Google Analytics 4 is a well-received upgrade to Google Analytics.
And for many marketers, all that new functionality is a breath of fresh air. If you need free cross-platform data tracking, Google Analytics 4 is the ideal choice. With many SEO strategies focused on Google—GA 4 is the go-to choice due to compatibility, advanced functionality, and usability.
This article will cover the Google Analytics 4 difference, essential terminology you need to know, new features, and the benefits of making the upgrade.
The Google Analytics 4 Difference
Google Analytics 4 is a significant upgrade to the Google Analytics platform. Quite a few improvements are being rolled out for this new version, piggybacking on previous successes Google has had with Firebase, Google Signals, and its global site tag.
These successes are now a part of Google Analytics 4, and will allow you to:
- Use event-driven data to gain new and more granular insights into your data
- Recognize user and session statuses, such as if a user is currently logged in
- Allow for modifications to your website and mobile application code without directly implementing code changes (via the global site tag)
Adding these features is one thing, but understanding how valuable they are is quite another, which we will cover in the next section.
Key Google Analytics Terms You Need to Know
There are four terms you need to know to use Google Analytics 4 effectively. They are:
- User ID. Developers use User IDs to track users and their sessions cross-platform.
- User Property. User Property is useful to track metadata of users, specifically demographic data or attributes about a user.
- Events. Events occur when users interact with a website or mobile application. Examples of events include clicks, scrolls, views, subscriptions, and more. Events are unique to the platform, as each business will plan their own UI and UX.
- Parameters. Parameters provide events with context. For example, a parameter could be user status, allowing logged-in users to click specific buttons on a website while hiding the buttons from users who are not logged in.
These four terms are essential to know because they make up the basis for Google Analytics 4’s new direction regarding tracking and utilizing data.
Below, we will discuss new features you need to know about and why.
Essential New Features You Need to Know About
Google Analytics 4 is a complete revamp of the previous Analytics version. While you can use an older version of Google Analytics alongside the new version, we do not necessarily recommend it.
Tracking analytics on two versions of the same software may lead to errors in data tracking or differing results. In general, newer versions of software are always more comprehensive and more geared toward current market needs.
Machine Learning is growing and becoming more affordable, allowing businesses of all sizes to gain new insights into their own data. Google Analytics 4 uses machine learning to help you extrapolate data analytics about your cross-platform application, as well as user behaviors.
Understanding your data is the first step to planning effective marketing and analytics. The more control you have, and the more insights you can gain, the more complete picture you will have. Machine learning allows you to achieve this.
Data Importation and Tracking
Data importation allows you to add context to your platform data. Once you import your data, you can analyze it, alongside the data gathered from your applications, to provide your marketing and analytics teams with additional context. Big Data is a booming industry for a reason. It gives more insights into data, and more insights are always welcome.
Data tracking is nothing new, but Google Analytics 4 provides a significant improvement in how you can do this. With Google Analytics 4, you can track data within the UI, which allows you to track events within user sessions. Knowing how your users use your application is imperative to increase conversion rates and mitigate UI and UX issues.
Life Cycle Reporting
Being able to generate a Life Cycle Report is one of the most beneficial updates to Google Analytics. Life Cycle Reports allow you to not only analyze data but visualize it as well. You no longer have to subscribe to paid services like Analytics 360, Tableau, or know data visualization.
The more insights you can derive from your data, the better. With Life Cycle Reports, rest assured that every iota of data can be analyzed, visualized, and put to use.
Greater Google Ads Integration
Google Ads may very well be the lifeline of your online business. Ad revenue can make up a significant portion of your income. Google Analytics 4 caters to this need by tracking cross-platform user and session data.
If a user visits your website on both the web and mobile platforms, with Google Analytics 4, you can view which advertisements track on each platform well. Changes to your advertising strategy can be implemented on both platforms simultaneously, as Google Analytics 4 promotes cross-platform tracking.
No Cookies? No Problem
Cookies are still a popular means for web developers and marketers to track user and session metadata for extended time periods. However, with Google Analytics 4, you can track data without resorting to cookies.
This development is excellent news for users, as various regions and governments worldwide implement stricter cookie content policies.
Instead, machine learning fills the role that cookies used to play.
The Benefits of Upgrading to Google Analytics 4
In general, upgrading software versions is always a good thing. You get the most secure, most updated version of the software possible. Regardless of whether the software is free or paid, upgrades are almost always free to implement.
Upgrading from legacy Google Analytics to Google Analytics 4 provides your analytics and marketing departments with several benefits.
Being able to track user behaviors over time in a cookieless setting allows developers and companies to glean even more insight than before. Being able to generate user reports provides analysts and marketers with the information they need to make good decisions.
In addition, being able to track data at a granular level provides greater insight into not just how your company is received, but how users utilize its online presence.
Need Help Making the Jump to Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 is changing the game. This sleek new analytics platform gives businesses a powerful tool that can transform their marketing campaigns.
But making the transition—and getting the most value out of Google Analytics 4—sometimes requires the right team behind you.
If you’re looking to make the transition, Globalgraphics can help you do more with the data you collect through Google Analytics 4. Get in touch with our team today to see how we can help you build targeted campaigns using the data you collect.