Data analytics for websites has been around for almost as long as the internet has. Hit counters came first, displaying the number of page views to the website owner. Next came log analysis, which could interpret server logs and identify both traffic sources and inbound links. As websites grew more complex, so too did log analysis. With the introduction of tags-based marketing, analytics moved into the domain of marketing.
Today, web analytics is worth billions of dollars. By 2028, the data analytics market is expected to be worth $550 billion. Millions of businesses today rely on services like Google Analytics to understand their consumers and optimize their web experience.
Many of these businesses use Universal Analytics, a Google product introduced in 2012. Universal Analytics lived up to its name by tracking an expansive variety of data. After assigning user IDs, users could be tracked across multiple devices and platforms. The information gathered here was combined with inputs surrounding offline behavior, demographics, and richer consumer data. Once machine learning entered the picture in 2016, Universal Analytics became a true force to be reckoned with.
For all the beneficial insights Universal Analytics brought its clients, the software’s methods are part of what triggered online privacy concerns in certain parts of the world. Near the turn of the decade, the European Union brought the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into force, limiting the sort of information companies could collect on individuals.
Partially as a response to these laws, Google launched Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in October 2020. GA4 combines client desires for useful data with protections on consumer privacy. Consent Mode adjusts data collected based on the permissions given by each user, and GA4 only uses first-party cookies. As a result, GA4 is fully compliant with the GDPR and other regulations like it.
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Last Updated on May 31, 2022.
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