Google Analytics 4 is the latest version, and since it the fourth one, it is called GA4. The new version was rolled out in October 2020 and got a complete makeover; introducing new concepts and a different (more effective) approach.
So, what’s new in Google Analytics 4?
The other features are the same, GA4 uses a new measurement model called the ‘Event + Parameter’ model, which is user-centric instead of a traditional session + pageviews centric measurement model.
The new event model is flexible than the traditional event model in terms of its ability to track a wide range of user interactions; app open, outbound clicks, file downloads, page views, scrolls to video, etc.
The latest update represents a massive shift in how Google Analytics will help website owners and marketers in the future.
Earlier, if you had to measure website usage data, you needed to use GA property to track website data.
And to measure your mobile app usage data you needed to use Google Analytics for Firebase or Google Analytics APP view, a separate GA property.
With machine learning and AI, Google Analytics is taking a more customer-focused approach and moving away from cookie-based data analytics.
Though a majority of the features are for advanced users, new ones will also benefit from it. New users will understand how they work and the value they add.
The newest features are:
Predictive models and trends: By analysing current and historical data, along with the market trends in your niche, Google Analytics 4 can predict changes in your data and user behaviour. It will help you plan and make better decisions.
Customised Event Editing – Event editing in GA just got easier. In GA4, you can edit and fine-tune the events being tracked for your GA4 properties without adjusting the code implemented initially. Meaning that the tracking will adapt in real-time once changes have been made without asking your development team to add a new GA tracking code.
Cross-device tracking: You will now be able to view all analytical information, both from mobile and desktop, combined at the same time. So when anyone visits your e-commerce store from a laptop but returns to buy from their smartphone or tablet device, you see their whole journey at one place. It is a significant change as it gives you a better understanding of the entire customer journey and interacting with your website.
Better integration with Google Ads: GA4 lets you market your products and content more efficiently.
More customer-centric tools: In future, Google Analytics will shift from providing ‘raw’ data to a full suite of marketing tools focused on how a customer interacts with website properties.
Cross-Domain - GA4 will bring new insights to your understanding of the customer journey process with cross-domain measurement capabilities. When some domains are tagged with the same ID, you can track cross-domain interaction within your GA4 platform. It can be a game-changer for those who want to understand better where most of their site traffic originates.
Machine Learning – GA4 now runs with more machine learning capabilities. And this machine learning element helps users to get a better and clear understanding of the reports generated. It also gives you improved user interaction insights. It results in increased marketing performance without demanding any additional efforts from your side.
Historical Data – The only potential drawback about GA4 update is that you may not be able to import historical data from your current Analytics properties. Although the updated GA4 will not be available to use in full-swing for initial few months, it is good to set up Google Analytics 4 properties as soon as possible to start collecting data.
Advantages of using GA4 property:
- Cross-platform and cross-device tracking: You may have used ‘roll-up property’ in the past to combine web and app data. But This one is more powerful as both platforms use the same schema.
- Accurate, unique user reports across platforms: GA4 property reports on total unique users across platforms you do not get through any other GA property type.
- The advanced analysis reports are now available to all GA users, which was earlier available only to GA 360 users.
- GA4 comes with free BigQuery linking which was earlier available to GA 360 customers only. So now, all GA users can access the raw data and run SQL queries on it.
- The enhanced measurement feature enables ‘Automatic tracking’ for certain types of events without any additional tagging/coding.
- The GA4 reporting view provides ‘DebugView’ reports which let you validate the analytics configuration for apps.
If you had your properties connect to Google Analytics, you would have to switch to the new updated GA4 manually.
To start using the newer GA4, you need to create a new property. And alongside you can use the old version to make sure you do not lose any historical data.
However, if you created your Google Analytics account after October 2020, your dashboard will automatically be sent to Google Analytics 4.
The Google Analytics update is rolling out and looks to be significantly better than the older version. With exciting new features like cross-device and cross-domain reporting, event-editing, and machine learning, Google takes you one step forward to help you get the complete picture with appropriate reports.
For any questions or queries on Google Analytics and GA4 updates, you can reach out to us via phone or email. We are a team of Google Analytics consultant and digital marketing experts who would love to help you with any question you may have.