GA4 is Upon Us: A Guide to Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics is evolving, and GA4 is here. This Analytics update is designed to revolutionize the way we collect and measure data. As the next evolution of Google’s famous analytics software, GA4 brings a host of new features and capabilities that will shape the future of data-driven decision-making. Read on to explore GA4, the changes it brings, and how you can use it to supercharge your marketing strategies. 

Understanding GA4

GA4, the newest version of Google Analytics, provides a complete picture of user engagement across websites and apps. It comes with exciting features like improved event tracking, machine learning capabilities, and a flexible data model. This update to Google Analytics 4 will allow businesses to more easily understand user behavior, fine-tune marketing strategies, and create better user experiences. 

The most significant feature of GA4 is that it is completely event-driven, as opposed to the sessions and pageviews users were used to in UA. GA4 also effortlessly integrates with Google Ads, making measuring campaign performance and tracking your marketing success easier. Additionally, GA4’s machine learning algorithms automatically analyze data to identify patterns and trends, saving you time and effort.

Key Differences Between GA4 and UA

GA4 represents a significant departure from UA regarding data measurement and tracking. GA4 can and will measure everything that UA tracked, but with many new features and capabilities exclusive to GA4. One notable difference is the integration of web and app data in GA4. While UA primarily focuses on tracking user interactions on websites, GA4 offers a more comprehensive view by combining data from both websites and apps. This means businesses can gain insights into user engagement across multiple platforms, allowing for a more holistic understanding of user behavior. 

Event-Based Tracking

A significant update lies in the shift from page views to the concept of “events” in GA4. In UA, page views were the primary metric for measuring user interactions. However, GA4 introduces events as the fundamental unit of measurement. Events can capture a wide range of user actions, such as clicks, form submissions, downloads, and video views. This enhanced event tracking enables businesses to gain a deeper understanding of user behavior, understand specific actions users take, and optimize their strategies accordingly.

Mobile and Website Tracking

GA4 offers advanced tracking capabilities for both mobile apps and websites, providing a comprehensive view of user interactions across different platforms. One notable feature is the in-app purchase button, which allows businesses to track and analyze user behavior during the purchase process within mobile apps. GA4 also introduces new methods for tracking user data while respecting privacy concerns, such as cookies and IP-less tracking, ensuring businesses can gather insights without compromising user anonymity.

Machine Learning and AI

Another significant advancement in GA4 is its integration with machine learning capabilities. This empowers businesses to make data-driven decisions by leveraging AI algorithms that automatically analyze data, predict user behavior, and identify potential churn rates. GA4’s purchase probability and churn probability features help businesses understand user preferences and behavior, while predicted revenue insights enable more accurate revenue forecasting.

Improved Product Integration

GA4 also offers better product integration with various Google services, such as Google Ads, Google Merchant Center, and BigQuery. This seamless integration allows businesses to streamline their marketing efforts, optimize campaigns, and gain deeper insights into customer interactions. BigQuery integration enhances data analysis by enabling businesses to process vast amounts of data and gain actionable insights for more informed decision-making.

Pricing Structure

One significant advantage of GA4 is its pricing structure. Unlike UA, which had limitations on data collection for free accounts, GA4 allows businesses to collect unlimited data at no cost. This makes data analytics accessible to businesses of all sizes and eliminates concerns about data limits. GA4 empowers you with cutting-edge tools to optimize your marketing efforts, some of which were previously only available in the paid version of UA.

Getting Started with GA4

To start leveraging the capabilities of GA4, there are a few steps you need to follow. First, you’ll need to set up a GA4 property and install the Google tag on your website. This involves creating a new GA4 property within your Google Analytics account. Existing UA users have the option to create a GA4 property alongside their UA property, which allows them to migrate their data from UA to GA4.

Setting up a new property in GA4 is a straightforward process that begins within your Google Analytics account. To get started, navigate to the Admin section, where you’ll find the option to create a new property. Click on “Create Property,” and you’ll be prompted to enter the name of your property and select the relevant data stream – either a website or a mobile app. 

