All You Need To Know About Google Analytics 4 – Alchemyinteractive

All You Need to Know About Google Analytics 4

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Businesses across the globe bank on Google Analytics to understand customer behaviour and preferences for creating better experiences for them. As more and more businesses are moving to the online space and the pressure on them to make the most of their marketing budget is constantly increasing, getting critical insights from digital analytics tool has now become more important than ever.

To help you get better ROI from your marketing expenses in the long run, Google has developed a new, more intelligent Google Analytics, which is based on the App + Web property that the search giant rolled out in 2019. With machine learning at its core, it gives meaningful insights while offering you a thorough understanding of your customers across different platforms and devices.

Introduction to Google Analytics 4

Google recently launched a new version of Analytics, which according to it, is the new default version of its well-known web traffic analysis and data collection software.

Google’s Analytics is used by countless websites and businesses worldwide to monitor user interaction across mobile apps, offline APIs and web domains. Most businesses consider this tool to measure their KPIs and keep a track of their web traffic and critical marketing channels. And with Google Analytics 4, the tech behemoth is offering a new version, which is quite different from the conventional “Universal” Analytics.

While the new version has many key features that are different from its previous version, the biggest one is the new data modelling feature that makes use of AI to bridge the gaps in data, where the previous Analytics may be restricted by blocked JavaScript, cookie-consent rules and attention to privacy. Moreover, the user-interface of the new default Google Analytics is quite different.

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For marketers, who want to get familiar with the new version, here is a video guide by Google. They can also set up in their existing Analytics account. Users can set up a new property in their current Google Analytics account and access the new version on their own.

Understanding Google Analytics 4

According to Google, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the next-gen approach to x-channel measurement, “privacy-first” tracking and AI-based predictive data. Using the latest machine learning models, GA4 can fetch data for website traffic and userbehaviour without relying on the “hits” it gets from every page.

The primary goal of GA4 is to change the way data is presented to focus on users – mainly a user’s journey from their first visit to final conversion.Additionally, GA4 is more about “events.” These events form the basis of the data presented in the new Google Analytics.

Finally, the GA4’s machine-learning capabilities fills gaps, where businesses were not able to track their full customer base earlier due to the users, who used to opt out of data collection and cookie usage.

The need for Google Analytics 4 largely stemmed from new privacy protection laws, such as GDPR and CCPA, and the reduced stability of conventional analytics tools. Many businesses using the previous Google Analytics often experience issues like missing or inaccurate data due to cookie-consent rule required by such laws.

Key Highlights of Google Analytics 4

Here are some important highlights of Google Analytics 4:

  • With machine learning as the primary way to measure data, GA4 makes use of “modelling” to make estimations from existing data and derive assumptions about website traffic and user behaviour. The new AI-backed “Insights” feature automatically offers key information to marketers.
  • It is heavily aligned towards offering marketers a more comprehensive understanding of their customers’ journeys across different devices. Simply put, it is more focused on assessing end-to-end journey of a shopper, rather than simply proving individual metrics across pages, segments or devices.
  • Its “future proof” design allows it to perform even without cookies or users’ data.
  • Unlike the old Universal Analytics, which uses views and segments, GA4 features “data streams”.
  • Unlike the Universal Analytics, which has three levels: Account> Property >View; GA4 has only two: Account and Property levels.
  • While “event tracking” in the previous Analytics needed modified Analytics code or gtag.js script, GA4 allows tracking, editing and fine-tuning of events within the UI, which ultimately means page-scroll, clicks and more.

Enhanced Capabilities of Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics is more advanced and feature-packed with these new capabilities:

  • It will let marketers to correct, edit and adjust the way events are being monitored in the Analytics without the need to edit on-site code.
  • Data Import will now involve a wide variety of data from sources other than websites, such as apps;all within a single property.
  • It will allow cross-domain monitoring(which too does not need code editing) within the UI.
  • It features a “Life Cycle Report” which is perhaps one of the major changes in Google Analytics that focuses on a user journey.
  • Its “template reports for ecommerce funnels” provide marketers with a way to showcase and visualise data.

Major Differences between “Universal” Google Analytics and Google Analytics 4

As mentioned earlier, the biggest difference is the user-interface. Business owners and digital marketers will possibly be unable to find some default Analytics reports in GA4 along with some features they were using earlier in the old version. Previous Analytics comprises 3 levels of data organisation (Account > Property > View), but GA4 has only two, i.e., Account and Property.

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There are also several differences between the properties of GA4 and Universal Analytics in relation to data collection – especially how data is definedand what data-specific elements are called.

Here is a quick snapshot of major concepts in Google Analytics 4:

  • Events: These are basically user interactions with an app or a website, such as button clicks, page views, user actionsand so on. Unlike the previous version, events now don’t need to addcustomised code into the on-site tracking code of the Analytics, and a few events will be monitored by default.
  • Parameters: Theseare extra chunks of information that give context to every event. For instance, these can be used to detail the value of any purchase or to give context into why, where and how the eventswere logged. Parameters may include article IDs, page titles, etc. – these are broadly analogous to some “dimensions” that were available earlier.
  • User Property: This constitute demographic information or attributes of a user.
  • User ID: It is used for cross-platform user monitoring.

Using the Dual Setup

Marketers can make use of both Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4, simultaneously. While there is no indication from the search giant as to when or if the previous style of Analytics will get deprecated, business owners, having Universal Analytics properties, can continue using the old version.

Having said that, many markets mayprefer creating a version of the Google Analytics 4 property using the set-up of App + Web property to let data begin to populate, get accustomed to the GA4’s UI and understand how data is presented in the new way. For this reason, Google isn’t forcing users to switch to GA4, but new accounts or properties will be in line with Google Analytics 4 by default.

However, the company warns users not to expect their data to appear in the similar manner on the old and new versions. Since these two versions are conceptually quite different and the “hits” now assess events and parameters differently, the data will not be perfectly aligned with the known reports in Universal Analytics.

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