Google Analytics 4

About 95% of businesses utilize Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) to track their web analytics.

If you’ve ever used Google’s UA (currently known as Google Analytics 3), GA4 will appear quite familiar to you. On July 1st, 2023, Google announced it would retire Google Analytics 3 and transition all its users to its newest version, Google Analytics 4.

Average users won’t notice a difference in how they search and browse online. However, digital marketers must prepare themselves for the switch and adjust to this new platform’s different features.

This article aims to offer guidance during the switch and highlight changes and critical features every digital marketer should know.


What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

Google Analytics is an essential tool that helps digital marketers track online activity. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the fourth and newest version of Google Analytics. The platform offers various analytics tools and functions across apps and websites. In addition, GA4 utilizes an event-based data model and does not only rely on cookies.


Significant Changes: UA vs. GA4

To prepare for the change, digital marketing specialists must be aware of the changes that come with switching to Google Analytics 4. The following are the most critical changes between both versions:

Data Collection Models

UA and GA4 collect and process data in different manners. Google created UA with sessions and pageviews in mind. Instead, GA4 tracks user engagement by using events and parameters, which offers a more realistic picture of how visitors connect with your website.


Because Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics utilize different data models, it makes sense that metrics will also be different between the two platforms.

GA4 offers new metrics for engagement, active users, engaged sessions, and scroll depth. However, the metrics for average session duration and pages per session have been removed.

Additionally, in July 2022, a bounce rate metric was added to Google Analytics 4.

Reporting for App and Website

Instead of reporting individually on website traffic and app usage, Google Analytics 4 integrates the two into a single report.

Navigation and Interface

The GA4 update features an entirely redesigned user interface and navigation. For example, GA4 includes 16 standard reports instead of 107 for Google Analytics 3.

For digital marketers, this will involve a learning curve; therefore, it’s critical to begin using GA4 and become acquainted with the new reports.


Benefits of Google Analytics 4:

Because GA4 is an advanced and improved version of UA, it also bears new benefits. Google improved its analytics software to be more privacy-focused, multi-platform, and ad-optimized due to feedback from digital marketers.

Here are some of the benefits of GA4:

Event-Based Tracking

Event-based tracking combines web and app engagement for a complete picture of the user and the opportunity for richer journey insights.

In GA4, there is no longer a need to utilize Category, Action, or Label. Instead, the software offers four new events, some of which are generated automatically:

• Recommended Events: a set of events that can be utilized as needed (login, purchase, generate lead)
• Enhanced Measurement Events: These can be enabled within GA4 to track interactions with your content (pageviews, scrolls, outbound clicks, site search)
• Automatically Collected Events: events that are triggered by simple interactions on your website or mobile app (page title, language, click)
• Custom Events: You can create customized events that aren’t covered by the examples above.

Machine Learning

When cookies or other identifiers are unavailable, GA4 uses machine learning to fill in the knowledge gaps in your understanding of client behavior.

This new update can analyze vast quantities of historical data, discover patterns and correlations between crucial data points, and make intelligent predictions about what will happen during the customer journey based.

This benefits digital marketers because they can spend less time looking through data and more time acting on crucial insights.

Deeper Insights on User Behavior

GA4 introduces a new tool for exploration analysis called Explorations, which helps digital marketers better understand what is happening with their website traffic and dig deeper into their data.

Cookies, Data & Privacy

Google Analytics 4 tracks users across devices and platforms without relying on cookies. This benefits digital marketers because it implies that data can be captured even if users do not enable cookies, providing a more accurate view of your audience.


Getting Started with GA4

Universal Analytics was introduced in 2012, meaning the software is over a decade old.

Universal Analytics was created for a world of online metrics defined by desktop browsing and observing data that was more easily accessible via cookies. However, UA is no longer an effective solution to measure today’s ever-changing digital world accurately.

If you are still using Google Analytics 3, today is the time to upgrade to the new version of GA4. If you get started with GA4 now, you will be able to overcome its learning curve before UA is no longer available on July 2023.

Additionally, getting started will allow for a smoother transition and prevent data loss!

What are your thoughts on Google Analytics 4? Let us know what you think of the new update in the comments below!


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