Google Analytics 4 news roundup July 2023

  • Marketers are not happy with Google Analytics 4 (that might be the understatement of the year), which replaced Universal Analytics this month. 
  • Some lucky people are still seeing real-time data processing in their UA property. But for how much longer?
  • It’s not just marketers. European regulators are also unhappy with Google Analytics.
  • In this article, you’ll read recent news stories about Google Analytics from July 2023.
ga4 news july

It’s been a huge month in the world of Analytics. After 12 years together, marketers had to say goodbye to Universal Analytics. And they’re not happy.

Read all about why (plus some other recent news) in this article.

Google Analytics 4 is the default analytics tool and marketers are not happy

Here’s a rundown of the problems marketers are having with GA4 since it’s release:

  • Lots of dropdowns. Many of them are hiding important buttons. And there are some more in the report creating and editing process.It doesn’t sound like a big deal. But when the lists are as long as they are in GA4, and you need to access them many times a day, it eats into your efficiency.
  • No more annotations. Annotations were a great way for marketing teams to stay organized. With just a simple dated note, they could communicate with team members. Unfortunately, they’re no more in GA4.
  • Complex Explorations feature. Explorations has received its fair share of negativity. Much of it saying that it’s too complex for new users and might be overwhelming. For example, its lack of default options is great for advanced users. But if you’re a small business owner or blogger, default reports would be a big help. Instead you get a drag-and-drop report builder.

    The drag and drop features sound easy in theory, but in practice they’re less than intuitive. All of this means creating reports is more time consuming than in UA. And as a busy marketer, you know you don’t have much time to spare during the day.
  • Not user-friendly. Things that were easy to do in UA, are complicated in GA4. For example, in UA it was easy to find out which keywords drive traffic to your highest traffic pages. You could get those insights in a few clicks. Not anymore. 

If you’re not impressed with GA4’s UI, take a look at this resource that combines GA4 data with the UA look and feel you’re used to.

UA is gone (but is it really?)

Some (this is not the case for everyone) marketers are still seeing real-time analytic data in Universal Analytics a few weeks after its sunset. But don’t get too excited, it doesn’t mean you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t need to use GA4.

It’s just taking a while for Google to end all of the UA processes. So if you’re still seeing new data in UA, enjoy it while it lasts because it’s on borrowed time.

Is the US government using GA4 to spy on Swedish people?

No, probably not. But the Swedish Authority for Data Protection recently decided that companies who transfer data to the USA via Google Analytics are in breach of European law. It fined four of them up to $1 million and told them to stop using Google Analytics.

That’s because in their eyes, the USA — where Analytics data is sent — doesn’t have sufficient protection of personal data in place to comply with European laws. Companies in the EU need to take additional security measures to make sure that the personal data collected by GA is properly protected.

Sweden isn’t the first European country to warn against using Google Analytics. France, Italy, and Austria have also issued similar warnings. 

GA4 product update: Get your GA4 audiences in Ad Manager

You can now automatically get your GA4 audiences in your Google Ad Manager account. For example, you can use this data to target people who have interacted with your app or site with Google Ads. Maybe they purchased something but there’s room for an upsell. Or they left items in their cart without buying. Now you can include them in your next Google Ads campaign.

To get this working, link your Analytics property with Ad Manager. Make sure when you’re setting up the link that Google signals are activated and ads personalization is enabled.

GA4 product update: Default conversion value

Small QoL feature here — set a default conversion value so if you forget to (or decide not to) set a value or currency parameter for your conversions, it will use the default. Not a huge update but might come in handy.

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