Google Analytics GA 4: Explaining the Changes

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Google Analytics GA 4: Explaining the Changes

Change happens. This can change to add new features, streamline setups, or remove depreciated functions. Usually, the change is for the better. Other times, it can cause disasters and headaches. Either way, only time will tell which path the world takes for the latest version of Google Analytics, GA 4.

Google Analytics 4 will combine and improve several services on the Google platform into a single streamlined service. This new service will serve as a big data collector and analyzer for any marketer or content creator that uses it. To achieve this goal, Google had to implement numerous changes.

Each change to the service comes with different requirements. By reading further, you will learn what those requirements are so you can modify your implementation to remain compliant with the new version of Google Analytics.

The Changes Coming with Google Analytics 4

Almost a decade old, Google Analytics (GA) is the world’s most popular digital marketing analytics platform. People live it because it provides a simple, one-stop interface for measuring traffic and engagement. However, it was far from perfect. As a result, Google released regular updates and patches culminating in the latest release, Google Analytics (GA) 4.

Releasing fully in 2023, GA 4 will expand the data collection and processing to include other sources such as Sales Points, ATMs, and APPs. This “next generation measurement solution” will also bring numerous other features and updates to create a single interface for analyzing your marketing efforts.

Google has been slowly releasing these updates since October 2020, allowing everyone to get used to them before the big switch. For instance, their “App + Web” tools already carry the GA 4 brand name. As such, most people just need to update their code to take advantage of these changes.

To help you out, we included some of the more notable changes below.

GA4 Will Let You Collect Data from Different Devices

GA 4’s primary new feature is its expanded data point collectors. You can now track and report using data from multiple devices and domains. The new system is even smart enough to combine the data from a single user regardless of the devices they use. This feature will give you improved insights into your customers’ behaviors.

You can even integrate your Google Ads account with your GA one. This lets you improve your campaigns by showing which ads lead to sales.

To better facilitate this new feature, Google now offers the GA tracking code in different languages and scripts. They also encourage us to track everything as events instead of the generic Gtag used by earlier versions of GA.

GA4 Offers More Data Models

Google created the event data type to help process data coming from different sources. This is because user data from an app is very different than from a website. Thus, under the new system, an event could be a page view, social interaction, or any other transaction. However, you are not restricted to pre-defined types. You can choose anything to be an event.

You can even rename event types as well. For instance, you can have GA4 track screen views, app views, and channel views along with your page views. You can then process them as is or combine them with other data points and filters such as:

  • Specific attributes
  • Geolocation
  • Demographics
  • Anything else that matters to your organizations

GA 4 Lets You Design and Export Custom Reports

You are longer stuck with the preset reports Google gives you. Now, you can get fully customize how GA processes your data by using funnels. You can even integrate and export the data into other data analyzing tools to acquire deeper insights into your customer behaviors. To facilitate this change, the Reports page will support the following sections:

  • Lifecycle – Visitor geolocation, behaviors, monetization options, data storage
  • User – visitor demographics report
  • Events – l information about events and conversions
  • Explore – lets you create custom reports
  • Configure. System configuration and access rights

GA 4 Uses Fewer Cookies

Because GA 4 will operate across multiple devices and channels, it will no longer rely on cookies to track your visitors. The platform is now strictly event-based and uses AI and machine learning for more intelligent data tracking.

GA 4 Offers Predictive Analytics

Thanks to its reliance on machine learning, GA 4 can predict the future behaviors of your customers. These insights allow you to take the steps you need to convert those changes into conversions. Like with the other reports, you can customize your predictive metrics, or you can just use the ones Google provides out of the box such as:

  • Churn probability
  • Predicted revenue
  • Purchase Probability
  • Projected performance

Conclusion

Google Analytics 4 I set to revolutionize digital marketing through numerous improvements and new features. While you can still get some value from the older Universal Analytics platform, these changes still make the switch worth the effort. You can even use both platforms until you are ready to fully commit to GA 4.

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