You may have heard that Google is making a major update to its Analytics platform this year. As of July 1, data will no longer be updated in its older Universal Analytics (UA) product; Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will officially take over. Our team of data geeks – er, digital marketers – is ready and excited!

So, what does this mean for real estate websites and websites in general? For one thing, we’ll have access to more robust data and reporting. But before we dig into that, let’s back up a step and answer some questions that have been popping up about this major change.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics or GA is a free analytics program provided by Google that helps us understand how people interact with websites. It’s easily installed with a snippet of code, and it’s widely used by web providers and digital marketers, who gain access to a large collection of website performance data. GA has been an industry standard for many years.

Why is the switch to GA4 a big deal?

While Google has made updates to GA before, this one’s especially big. The differences will be noticeable, and Google would argue that they’re necessary to catch the platform up to how our online world has evolved. 

For example: 

  • GA4 is better able to track the customer journey across different devices and platforms.
  • GA4 prioritizes the privacy of visitors (for example, IP addresses are not logged). 
  • GA4 primarily focuses on events and engagement, rather than individual sessions.

What will this mean for analytics reporting in the real estate industry?

GA4 presents an abundance of new opportunities. From new tracking methods to the design of the platform, we’ll have an even better insight into how people find and interact with real estate websites. And, the even better news is that the Union Street Media team has been learning about and preparing for the change since it was announced in October 2020!

Here are a few takeaways we want to share:

  • While some metrics – Sessions, for example – will carry over, the way that UA and GA4 define and collect info about a Session are different. Comparing data before and after the Analytics switch will generally not be apples to apples.
  • Because of this change in metrics, having both UA and GA4 running at the same time as soon as possible is essential to have as much historical data as possible ahead of the switch.

How is Union Street Media using Google Analytics?

We’ve been implementing GA on our client’s sites for years. It not only gives us great insight into website performance through Google’s reports, but we also use it to import data into our own, proprietary data warehouse. We’re then able to repurpose the data into our own custom reporting. That won’t change with the switch to GA4, and in fact, we’re planning to expand our own reporting in the months ahead!

GA4 provides an exciting opportunity to share more (and more useful!) data across platforms. Be sure to keep an eye out for updates, info, and training opportunities from Union Street Media in the weeks ahead.

Looking for a real estate website that not only looks great but leverages powerful analytics so it performs great as well? Reach out to us today to discuss your website needs!