Google Launched GA4 in the October of 2020. Google Analytics is a software that collects data from websites and turns it into valuable insights.
It is estimated that almost 28 million live websites use Google analytics.
Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google analytics. It is the go-to tool of many businesses for tracking website traffic. Many also use it for monitoring KPIs and monitoring marketing channels. Google analytics has millions of users across the world. Many of them are shying away from updating to the newest version because of the fear of the unknown.
Google analytics 4 is a little different from the standard version of GA. However, it comes with a lot of new and improved features.
GA4 features the use of AI for filling in data. As a result, the user interface of GA4 is considerably different from standard GA.
GA4 is a significant Google Analytics update, and Google introduced it in October 2020. Initially, users were a bit worried about the impact of GA4 on their existing models.
Google analytics 4 has a different data structure and collection logic than traditional Google Analytics.
In this update, users are the main focus. In the traditional version, everything was built around sessions.
Its model is based on events, and each user interaction is a separate event. Traditionally user interactions within a time frame were grouped. Traditional GA used a session-based model.
An event-based model will provide improved predictions of user behavior.
GA4 provides a new and modern approach to data collection and analysis for websites and apps.
Switching from GA to GA4
Shifting from GA to GA4 is a giant leap, but it is worth it. If you still haven’t updated GA to GA4, now is the time for you to do so.
You’ll have to set up GA4 property to run parallel with universal analytics.
You don’t have to start using GA4 right away, but this update will make your future analysis more meaningful.
Better data collection means better data-based decisions.
You can Set-up GA4 within a few clicks. First, Log in to your account. Then, select the gear icon present in the bottom left corner. Next, confirm your desired account and property. Select GA4 setup assistant. Inside Wizard, click on the get started button. Lastly, click on create property button.
Viola! You have updated your Universal Google analytics to GA4.
If you are using a website builder, you’ll have to add the analytics tags manually.
Basic event tracking will automatically start after the update. You’ll need custom code for tracking third-party elements.
GA4 comes with many new features. Let’s take a look at the most noteworthy ones.
- GA4 records each event individually, unlike Universal GA. As a result, GA4 will help Google understand user activity a little better.
- Universal GA uses a session-based system for collecting data.
- Only top-level reports are built-in in GA4. For specifics reports, you will have to go to the analytics tab.
- GA4 allows users to mix data from their app and website, and universal Google Analytics uses property and view setup.
- With GA4, the tracking ID will look like G-XXXXXXX.
Is Google Analytics 4 just an update of GA?
If you analyze closely, you’ll realize that GA4 is not just a slight upgrade of GA. Nor is it a redesign, as is the case with many software updates. Instead, GA4 is an entirely different product, with a more holistic approach to analyzing apps and websites.
After updating to GA4, you’ll immediately start noticing the differences between it and the universal GA. One of the first differences that you’ll see will be the Navbar.
But don’t be scared you’ll get used to the new Navbar after only a couple of uses. First, GA4 is event-driven, unlike the traditional GA. Second, it uses machine learning for predictive modeling.
How is GA4 better?
GA4 has many benefits, one of them being that it makes things significantly easier for businesses with both apps and websites. It gives a harmonized view within a single property. With the use of GA4, companies won’t have to look at two separate analytics views.
GA4 will make analysis and reporting easier for many organizations. This is because GA4 focuses on user engagement that matters most. So with GA4, gone are the days where analytics reports were based on sessions and page views.
- Types of events in GA4
There are four main types of events in this update
- Automatically collected
- Enhanced measurement
You can directly set up Automatically collected events and Enhanced measurement events in this update. It will also lessen your work in google tag manager instead of traditional GA, which requires additional tags.
GA4 includes some premium features from the GA 360. GA4 combines your mobile’s and desktop’s data so that you can view it on a single screen.
GA4 contains a lot of exciting features for marketers, such as improved UI and debugging.
Ways in which you can use Google Analytics 4
It has been almost eight months since Google analytics four was released, which is not a lot of time to explore its features and benefits. But here are some ways in which you can use this update
- Combining your app and web analysis
Combining your web and app analysis will save a lot of your time. It will also make finding any overlaps easier. This feature of GA4 is called full-funnel reporting. GA4 is very beneficial for businesses whose customer journey begins on the website, but the purchases happen on the app. Google analytics 4 connects the dots between these two properties seamlessly.
2. Understanding User behavior
GA4 is very helpful in tracking customer journeys and user behavior. You can take advantage of its advanced behavior flow reports to create plans focused on your users. GA4 pieces all this data, so you don’t have to do it yourself. It provides more accuracy and saves a lot of time.
For custom events, GA4 provides you a free range over the customization of parameters. The event editing and synthetic features of GA4 are pretty handy.
- Custom Funnels
With GA4, you can create customized funnels to analyze data. Analysis hub, available within GA4, was only present in GA 360 before this update.
With this feature, you can customize your path analysis. For example, you can choose your desired starting and ending points for this path analysis.
To get information about the steps a user follows before making a purchase, you can choose purchase event as the ending point of your path analysis.
- Engaged sessions
One of the most valuable features of GA4 is that it has replaced “bounce rates” with “engaged sessions.”
Bounce rate was no doubt an important metric, but it failed to account for users who quickly found answers on your website and didn’t take any further action.
“Engaged sessions” will help you better understand the difference between satisfied and unsatisfied users. Just because a user leaves your website early doesn’t mean that they were unsatisfied with your website. It can also tell that they found the answer to their query in no time.
- Targeting audience
You can refine your audience targeting campaigns with the help of GA4. Insights provided by GA4 will allow you to identify your audience better. In addition, its advanced capabilities enable it to record which activities are caused by which user.
GA4’s identity space features allow us to understand user behavior better than ever. After GA4 becomes more mainstream, the consumer add experience will considerably improve, which will result in a healthier consumer business relationship.
If you have read the whole article and are still skeptical about updating to GA4, use it as a backup. Many users are hesitant about this change, and you are not alone in your fears. You don’t have to update to GA4, but you should set it up as separate property.
In case universal GA goes away, you’ll need backup in the form of GA4.
For more experienced marketers, Learning the features of GA4 and transitioning to them won’t be a big feat. However, its advanced features will help these marketers in gaining better insights and making informed decisions.
All in all, GA4 is not a redesign of universal GA. It redefines the way websites are analyzed.
In your opinion, which feature of GA4 is the most useful?