Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can provide valuable insights into a business’s online presence. For businesses in New Zealand, it can be particularly beneficial in helping them understand their customers and improve their online marketing efforts.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. It provides a wide range of data on visitors, including their location, demographics, and behaviour on the website. This data can be used to identify trends, analyse performance, and make data-driven decisions to improve the online presence of a business.
Why should New Zealand businesses use Google Analytics?
Google Analytics can help New Zealand businesses in a number of ways, including:
- Understanding their customers: Google Analytics provides detailed information on the demographics, location, and behaviour of website visitors, allowing businesses to gain a better understanding of who their customers are and what they want.
- Improving website performance: The data provided by Google Analytics can help businesses identify areas of their website that are underperforming and make changes to improve the user experience.
- Optimising marketing efforts: Google Analytics can track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and help businesses identify which channels are most effective in reaching their target audience.
- Making data-driven decisions: With the wealth of data provided by Google Analytics, businesses can make data-driven decisions about their online presence, leading to more effective and efficient use of resources.
How to get started with Google Analytics
Using Google Analytics is relatively simple, and businesses can start by signing up for a free account on the Google Analytics website. Once an account has been created, a tracking code can be added to the business’s website to start collecting data. From there, businesses can create customised reports and dashboards to see the data that is most relevant to them, and gain insights by analysing the data.
There are a lot of resources and tutorials available to help businesses get the most out of Google Analytics. Additionally, businesses can also use Advanced Analysis or hire consultants to better understand the analytics and provide more in-depth analysis.
Blocking Google Analytics
Not everyone wants to share their data with Google or other companies, and some may have concerns about their online privacy. As a result, many users and website owners may choose to block Google Analytics in order to limit the amount of data that is collected about them. This can be done through a variety of means, including browser settings, browser extensions, firewalls, and hosts files.
There are several reasons why someone might block Google Analytics:
- Privacy concerns: Some people may be concerned about their online privacy and do not want their browsing habits to be tracked by Google or any other company.
- Data collection limits: Some users may not want to share data with Google or any other company, and therefore may choose to block Google Analytics in order to limit the amount of data that is collected about them.
- Performance: Some users may block Google Analytics in order to improve their browsing experience and load time of the website, as the Google Analytics script can slow down the loading of a website.
- Compliance: In some cases, due to compliance and regulatory reasons, a user or a company might want to block Google analytics to avoid data collection.
- Ad-blocking: Some users may also use ad-blockers, which can also block Google Analytics scripts as a side effect, as Google Analytics is often used to track user behavior on a website for targeted advertising.
Google Analytics can be blocked by various means, including:
- Browsers: Some browsers, such as Safari and Firefox, have built-in privacy features that allow users to block third-party cookies, including those used by Google Analytics.
- Browser extensions: There are several browser extensions available, such as uBlock Origin and Ghostery, that can block Google Analytics and other tracking scripts.
- Firewalls: Corporate and personal firewalls can be configured to block Google Analytics by blocking the domain “google-analytics.com”.
- Hosts file: Users can block Google Analytics by adding the domain “google-analytics.com” to their hosts file, which redirects the domain to a local IP address.
- Opt-out cookies: Google analytics provide an opt-out feature that users can enable to prevent their data from being collected.
Please note that blocking Google Analytics may affect the website’s ability to gather data on its visitors, and may also affect the user’s experience on the website.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Recently, Google announced that it would be transitioning from Universal Analytics to GA4, the latest version of its analytics platform.
What are the differences between Universal Analytics and GA4?
Universal Analytics focuses primarily on tracking website traffic, while GA4 is a more robust and holistic platform that tracks not just website traffic, but also other digital interactions, such as in-app events and e-commerce transactions. GA4 also allows for more granular user tracking, such as the ability to track users across multiple devices, and includes built-in machine-learning capabilities that can help businesses make sense of their data.
Why is the transition to GA4 important?
The transition to GA4 is important for several reasons. Firstly, with the increasing number of digital interactions happening outside of websites, such as in-app and on social media, it is important to have an analytics platform that can track these interactions and provide a comprehensive view of the customer journey. Additionally, with the built-in machine learning capabilities of GA4, businesses will be able to gain insights from their data that were not previously possible with Universal Analytics.
How can businesses make the transition to GA4?
The transition to GA4 can be relatively straightforward for businesses. Google provides documentation and tools to help businesses migrate their data from Universal Analytics to GA4. Once the data is migrated, businesses can start taking advantage of the new features and capabilities of GA4. However, there are certain limitations to note, firstly, certain features of Universal Analytics will not be available in GA4 like demographics and interest reporting. Businesses should also be prepared to invest some time and resources into understanding the new platform and how best to use it to gain insights from their data.
What if you don’t transition to GA4?
If a business chooses not to transition to GA4 and continue to use Universal Analytics to track their website traffic and other digital interactions the business would miss out on the more robust and holistic tracking capabilities of GA4, such as the ability to track users across multiple devices, in-app events, and e-commerce transactions. Additionally, they would not be able to take advantage of the built-in machine learning capabilities of GA4, which can help businesses gain insights from their data that were not previously possible with Universal Analytics.
Google will eventually stop support for Universal Analytics. Google has specified July 2023 as the cutoff date. Without support, businesses will no longer receive updates or bug fixes and may have difficulty troubleshooting any issues that arise. It could also be a hindrance for the Business in terms of data accuracy and completeness, as the data will not be tracked with the latest GA4 standard.
Overall, GA4 provides a more robust and holistic approach to digital analytics that can help businesses gain insights into customer behaviour and make data-driven decisions. It is an important step for businesses looking to stay ahead in today’s digital landscape.
In conclusion, Google Analytics can be a valuable tool for New Zealand businesses looking to improve their online presence. It provides detailed data on website visitors and can be used to gain insights into customer behaviour and improve website performance. With the wealth of data provided by Google Analytics, businesses can make data-driven decisions that lead to more effective and efficient use of resources. While businesses can continue to use Universal Analytics, it is important for them to consider the limitations of the platform and weigh the benefits of transitioning to GA4 to future-proof their data.