In the words of Michael Scott: “Oh my god! Ok, it’s happening. Everybody stay calm. Everybody stay calm.” No, but seriously, the transition to GA4 is happening. In July 2023, UA (Universal Analytics) will stop collecting new website data. If you haven’t created a GA4 property already, then you are behind the ball and losing valuable data opportunities by the day.
What is GA4?
GA4 is Google’s 4th and latest iteration of their robust analytics platform that aims to offer better traffic and engagement measurement across websites and apps. This is where basically every major car dealer goes to view organic and paid traffic, conversions, engagement and other key metrics.
Top GA4 Features to Consider
Security, Security, Security – This has been a hot topic for the past 12-18 months since Apple announced their iOS 14 cookie data updates. With this understanding, Google has formulated GA4 to include stronger security measures that allow users manual control over their website cookies.
Combined Website & App Data Analysis – If your dealership runs both a website and mobile app, then GA4 will be your new best friend. Attributing the success of new marketing strategies aimed at creating a more seamless experience for consumers is at the forefront of most progressive automotive brands. Whether it’s creating a better parts and service program or incorporating an online program for new EV sales, the digital experience is an important part of customer satisfaction and dealership reputation. Analyzing the data behind this will be of utmost importance.
Pre-built Reports – Data nerds everywhere are rejoicing over this feature. Even if you aren’t a sophisticated data analyst, GA4’s pre-built reports will give you just enough data to be dangerous in any digital marketing room. Looking at you, Marketing Managers! If you do not have the time to create detailed reports, then let GA4 do the work. Analyzing this data will help improve conversion rates and sales. They even go as far as offering a list of industry-based keywords and search terms so you can see exactly how visitors found your page and/or app.
What’s New with GA4?
There are quite a few things that UA was able to do that GA4 will not and vice versa. Here are some of the most important improvements that should be noted:
Cross Device Attribution Modeling: The world of automation is here, and tracking users across all instances of your website is now a part of it. Understanding the user journey to conversion is a major key.
Accurate Engagement Measurements: How often are you checking that bounce rate and how high is it on your KPI list? Well, with GA4, you will be offered much more nuanced engagement metrics that will take the guesswork out of knowing who is actively looking at your website.
Custom Event Parameters: Now you can identify and track the most important events taking place on your website. With custom event parameters, even the most unique sites will have a better look into the user’s on-site experience.
Accurate Reporting: A cookie-less world has been a scary topic for marketer’s everywhere, but it doesn’t have to be. More effective technologies paired with the advanced modeling capabilities of GA4 will allow for more accurate reporting.
What Are the Next Steps for My Dealership?
If you’ve been in the automotive industry for some time and have adopted a strong digital marketing strategy, then you should already have Universal Analytics installed. The next thing you should do, if you haven’t already, is install a GA4 property to run alongside UA until it is sunsetted. Using both in parallel will allow you to become familiar with the new platform and have a smooth transition when the time comes. We recommend a hybrid model as the best option as Google continues to roll out features and updates for GA4. Seeing the data side by side will allow you to best understand what to expect from your new analytics dashboard.The bottom line is this: You need to look into your Google Analytics dashboard and ensure that you have a GA4 property setup. If you do not, or do not know if you have it or not, it is vital that you contact your agency of record and confirm as soon as possible. Google will be flipping the switch to GA4 on July 1, 2023, and the amount of data you have in the property will solely depend on how soon your GA4 property is installed. If you are not receiving the confirmation you need from your agency, or if you have questions or concerns about how GA4 was set up, feel free to reach out to our team for further assistance.DOM360 is proud to be a founding member of the Automotive Standards Council for GA4, which is a collection of automotive agencies, website providers and digital platforms that are working together to standardize the configuration of GA4 for automotive dealerships nationwide.