Last Updated 12 months by Emily Standley-Allard
The newest version of Google Analytics, known as GA4 is out and the time to switch is now. It packs fantastic features, better ways to understand your customers journey and easy implementation for your business.
What’s Google Analytics 4?
Google released the latest version of its analytical tool this October, and there are many changes and the inclusion of powerful features. The newest version of its analytical tool is called Google Analytics 4. With it, Google has prioritized privacy, powered it with AI and machine learning, and provided separate tools for data collecting, reporting, and analysis.
Google Analytics 4 or GA4, prioritizes privacy. Some users disable the collection of any cookies. Besides users, some browsers block a website that doesn’t give the viewers a choice to opt-in for a cookie collection. To tackle all of these, GA4 has implemented a system that will allow users to provide viewers with the option to opt-in for cookies and analytics separately.
Now with the third-party cookies gone, making sense of collected data can become more difficult. Google has thought about it and prepared Google Analytics 4 for a cookie-less feature. This means that Google has primed the latest version of its analytical tool with advanced machine learning.
With machine learning, GA4 will make more sense of the data it gathers by filling up the gap itself. You can better understand how your customers interact with your webpage and find out the major channel customers use to find your website.
Besides machine learning, you can now be more proactive thanks to AI-powered future predictions. With the help of it, you’ll be notified anytime there’s a new trend. So, you’ll have the chance to react before anyone else. Google plans to improve this feature in the future further.
GA4 is equipped with BigQuery. BigQuery gives you access to raw data; this is excellent news for businesses handling massive amounts of data. With raw data, you can get better reporting and analytics.
So, whether you’re a marketer or e-commerce business owner, GA4 has so much to offer. However, it’s important to remember that Google Analytics 4 is still in a primary state with Google promising newer features soon.
What’s New with Google Analytics 4?
Google’s web analytics platform – GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – comes with more predictive insights, closer integration with Google’s advertising platform, Google Ads, detailed data controls, and measurement capabilities with cross-device usage.
This version of Google Analytics will give you valuable insights that you may use to be ready for what’s coming next.
You get smart insights that help you make informed market decisions and better Return-On-Investment (ROI) consequently.
Because of Google’s up-to-date machine learning models, GA4 can detect and alert you about significant trends, like increased product demand because of customer needs dynamics. The machine learning model can even anticipate the future actions that your visitors may take. It can use a probability system to find an efficient way of investing in retaining customers in case you have a limited budget.
Google continues to improve its machine learning model by adding new predictive matrices like the potential revenue that could be made from a specific group of customers. This makes it simpler to reach a more highly valued audience and expand your customer base. You can run analyses to be more informed about why some customers are expected to spend more than other customers. This helps you to improve your website performance.
You can integrate multiple Google marketing products to improve your ROI too. Integrate with Google Ads, and you can connect with customers who have more relevant interests.
This new App + Web analytics can make it easier to reach users with cross-device facilities as well. It helps you understand the impact of all of your marketing efforts combined.
The Bigger Picture
GA4 gives you more customer-centric measurements, unlike measurements that are fragmented by device or platform. You get a view of the bigger picture in understanding your customers. From acquisition to retention and conversion, every stage is made clear. This is important when the interests are rapidly changing, and real-time decisiveness is needed to win and retain customers.
Depending on your feedback, it will simplify and restructure the report to quickly find insights based on your customer’s journey, which will be of interest to you.
You can learn about the prospects that are driving new customers and then use the report to understand your customers’ actions, whether they are sticking around after conversion or not.
Built for the Long Haul
This is the time to capitalize on your digital marketing basics and invest in GA so that you can be prepared for what comes next. This will also help you quickly respond to the rise of customer expectations, frequent development, and progressive technology standards for user privacy.
Because of granular controls for personalization, you can choose when the data should be used to optimize ads. After all, there is the option for user-controlled activity data sharing with Google Analytics.
As the technology landscape continues to evolve, this new analytics tool shows promise in adapting to a future that may or may not have cookies or identifiers. It has a flexible approach to measurement.
And eventually, it will have modeling that fills in the gaps where data seemed insufficient. That means you can rely on Google Analytics to measure your marketing results and customer satisfaction while you navigate the uncertain future.
Pros and Cons of GA4
Now that you know the latest features and improvements on GA4, let’s look at the pros and cons.
