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Google Analytics 4 is a Game-Changer

Google announced the latest iteration of its web analytics platform, Google Analytics 4. This iteration has machine learning at its core to automatically deliver relevant insights.
By 
Paul Chastain
April 16, 2021

Google announced the latest iteration of its web analytics platform, Google Analytics 4. This iteration has machine learning at its core to automatically deliver relevant insights. It does everything from providing better predictions to tracking user journeys across platforms and devices. The ability to provide better reporting in the age of third-party cookie policies is a big reason Google Analytics 4 is a game-changer.

But there’s more.

What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 or GA4 is the latest tracking platform released by Google. According to Google, GA4 is a new kind of property with different reports than what you’re used to seeing in their Universal Analytics property. GA4 offers out-of-the-box event tracking, web and mobile analytics under one roof, and improved measurement of time-based actions.

Why is it called Google Analytics 4?

GA has gone through a range of versions since its inception. At the moment, it’s on its 4th iteration of the platform, which is called Google Analytics 4 (GA4). In addition to that, GA4 relies on four concepts of data collection, namely:

  • Parameters: these are additional data that further specifies user actions
  • Events: events are measurable user interactions, like user actions, button clicks, page views, etc.
  • User ID:  is a feature that allows you to track a user’s journey across different platforms and devices
  • User property: these are attributes about users who interact with the site or app

The need for Google Analytics 4 primarily comes from new privacy protection laws like CCPA and GDPR and the declined stability of traditional analytics. According to one post, Google announced a study that pinpoints the marketers’ problems. In the study, marketers had a hard time getting a 360-view of customers and capturing helpful insights from their data. The update addresses this issue by surfacing data that marketers need to make a better marketing strategy and improve ROI.

Here’s why the new Google Analytics is a game-changer for marketers.

New AI-powered insights and predictions

One reason Google Analytics 4 is a game-changer is its ability to automatically notify you about any significant trends and changes in your data. This isn’t a surprise, considering Google has always been at the top of machine learning technology. Their 2016 update to their GA apps provided a sleek new machine learning-powered feature that detects trends and sends notifications. But with the latest AI-powered insights and prediction feature, you can now get specific insights about your audience.

In Google Analytics 4, machine learning helps you through two new features: Predictive-metrics and AI-powered insight.

Automated insights feature

The AI feature collects information from primary and secondary dimensions that have detected massive trend changes. So, you’ll get an alert of any unusual activities. With AI, you will never have to try to locate data anomalies again.

Predictive metrics 

On the other hand, predictive metrics notify you of predicted churn and conversion. With this feature, you can create audiences to reach users who are about to convert or churn. With better remarketing options, you’ll capture the interest of your leads and get them to complete desired actions. This will, in turn, reduce churn rates and increase conversion rates.

Customer-centric measurements

The GA4 provides customer-focused measurements across all platforms and devices. It uses different identity spaces, like user ID and unique Google signals to give you a holistic view of how users interact with your business. With GA4, you can drill down to specific aspects of the customer journey. For instance, you can view the sources that are driving new leads in the user acquisition report. You can also learn about their actions and behaviors in the engagement and retention reports.

Improved customer experience through deeper integration with Google Ads

With this new Google Analytics feature, you can gain a complete understanding of your customer journey across devices. A deeper integration to Google Ads lets you create audiences that target website visitors with more helpful, relevant experiences wherever they choose to engage with your business across the web or app. This gives you a 360-degree view of your performance across all platforms.

This Google Analytics 4 feature monitors users across all devices and platforms. It automatically updates your list when users complete the desired action. This prevents you from having to retarget them with the same ads. What’s more, this feature can also alert you on actions taken in YouTube engaged views.

Analytics in a cookie-less future

The intensifying data regulations mean that tracking through third-party cookies will soon be over. When this happens, there will be fewer data points collected. The new GA4 comes with a new data modeling that uses Artificial Intelligence to complete data gaps. According to Google, Google Analytics 4 is designed to adapt to a future without identifiers and cookies. It will achieve this by shifting from session-based data to event-driven interactions.

Sessions data involves all user interactions with your site over a certain period. It does not capture all the minute interactions and fails to collect records about specific user interactions on your site. On the other hand, events data targets users and collects data on their interaction with your platforms. So, rather than reporting about a particular session, Google Analytics 4 focuses more on specific events that users engage in on your site.

Greater controls

Google Analytics 4 allows you to alter results and update tracking without editing on-site code. With cross-domain tracking, you’ll have a clearer picture of user events on a broader scale for an even, more straightforward customer journey. This makes it easy to fine-tune your online marketing efforts for even better results.

New data controls

Google includes three features to help GA4 users address privacy concerns. With these features, GA4 users can:

  • Control how they gather, share and retain data
  • Have the option to decide if they want to use the data collected for ads customization
  • Delete analytics data by submitting a request to Google

But since the data collected is lesser than before, the Google Analytics 4 improved data deletion will only delete necessary data upon user request and confirmation.

The new analytics is now the default experience for new properties. Google will no longer invest in the old version of Google Analytics. So, make sure you or your marketing company's data team creates a new GA4 property to stay on top of future improvements to GA.  Click here for more industry insights or here for digital video production inquiries.

About the author:

Paul (JP) Chastain has worked with many Fortune 500 companies including Apple, HP, Wells Fargo, and Google in the technology sector focusing on online psychology & marketing - forming campaigns for digital & traditional use over every possible medium.
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