Google shakes up the status quo
The world of analytics is going through a seismic shift. On July 1, 2023, Google's Universal Analytics (UA) tool, the most widely used analytics product in the world, will stop capturing data. This is the final step in Google's longstanding effort to transition companies to their latest product: Google Analytics 4, commonly referred to as GA4.
Though Google's plans are well intentioned, the pending change has left many people and businesses more worried than enthusiastic, and rightfully so - unilateral changes to critical data capture and tooling are bound to have an impact.
Here's a brief run down of some of the headline concerns:
- New UI: GA4 has a brand new user interface, meaning users will need to re-learn how to navigate and use the tool. Many of the changes are welcome and long overdue, but the steep learning curve will impact team productivity and efficiency in the short term.
- Different data model: GA4's event-based data model is a significant departure from Universal Analytics' session-based model, impacting data collection, processing, and reporting. This requires users to spend considerable time rethinking their analytics strategy.
- Loss of Some Features: With the move to GA4, some familiar features and reports and 'views' are no longer available in the same way, along with new limits on the number of IP-addresses you can block, which can be off-putting for users accustomed to these features.
- Data Continuity: due to the aforementioned change in their data model, historical data won't carry over from the legacy Universal Analytics product. Users can access historical reports for six months and then it will be gone forever. There are complex and expensive options to export/warehouse the data for future reference, but businesses will struggle to compare new and historical data going forward.
- Privacy Concerns: Although GA4 introduces more privacy-centric features, like the option for cookieless tracking, there are still concerns around data privacy and compliance with regulations like the GDPR. This is highlighted by Google's continued transfer of EU citizen data to the US, which has led to Google Analytics being banned or ruled illegal in several countries throughout the EU.
Is this a problem, or an opportunity?
Let's pause for a moment and ask ourselves a question: why are we so tied to Google Analytics in the first place?
Until now it made sense, it's a good tool and a lot of companies have several years of data in there - switching to a new analytics product and not being able to tap into your historical data set for analysis makes little sense, and changing tools is always daunting!
However, as noted early, GA4's new data model takes an axe to historical data retention for comparison or posterity purposes, so if ever there was an opportunity to shop around, it's now. There are plenty of great analytics solutions out there that will meet the needs of almost all Google Analytics users, offering new insights and alternative features that could materially benefit your business.
An alternative approach
So, forget about the fog and confusion around GA4, and let's talk about something new and exciting: Squeaky analytics. Squeaky offers an innovative and privacy-first alternative to Google Analytics, with a better user experience, amazing features, and plans for every budget.
With Squeaky, we've built a product that offers many of the traditional analytics features you know and rely on, along with some additional functionality you won't find in UA or GA4 too:
Our analytics feature offers site-wide or page-specific data on your web traffic and audience, including visitor numbers, page view, busiest times of day, traffic source and countries, device types, bounce rate, exit rates, browsers and more.
Event & error tracking
With our event tracking feature, you can monitor any user or business activity, including custom events tracked via web or API. Whether it's comparing feature performance and button clicks, or email send rates and subscription changes, you can use Squeaky to monitor and analyse anything you like.
Unlike Google Analytics, which offers no native heatmap functionality at all, Squeaky offers one of the best website heatmap tools around, with four different heatmap visualisations that will help you to understand exactly which layouts, content, and features are engaging your visitors most.
Another great Squeaky feature that you won't find in GA4 is session recording. Not only do we offer incredible data capture and session playback, we're also the most privacy-friendly session capture tool on the market, allowing you to capture the full picture of your user experience, without compromising on visitor privacy.
Customer journey maps
One thing we hear regularly from our users is how much more valuable and user-friendly they find our user journey mapping feature in comparison to Google's equivalent 'Paths' tool. We offer a clear and intuitive view of the paths your visitors take to and from any page on your site, with no configuration required.
User feedback widgets
Finally, our feedback widgets enable you to capture direct input from users on your site, including Net Promoter Score (NPS®) surveys and sentiment surveys. This gives you new layer of qualitative insights into your users' experience that GA4 simply doesn't offer.
For us, privacy is more than a buzzword
This ensures that your analytics are not just powerful and easy to use, but also ethically sound, and compliant with all new and emerging privacy regulations out of the box, unlike Google Analytics both old and new.
Leave your worries behind
When software vendors enforce unilateral changes that impact our businesses it can be unsettling, leaving us frustrated and uncertain, whilst also eroding trust.
But as we've pointed out, Google's switch from Universal Analytics to GA4 might also present an opportunity to reassess and explore alternative solutions that could ultimately serve your business better.
Squeaky offers one such solution – providing a wealth of data and new insights, an incredible user experience, and a privacy-first approach that future-proofs your business data and analytics capabilities.
In the face of change and uncertainty, we invite you to embrace the opportunity before you and give Squeaky a try.