Recently, Google announced the release of Google Analytics 4 – which has become the standard version of the web traffic data collection and analysis software. But what does this mean for marketers and how does it compare to the traditional version?
The Google Analytics reporting tool is widely used by businesses and websites to track user interaction across web domains, mobile apps and offline APIs in order to measure the amount of web traffic they receive, monitor important marketing channels and measure their key KPIs.
Google Analytics 4 has important features that differentiate it from the previous version and modernise the platform, especially with regard to new privacy protection laws. Keep following along and find out how this new feature works.
Understanding Google Analytics 4
Google describes the purpose of the new Google Analytics 4 as a powerful combo: a next-generation approach to “privacy first” tracking, X-channel measurement and predictive data based on Artificial Intelligence, all at once.
Google Analytics 4 was developed on the same platform for the “App+Web” system launched in 2019, which had a primary focus on cross-channel data. Which means it gave marketers a way to track users across apps, software and a website.
As such, the main aim of the new feature is to change the way data is shown to focus on users – mainly on the user journey, from first visit to final conversion.
Finally, another important point is that the machine learning processing in this new Analytics allows for the filling of gaps where companies are unable to understand their complete customer base due to users opting out of cookies and data collection. By applying Google’s advanced Machine Learning models, the new Analytics can fill in data about website traffic and user behaviour.
The need for something like Google Analytics 4 comes largely from new privacy protection laws (such as GDPR and CCPA). Companies using traditional Universal Google Analytics may have issues with inaccurate or missing data due to the cookie consent options required by these laws.
Benefits of Google Analytics 4
1) Deeper integration with Google Ads
Marketers can easily maintain and build their visitor audiences across the web and app. If users who qualify for an audience list complete a purchase in the app, the list will automatically update to remove the user from the audience list. This is done so that this specific user is not retargeted with ads.
2) AI predictions and insights
In this new version, in addition to Machine Learning insights, Google Analytics 4 features alerts to help marketers stay on top of the latest data trends, such as the increase in demand for a product they sell. They can use Google Analytics 4 to predict outcomes, such as the potential revenue a business can get from a certain subset of customers and cancellation rates, among other important metrics. These insights can help marketers predict actions their customers may take in the long term.
3) Code-free event tracking
Google Analytics’ expanded code-free features make it quite simple for marketers to measure and track actions on the app and website in real time. This could be video playback or page scrolling and can be done without the need to add code or set up event tracking in Google Tag Manager. In Universal Analytics, event tracking required additional processing, which included latency and data not being available until the next day.
4) Reports framed in the customer lifecycle
This is an important difference between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 in terms of report organisation. The reports are now organised to help marketers focus on specific aspects of the customer journey. For example, you can look at which channels are generating new customers in the User Acquisition Report, as well as the Retention and Engagement Reports can be used to analyse and understand customer actions.
5) User Data Controls
Google Analytics 4 offers options to help advertisers comply with various data regulations. The new feature comes with a consent mode designed for sites that want to obtain end-user consent to collect analytics data. This mode offers separate consent options for ads and analytics. In this new version, data deletion features have also been enhanced, allowing companies to comply with users’ deletion requests. They can do this without having to remove more data than necessary. It also includes a preview mode for businesses to check the data they are about to delete.
New features in Google Analytics 4
Also check out some new features unique to Google Analytics 4:
- Google Analytics 4 allows marketers to edit, correct and adjust the way events are tracked in their analytics, without having to edit the code on the spot.
- Data import can now include a wide variety of data from non-website sources (like apps, for example), all in a single property.
- Multi-domain tracking that also requires no code adjustments can be done in the user interface.
- Google Analytics 4 is focused on providing marketers with an understanding of the customer journey. It is more focused on measuring an end-to-end buying journey rather than individual metrics across pages, segments or devices.
Want to learn more about Google Analytics 4, or need professional help implementing the tool in your company? Get in touch with our experts!