AI and Machine Learning
Google Analytics 4 is primed with AI and has machine learning at its disposal. These two aspects make GA4 the best analytical tool. First, let’s talk about AI. With its AI capabilities, GA4 is now able to predict the future. Although it’s not perfect yet, it can notify you every time there’s an upcoming trend.
This feature helps to be proactive and better reactive to upcoming changes and retain more customers. Google plans to better its AI capabilities, and soon it will predict the customer group that makes you the most revenue.
Now let’s talk about its machine learning capabilities. With traditional Google Analytics, there were gaps in the data collected. That made understanding those data very difficult. But with GA4, Google has addressed those issues.
With machine learning, you can now make a better sense of the data you’re collecting, and it’s not only limited to that. Machine learning also gathers better information on user behavior. It no longer needs to rely on hits from every page.
With the latest version, you can track your conversions across all platforms, be it app, software, or website. Before GA4, this wasn’t possible, and many users ditched Google Analytics for this reason. Before the latest upgrade, to perform tracking, you’d have to look for workarounds.
Another problem that machine learning solves is the problem with cookies. Many users opt-out of cookies, which left gaps in the collected data. Besides users, browsers like Firefox used to block websites that didn’t give users the option to choose between enabling and disabling cookies.
Google understood that the future might be cookie-less. That’s why, through machine learning, they implemented cookie-less analytics. With the help of it, the machine learning feature will fill in the gaps in those data. In return, information from those data will help you and marketers better understand your customer base.
One of the great features of Google Analytics is the codeless tracking of events. You can now use event tracking without any coding knowledge, and now the event tracking is done in real-time.
Now you can track how your customers interact with your website in many ways. The usual tracking like page scrolls, clicks are present; the newest addition is the tracking videos. Now, you can track how many people are watching a video. You can track everything without any latency in real-time.
App+Web and Better Sync
Before GA4, to run analytics on a mobile platform, you’d need a separate tool. But, if you wanted to track conversion and data from both app and website, you’d reach a dead end.
This issue has been addressed with GA4. Now you’re given a user tag that you can use to track both the app and website. This new feature of the latest version is still in the beta phase, but it’s coming to the platform very soon.
Another problem solved through GA4 is the mobile and web sync.
With the previous versions, the platform lacked on mobile devices. But now, GA4 follows the same schema on mobile devices and desktops, making it smoother and better on both platforms.
User-Interface and Metrics
If you’ve used GA for a long time, you might not want to upgrade to the latest version right away. GA4 has introduced various changes, and these changes also affected the data you receive and how you view it. There’s also a change in how you use the tools.
Now, you’re getting separate tools for data collection, reporting, and analyzing. While this might be a fantastic upgrade, you may find it overwhelming with all these new options. Besides tools, you might not find some of the old reports on the new one. Also, there’s a change in the tier of data organization. In the previous versions, there were three tiers, Account – Property – View. But now, there are only two – accounts and property.
The property configurations are different too. Aside from these, there’s a change in how the traffic is measured. The previous channel grouping option has been removed, and the medium has taken its place. Also, the way you track goals has been updated. If you upgrade, you might need to set the goals all over again.
If you’ve been using GA for a long time, you’ll find the changes overwhelming and some of the reports missing. It’s important to remember that the analytical platform is still in its primary phase.
Some features are still in beta, which leads to some bugs left to be patched. So, if you must upgrade, it’s best to keep the traditional GA by your side. That way, you can compare which works best for you and your business. With many features still planned to be released, keeping the old one will help you measure your business in the meantime.
Google Analytics 4 is, without a doubt, a significant upgrade over the traditional Google Analytics.
With it, you’re getting a better understanding of the metrics, your buyer’s journey, and with the help of machine learning, you can make better sense of the data you’re collecting. Now, the question is, should you switch to GA4? The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no.
It’s important to remember that Google Analytics 4 is still in its infancy, and aside from the latest and greatest features, there are major changes in how you view the data. If you’re new to the analytical tool, you can give Google Analytics 4 a shot. But, if you’ve been using the traditional GA, then put a hold on it.
If you must upgrade to GA4, it’s better to have another analytical tool or the traditional GA by your side. Otherwise, you might have some issues finding and understanding the new metrics.