Everything You Need To Know About Google Analytics 4
Finding out who your target audience is, and how they interact with your website allows you to make more informed marketing decisions. Google Analytics 4, using novel approaches to data collection and reporting, will elevate your ability to market where it matters most.
|25 June 2021
Google’s recent introduction of Google Analytics 4 is their modern approach to website analytics. It promises marketers a deeper understanding of consumer behaviour, using new tech, such as AI.
So, let’s dive in and explore what it is and what differentiates it from Universal Analytics.
What Is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a new product from Google that enables you to track a customer’s journey on a website or app. Similar to Google’s Universal Analytics and their ‘Apps and Web’ property, GA4 tracks and presents data on user’s interaction with websites and apps. Marketers use these tools to make decisions about who to target with campaigns, and how to do so.
What’s Changed? The Key Highlights
Google Analytics 4 is essentially a new product - not an upgraded version of Universal Analytics (GA3). The new features range from UI to the way data is reported.
Key highlights include integration across websites and apps, predictions and insights produced by AI, and reports organised around consumer journeys.
We’ll take a more detailed look at some of these below.
Deeper audiences integration with Google Ads
There is more communication between Google Ads and GA4 than with previous analytics products. There is also reporting across website, app, and YouTube ads. This allows for more meaningful advertising. You can view conversions from YouTube, Google and organic channels simultaneously to see what works.
A great feature is that users who have bought a product on any platform will be removed automatically from that list. This prevents them from seeing ads for a product they’ve purchased.
Customer lifecycle-framed reporting
Data is organised around a customer journey, as opposed to individual events. These simpler and more thorough reports promise to give marketers more insight into the full course of user interactions. Even across websites and apps!
This means that data and reports from GA4 are not comparable to those in Universal Analytics. But, the change is for the best. Gone are the days of figuring out how individual metrics fit together.
Codeless Event tracking
Google Analytics 4 simplifies the process of tracking events such as page views, clicks and actions. You no longer have to create custom code to measure on-site and in-app events. That means real-time tracking with less hassle.
Using more granulated data controls, GA4 allows marketers to get more information from their customers, while still adhering to data regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. As internet users are tightening up on their privacy, this feature is vital for marketers.
For example, you can use consent mode on websites. This means that the site will only retrieve data when end-users have given their consent. It has separate opt-ins for analytics and ads so that a user who opts out of ads could still provide data for analytics.
User privacy is becoming more and more important as people want to control what companies do with their data. So, without consent mode, users are more likely to opt-out of everything - including analytics.
As mentioned, privacy has become a hot topic for internet users. As such, many people now opt out of cookies, which are important tools for marketers to track user journeys. GA4 uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to fill in any gaps that may arise from a lack of cookies. This new reporting overcomes issues around privacy. It enables the tracking of users across platforms and devices.
Less is more with the way GA4 displays reports. It displays expandable summary cards of overview reports instead of longer reports covering every use case. This allows marketers to easily identify irregularities and trends in the data.
How To Set Up Google Analytics 4
There are two ways to set up this new version of Analytics. You can set up a new account or create a new property within your account which will use the new version alongside your current analytics property.
To start from scratch, there are three steps: Create a Google Analytics account. Create a new property within that account. Set up the data stream for that property. Remember, with GA4, you can get data for both web and app views.
If you’re concerned about changing over completely, there is no need to worry. You can set up a GA4 property the second way, using it in tandem with your Universal Analytics account.
The dual setup allows you to keep your Universal Analytics property, but also create a GA4 property to start learning about the new features. As data starts to populate your GA4 property, you’ll get insight into how the new UI works.
You won’t be forced to switch over for now. But, with the more meaningful analysis provided by the new version, it's worth setting it up and starting to explore what it offers. Note that new properties or accounts will automatically use GA4 from now on.
To perform the dual set-up, you’ll need to do the following: Log into Google Analytics, and if you have more than one account, choose the one for which you’d like to set up Google Analytics 4. Choose the property that collects data for your desired website/app, and click on ‘Google Analytics 4 Setup Assistant’ Follow the prompts from the Setup Assistant, and there you have it!
Google Analytics 4 has new features and promises to deepen marketers’ understanding of user journeys, but has also been built to withstand the ever-changing future. Because it works with or without cookies, you can rest assured that changes to privacy regulations won’t affect your analytics.
It's definitely worth setting up a GA4 property - whether you’re new to analytics or a veteran user. Every digital marketing agency relies on data, and this new version of Analytics will elevate your ability to market to your customers, by providing top-notch data.