Google has launched one of the biggest updates to Google Analytics in the past 15 years: Google Analytics 4 (GA4). In the new GA4, app and web analytics data can finally be combined in one property. In this article, you can read about all the functionalities and benefits of GA4 plus the 3 reasons why it is best to implement now with digital marketing services.
To get straight to the point: the question is not whether you should implement GA4, but especially when. Our short answer is: as soon as possible. This latest version will eventually replace the existing Universal Analytics. It's good to keep in mind that GA4 is still in beta, so new features are still being launched every month. The long answer follows below, so you have everything lined up for the next steps.
Measuring in Google Analytics 4
The biggest difference of the new measurement model in GA4 is the change in focus on the different measurement scopes. While session data is still available, it is no longer the basis of the analytic reports. Instead, the focus has been placed on users and, above all, on events.
This change in focus makes it easier to compare user behavior between the different platforms. Within an app, you have no real pages, which means that measuring the events within the app with Universal Analytics would not be possible. This creates problems with analytics because you can't really compare behavioral data between web and app. By focusing on the user rather than sessions, GA4 resolves this issue.
In the GA4 property, we can collect user properties. These are properties that are comparable to the user-level custom dimensions as we know them from Universal Analytics. User properties are attributes that can be used to describe user segments, such as language preference or geographic location. You can create 25 user properties per reporting analytics property.
In addition, there can be more focus on (soft) conversions, because the reports are centralized around events. This leads to a better understanding of the contribution of events to the conversion.
In GA4, we can collect significantly more information about events than we could with Universal Analytics. We are no longer limited to the event category, action, and labels to provide us with event information. Instead, we can add up to 25 event parameters. These parameters are custom dimensions specific to the event level. For example, a search event can have many event parameters specifying which search was used.
The Difference Between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics
As far as we are concerned, these are the most important, but of course, there is more. One of them is the interface. Watch a video from Google that takes you through the new interface.
GA4 is the future of Google Analytics
Google Analytics 4 will probably become the new standard within two years. Although Google has not yet announced anything about the possible discontinuation of Universal Analytics (UA), in any case, no more updates will be made to this current version. UA will therefore probably become less and less relevant and therefore ultimately redundant.
GA4 only looks ahead - It is important to start collecting data in GA4 now so that you can compare data in the future. It is not possible to import historical data from UA into the new GA4. So the sooner you implement GA4, the more historical data you already build. Of course, your new GA4 property can continue to run next to your current UA property. This way you can already benefit from the advantages of GA4, but you can also continue to use UA.
Become familiar with interface and capabilities - Finally, the interface of GA4 looks different from that of UA and is also accompanied by a lot of new functionalities. That is why it is important that you familiarize yourself with the new interface and that you are aware of what is possible in GA4.
The Benefits of GA4
Below are the seven important benefits in a row.
Real-time data - Possibility to zoom in on the users on your website in real-time.
Sampling - A sampling of the data only occurs much later.
Custom Reports - More options to customize reports yourself in a user-friendly way.
Pre-defined events - Due to pre-defined events, no code addition or configuration is required for deep analysis analyze
All in one - Both Web and App have displayed in one view rather than two different environments.
Cross-domain tracking - Cross-domain tracking just got easier. Now you can arrange it yourself from Google Analytics.
Machine learning: new/fast insights - GA4 alerts you when certain high-profile events take place based on machine learning. Think, for example, of a rapid decline in visitors or a product that suddenly sells well.
Setting up a link with Bigquery: access to raw data GA4 - In this way, you can link multiple data sources together and do much more extensive analyses.
We currently recommend running Google Analytics 4 alongside the current standard version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics). It is advisable to familiarize yourself with the interface and the possibilities before the moment that Universal Analytics will be phased out. In addition, it is good to build up history beforehand, so that if more functions are added in the short term, there is already historical data to use.
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