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A Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics 4

By 23 August 2021No Comments

It doesn’t matter if you’re a giant Fortune 500 company or a small, local business, Google Analytics is a critical tool that can help you market your products and services effectively. It’s helped millions of marketers across the globe track data and use it to increase brand exposure, improve audience engagement, and ultimately improve sales. And now, Google Analytics is getting even better! Google recently introduced Google Analytics 4 to the world in October 2020, a more intelligent program based off of Google’s App + Web property released in 2019. Now, when you build a new property, GA4 will be your default. With machine learning technology and advanced, automatic insights into your customer base, this platform is designed to improve your ROI long-term. Continue reading this beginners guide to Google Analytics 4 to learn more about how it works and the tremendous benefits it can offer your company.

What’s Different About Google Analytics 4?

With the new and improved Google Analytics 4, you can dive deeper into your customers’ behavior, interests, and how they interact with your company. This allows you to make better marketing and advertising decisions, from knowing when it’s time to unleash a new product to recognizing when you need to scale back. Although this new development won’t replace Universal Analytics (also known as the regular Google Analytics you know and love), it’s wise to consider jumping on the bandwagon and getting up to speed on GA4 now rather than later. The original Google Analytics isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but it’s likely that it will phase out eventually.

There are many differences between the original version and Google Analytics 4 (GA4). The main distinctions include enhanced measurements, combined web and app data, and disparate event tracking capabilities. With GA4, users get an updated user interface, unified metrics across apps and websites, more customer-focused measurements, data based on events, data collection ability without the need for cookies, connections to BigQuery, and the use of a machine learning algorithm.

Note: Remember to use Google Analytics and the Google Search Console simultaneously for the best results, as both are free tools to measure traffic and search results performance. Both offer incredible insights into what your audience is doing. For more information about the Google Search Console, check out our blog “The Google Search Console Data You Should Focus On.”

8 Benefits of Google Analytics 4 for Marketers

There are countless marketing advantages to using GA4, especially since it was designed for long-term success. Here are several benefits your company can gain from GA4:

  1. Cross-Channel Data

    One of the neatest features of GA4 is its ability to display and track data from websites and apps. Now, you can track, analyze, and oversee this data from one single dashboard for your ultimate convenience. Before, you used to have to rely on Google Analytics and a tool called Firebase to record mobile and application information separately. Jumping back and forth from app to website data was confusing and irritating. Today, GA4 is built with Firebase already included, so you can successfully and easily track cross-channel data and make quicker and wiser decisions accordingly.

  2. Upgraded Measurement Capabilities

    With GA4, you have increased flexibility in how you measure audience activity. You have the chance to exclude specific users based on their behavior on a temporary or permanent basis. This comes in handy when you’re retargeting, as you can control whether or not you continue to display the ad to them or not. Maybe a user recently bought your product or service, and you want to give them a break from seeing your ads. GA4 allows you to hide your ads from them for up to 60 days or wait until they make another purchase.

  3. Advanced AI Insights

    The artificial intelligence woven into GA4 helps break down giant, complicated sets of data into smaller, easily understandable pieces. And not only that, but it offers more precise predictive analytics, giving you a better idea of how your audience is behaving on your website and apps. This allows you the opportunity to focus on learning about and retaining your customers rather than collecting and sorting through huge piles of data and wondering if you’re doing it right. With GA4’s AI, you can finally get answers to questions like how many users are on your website and app, how much time are they spending on each platform, and where the most conversions are occurring.

  4. Real-Time Reports

    Knowing what your audience is doing right now can play a significant role in effective marketing tactics, as it helps you make the best possible decisions. If you can pinpoint which pages they’re viewing most, where they’re clicking, or what files they’re downloading that day, you’ll have the upper hand and be one step ahead of them. This is exactly what GA4 offers. Instead of only showing you customer data from weeks and months ago, GA4 provides you with reports of your audience’s activity 30 minutes prior to the report, so you can make quick edits and alterations in real-time.

  5. Improved Granular Controls

    It’s important for site owners to understand the data they’re gathering and why they need it. GA4 provides its users with additional opportunities to adhere to data regulations from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), so they can ensure they’re following all the rules. With these controls, you can automatically delete user and event-level data after a certain time period. It also offers Consent mode, which helps you out if you’re a company that needs user consent before collecting data from them. In this mode, you get one opt-in for analytics and a separate one for ads.

  6. Laser-Focus on the Customer Lifecycle

    GA4 concentrates on the customer journey, following their every move on the platform and organizing the reports accordingly. This strategic report design allows marketers to analyze specific spots on their audience’s journey to pinpoint what made them convert or decide not to purchase their product or service. You can see which channels are attracting new customers, how users are engaging, and if they remain loyal customers or leave after they buy an item. With GA4, companies can get a more comprehensive look at how their customers are interacting with their company from the first click on their website to their last purchase.

  7. Cookie or Cookie-Less Adaptability

    Privacy during internet browsing is a hot topic and is likely to continue that way for years to come. As users become warier and data becomes more and more private, third-party cookies (small bits of data that websites sometimes use to identify the user, their activity, and preferences) will soon be a thing of the past. That’s why adaptability is such an essential aspect of Google Analytics. The developers of GA4 understood the importance of versatility. As a result, they set the program to use a more flexible analysis process termed “machine learning modeling” to help fill in data gaps whether cookies are present or not.

    If you’re confused about cookies, we recommend taking a look at this article: “Everything You Need to Know About Cookies.”

  8. Easy Tracking of Conversions and Events

    Gone are the days of limited conversion tracking with Universal Analytics. The old-school program only allowed marketers to set up 20 conversions per report, leaving many stones unturned. With GA4, you have unlimited conversions and can quickly and easily identify any event as a conversion! You can also automate events if you wish and modify them according to certain parameters that you set. Some of these trackable events include outbound link clicks, video engagement, file downloads, page views, scrolls, etc.

An additional perk to using GA4 is that the setup process is fairly easy and quick! If you’re interested in setting up GA4 for yourself, check out this helpful article from Google: “Meet the Next Generation of Google Analytics: How to Get Started With the New Google Analytics.”

Gain Smarter Insights For Your Company With Google Analytics 4

In today’s ever-evolving digital marketing world, it can be risky for businesses to lag behind the latest trends. If you want to use the most cutting-edge programs to make the most out of your marketing, it’d be in your best interest to start taking advantage of all Google Analytics 4 has to offer. This program can put you a step ahead of your competition, giving you increased knowledge about your audience, improving user experience, and enabling you to better track data across websites and applications, all from one convenient place. And who doesn’t love more convenience?

It can be difficult for companies to keep up with the constantly changing digital landscape and tech innovation. There are countless moving parts to any marketing strategy, and one of those parts consists of Google Analytics. At Higher Ranking, our team of digital marketing specialists is well-versed in all things Google Analytics 4 and possesses a thorough understanding of the latest and greatest digital marketing trends. We do the research and the work, so you don’t have to! Whether you’re focusing on developing your mobile advertising strategy, need assistance with setting up pay-per-click or display ads, or you’re looking to optimize your conversion rate, the pros can get you the results you want and need to promote your brand, generate leads, and boost sales. Give us a call; we’ll be happy to help you out! 03 9399 1469