Mar
04

What is Google Analytics 4? Getting Started and Transition from Old Analytics

Posted by Varun Sharma on March 4, 2021
Google analytics 4
Source Wikipedia

As a marketer, the power of Google Analytics cannot be ignored today. The Universal Google Analytics model took the market by a storm unprecedented and has made its roots stay here. Today, it is next to impossible to be an online marketer without an in-depth understanding and use of Google Analytics. This is what makes the improvement and changes this important along with being needed to be understood well.

The bottom line of the tools at Google Analytics is to give you a complete and comprehensive picture of consumer behavior and activity patterns. This core need and idea is what has led to Google Analytics 4 being rolled out. Before we can get into how you can transition from the old system to the new one, let us understand what all the new one entails.

What are the four key features of Google Analytic 4?

  1. Smarter AI-powered insights and predictions

Machine learning has been a part of Google Analytics since its inception. What has changed in GA4 then is the inputs it gives and what they are. GA4 does more than before by detecting changes in trends when it comes to what your business has to offer. This can help you:

  • Stay updated to something like increased demand for your offerings
  • Make better predictions in terms of potential revenue or churn rates.

The way this helps is simple yet powerful. These insights when put together or even taken independently, help you as a marketer take better decisions. Working on accurate predictions, trends, and data that is well-founded, helps you plan your campaigns and supply chain better. After all, while you certainly want to avoid being over-prepared for sales you don’t also want to be caught with more demand than you can cater to. Given that you are using the best tools in the kit should allow you to find the balance.

  1. Deeper integration with Google Ads

Google Analytics 4 works better than ever with the other marketing tools that Google has to offer. This is nowhere truer than Google Ads. The increase in precision and decision making that this allows is worth seeing.

The integration allows you to:

  • Make and maintain a custom audience basis your site and app visiting/ usage. This will allow you to cater to those who are actually your audience or potentially so; rather than working on ideas only. A sure shot way for increased Return on Investment in ads.
  • There is also the integrated feature that allows you to view conversions from YouTube, be it on the app or the web, as also for other channels. These channels could be organic growth, paid ads, paid search, social media, emails, etc. This directly presents a better and comprehensive view of the marketing efforts you make.
  1. Customer-centric measurements and customer life cycle reports

Till this point, Google has performed analytics on very fragmented metrics and data sets. GA4 allows the complete life cycle of a customer to be measured and analyzed through more compact and comprehensive metrics and forms.

This is achieved by Google Analytics 4 by making the use of multiple identity spaces to the likes of marketer provided User IDs and Google signals. The latter of course is only from users who have opted into personalized ads

In all, this will help you see how your customers and potential customers intact with your business throughout their journey. This includes all stages from first visibility to conversion and beyond that as well. Even feedback revisits and customer experience sharing online if done on Google platforms is integrated.

There are also updated engagement and retention reports that allow an analysis of what is working and what isn’t for you online. This can help immensely better your business presence and decisions.

  1. More granular data control

One of the biggest changes that GA4 has seen is the field and form of data control. The control of the data has not only been taken seriously by the analytics tool kit themselves but also more control mechanisms have been awarded to users and marketers such as you. This applies to all aspects of the data such as collection, retention, and usage.

This level of control means you can choose even whether or not you would like to use the data only as a measurement or would you rather want it used for optimization.

Another key feature of the update in this aspect is that it is made to work for the future where cookies and identifiers may reduce or become entirely different. The idea GA4 has is to make use of conversion modeling which helps fill the gaps in the customer journey.

Steps to do transition from old analytics to Google Analytics 4

  1. Setting up your first data stream

This is the first and likely the most crucial step in setting yourself up in GA4 and in the transition. To keep your tags from the Universal GA to GA4 you must have both tags firing on your site. This can be achieved through the admin section where you have to upgrade your property. This upgrade will lead to a new property being created for tagging. This new property begins with G-.

This you will have to follow up by connecting the new property to your data streams. After this, you will be given the full G property and code that you must install on your website.

When doing this you must not remove your Universal GA firing on your site or through Google Tag Manager. This should allow for data to flow to both versions of GA.

  1. Real-time refresh

After you are done installing the code, the next step is simpler. You need to navigate to the real-time report in other to confirm the flow of data into the GA.

The new reports work in a manner where all individual reports are combined into one mega report. Also, to note here is the fact that the map now updates in real-time along with showing a 30-minute history.

Another major change is that all user activity is now counted as events. This is done as GA4 wishes to focus on engagement. This is complemented by the change where “important actions” are now labeled “conversions” and you can track up to 30 of those now.

  1. Events editing by you

Last but not least relevant part of the process is for you to edit and define your events. When you go to the events menu for the first time, the standard events that are a part of GA4 are visible. You will see modify and add options in this menu as well. One more ease is that a click on a slide allows for events to be converted to and tracked as conversions.

Defining and adding/ modifying events allows you to have what matters to you counted instead of a one size one count fits all model.

While this change may appear daunting at first, we hope that as you start to work on it report by report and data set by data set, you find the journey exciting and you learn to work well in the new system at the earliest.






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