Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google’s web and app analytics platform and was first announced in October 2020. GA4 offers a number of new features and improvements over the previous version.
The new Google Analytics update allows you to analyse the amount of traffic and user engagement on your website and any apps your company might be using. By using these metrics to guide development, you can make sure that your online presence is correctly optimised to provide results. As of July 1, 2023, GA4 will be the sole available choice for tracking.
What is the biggest difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics?
One of the most notable changes in GA4 is the shift from a page-based tracking model to an event-based model. This means that instead of tracking users based on the pages they visit, GA4 tracks users based on the actions they take on your website or app. This allows for more accurate tracking of user behaviour. It can also provide valuable insights into how users interact with your content.
Events in Universal Analytics were controlled by adding code to the website or using Google Tag Manager. On the other hand, events can now be modified right in the Google Analytics user interface thanks to GA4. The launch is timed with the shift in digital behaviour. This is due to many companies now wanting to measure not only their website activity but also other digital assets like apps.
What is GA4?
What is the new Measurement Protocol? By submitting events directly to GA servers via HTTP requests, developers can improve site and app streams using the Measurement Protocol for Google Analytics 4. This enables server-to-server and offline interactions a lot simpler to measure.
GA4 also includes several new reporting features, such as the ability to create custom reports. These custom reports allow you to gain deeper insights into your user data. They also give you the ability to compare different date ranges, which helps you identify trends over time.
A privacy feature called Google Consent Mode enables you to change the way Google tags behave on your website in accordance with user consent settings. You can direct GA4 to track user behaviour in accordance with their consent preferences using the new GA4 consent implementation.
Consumers are entitled to ask for the removal of personal data under most privacy laws including the GDPR. GA4 offers the option to delete a user’s data within a predetermined time frame in accordance with this. Additionally, this tool will assist users in adhering to the GDPR. Google prohibits users from gathering personally identifiable information (PII) in GA4 in order to adhere to most privacy legislations. Collecting PII through GA4 is against Google’s terms of service. If Google discovers PII they have the power to erase all the user’s data.
Preparing for GA4
Standard Universal Analytics will stop collecting data on July 1, 2023. Begin migrating your data now to avoid losing your year-over-year statistics regarding your website activity.
GA4 has more sophisticated functionality, meaning there will likely be some possible hiccups when switching over. Therefore, before making the transfer, make sure you have allotted appropriate time and resources for data migration and system acclimatisation. Technical proficiency, teamwork, alignment, and collaboration are necessary for a successful shift.
Benefits of GA4
Another key feature of GA4 is the ability to track both web and app activity in a single property. This allows you to have a unified view of your user’s journey across different platforms. Therefore making it easier to identify trends and patterns in their behaviour.
The GA4 also features build in machine learning model. This allows the platform to automatically detect anomalies and insights without user interaction. As well as prediction capabilities which allow you to forecast how users will behave in the future.
Additionally, GA4 includes new privacy features that give you more control over the data you collect and share. For example, you can set up data retention controls that automatically delete user data after a certain period of time. Additionally, you can use data masking to hide sensitive information from view.
Tips for updating your website or app to support GA4
Updating your website or app to support Google Analytics 4 (GA4) can be a straightforward process with the right approach.
- Begin by familiarising yourself with the new features and capabilities of GA4. This will help you understand how to effectively use the new analytics data.
- Create a GA4 property in your Google Analytics account and configure the settings to match your website or app. This will ensure that you have the right tracking code and measurement plan in place. You can then implement the GA4 tracking code on your website or app. Simply modify your website or app’s code to include the GA4 tracking code.
- Test your GA4 tracking code to make sure it is working correctly. Use the GA4 debugging tools or check the real-time reports in your GA4 account. You can use the GA4 features and reports to gain insights into your website or app performance.
- Lastly, make sure you have a good understanding of data privacy and user tracking laws and regulations. Understanding this will ensure that your website or app is compliant with them.
Overall, Google Analytics 4 offers a number of new features and improvements over its predecessor. This makes it a valuable tool for understanding your users and optimising your online presence. While GA4 is a newer version and some users may find it less familiar, it is definitely worth taking the time to learn and use. The new features can help you improve your website or app’s performance. Have you begun integrating your websites and apps over to GA4? If not, the sooner you start, the smoother your transition will be.
We make sure Google Analytics is configured correctly for accurate reporting. As campaigns progress, it allows us to invest more time in the activities that are seeing the best results.