Google Analytics has long been the preferred choice to analyse website traffic, but with the emergence of Google Analytics GA4, will this continue?

GA4 along with its predecessors will remain free, but reliance on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) might put off many business owners who just need basic information.

Even large organisations will need to proceed with caution as AI and ML will not always provide accurate feedback; it will need to be overlayed with input from other departments.

The day of using Analytics accurately may be over.

Google may have shot itself in the foot here, but expect to see more competitors offering a simplified version of website traffic data; more than capable of providing accurate information in the form of website visitors.

If you run any kind of business or highly popular website platform, you need to know:

  1. Where do your visitors come from?
  2. How do they interact with your website?
  3. What positive actions do they take?
  4. Where do they exit the site?
  5. What percentage engage with the site and how many drop off?
  6. What pages are popular and which ones don’t engage with visitors?

These questions and often more, ask the BIGGER question and this is:

‘What can we do to improve visitor engagement and results’.

No business owner is going to feel comfortable trying to second guess these things and whilst improving website performance is an ongoing function, reading too much into GA4 data is likely to cause issues, one way or another.

Beyond the basics, even though GA4 is years in the planning, a lot of digital marketing experts are bemoaning the fact it has a lot of bugs and has become more technical than previous versions.

Data is only ever going to be valuable to an organisation if all stakeholders understand it.

GA4 makes understanding basic data more convoluted, and more difficult to understand, so it will be a very hard sell for those trying to present ideas in the boardroom, that’s for sure.

For those wishing to gain a competitive advantage by utilising over-complicated metrics, there is room for error that could leave the most experienced digital marketers trying to explain why an advertising or marketing campaign has failed to deliver acceptable results.

It will be imperative therefore to overlay data with where the company is, and pre-test any marketing activities that don’t seem quite right with the brand.

Surveys will come into their own as more and more companies test the water first, before diving into any extravagant or a little too good to be true.

Maybe this will be a good thing for everybody, business owners, shareholders and consumers alike.

Somebody asked me recently what I thought about AI and ML and I am not that concerned about it. Just another set of tools as far as I’m concerned, but there will be those who will become over-reliant on it and that’s where the bad press will come from.

When people don’t understand what they are playing with, all hell generally breaks loose!