GA4 adds regex support for event creation. How beneficial is it for marketers?
Published: April 05, 2023
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) now provides regex support for event creation. It will help users create and modify events using regular expressions, or regex.
Regular expressions are character sequences that are used in analytics to broadly or precisely match patterns in the data.
The announcement comes at a time when users are rushing for the migration to GA4 from Universal Analytics 3, as the deadline for the migration is around the corner. The new update might help some of the users with the migration since regex can be a powerful tool for matching old events and migrating them in a more programmatic manner.
Google advises users to follow the following best practises to prevent incorrect regex from degrading site performance:
- When possible, substitute other operators, such as exact matches or contains, for regex.
- For accurate matches, test your regex against anticipated inputs.
- If case sensitivity is important, avoid using the "ignore case" option when specifying your regex.
Event Creation and Modification Rules are executed by Google Analytics 4 right in the browser.
As a result, unreliable regex might make websites perform worse. In some browsers, complex or poorly written regex can result in serious issues, possibly resulting in website failures or computer crashes.
Google also advises against using nested or unbounded repetitions because the matching time can grow exponentially. And, it recommends that users ensure they specify the maximum number of repetitions that can be anticipated.
How does the regex support for event creation in GA4 simplify the marketers’ job?
Regex has been a best friend for marketers, as it helps them isolate the needed piece of information faster and perform advanced data analysis.
Now, with the introduction of Regex support for event creation, Google has outright left marketers in wonder, as the new update will help them optimize their jobs way easier than before.
It provides flexibility:
Unlike before, marketers will find it simple to create an event in GA4 by capturing different event names using regex.
For instance, let us presume a marketer needs to create an event with all kinds of forms submitted to the website. The marketer already had different events created for variously submitted forms. Presumably, the event name was in the following format: "(form name) submitted". It could be event registration forms, lead forms, customer feedback forms, account signup forms, etc. Now, marketers can use the generic term "submitted"—which is applicable to event names of all forms—to capture all that data using regex and easily create events.
Consequently, the regex support for event creation will assist marketers in easily using the already-created events according to their preferences and convenience.
Improves efficiency and productivity:
Instead of manually creating the events, with regex syntax, marketers will get the capability to use existing events with similar patterns or characteristics to create or modify the event.
By doing so, marketers can save a significant amount of time, enhance productivity, and ultimately increase overall efficiency.
However, it is undeniable that marketers must be highly cautious while using regex for event creation and modification as it may lead to website performance issues.
But, in our opinion, if it is used properly, the GA4’s new update will provide greater flexibility and improved insights for marketers into customer behaviour and website performance.
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