You probably have a good understanding of the significance of monitoring and analyzing the actions taken by visitors to your website given that you work in internet marketing. Google Analytics, which gives precise statistics on everything from pageviews to user demographics, is one of the most popular tools for doing so and is one of the reasons it is so popular.
However, if you depend on Google Analytics to measure the traffic to your website, you should be aware that there are changes on the horizon that may have an effect on the veracity of the data you get from it. To be more specific, Google Analytics will soon be unable, by default, to distinguish between sessions that originate from the same person. Here is the information that you need.
What Exactly are these Sessions?
Let’s begin by going over what sessions are and why they’re essential before we get into the upcoming adjustments that will be made to Google Analytics. A session is a collection of interactions that take place on your website over a certain period of time and are tracked by Google Analytics as a single event. This time period is commonly configured with a default setting of thirty minutes; however, you are free to modify it in any way that you see fit.
A new session is initiated whenever a person visits your website for the very first time. The same session will carry on if the user keeps interacting with your website (for example, by clicking on links or browsing new pages), since this will count as continued engagement. A fresh session will be started for the user the next time they interact with your site if they have been idle on your website for more than thirty minutes.
Why Sessions Are So Important?
Learning about sessions is essential for a variety of reasons, including the following: In the first place, it may assist you in tracking the level of engagement that your visitors have with your website. It’s a positive indicator that people are finding your material informative and interesting if they’re sticking around for an extended period of time on your website and browsing through several pages. On the other side, if people are fast abandoning your website and just seeing a single page, this might be an indicator that your website isn’t satisfying their requirements in the way that they expect it to.
Tracking conversions is another key function that requires sessions. In Google Analytics, a conversion is recorded whenever a user completes a desired action on a website (such as filling out a form or making a purchase). For example, when a user fills out a form or makes a purchase. You may determine which of your marketing activities are bringing the most qualified visitors to your website if you analyze conversions over time and look at the data.
Why Google Analytics Won’t Automatically Be Able to Recognize Sessions?
Following our discussion of the fundamentals of sessions, let’s move on to the upcoming changes to Google Analytics. In the latter half of the year 2022, Google Analytics will lose the ability to recognize consecutive sessions originating from the same user by default. This is because Google Analytics has recently made some adjustments to how user identity is handled.
In the past, Google Analytics would make use of a cookie to identify users even after they had completed many sessions. This cookie, which would be referred to as the _ga cookie, would hold a one-of-a-kind identifier for each user. When a user went to your website, Google Analytics would look for a cookie called _ga to determine whether or not the person had been to your site before. In such case, the user ID from the previous session would be carried over to the current one.
However, as worries about privacy become more prevalent, the practice of using cookies to monitor user activity is becoming less frequent. As a direct result of this, Google Analytics is in the process of transitioning to a new user identification system that does not depend on cookies. Instead, it will identify visitors based on a mix of first-party data (such as information obtained from your website) and machine-learning algorithms.
The new user identification mechanism will be less intrusive to users’ privacy; nevertheless, as a result of this change, Google Analytics will no longer be able to automatically recognize many sessions as coming from the same person. Instead, it will depend on other data points in order to make informed assumptions as to whether or not two sessions were from the same person. Those predictions will be based on the information that was collected.
What This Implies for Your Online Presence?
Now, what exactly does this imply with regard to your website? There won’t be a whole lot of shifts in the near future. Up until the new user identification method is completely deployed in late 2022, Google Analytics will continue to identify sessions in the traditional manner. However, once the new system is operational, you may find that the method in which your data is reported has been altered in some way.
For instance, if a person visits your website and then returns after the session timeout has elapsed, Google Analytics may no longer be able to determine that the two sessions are coming from the same user. This occurs because the session timeout resets every 30 minutes. Instead, we will consider them as two independent sessions since they were held at different times. This may have an effect on metrics such as the average time spent on the site and the number of pages seen during a session, as well as conversion monitoring.
There are a few actions you may take that will reduce the severity of the consequences resulting from these changes. To begin, check that additional tracking systems, such as event monitoring, are operational on your website in order to record the actions of visitors to your site.
In conclusion, Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool that enables you to monitor and analyze the actions taken by visitors to your website. On the other hand, as we move away from tracking based on cookies, changes are on the horizon that may have an effect on the precision of the data you have. To be more specific, Google Analytics will soon be unable, by default, to distinguish between sessions that originate from the same person.
It is crucial to have alternative monitoring methods in place and to augment the data that you get from Google Analytics with data from other tools in order to offset the effect that these changes will have. In addition, it is essential to have up-to-date knowledge of the most recent advancements made in Google Analytics and to adapt your strategy to reflect these changes.