has seen the ability to remove these processes to make it even easier to start tracking on-site and in-app actions - completely codeless. 

    Get your analytics upgrade
    Built with machine learning at its core, GA4 automatically uncovers insights from your data to help form a complete understanding of the customer lifecycle from acquisition to retention. Reporting can therefore be significantly improved and essential changes can be made in order to give your business a competitive edge. 

    A notable update is the introduction to eCommerce properties - similar to ones which were only previously available on Google Analytics 360 - these will help you to quickly identify popular products among your customers. 

    And, as GA4 becomes the default for new properties, it’s therefore recommended that eCommerce sites upgrade, but this doesn’t mean you have to lose your existing analytics - Google recommends a dual setup so you can access your existing dashboard and leverage the new properties. 

    More to come from Google
    Along with the Analytics update, earlier this year Google announced a new running algorithm based on user experience. Expected to be launched next year, the countdown has begun to ensure your eCommerce store is ready to meet Google’s Core Web Values. We’ll be addressing this topic in much more detail in the coming weeks. 

    Reach out to one of our eCommerce experts for more information on Google’s latest announcements and how we can support your business. 

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