May 19, 2022
With the phase-out of third-party cookies and the move to Google Analytics 4 around the corner, there is a lot of change in the air for Marketeers, which will bring both opportunities and challenges in the world of user experience.
While we can’t do anything about the fact we’re now capturing less data, we can explore other ways to measure the user journey and enrich your website’s offering, whilst still respecting your users’ privacy.
With perspectives from our UX, Technical and Client Service teams we have put together our top tips on how to measure user experience and prepare for the next generation of Google Analytics:
Say goodbye to Universal Analytics and embrace GA4
Many organisations are still on Universal Analytics and this is due to be retired from 1 July 2023, when it will stop processing new hits.
This means that if you set up your analytics before October 2020 you’re likely to be using Universal Analytics and will have to export your data and make the switch in order to continue to capture data from your cookie-consenting users.
It may all seem a bit daunting now so, to make this transition as painless as possible and to give you time to understand your data and make decisions, we recommend setting up Google Analytics 4 now (yes, now!) and running it alongside your Universal Analytics account.
Tip 1: Set up a dashboard in a tool like Data Studio to create a report to track GA4 data alongside your Universal Analytics account as a comparison exercise while you get to grips with the new data model.
Look at the patterns in your data, not the numbers
As mentioned above, It’s important to use this transition period to understand the new measurement model in GA4. Metrics we’ve come to rely on such as Sessions and pageviews are being replaced by events and parameters and Bounce Rate is being dropped entirely! You may be wondering how you’re going to produce insightful reporting without these metrics, but the truth is these numbers have been less significant since the phase-out of third-party cookies two years ago. It’s no longer the numbers that are meaningful, but the patterns and insights we gather from users we can collect data from.
This deeper view into the user journey gives a clearer picture of what traffic sources and campaigns create the most engagement and will help you measure the quality of the content you’re directing them to.
Tip 2: Keep it simple and start with the basic insights that GA4 provides and refine them over time to fit your needs. If you’re a charity, you should track your donation journey to identify how you can increase conversions. If your site’s role is to generate leads, you should track which traffic sources and entry points convert best and amplify them.
Measure user behaviour
It’s not just data we need to measure to understand and improve the user experience. To make more impactful decisions we need to understand the context behind the data and any conversion barriers and that’s where behavioural insights come in.
Tools such as Hotjar provide a GDPR compliant way to gain real-time insight into how users are behaving on your website through heatmaps and recordings. Alongside tools to measure and observe behaviour, the feedback functions also allow you to run questionnaires with your audience from external to onsite surveys.
Hotjar also provides free business accounts for charities and non-profits which you can apply for here.
For quick user-driven results, A/B testing is a more expensive but highly effective way to compare two versions of a web page and to see what will have the biggest impact on users. With A/B testing there is a lot to consider and it helps to think back to your secondary school science days! Before you get stuck in it’s vital that your experiment is ‘testable’ which leads us on to our final tip…
Tip 3: How to create a hypothesis for A/B testing:
Objective: What is that we are trying to achieve? This could be ‘to increase the number of donations on our website’.
Desired user action: What do we want users to do more of? For example, ‘users to click on the donate button’ or to ‘see users donate more per single donation’.
Metric/KPI: How will you measure success? A useful metric could be ‘the ratio of users reaching the thank you page’, or ‘the increased total amount of weekly donations’.
Contact us if you’d like to talk more about how to measure and optimise the user experience of your website.