Google Analytics has long been a popular tool for marketers to track website performance, website traffic, user behavior, and even marketing campaign effectiveness.
With the release of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), marketers and businesses now have even more capabilities to understand and optimize their online presence. Google Analytics 4 opens the door to deeper insights into their website performance than ever before.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about GA4, including what it is, how it’s different from Universal Analytics, and its new features and capabilities.
What Is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google’s web analytics platform. It provides an updated, more user-centric approach to data measurement and analysis, with a focus on delivering relevant and actionable insights. In turn, Google Analytics 4 enables marketers to get a better understanding of their website visitors’ behavior and preferences.
GA4 uses machine learning to automatically uncover valuable data patterns and trends, allowing businesses to make informed decisions about their digital marketing strategies.
It also features a new data model that simplifies tracking and reporting across multiple devices and platforms.
What is the Difference Between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics?
The main difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics is the way they collect and organize data. One of the most significant changes is that GA4 uses a different data model that centers on events instead of pageviews. Universal Analytics, on the other hand, uses a session-based model that tracks pageviews and session duration.
Because of this event-based data model that GA4 has, GA4 users have more granular tracking of user behavior. Events are user interactions with a website, such as clicks, page scrolls, video plays, and form submissions.
GA4 also offers more advanced tracking features, such as cross-device and cross-platform tracking and predictive analytics. Overall, we can say that GA4’s new approach provides more comprehensive data, allowing businesses to gain a deeper understanding of how their customers interact with their website.
How GA4 Gives Marketers More Control
GA4 provides marketers with greater control over their data, allowing them to customize and segment information to their liking. It also provides more options for customization and flexibility in reporting and analysis.
For example, GA4 makes it easy to set up custom dimensions and metrics to track specific user behaviors, such as purchases or form completions. Marketers can also use GA4 to create custom reports and dashboards, providing a clear and concise view of their most important metrics.
Thanks to GA4, marketers can understand their audience better and tailor their marketing strategies accordingly.
What Are Predictive Insights in Google Analytics 4
One of the standout features of GA4 is its predictive insights functionality. This feature uses machine learning to identify patterns and trends in data and provide predictions on future user behavior, and for improving website performance.
With predictive insights in GA4, marketers can anticipate user needs and behavior, allowing them to optimize their marketing campaigns to engage their target audience better. All in all, you can make data-driven decisions and get better engagement and conversion rates with this GA4 feature.
See image below for the different types of predictive metrics available on Google Analytics 4.
How GA4 Tracks Events
As mentioned earlier, GA4 uses events instead of pageviews to measure user interactions with a website. This approach provides more granular data on user behavior and makes it easier to track specific actions, such as clicks, form submissions, or video plays. GA4 also includes a new tag management system that simplifies the process of setting up and tracking events on a website.
And another thing to note is that GA4 tracks events, yes, but now they’re known as measurements in their flexible-event-based model. Check out the image below to see how Google Analytics made a big move to an event-based model, and Google Analytics 4 is taking it to the next level with better privacy and cookie-less tracking.
What’s New in the Google Analytics 4 Dashboard
The GA4 dashboard features a new, updated user interface that provides more intuitive and customizable reporting and analysis. It includes a range of new features, such as a real-time data stream, a customizable homepage, engagement rate, scroll depth, user lifetime value, and other robust reporting capabilities, to name a few.
In addition to all of that, Google Analytics 4’s new dashboard also features a unified view of user data across all platforms, such as audience segmentation, user behavior analysis, and cross-platform tracking.
In turn, GA4 was made with the user in mind, since tracking user behavior and engagement across multiple channels will be easier than ever. Take a look at what the Google Analytics 4 dashboard is like below, based on Google’s public demo account.
Google Analytics 4 and Cross-Platform Tracking
GA4’s cross-platform tracking functionality enables marketers and businesses to track user behavior across multiple devices and platforms, including mobile apps and web browsers. In turn, you get a more comprehensive view of user engagement thanks to the new and improved GA4.
This feature uses machine learning to stitch together user data from different sources, including web and app activity. It also enables more accurate attribution and conversion tracking across multiple touchpoints.
This is why it’s no surprise that the cross-platform tracking in GA4 uses machine learning to stitch together user data from different sources, including web and app activity, for a better understanding and optimization of marketing strategies. It’s a win-win for everyone!
How to Set Up Google Analytics 4
Now, it’s time for you to step into the future of analytics with GA4! Why should you set up Google Analytics 4? Well, using machine learning, GA4 can predict:
- Who’s going to buy from your business
- Who’s going to leave your website
- How much money you’ll make
- Plus, you can create audiences for targeted ads!
So, for you to upgrade to GA4, these are the steps you must take to set up Google Analytics 4:
- Create your GA account by going to the Google Analytics homepage and selecting “Start for free”.
- Set up your data stream as a gateway into your GA4 portal.
- Collect data from your website by adding an Analytics tag to your web pages.
- If you want to learn more about the tracking ID, check out our blog below:
- Customize your data collection and analysis by configuring your setup.
- For more on how Google Analytics collects data, read our other blog:
- Verify your setup by waiting for 15–30 minutes, going to “Reports” and opening the “Real-time” report.
⚠️ Remember, it takes 24–48 hours for Google to start processing data for all other reports. If you have any issues, consult Google’s troubleshooting section.
Last Thoughts About Google Analytics 4
Google Analytics 4 empowers everyone using it, from freelancers, agencies, and business owners, to make better and more data-driven decisions.
In this blog, we’ve talked about how GA4 offers marketers a more user-centric approach to analytics that brings in advanced tracking and improved reporting features. Not only that, but GA4 users can leverage all of this to optimize their websites to increase engagement and conversion rates.
With GA4, it goes without saying that you get a more granular tracking of user behavior, cross-platform tracking, and even predictive insights!
As you begin to explore and use GA4, keep in mind all of its unique features and capabilities and how they can help you achieve your marketing goals thanks to a better understanding of data and tracking, offering new ways to optimize and drive conversions.
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