Recent changes to the digital advertising landscape haven’t been kind to BFSI brands that market themselves aggressively. Back in August 2022, Meta delivered a crushing blow in depreciating Special Ad Audiences across its platforms. Now, in 2023, Google is shaking things up by sunsetting Universal Analytics (UA) in favor of Google Analytics 4 (GA4). And, as per usual, financial brands find themselves playing catch-up through no fault of their own.
The transition from UA to GA4 is of particular importance for BFSIs. These brands need to prioritize setup and data transition as soon as possible, before the official sunset date of July 1, 2023. Here’s why.
There’s no time to waste
GA4 represents a fresh start, which means historical data from UA won’t be available after the transition. Brands will need to export and back-up their data to reference it, and go through the rigmarole of either porting their existing analytics tags or installing a new GA4 tag before they can collect data on their property. It’s a task that needs to happen ASAP.
Beyond getting ahead of an impending data gap, CUs and other BFSI brands will also need time to navigate the shift in ideology behind GA4. Thankfully, the move away from third-party cookies is something most financial brands are cognizant of, and they’re already prioritizing the zero-party data that GA4 seeks to make available. (This is also a good reminder that Google Chrome is ending support for third-party cookies next year.)
There are also cross-platform considerations attached to this. Using Signals, GA4 can pull zero-party activity data from Google-affiliated sites and apps to paint a clearer picture of user behavior that goes beyond reliance on third-party cookies. It’s data that’s immediately invaluable to BFSIs. The sooner you migrate, the better.
How to migrate with expedience
Migrating from UA to GA4 is shaping up to be an arduous process for BFSIs, largely because there aren’t 1:1 solutions between the two consoles. In many cases, brands need to rebuild preferences—or navigate new resources to mimic the same depth of insight.
Beyond historical data, you’ll lose any conversion settings and custom-built views—and you’re likely to encounter integration issues if those partners haven’t updated for GA4 yet. You’ll also need to get familiar with Google’s new event-based tracking and the metrics that govern it. For example, UA’s Bounce Rate is now Engagement Rate in GA4 and Views have been replaced by Event Parameters.
The best way to break down the migration is to chunk it into phases. Phasing migration installs natural checks and balances, to ensure minimal disruption to data during the changeover—and, it makes the process more flexible in the event there’s heavy lifting on the GA4 setup side. Here’s how JXM is approaching the transition, to assist our BFSI clients:
Phase I: Create and launch the GA4 property (ASAP).
Phase II: Get acclimated with GA4 interface and reporting.
Phase III: Inventory UA key tracking items and settings.
Phase IV: (re)Build custom tracking elements in GA4.
Phase V: Check that tracking in GA4 works as-intended.
Phase VI: Phase out usage of UA before sunset (July 2023).
Phase VII: Archive UA reference data before the sunset date.
The work is only just beginning
A migration to GA4 represents more than just a new analytics console—it also needs to mark the end of BFSI brands’ reliance on third-party data. Like everything else in the world of finance, there’s an increasingly stringent level of oversight that comes with marketing and advertising to potential customers. Abiding by best practices comes down to embracing zero-party data, and GA4 is the first step toward embracing that data.
There’s no doubt that GA4 will be an adjustment for data-savvy BFSIs; however, it’s a change that’s easier to stomach when you accept the philosophy behind the change. Look at GA4 not as a change in how you capture user insights, but rather as an improvement in the efficacy of those insights: a more direct line to your audience and their habits.
There’s a lot of post-migration work to be done even after you get GA4 up and running. No matter where you’re at in the process, JXM is here to help. Tap us for aid in transition—and for everything else that comes after.