Next, you’ll have the option to set up currency reporting. This feature is particularly useful for businesses operating in multiple regions or targeting different markets. By selecting the appropriate currency, you’ll be able to analyze revenue and financial metrics accurately, providing insights into the performance of your marketing efforts and sales.

Once these details are in place, GA4 will generate a unique Measurement ID that you’ll need to implement on your website or app using the Global Site Tag (gtag.js) or Firebase SDK. With the Measurement ID installed, GA4 will begin collecting data, allowing you to access valuable insights and reports to better understand user behavior and optimize your digital presence.

Navigating the GA4 Interface

When you first start using GA4, you’ll notice that its interface has undergone some slight changes, but is overall relatively similar to UA. There have been slight adjustments in the location and functionality of certain features, but the design hasn’t changed significantly. Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the new navigation will not take long and will help you to harness the full potential of GA4’s capabilities.

When you first use GA4, you’ll notice that it looks different from the old version. Several of the reports and metrics that users are familiar with are either in different locations, have different names, or have been replaced altogether. For starters, the homepage has undergone a makeover. On the homepage of GA4, you’ll see a new layout that highlights important new metrics. You can easily find data like new users, average engagement rate, and total revenue, giving you immediate information about how your audience is behaving and how your business is performing. The “Insights” section is also a great addition, providing various metrics to help you understand how users interact with your website, find trends, and make better marketing decisions.

To navigate through GA4, focus on the side navigation menu. This menu acts as a gateway to various reports and insights that offer valuable data about user behavior and engagement. It’s the central hub where you can access the information you need to make informed decisions and make the most of the data. To see what was the typical “Home” screen in UA, you’ll just need to click into the “Reports Snapshot” which looks like this:

Snapshot of GA4

GA4 introduces a new structure and terminology, so paying attention to the labels and headings within the navigation is important. The changes are intuitive but important to familiarize yourself with, from the new metrics to new insights and a different homepage layout. 

Reports in GA4

In addition to the side navigation, GA4 offers a user-friendly and intuitive reporting structure. The interface of the new Google Analytics 4 is designed to be way more simple, flexible, and intuitive, with useful reports that simplify and streamline your data. GA4 reports include: 

  • The Life Cycle Reports:  The Life cycle reports provide a comprehensive understanding of user activity from acquisition to conversion. They offer insights into user acquisition methods, the behavior of new and returning users, engagement duration, and even monetization metrics. 
  • The User Collection Reports: These reports focus on understanding the users of your website or app in greater detail. They provide demographic data, allowing you to categorize users by age, location, interests, and more. Additionally, the User collection reports offer insights into the technologies used by your users and the adoption of different releases. 
  • The Acquisition Report: The Acquisition Report provides insights into new and returning users as well as the methods through which they found your site or app. 
  • The Engagement Report: This report contains user activity, engagement duration, and return frequency. 
  • The Monetization report: This helps you understand revenue generation across different channels, while the Retention report evaluates user retention rates. 

Understanding these reports is just the first step in utilizing Google Analytics 4 to its full capacity. The next step is implementing solutions to the problems the data presents. Tytanium Ideas can make sense of your data and transform it into actionable insights that make your data work for you. GA4 and Tytanium make a great team; GA4 collects the data, and we turn it into strategies that generate more business for you. 

Let Tytanium Turn Your Data into Dollars

While GA4 is a powerful tool that provides actionable insights and detailed data, it can be overwhelming to harness its power. It’s one thing to have the data, but it’s another thing to use it to your business’s advantage effectively. 

Need help to supercharge your data and turn analytics into strategies to advance your business? We can help you level up and take full advantage of all that GA4 offers. We’re experts at Google Analytics in all of its forms and can take your data and turn it into dollars. Let us help you kick your business into overdrive! Harness the power of digital marketing with Tytanium Ideas.