Marketing your products or services to the right audience at the right time is the key to any successful business. While the quality of what you offer is obviously important, it’s also vital to deeply understand your target market and direct your marketing to that particular group of people.
There are several online tools that can help you understand your website’s traffic and the ever-changing marketing trends. Out of all the tools, Google Analytics tops the list because of its advanced features and user-friendly interface.
Google Analytics 4, also called GA4, is the newest version of Google Analytics, which offers an improved understanding of your audience with updated features and AI-integrated technology. Here is everything you need to know about GA4.
How Has Google Analytics 4 Changed From Universal Analytics?
Using an Analytics tool is important to understand the actions of viewers on your website. Most people rely on Google Universal Analytics. However, it will be completely replaced by Google Analytics 4 by July 1, 2023.
GA4 allows business owners to collect different data types with increased customer privacy. Privacy has historically been an issue when collecting data from users. As both regulations and public awareness evolves around user privacy, consumers have developed an understandable guardedness with their personal information, and these concerns are what GA4 has been developed to address.
Furthermore, GA4 is more technologically advanced than its predecessor. It uses AI to predict future trends in the market based on the collected data. This feature allows businesses to prepare for their upcoming products and services.
If you want a quick Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics comparison, here is a short review:
- Google Analytics 3, also known as Universal Analytics (UA), has been one of the most widely used analytics tools. In the newer version, Google has introduced several new features, like collecting data from both apps and websites.
- Google Analytics 4 includes switching from a session-based to an event-based model. The UA worked on a session-based model which records user website activities within a specific period. So, for example, if a user views multiple pages, saves an image, or purchases an item from your website within that period, it will all be recorded by Google Analytics 3.
- However, with the transition to a Google Analytics 4 events model, the data collection has become flexible and accurate. In addition, GA4 reports are further categorized into total or individual events to give you a more detailed and meaningful report.
Here are the reasons why a switch from UA to GA4 is a wise decision:
Focuses on Active Users
This version focuses more on active users on your website instead of reporting the data extracted from total users. In Google terminology, active users are any accounts using your website online for a specific time. With the help of this feature, you can understand the retention rate of your website.
GA4 also reports how often certain users return to your website and when. Its focus on active users generates reports on returning viewers who add more value to your business than one-time viewers.
Depending on your campaign requirements, you can set various campaign durations like daily, bi-weekly, weekly, monthly, or yearly. It also provides a graph feature that shows you the difference between your daily page views and your selected period page views. This helps you understand how many returning visitors your website receives.
Replaces “Views” With “Data Streams”
In UA, data was collected in the form of views from a property. The property could be an app, a website, or a blog, and the view would be the set of specifications decided by the user to collect data from that property. This feature was used to filter out data from different users on a website.
However, in GA4, this feature is replaced with data streams. This is the data flow generated by a viewer or customer on your property. You can add multiple data streams in this version to extract vast data.
Each property can have around 50 data streams, out of which 30 streams could be from apps. GA4 creates a code that you can add to your website or app to collect data, which forms your report’s base.
Collects Data Based on Distinct Events
Unlike Google Analytics 3, which collects data based on a session, Google Analytics 4 collects data based on events. Each event has different specifications that determine what the event is about and what kind of data will be collected under this event.
Each event has a different name, which can gather data about page views, clicks, downloads, and ecommerce transitions. This model gives you the most detailed and organized data about your viewers without compromising their privacy. For example, you can tag the most important events under Conversion Events to easily track your conversion rate in an organized way.
Since page views do not matter when it comes to app tracking, the event-based model provides a better and more accurate reading than the previous one. In addition, it offers more flexibility to business owners in which they can add different parameters in event categories. It helps create precise analytical reports for your website.
Offers Cross-Device Reporting and Predictive Metrics
One of the best features of GA4 is cross-device reporting. If you have a customer that views your ad on a mobile device and proceeds to open your website on a laptop to make a purchase, you will get the cohesive data about this event in one place.
These days, customers go back and forth on different devices for ease. If you focus on the data collected from one type of device, then the results might be incomplete. With unified reports from various devices, you will be able to understand the behavior and demands of your customers a lot better.
Furthermore, the AI-integrated model predicts precise reports for future trends based on the data collected from your properties. It also incorporates trend reports from Google to give you the best advice for your coming collections.
How to Use Google Analytics 4
GA4 is fairly easy to use, especially for people already using the older versions of Google Analytics. You can use this tool to instantly upgrade your business. Here is how to use Google Analytics 4 resourcefully for your business:
Tap Into the Software’s Various Analysis Capabilities
If you’re just starting with GA4, it is better to use it along with Universal Analytics until you understand the features. After Configuring GA4, you can immediately tap into its advanced analysis capabilities.
As soon as you set it up, enhanced measurement is automatically enabled on your account. This means that you can understand the audience data better, leading to more informed decisions.
