Google Analytics 4: What Is It and What Does It Mean for Marketing?
Google announced they are sunsetting their analytics program to make way for Google Analytics 4. Hesitant to make the switch? Sadly, you don’t have much of a choice. As of July 1, 2023, all standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits. GA4 is coming, and you will have to prepare.
How GA4 differs
So how does GA4 differ? In short, it uses a significantly different data structure and collection logic for more detailed reports. The most significant change is switching focus from sessions to users and events. An events-based model processes each user interaction as a standalone event, whereas session-based models group interactions within a given time frame. Moving the focus provides significant benefits like cross-platform analysis and an enhanced capacity for pathing analysis, providing more flexibility to predict user behavior.
How to set up GA4
Steps for configuring GA4:
1. Log in to your Google Analytics Account.
2. Click: Admin, Gear icon, and head to the bottom left navigation.
3. Confirm that your desired account is selected.
4. Confirm the desired property is selected.
5. Click: GA4 Setup Assistant and select the first option in the Property column.
6. Click the Get Started button
7. Finish by clicking Create Property
After creating your property, the setup assistant will automatically activate enhanced measurement in your Google Analytics 4 property. Custom code will still be needed to track third-party elements and form submissions, but the most basic forms of event tracking are automatic.
Important Note: If you use a website builder such as WordPress, Wix, etc., you must add the Analytics tag.
How GA4 helps reporting
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to track users as they cross platforms using multiple devices. GA4 uses enhanced machine learning techniques to help fill in the missing data gap, creating a single user journey for all data linked to the same identity.
Understand customers across touchpoints: Get a complete view of the customer lifecycle with an event-based measurement model that isn’t fragmented by platform or organized into independent sessions.
Improve ROI with data-driven attributes: Use data-driven attribution to analyze the full impact of your marketing across the customer journey. It assigns attribution credit to more than just the last click using your Analytics data and helps you understand how your marketing activities collectively influence your conversions.
Measure engagement and conversions with business and compliance needs in mind: Manage and minimize the collection of user-level data — like cookies and metadata — while preserving key measurement functionality.
Easily activate your insights: Expanded integrations with other Google products, like Google Ads, work across your combined web and app data, making it easy to use Analytics insights to optimize your campaigns.
Best ways to use GA4
Even though Google Analytics 4 has only been around for a few months, here are some ways teams are already using it.
Combining web and app analytics: This is the most common use case because it simplifies getting a full-funnel view of what’s happening on your site and in apps.
Building a path analysis: You used to have to rely on creating custom events in Google Tag Manager to track page scroll depth or file downloads. Now, you can do this right within Google Analytics 4. You can take this further by building custom funnels to analyze data.
Setting up predictive models for conversion rate optimization: Predicting audience behavior allows companies to find and work with specific audiences expected to perform well or perform poorly. Thus, taking the idea of maximizing revenue from existing website visitors to the next level. This is especially useful for eCommerce clients.
Tracking engaged sessions instead of bounce rate: Bounce rate was always a problematic metric for measuring traffic quality because it fails to account for users who go to your website but don’t take any further action of engagement. Identifying engagement sessions helps us better differentiate between content that provides site visitors with what they’re looking for and content that’s failing to do so.
Refining audience targeting: GA4’s Identity spaces are vital pieces that can enable marketing teams to see who is and how much they’re interested in your business, service, or product.