Google Analytics 4 What Is It And What’s New?

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Why setting up GA4 is important for your website’s success

With laws such as GDPR and browsers increasingly cutting down on cookies due to a growing concern for user privacy, web analytics that require cookies to collect their data on website traffic and user behaviour, such as Google Analytics, are having to adapt.

In order to resolve this problem Google Analytics has released a new version named ‘Google Analytics 4’ (GA4), which uses machine learning models to fill potential gaps in data. Alongside other features, machine learning aims to provide insights and helps identify trends in your data to provide actionable recommendations such as finding the most profitable users on your site.

Retention is also a key part of GA4, with reports showing what actions a customer may take after completing a conversion.

What is the difference between my current setup (universal analytics) and Google Analytics 4?

While Universal Analytics focuses on Users, Pageviews and Sessions, GA4 is all about Events. These events are actions a user takes on a website. For example, visiting a page, watching a video, scrolling down a page, or proceeding to your E- commerce checkout.

GA4 introduces a new set of events that are automatically tracked such as video views and link clicks, but still requires implementation from a developer to add Google’s set of recommended events or custom events of your choosing.

It is also worth noting that these two versions use different ways of measuring website traffic and user engagement, and therefore data will be different on both. A key example of this is bounce rate not being available in GA4 as a metric.

With measurement being customer-centric and data being focused around events, reports outline the customers’ lifecycles and the events they complete, rather than the pages a user may visit in a session.

GA4 also brings new benefits to Google Ads. A deeper integration between the two platforms simplifies and enhances the below:

  • retargeting audiences who are most likely to convert
  • importing events such as ‘telephone clicks’, ‘email clicks’ and ‘begin checkout’ to further optimise campaigns within Google Ads

Do I need Google analytics 4?

With Google Analytics 4 providing additional insights and remaining a free-to-use service, we recommend its implementation. This will ensure you collect data on GA4 as soon as possible, giving you time to familiarise yourself with the new interface, and ensuring you are ready for any new features that will be added in the future.

This is not to say you should give up on the current tracking you have set up on Universal Analytics, but to set it up GA4 alongside it. You will still collect the same data on Universal Analytics as you did before and it will remain a strong measurement tool for the time being, and most importantly provide invaluable historical data.

Would you like help transitioning your site to Google Analytics 4?

Contact our team today: NI/UK +44 2871 228820 OR ROI: +353 1 247 5294.