I thought I’d better update you on Google Analytics 4, as most of us who use Google’s website visitor tracking service will be hearing more about it over the next few months. This is a completely new way of doing things from Google, and I think for the vast majority of users, won’t bring us any immediate advantages, certainly not when weighed against the chore of setting up a new system.
Inevitably, however, they’ll expect us all to move to it, so we may as well be aware of what’s going on. Indeed, we can set up the Google Analytics 4 data measurement now, with just a bit of code, and if you don’t mind doing that, you may as well run both systems in parallel.
To be fair, Google Analytics 4 isn’t just some random ‘upgrade’ resulting from developers trying to keep themselves in a job. The current system is reliant on ‘cookies’ and these are definitely on their way out, in their current form. Its successor is designed to “adapt to a future with or without cookies or identifiers” using modelling techniques. It hopes to be able to cope better with a ‘privacy-first world’.
What we’re getting is a system based around ‘events’, of which page views are just one example. Generally, it looks a lot more geeky to me, but we can only hope that it becomes more human in the medium term.