Google Analytics 4 is bringing lots of new features that we know you’ll want to hear about! In this short introduction to GA4 we’re highlighting the biggest changes, opportunities, and limitations of the new platform. We’ll also provide you with our advice regarding the steps that you take today to stay on top of your game!
This new version of Google Analytics uses a completely fresh approach unlike some past GA updates. Here are top things you need to know!
Google Analytics 4 Data Collection
Data collection is now event-based. One of the main reasons behind these changes is the tightening privacy restrictions. Google is trying to beat this problem with machine learning, user ID, multiple ways of tracking properties etc. Google is now offering more techniques to identify users and identify behaviour for users who are hard to detect.
Another great feature is a BigQuery Linking which used to be a payed feature but is now included in the basic GA4 plan.
Views have been replaced by Data Streams which can be connected to various devices. Google Analytics 4 can now be used for not only tracking your website but also you app, backend servers and more.
Funnels are now retroactive. This means you can now explore your user’s past behaviour and predict their future actions (something that wasn’t possible in Universal Analytics). You’ll be able to analyze your historic data to make data-driven decisions for your future actions, ie. your google ads. You can also use google’s machine learning algorithm to predict your audience’s behaviour and optimize your campaign based on the desired outcome. So much so that you will now be able to predict a sale.
There have been changes to attribution types and you can set your own attribution models.
Data Overview & Reporting
There are no more secondary dimensions as was the case with Universal Analytics. Instead, you’ll find there’s a number of pre-made reports which tend to be quite basic, however you can tweak them to gain deep dive insights. For advanced users we would recommend using the Analysis Hub. Here, GA4 users will be able to create customized reports where they can combine multiple dimensions and go much more in depth than what was possible before. We would recommend starting with an Exploration table and build more complex data.
In March 2021, when this video and article was made, we would not yet recommend users to migrate to GA4 just yet as not all features have been integrated and many marketing tools don’t offer GA4 integration just yet. Instead, we would recommend double tagging, meaning setting up GA4 parallel with Universal Analytics and start collecting your data.
With time, features will be added as will integrations with other tools that you might be using. This will make your transition smoother and you’ll have your data already on hand.