Most famous Google Analytics 4 (GA4) which is the newest version may not show all your web traffic due to several reasons. Here we discuss the most common issues you can face when you migrate from Google's Universal Analytics to GA4. Just buckle up and read this article carefully, before the old analytics service goes down after July 01, 2023.
Beginning of the traffic analytics mess with privacy and GDPR
Stealing personal data has been the most dangerous attack for cyber security. Before 2019, we had Internet Explorer which is highly vulnerable for middleman attack, XSS injections and similar. And also Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and also Safari got continuous issues regarding user's privacy. GDPR may encourage a lot of companies to be transparent with their privacy/cookie/data policy by removing background tracking methods. After all those dramas, analyzing web traffic became more difficult than ever.
Google has been the best developer of web based technologies including Google Analytics. The smart management started to introduce a brilliant solution to measure online visitors without exposing sensitive data. Here we were asked to try their brand new GA4 which has a lot of inbuilt facilities to narrow down your web traffic.
Is new Google Analytics better than Universal Analytics?
I am not going to review any web traffic counting software in the industry, though I have been a good fan of Google's Services, especially the analytics package. Let me share something from my experience, though I doubt that everyone faces unique issues with this new analytics interface.
Pros of Google Analytics 4
- Protecting visitor's sensitive data safely.
- It filters out both traffic and browsers.
- Easy to use interface with limited options.
- Ability to do deep research about web traffic.
- It has a clean and a good data structure.
- Easy to connect with other services, such as Adwords.
- May be able to handle big data (not sure).
- You can generate your own traffic reports.
Cons of new Google Analytics service
- It takes a long time to update.
- Real-time traffic is not 100% visible.
- Limited features in the free version.
- Browser controls the final results.
I am sure there are more pros and cons, whenever someone tries to explore something. But in this article, our main target is to identify reasons that we lose 100% web traffic on our website. But we cannot blame Google for this as the main villain is the browser.
Web browsers are strict after November, 2020
Due to several security issues, developers suggested adding strict privacy rules into their web browsers. Apple's Safari blocked background tracking from several online services including the great Facebook. Mozilla foundation also introduced amazing tips to keep website visitors safe from known cyber thefts. At the end, they started to switch their old settings with secured criteria that secure hyper-text transfer protocol (HTTP).
Among those major and minor changes, we will focus on one of the importances. It is the Referrer-Policy of the browser.
Before November 2020 : no-referrer-when-downgrade
What is exactly this setting? You can find more details about no-referrer-when-downgrade in Mozilla's website. By the way, we will not discuss technical terms, even if I write something about the referrer header.
Referrer header helps online marketers always
Let's say you have a post on Twitter that has a backlink to your website. Whoever comes through this link is referred by Twitter, therefore the online marketer needs a method to identify this source. Browsers are already built to send referrer data to the server whenever someone redirects to a new site. Then it helps us to improve our marketing strategies easily.
Referrer could send sensitive information
The common issue with old browsing technology is it sends a full url of the referrer website. This could output private values which should stay inside the referrer's origin. What about our privacy, if the browser sends all data that we had on our previous page?
After November, 2020: strict-origin-when-cross-origin
Here comes the modified setting that totally masks the full url of the origin. A good solution for the privacy issue, though the worst one for the website traffic trackers including Universal Analytics. Before we were able to catch tracking parameters of the late web pages, but now we just receive only the domain name of the origin page.
Could we migrate our marketing platform suddenly?
It was really impossible to switch all browsers and web traffic tracking services with modern settings. It is because we cannot update 100% of the web browsers that are in the world in one night and it takes time to update web traffic software also.
It took almost 2 years to move in to the new Google Analytics
Life of a developer is a total chaos. An AI cannot fix everything that we want. Finally, it took over 2 years to migrate from old browsers to the modernized ones and GA4 was always waiting for us to come back to the new era. There is one thing I must remember you at this time, RIP IE!
There is no Internet Explorer (IE) anymore, though we will be using the best secured web browsers right now. Digital marketing is always a challenge, as long as you use the old technologies.
Is New Google Analytics Not Showing Hits Right Now?
There is nothing to worry about in online marketing as we always have a solution for our day to day advertising issues. Just follow these simple steps to solve your invisible traffic,
- Convert your website as a secured one by installing a free or paid SSL certificate.
- Block all insecure requests to your website by activating HTTPS only mode.
- Go to the new Google Analytics "Data Streams" (Property Settings in old UA) and set your website as "https://".
- Start getting instant web traffic from any known sources, including Alexa Master.
Once you have done the above steps, receiving traffic through HTTPS protocol will protect your visitor's privacy as well as give your site a good reputation. It's time to change and enjoy the awesome GA4!
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