Digital Marketing

Everything you need to know about Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

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With the latest fourth edition, Google Analytics has come quite a journey. Back in 2005, Google bought a program for analyzing web statistics. It was then renamed Google Analytics. The main function of Analytics was to measure the number of users.

Next up was Universal Analytics in 2012, the version most marketers are familiar with. In this version, the focus is more on the measurement of the session or visits than on the users.

Over time, Universal Analytics was expanded to include ID measurement, automatic subdomain tracking, and simplified traffic allocation, making it easier to use. As a result, the platform has seen many improvements over nearly two decades that have brought us to its latest version – Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

What is Google Analytics 4?

Universal Analytics focuses on the data that is visible to, and decisions are made based on a segment of website visitors and their activities. Now Google Analytics 4 has been developed with artificial intelligence (machine learning). It takes everything that can be measured, and that data is then fed into its algorithms.

It then generates reports based on actual users to assess what the data might look like if all user data had been collected. This will help marketers accurately evaluate their target audience and their trip.

It will help them make active decisions with the help of platforms like Facebook Ads and Google Ads. The more you use it, the better it gets.

5 key features of GA4

The five most important functions of Google Analytics 4 are:

Revised data model

So far, analytics has focused on a hit-based data model. This means that every time a user took a certain action on the website (click a link, call-to-action, etc.) it was recorded.

Google Analytics 4 will switch from this action to treat every activity performed by the user as an event. Therefore, every movement of the user is tracked and treated as an event. For example, every page view is an event, an event is of course also an event, and so on.

Debug view

DebugView is previously only available on Firebase and is now also used by Analytics. With its help, the chronological order of each event can be monitored. This can be very helpful in keeping track of whether everything is going as planned. If it doesn’t, you can easily pinpoint the source of the problem.

DebugView can be easily accessed using the Google Analytics Debugger (a Chrome extension) or by simply opening the Google Tag Manager’s preview mode.

New user interface

The new user interface has been designed with the lifecycle of a user in mind:
Acquisition> Engagement> Monetization> Retention

The traditional graphic and table view has been changed to the presentation of information using report cards. Each card consists of a detailed view of the data. You can dig further by clicking the link available on each map in the lower right corner.

New backend

Universal Analytics had to use the help of Google Tag Manager or a custom JavaScript to get additional information in addition to tracking page views. Google Analytics 4 has enabled automatic metering, which tries to collect information about basic events like downloads, scrolls, etc. without the assistance of other tools.

User identity

The previous system for tracking user identity was quite cumbersome as you had to constantly look at two different places to gain insight into the audience. Because of this, Google Analytics 4’s new user identity system is probably one of the most significant improvements over the previous version.

Google Analytics 4 uses both client IDs and user IDs to keep track of the user’s identity. It relies on the user ID first, but if it does not exist then the client ID is used. In addition, Google Signals can expand data collection.

This is useful when a user is visiting a website. GA4 recognizes them by their user ID and then searches with Google Signals. If any of these functions work it will help in getting the customer ID.

5 Essential Uses of Google Analytics 4

Below are five useful benefits of Google Analytics 4:

Use of Google Analytics 4

Better tracking of customer journeys and engagements

From acquisition to retention, marketers can now track their users’ entire journey. The expanded setup streamlines tracking much, resulting in easy-to-reach goals, more conversions, and event tracking.

Simplified setting up of goals and events

It used to be a much more complex process that has been greatly simplified and now requires little to no code editing, manipulation, or optimization for goal setting. Many previously manual setups have been converted to standard options like clicks, transactions, etc.

AI & Analytics in a world without cookies

One of the main motivating factors for developing a new version was the transition to a world without cookies. Since Google Analytics 4 uses AI, it uses modeling by extracting data from existing reports and information on user behavior. Many call this process of information gathering the advent of the era of “predictive analytics”.

Improved visualizations and reports

Existing functions such as “real time” have been improved and made more appealing. However, it’s the new features added to Google Analytics 4 that separate it from Universal Analytics that make it much more appealing.

This new feature, titled Analysis Hub, shows you a template gallery that is similar to Data Studio in that it contains charts that you can create, such as: B. Funnel analysis and segment overlap and you can see a significant improvement.

While they still seem a bit boring and take some time to improve, reporting for multidimensional metrics has been greatly simplified in this version compared to the previous version.

An endless array of parameters

When analyzing data, it is ultimately the parameters that help you make sense of it. The more parameters there are, the better the context can be provided for each event.

If we take into account the needs of an e-commerce website in Google Analytics 4, you can add value to every purchase, place of purchase and the latest addition, and also use parameters to offer a journey across devices.

While most of the previous dimensions are still there, Google Analytics 4 made them more usable and accessible.

Conclusion

Most importantly, however, you need to make sure that you have excellent knowledge of Universal Analytics in order to get the most out of Google Analytics 4. Only then can you get the most out of GA4.

Google Analytics 4 helps you do a lot with a little. This is what makes this technology so remarkable. So make the most of it while making sure your basics are clear.

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Jeffrey Rabinowitz