Google Analytics enables millions of websites to track and thoroughly analyze information and statistics to understand digital traffic. Following several versions and upgrades, Google has announced that it will release Google Analytics 4 (GA4), offering a new way of tracking users across websites and apps in real-time.
GA4 is a complete rewrite of Google Analytics. It introduces several new features designed to make collecting and analyzing data easier. The most significant change in GA4 is the addition of “streams,” which are real-time data feeds that can track user behavior on a website or app.
Another substantial change in GA4 is how data is collected and processed. In Universal Analytics, data was collected via cookies. GA4 uses a new method called “event-based data collection.” Data is compiled based on user interactions with a website or app rather than tracked via cookies.
Because it’s an entirely new version, GA4 will replace Universal Analytics by July 1, 2023. The new design and platform offer unique features that keep up with current digital demands and meet the immediate marketing needs of various global businesses.
What is GA4 all about? What can it do for companies like yours?
Key features of GA4
Google Analytics is a web analytics service from Google that tracks and reports website traffic. It is one of the most widely known and used web analytics services that collect data about website use. It provides information like the number of site visitors, time spent on a site, and pages visited.
Such information can improve website design and content, strengthen marketing campaigns, and ultimately increase product sales through these various statistical and analytical insights.
GA4, the newest analytics property to be launched next year, presents much-awaited upgrades. Here are some of the critical functions businesses are looking forward to:
GA4 enables businesses to maximize the available data with its event-based tracking feature. GA4 collects data based on user interactions, known as “events,” unlike the page views and sessions previously used. It allows for more granular and accurate data collection and analysis than earlier versions, offering more freedom, flexibility, and customized parameters that are more specific.
App + Web integration
GA4 collects data for both websites and apps as the user crosses from one device or platform to another. It enables businesses to better understand their customers and experiences as they immerse into the brand through various platforms. Companies will also find it easier to view consolidated reports in a single property.
GA4 highlights a client-centric approach so businesses can understand the user journey even better from start to purchase. Companies can gain valuable insights into their consumers’ thought processes and lifecycle by tracking the steps or clicks customers take before, during, and after making a purchase.
AI for predictive reporting
GA4 uses machine learning to automatically surface insights and provide recommendations on how businesses can improve their online presence. Artificial intelligence (AI) analyzes user behavior and predicts their likelihood of purchasing or engaging in a specific brand. It also measures the churn rate and calculates the potential revenues of a particular customer group. With these insights, businesses can focus on the client’s preferences and plan based on the available data.
Improved data privacy controls
Google stated that they are building a world free of cookies and identifiers, which cause data leaks to third parties.
Google intends to use the machine learning system to fill in the data gaps without cookies and still provide an accurate data source to businesses and marketers. The improved data controls give users more power over how their data is collected, retained, and shared. GA4 users can opt in or out of certain features, such as ad personalization, and delete their data anytime.
GA4 also provides users with transparency about how their data is used. Users can view a summary of how their information is being used and request a more detailed report.
These are just a few of the critical upgrades that Google has announced. Other notable features include the BigQuery Connection, easy and accessible debugging function, and anomaly detection.
Universal Analytics (UA) vs. Google Analytics 4
The key features of GA4 are distinct from the functions of the previous version. Below is a summary of the differences between the two.
How to Set Up Google Analytics 4
Option 1: No Google Analytics account; starting fresh
- Create an Analytics Account
- In Admin, in the Account column, click Create Account.
- Type your preferred account name and configure the data-sharing settings to set up which data your account will provide to Google.
- Click Next to add the first property to the account.
- Create a property
- Type a name for the property (e.g., “Search Leads website”) and choose the reporting time zone and currency. Wherever the customer may be, when the customer visits your platform, it will be recorded in the time zone youve selected.
- Below the property-setup fields, click Show advanced options.
- Slide on the switch for Create a Universal Analytics property.
- Type the website URL. Select the protocol (HTTP or HTTPS).
- Select Create both a Google Analytics 4 and a Universal Analytics property or Create a Universal Analytics property only.
- Click Next for whichever option you choose, and click Create.
- Accept the Analytics Terms of Service and click Finish.
Option 2: Set up GA4 alongside existing UA account
- In Google Analytics, click Admin.
- If you have multiple accounts in the Account column, choose your preferred account. If you only have one, it is automatically selected by default.
- In the Property column, select GA4 Setup Assistant.
- Under I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property, click Get started.
- Click Create Property. The setup wizard will create the new GA4 property, which copies the property name, website URL, timezone, and currency settings from your existing Universal Analytics (UA) property.
The new GA4 property collects new data moving forward. No changes will be made to your UA property, and it will continue collecting data. You can access both properties by choosing one through the property selector. If your site uses the gtag.js tag, you can Enable data collection using your existing tags.
Option 3: Install GA4 using Google Tag Manager
- Log in to your Google Tag Manager account.
