make the switch to GA4! your data is powerful!
The next generation of analytics collects events-based data from both websites and apps. Among the new features that make this new generation of GA more powerful than ever before are the new report functions, enhanced features, and predictive insight features.
In Google Analytics 4, many different types of data can be measured, resulting in a powerful analytics experience that is built for the future, with the flexibility to measure many different kinds of data. In addition to seeing unified user journeys across the websites and apps, Google’s machine learning technology enables businesses to surface new insights and make predictions, and best of all, it is built to be able to keep up with a changing market.
There has been a lot of talk lately about how Google is going to sunset Universal Analytics. If you’ve been delaying switching from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, your time is running out.
If you are using the current universal analytics it will stop recording new data as of the 1st July 2023. Past data will remain in these accounts but if you’d like to continue tracking information you will need to upgrade your analytics account and tracking code on your website.
Despite the fact that many marketers and business owners seem apprehensive about the switch, I actually think it is going to be a good thing for them. Change is always hard, but I believe that this switch will be a good thing in the end. In addition to providing a lot more data than Google’s, it is also very customisable, so that you can track what is important to you and not what Google thinks might be important.
What is GA4?
It is much easier for you or your marketing team to analyse important customer usage metrics, and not just track traffic.
With Google Analytics 4, you can track the entire customer path across a number of platforms and learn how users interact with your website and application by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The more data points you have the greater the picture it creates!
With privacy-first tracking, cross-channel data measurement, and AI-driven predictive analytics, GA4 is an advanced tool that provides unparalleled insights into customer behaviour.
The important differences between Google analytics and universal analytics
There are several differences between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics that have to do with the nature of reporting. Obviously, the most obvious difference between the two is that GA4 allows you to track both website and app activity.
- Google analytics makes life easier
There are a number of changes you will notice as you use the platform for the first time. The dashboard has been fully redesigned, and you will no longer find many of the reports you are used to. There is also a navigation bar to the right that includes buttons that will take you onto home, reports, explore, advertising, configure, and library.
In the bottom section of the page, you’ll see predictive insights based on Google’s Artificial Intelligence in the form of predictive statistics. I’ll discuss these features in more detail within a later section of the article, so stay tuned!
- Everything in Google Analytics is an event
Instead of seeing generalized data, you can now gain a deeper understanding of how users interact with your app and website thanks to Google Analytics Unlike Universal Analytics, which focuses on page views, Google Analytics 4 focuses on events rather than generalised data.
There is no change to your session-level reporting as you can still view the data at the session level, but your ability to analyse the data by interaction will allow you to get more detailed insights and reports.
A number of new metrics have also been introduced in GA4, including metrics focused on engagement, such as:
- engaged sessions
- engagement rate
- engagement time
As well as tracking the above dimensions, it also keeps track of a number of other elements, such as the attribution of events, demographics, and others.
It’s a big change, but in reality, it’s going to make tracking customers throughout their entire journey easier than it was before. The new parameters might have a learning curve, but you will have access to more data, as opposed to the original assumption that page views were the most important metric.
- Data discovery and configuration for predictive analysis
As valuable as it is to understand your audience based on past behaviour, looking only at past behaviour will not allow you to make data-driven decisions on a large scale. However, with GA4’s predictive metrics, you can make data-driven decisions based on past behaviour.
For most businesses, predictive analytics have a substantial impact on retargeting campaigns and can have a significant impact on retargeting performance. AI metrics include:
- predict customer behaviour
- estimate the likelihood of a customer purchasing
- forecast future sales
- calculate expected profits
It is important to note that the metrics above can be used to create audiences based on a user’s predicted behaviour, such as those who are likely to purchase within the next seven days or those who are likely to make a purchase exceeding $500.
A Google Ads campaign or even a social media campaign can be used to target these audiences.
As more data is collected, the suggestions will continue to improve as the suggestions are adjusted based on the changes in behaviour and needs of the audiences. You can also create custom funnels based on the behaviours and needs of your target audiences.
- GA4 introduces new functionality
It works well with Google Data Studio so that you can create custom visualisations of the data collected by GA4 so you can drill down on the topics that matter the most to your business. GA4 allows you to customize the dashboard, enabling you to see the reports that matter most to your business.
Adding a custom segment to your website or application gives you the ability to track customer interactions based on a subset of events that have occurred on your website or application. These segments will enable you to better understand the nature of your customer’s interactions with your company.
It is possible, for example, to create segments based on all of the conversion events that have occurred in a specific location. This allows you to gain a better understanding of your users and their behaviour to the extent you desire.
- Capturing user behaviour across different platforms
When users spend a lot of time across two or more platforms, it can be hard to track their behaviour across those platforms. With the new Google Analytics 4 it is possible to track information about users from both the web and the app in one place (hence the beta name of Google Analytics App Web).
As a result of cross-platform tracking, you are able to keep track of each step of the customer journey, including acquisition, engagement, monetization, and retention, so that you can optimize your customer experience from the beginning through to the very end.
Users are identified by a unique ID which is assigned to them during the process of logging in to an app or website.
In either the application or the website, you can use the appropriate gtag.js script to send the user ID for each logged-in session to Google Analytics. The user ID will be reported to GA4 and the user metrics will be recorded. Reports will reconnect the user’s data to their unique ID when they log in again on an alternative platform and take up where they left off when they log in again on an alternative platform.
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