As of July 1st, 2023, Google Universal Analytics is gone—and its powerful successor GA4 has taken its place. What does this mean for law firms?
First of all, you may have noticed an error message in your firm’s Google Analytics. That’s because Universal Analytics is now completely phased out and you must switch to Google Analytics 4.
Keep reading because we’re about to explain everything you need to know about this key update in the ever-evolving landscape of digital analytics.
This article offers a simplified overview of the new Google Analytics 4, the advantages of GA4, the disadvantages of GA4, and essential considerations for a law firm transitioning to GA4 from Universal Analytics.
Comparison: Universal Analytics versus GA4
GA4 is the next evolution of Google Analytics, a platform that collects data from your website and generates reports so you can make data-backed decisions about marketing and design.
Compared to the old Universal Analytics, the new GA4 offers enhanced data collection, reporting capabilities, and a more integrated view of user experiences across platforms.
While the learning curve may be steep, the benefits of GA4 make it worth exploring for law firms aiming to make data-driven decisions and gain a deeper understanding of their website’s performance.
Now, let’s explore some of the advantages and disadvantages of the new GA4.
Advantages of GA4
Free and Enhanced Data Collection: GA4, like its predecessors, is free to use. However, it introduces improved data collection and reporting functionalities. This enables law firms to gain valuable insights into user behavior and make informed decisions based on comprehensive information.
Natural Language Search: This one is really nifty—GA4 simplifies the search experience by allowing users to utilize natural language queries in the Search panel. This user-friendly feature streamlines the process of finding specific information within the platform.
Powerful Capabilities: GA4 brings a more powerful analytics framework to the table. It offers a holistic view of user interactions, enabling law firms to understand the complete user journey and identify opportunities for optimization.
Disadvantages of GA4
Data Migration Challenges: One of the major drawbacks of transitioning to GA4 is the difficulty in migrating data from Universal Analytics. Without proper data or tag migration, historical data from Universal Analytics will not be transferred to the new platform, potentially hindering long-term analysis and comparison.
Learning Curve and User Interface: GA4 introduces a new user interface, making it challenging for marketers to navigate without additional training. Adapting to a new dashboard and interface might require training and a period of adjustment.
Altered Reporting and Measurement Technology: GA4 utilizes a different reporting and measurement framework, which is not yet widely understood or accepted by the marketing community. This uncertainty can create challenges for users in effectively leveraging the platform’s capabilities. Hit types are not present in GA4—instead, GA4 uses “events.”
Limited Customization: Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 has limitations in certain areas. It restricts the number of custom dimensions to 25 and does not allow the creation of custom channel groupings. Moreover, standard reporting templates are not available in GA4, necessitating a more DIY approach.
In summary, GA4 is almost an entirely new platform and it’s still under development. Managing GA4 will require more of a DIY approach than UA did—which means that firms are more likely to require outside assistance from trained developers and marketers.
What law firms need to know about transitioning to GA4
Transitioning to GA4 requires careful planning and consideration. Here are a few points to keep in mind:
Ongoing Development and Expert Assistance: GA4 is still a developing platform, and regular updates are expected. It may be necessary to seek assistance from trained developers and marketers to fully leverage GA4’s potential and overcome any challenges.
Setting up GA4: For law firms and lawyers who have yet to set up GA4, Google provides helpful resources that guide users through the setup process. Accessing these resources can provide valuable insights and ensure a smooth transition. However, GA4 requires more expertise than UA—hire an agency or external contractor to save time and money.
Data Ownership and Privacy: Due to potential gray areas surrounding privacy and data ownership, it is essential for law firms to make a clear plan about where to collect and store data within the GA4 framework. This ensures compliance with privacy regulations and maintains users’ trust.
Review and next steps
GA4 represents a new opportunity for law firms and lawyers to harness enhanced data collection, reporting, and analysis capabilities.
While GA4 offers plenty of advantages, it is important to carefully consider the challenges (such as data migration and the lengthy learning curve) to ensure a successful transition.
Get help with your digital evolution from the experts at Omnizant. From analytics and advertising to copywriting and website design, our services are designed to help growth-oriented law firms stand out and achieve their goals.