These enhanced measurement events include data points like page views, scrolls, outbound clicks, site searches, video engagement, and file downloads.
One of the most talked-about features of GA4 is its predictive insights. The data produced by event tracking and the use of machine learning enables your business to predict future trends using AI. For example, you can use it to calculate churn probability, which could tell you which product may be more popular in the future, and so forth. Use this feature to give your viewers and customers exactly what they want.
Generate a Real-Time Report
It is a fact that Google Analytics 4 offers you more authentic, detailed, and deeper data into customer behavior compared to previous versions of Google Analytics. But what about reports, or in other words, your ability to extract useful information from the data provided?
It offers you a more simplified reporting interface and creates an easy-to-interpret single-user journey. The report allows you to easily answer key questions like how new users found your site, the pages getting the most views, and which marketing campaign was more successful.
You can find the real-time report in the next default report on the left navigation panel. With this feature, you can track the activity of users that occurred in the last 30 minutes.
To gain details about every user, go to the “View User Snapshot” at the top-right corner of Google Analytics 4. You can use the real-time user snapshot reporting for:
- Checking which platforms users are coming from
- Confirming if your tracking code is working
- Tracking the number of active users
- Checking what content the users engage in
- Tracking the conversion rate in real-time
- Viewing effects from YouTube videos
Track User Lifecycle and User Behaviors
GA4 also allows you to explore “life-cycle reporting,” which follows the trail the viewer walked on to understand their behavior. From the time the user enters your website, this tool reports the channel through which the customer entered, what activities they engaged in on your website, app, or blog, and whether the viewer generated a sale.
With such precise tracking, also called Omni Analytics in modern marketing terms, you’ll understand what the customer needs. You will also find a detailed view of how the viewers engage with different tabs, pages, and options on your website to help you improve your service.
What Are the Benefits of Google Analytics 4?
Even though some users find Google Analytics 4 difficult to use, it is worth spending a few extra hours to understand how it works. In addition, this tool does not entirely rely on cookies to generate the data, making it safer to gather data.
Here are the top four benefits of using Google Analytics 4:
A Comprehensive, Sleek Reporting Interface
GA4 provides a reporting interface that combines data from different devices in one place. With the help of this tool, you get a step-by-step, detailed tracking opportunity to understand your customers’ behavior.
It offers organized real-time, acquisition, engagement, and monetization reports. You can learn everything from how many viewers your website has to how much revenue your website or app generates.
You also get a comprehensive view of the user journey to understand the obstacles a user faces to improve your service. It is an all-in-one reporting tool to improve your business marketing.
An Event-Based Model Means More Accurate Reporting
Since session-based reporting is no longer a feature of this tool, the new model ensures a better reporting experience. The event-based model filters out the results accurately according to the parameters set for a certain event.
You can have multiple events for one property to track different users for varied parts of your website. User engagement is a focal point of this tool without relying mainly on cookies, making it more efficient than its predecessors.
These features are now made more accessible and easy to understand for users to track their properties without a hassle. In addition, the customized event names also help you differentiate between different elements in the same action and category.
The “Enhanced Measurement” Feature Simplifies Event Tracking
The Enhanced Measurement feature allows you to track different user interactions on your website. You can turn on this feature on the Google Analytics interface without changing any codes. Once you enable this option, your website will start collecting the data according to the set parameters to generate a report.
However, before you turn the Enhanced Measurement feature on, make sure to thoroughly go through the data that will be collected on your website. Unlike the sessions model, it will not have the bounce rate metric. Instead, a detailed report will be generated showcasing the different devices used based on selected parameters that you can stitch together.
Quality Data Means a Better-Informed Marketing Strategy
You can get detailed data through GA4 that will allow you to improve the strategy of your campaigns. For example, you can choose the event period and parameters based on the requirements of your marketing campaigns to get precise reports. You can also create accurate Google tags with this information.
A well-informed marketing campaign directed toward your target audience will work better than a strategy created without studying your audience. It will drastically improve your ROI on ads, increasing your business revenue.
Improve Your Marketing ROI With Analytics and Ad Tech
In short, Google Analytics 4 allows you to meaningfully track your audience’s behavior and create powerful upgrades to your website content and marketing campaigns. At AUDIENCEX, Google Analytics is just one of many integrated tools that we use to gather and leverage data to inform and tailor our holistic approach.
If you need help translating this kind of data into powerful marketing strategies for your brand or agency, please reach out for a free consultation at any time. Our expert strategists are adept at translating analytical data into robust, omnichannel strategies to maximize true performance outcomes.
With our fully integrated omnichannel platform offering seamless media access, the latest in ad tech, and impactful creative capabilities, our team can manage your campaigns end-to-end, continually optimizing, adapting, and scaling to ensure you see consistent and meaningful performance on all marketing efforts.