5 Things You Need to Know About Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Universal Analytics (the standard version) will stop processing on the 1st of July, 2023. So, Google suggests that you should start getting to grips with Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible.
Yes, this change might seem scary, but there’s countless benefits for you and your business in the long-term. GA4 will not only give a full insight into the customer journey, but it will provide you with much richer data too.
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the new platform that will replace Universal Analytics. It’s described by Google as “the next generation of Analytics which collects event-based data from both websites and apps.” GA4 will become mandatory for users as of 1st July 2023, so there’s not much time left to get on board! This new platform will be essential for your website so if you still want your website to have analytics after the 1st of July then you need to make the move.
Why is Google Analytics 4 Important?
Simple - because it gives users a whole new way of assessing data that will influence your customer profiling and marketing strategies.
Here’s what you can expect:
1. GA4 collects both website and app data
The biggest difference between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics is that now you can track website and app data all in one place! Google shared that this will help users to “better understand the customer journey”, and isn’t that what we’re all after?
This cross-platform tracking feature gives people a unique user ID. This means if they logged into the website and the app on separate occasions, GA4 will still be able to identify that it’s them. This gives us data that allows us to retarget interested users who’ve visited a website via both platforms.
2. GA4 uses a new dashboard
The first thing you’ll notice when you make the change to GA4 is that it looks very different to Universal Analytics. The dashboard looks much cleaner and more organised. You can find this on the home page, where you can see your traffic increase and the current number of users on the site.
There is also a function on the platform for predictive insights, based on Google’s AI. This gives you guidance to help find the data that you’re looking for, quickly and easily. For example, the home page may suggest that you’d like to see the number of purchases in the last week.
3. GA4 cares about events
GA4 uses event-based data, rather than session-based. This means that it focuses on user interaction on a website, rather than page views.
So now you’ll be able to better understand what users are doing on your website. GA4 also includes new metrics, including:
‘Engaged sessions’ - a session that lasts longer than 10 seconds, has a conversion event or at least two page views or screen views
‘Engagement rate’ - the percentage of sessions that were engaged sessions
‘Engagement time’ - the average amount of time spent in an engaged session
4. GA4 makes retargeting campaigns easier
Looking at past customer behaviours can help you to get to know your audience better, but it would be helpful to determine what they’re going to do next. GA4’s predictive metrics can help you do just that! Google Analytics 4’s AI metrics include ‘purchase probability’ and ‘revenue prediction’. This means that you can make an assumption about customer behaviours. For example, you can see which customers are likely to buy something from you in the next seven days. These insights can then be used in remarketing campaigns through Google ads and Meta.
5. GA4 allows detailed segmentation
GA4 has a segment builder, allowing you to divide users, events and sessions.
For example, you could segment booking button clicks that happened in a certain location. By doing this, you can see exactly where your engaged audience is, giving you insights for future marketing campaigns.
FAQs about Google Analytics 4
Google Analytics 4 can seem like a complete minefield, so you might have a few questions about what’s to come. Let’s answer the most common ones:
Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics: What’s the difference?
Google has significantly changed how data is being captured and processed. There are several new sections and others have been removed. This means that GA4 provides a totally new dashboard, complete with a new way of organising, processing and delivering your data.
Can I migrate my user data from my current account into GA4?
No, but you can currently export your old data in basic formats such as .csv and PDF. This will mean that data will be harder to analyse going forward, as it won’t be within the new dashboard.
What will happen to my old Google Analytics account?
Google states that ‘After July 1, 2023, you'll be able to access your previously processed data in your Universal Analytics property for at least six months.’ During this time, you must export your historical data.
What happens if I don’t migrate my account?
Your website will still work but there will be no data after the 1st of July 2023. Then, your old data will be removed after six months.
How do I set up GA4?
Wondering how to set up Google Analytics 4? It can feel difficult to navigate, but our Leeds agency can help you to make the transition in just a few steps:
We will set up your new GA4 account, alongside your existing Universal Analytics account. We will need access to both your website and full admin access to your Google Analytics account. In some cases, we may also need access to Google Tag Manager.
We will create and update existing events labels, tags and more, into the new format. This means that these will pull through to the new GA4 dashboard.
This step is optional. We can also download your old site data into basic formats. To do this, we will need to know what data you need.
Please note that this data is for historical reference only and will NOT be measured against future reports as a standard procedure.
Guest blog written by trusted partner, Punch Creative.