What is GA4?

Google Analytics 4, or GA4 for short, is the newest version of Google Analytics. By using Firebase Analytics on the Google Cloud Platform, GA4 allows you to track users' interactions within mobile and single-page applications. It also attempts to correct data that's been corrupted by cookie restrictions.

GA4 will use machine learning to fill in the gaps where user consent is not present. GA4 will also track the full user journey, rather than split interactions into sessions, devices or channels.

You can upgrade your existing Universal Analytics (or Google Analytics 3) accounts to GA4.

If you already have a Firebase Analytics account, it will be automatically upgraded to GA4.

How to get started with GA4?

Google Analytics 4 is now available for everyone. The setup process is straightforward, and you will continue to view real-time data as you could with previous Google Analytics accounts.

You can create multiple properties within a single GA4 account.

Universal Analytics v GA

GA4 enables you to track more detailed information about your visitors than Universal Analytics. This is due to the ability to track users across multiple devices and it uses machine learning techniques to achieve fill in the gaps and achieve this.

Why do you need to upgrade?

One of the main caveats of the move from Universal Analytics to GA4 is that the datasets between the two properties are non-compatible. It is not possible to port over old Universal Analytics data to the new GA4 analysis platform.

Essentially, GA4 will replace Universal Analytics at a comprehensive level.

The Key Differences between Universal Analytics and GA4 are:

- The new interface is easier to use.
- You can now add custom variables to track events.
- You can now track events with multiple dimensions and metrics. GA4 allows you to make edits to your data without needing to touch the code.
- Data import can include app data.
- Cross-domain tracking can be done without touching the code.
- The life cycle report gives you insights into how users interact with your site.
- Templated reports for the eCommerce funnel help you to see how users interact with your products.

It’s all about events…

“If you use GA4, you can now track more events than before.”

GA4's new event-driven data models are useful for understanding the behaviour of users who use multiple devices at once.

  • Mobile apps don’t necessarily fit into the standard definition of a page view, while single page applications are also different from regular web pages.
  • There are many ways to track user activity without using page views.
  • Tracking events is a better way to understand user behaviour.
  • GA4 uses the same data models as Firebase Analytics.
  • Google uses machine learning to fix broken data.
  • GA4 also allows you to create retroactive funnels.

Behavioural and Conversion Modeling

Google Analytics 4 now allows you to see how much of your traffic comes from browsers that support cookies, and how many visits come from mobile devices.

Google Analytics 4 now allows you to see how conversions are modelled.

Audiences

GA4 allows you to create custom audiences based on user actions or attributes.

You can use these audiences to target ads on Google Ads Search Campaign.

GA4 is the next generation of analytics, so watch this space for new features and capabilities.

New features

There are many benefits to using GA4, including better data visualization, improved reporting, and more.

You can start using Google Analytics 4. x today.

You can migrate your existing data over to Google Analytics 4. x.

You can continue to use Google Analytics 3. x until you are ready to upgrade.

You can use both versions of Google Analytics simultaneously for now. Be aware that, following the 1st of July, 2023, all previous iterations of Google Analytics will no longer be updated. 

What is BigQuery and what role does it play within GA4?

BigQuery is a Google offering; an online database that stores large amounts of data. There's many benefits to integrating 

It allows you to join multiple datasets together. You can use it to analyse data.

  • Setting up BigQuery is easy.
  • There are no fees to use BigQuery.
  • You can export unlimited data from GA360 to BigQuery.
  • You can export unlimited queries from GA360 to BigQuery.
  • You can export unlimited reports from GA360 to BigQuery.
  • You can export unlimited dashboards from GA360 to BigQuery.

Google offers a free version of BigQuery. Google Analytics 360 now supports exporting data to BigQuery.

Introduction to Data Streams

A data stream is a data source. When the data source is a website, it is called a web data stream. When the data source is a mobile app, it's called a mobile app data source. When the data stream is an iOS app, it's called an iOS app datastream. When the dataset is an Android app, it's called an android app datastream. You can add one or more data streams to your GA4 properties.

You can connect multiple mobile data sources to your GA4 property; however, you can only connect one web data source to your GA4 property at a time.

When you add a new data source, it takes some time for the data to populate.

Web Data Sources are different from Live Data sources because they do not update automatically. You must refresh the report manually.

 

An improved debugging experience

You can now debug directly in the interface without having to go through the developer console.
You can import your data to see where the issues are.
You can test your tags in real-time.

Funnels reimagined

GA4 includes a new feature called Funnel Builder that allows users to create custom funnels. GA4's new feature allows you to see the path visitors took to reach the conversion goal. This feature helps you understand why your visitors convert or don't. This feature also gives you insight into the visitor's journey.

You can also add segments to the report to view specific groups of visitors.

  • You can create as many goals as you want.
  • You can add custom variables to each conversion.
  • You can set different conversion rates for each goal.
  • You can change the destination URL for each conversion.
  • You can create segments based on different types of customers.
  • You can use the segments to create goals.
  • You can work out how much each segment contributes to your overall revenue. Then you can focus on the segments that contribute most to your revenue.

Final Thoughts

Google Analytics 4 is a big update that includes new features such as cross-device tracking, improved reporting and enhanced mobile analytics.

GA4 is an extension of Google Analytics 360, which is a version of Google Analytics without cookies.

Google is phasing out cookies and wants to use machine learning to predict how users behave.

The new features include a new interface and new tools.

GA4 is a new tool that allows marketers to create custom reports based on their needs.

BigQuery is a new database that makes it easy to store and analyze large amounts of data.

  • Get familiar with the new platform and get used to its terminology.
  • Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics are different tools.
  • You should create a new property to run Universal Analytics.
  • There are important differences between GA4 and UA.
  • GA4 brings automatic event tracking.
  • GA4 allows you to export data to BigQuery.
  • GA4 allows custom funnels.
  • GA4 allows importing data from Google Sheets.
  • GA4 allows you to combine data from different sources. This will make it easier to attribute actions to users across platforms.
  • Don’t panic!

 

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