- Select the site container for your website under the appropriate account.
- Add a new ‘Tag’ on the left-hand side of the dashboard.
- Select the ‘Tag configuration’ box.
- Choose ‘Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration’ from the drop-down list.
- Enter your measurement ID (this can be located in your Google Analytics account under Admin > Data steams at the top right-hand side).
- Open the ‘Triggers’ box to choose when this tag should fire (All pages are recommended).
- Click ‘Save.’
How to Navigate GA4
There are five basic functions that you will regularly use. These are:
- The search button helps you look for specific content, answers, and reports.
- Product links, help, and account management
- Switch between Google Marketing Platform products
- Access help content
- Send product feedback to the Analytics team
- Manage your Google account, and sign out
- Connects to Reports, Explore, Advertising, Configure, and Admin functions
- From Configure, access Events, Conversions, Audiences, Custom Definitions, and DebugView.
- Edit and share options
- Access the report you select from the navigation pane.
Types of Reports on GA4
GA4 Reports can be categorized into two collections: Life Cycle and User.
Life Cycle Collection
This collection provides a detailed analysis and series of data collection on the user activity at each stage of the customer journey from start to purchase, followed by retention.
This report summarizes how users find your website or app, including which channels they use, such as organic search or paid advertising. Use it to see which acquisition channels are most effective for driving traffic and conversions.
This report provides insights into how users interact with your content. It can help you understand what content is most engaging for your audience and how to improve your website to encourage more interaction. It includes different metrics to measure engagement, including:
- Time on page: How long users spend on each page of your website. It can tell which pages are most interesting or helpful to users.
- Page views: How many times a page is viewed. It can identify which pages are most popular with users.
- Unique page views: How many unique users view a page. It can pinpoint which pages are most popular with individual users.
- Social interactions: How many times users interact with your content on social media. This metric can determine the most popular and engaging material on social media.
- Comments: How many comments are left on your website. It can specify which material generates the most discussion and engagement.
GA4 has several other features to measure engagement, including event tracking, conversion tracking, and custom reports. These elements can further unpack how users interact with your website and improve your overall engagement strategy.
This report lets you view the revenue report, showing how much income each page on your site generates. It also breaks down the average revenue per visit and the number of transactions for each page.
Click the “Transactions” column for a report that shows the number of transactions for each page and the conversion rate and revenue per transaction.
Click on the “Pageviews” column to display the number of page views and generate the Pageviews report, which shows the pages on your site that drive the most traffic.
This report indicates how many people use your app daily, weekly, or monthly. The retention report shows daily active users (DAU) and monthly active users (MAU).
The DAU line represents the number of people who use your app on a given day, while the MAU line represents the number of people who use your app at least once a month.
Hover over any point on the lines to see the exact number of DAU or MAU for that period. Click the Compare button to correlate the DAU and MAU lines.
The retention report can help you know how many people use your app daily, weekly, or monthly. You can drill it down to a specific day, week, or month. You can also see how your app’s retention rate compares to other apps.
The user collection collects information on users when they access your business platforms, like their age, gender, demographics, interests, platform, website, or apps.
This report consolidates, summarizes, and presents data on your users by age, location, language, and gender. With this information, you can learn about your audience better and target your marketing efforts accordingly.
For example, you can see what percentage of your visitors are male or female, their age group, and their interests.
This report gives an in-depth look at your website’s performance. It includes data on search engine traffic, website visitors, referral traffic, and engagement metrics. Knowing this can help you understand which channels drive traffic to your website and how visitors are interacting with your site. This data can support your digital marketing strategy and help you identify areas for improvement.
Other features worth exploring
You can examine other segments, such as Advertising Reports, Events Configuration, and more.
Why you should install GA4 now
GA4 is a game-changer for digital marketing. Its innovative and tailor-fitted machine learning system and tracking capacity let businesses and marketers gain valuable insights and access to information. This information and analyzed data sets can be converted into meaningful campaigns, enabling firms to meet potential targets, reach goals, and deliver results.
While other businesses lag behind the comforts of the current technology, GA4 can help your business redirect strategies and collect volumes of analyzed and valuable data. It can also help you understand your audiences and their behaviors better, faster, and in real time.
The future of digital marketing is GA4
GA4 provides insights previously impossible. It gives businesses a competitive edge and offers several advantages over earlier versions.
It allows for more granular tracking of user behavior. Marketers can better understand how users interact with their website or app and use this information to improve their digital marketing campaigns.
The integration with other Google products makes collecting and analyzing data more effortless, which can help you further optimize your campaigns. The new version of Google Analytics includes many features that make it easier to use, like a redesigned interface and improved reporting options.
Understanding how users interact with your website or app lets you decide where to allocate your marketing budget and what strategies to use. Search Leads can help you harness the power of GA4 to improve your digital marketing campaigns. Contact Search Leads today.