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Google Analytics 4: What You Need to Know

What is Google Analytics and Why is it Important?

Google Analytics is a free tool that offers deep insights into your website's performance. It provides a wealth of valuable information about your website visitors, behavior on your site, and conversion information.

Having this data is vital for making informed decisions about your website, services, and/or products. Google Analytics also allows you to unlock meaningful insights about your audience and identify areas for further optimization. By learning how to leverage this information, over time you can optimize your online presence and further drive your primary business goals.

What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest Google Analytics platform version, after Universal Analytics.

GA4 provides a more unified, forward-looking approach to tracking and analyzing user data across websites and mobile apps, offering your business a more comprehensive understanding of your website + app and holistic customer journey.

Why is Universal Analytics Going Away?

While Universal Analytics has been the go-to tool for tracking website data for years, on July 1st UA will be officially sunsetting. This is so businesses are utilizing the latest analytics technologies available by Google. This transition also ensures privacy-conscious data collection, as Google continues to respond to the increasing demand for user privacy and platform tracking restrictions by moving towards using anonymized first-party data and consent-based tracking.

How Does Universal Analytics Differ from Google Analytics 4?

Universal Analytics tracks individual sessions and pageviews, while GA4 is event-based, emphasizing user interactions throughout the customer journey. This pivot enables GA4 to provide a more comprehensive view of user behavior, allowing your business to understand how different touchpoints contribute to conversions so you can optimize your marketing strategy accordingly.

How Will Event-based Tracking vs. Session-based Tracking Impact My Data?

With event-based tracking, GA4 captures specific user interactions, i.e. clicks and form submissions, allowing for deeper insights into how users engage with your website or app. This shift also enables you to track custom conversion events uniquely tailored to your business goals, providing even more flexibility and actionable insights than previously seen with Universal Analytics.

So, How Will My Current Data Be Impacted?

Your current Universal Analytics data will remain unaffected by the introduction of GA4. They are separate systems, and your historical data will be preserved for now. More information on the impact of your current data can be found here.

However, you cannot directly migrate data from Universal Analytics to GA4 as these are two different data schema systems.

Additionally, data in your GA4 property is not retroactive, meaning once you establish your new GA4 property the data will begin to be collected from that moment on.

What are the Advantages of GA4?

1. Event-based Tracking

GA4’s unique, event-based tracking model, will allow your business to capture specific user actions throughout the customer journey, providing a more detailed view of user behavior.

2. Enhanced Data Privacy

GA4 comes with built-in privacy features, helping your business comply with data protection regulations and giving individual users more control over their data, fostering both trust and transparency.

3. Cross-platform Insights

GA4 offers a unified measurement approach, allowing your business to track and analyze user interactions across websites + mobile apps in a single view.

4. AI-powered Insights

GA4 leverages machine learning to provide valuable insights and predictive analytics, allowing your business to uncover hidden patterns, identify trends and make data-driven decisions more effectively.

5. Custom Event Tracking

With GA4, you can define dozens of custom conversion events based on your business’ specific goals, providing more flexibility in measuring and optimizing key actions that drive business success.

Key Takeaways

  • Get to Know GA4: Get familiar with the main changes in GA4 compared to Universal Analytics.

  • Plan Your Transition (if you haven’t already): Create a migration plan with clear steps and timelines for moving from Universal Analytics to GA4.

  • Set Up Your New GA4 Property: Make a new GA4 property in your Google Analytics account.

  • Implement GA4 Tracking Code: Install the GA4 tracking code on your website or app to start collecting data.

  • Define Your Conversion Events: Identify important conversion actions and set them up as custom events in GA4 to track what matters most to your business.

  • Customize Reports and Dashboards: Utilize GA4's flexible reporting tools to create custom reports and dashboards that suit your unique business needs.

  • Analyze and Optimize: Leverage GA4's advanced analytics and machine learning on an ongoing basis to gain valuable insights, identify trends and optimize your marketing strategy.

Google Analytics can be an incredibly powerful tool for understanding your website performance and making informed business decisions.

With GA4, your business has the opportunity to leverage event-based tracking, enhanced data privacy, cross-platform and AI-powered insights, along with highly customizable event tracking, allowing you to gain deeper insights for your business and ultimately stay ahead in the evolving digital landscape!

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