Web analytics is not a new phenomenon. It is almost as old as the internet itself, though the field has transformed dramatically since its inception. Today, millions of businesses worldwide rely on Google Analytics, GA, for short, to track visitor engagement across web domains, mobile apps, and offline APIs.
Google Analytics is one of the most powerful web analytics tools available to businesses, providing in-depth insight into your website and online performance. GA is constantly evolving to provide its users with greater insights and analysis, and the next generation of Google Analytics is here: GA4.
With GA4, businesses will be able to collect data more accurately and get insights into the customer journey like never before. This blog post will look at what GA4 is, how it works, and what benefits it offers businesses.
What is GA4?
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the next generation of analytics from Google. It’s designed to give businesses more accurate insights into their user’s journey by collecting data more effectively across devices and platforms. GA4 also offers new features such as cross-device reporting and attribution modeling.
Google has described GA4 as a “next-generation approach to privacy-first tracking, x-channel measurement, and AI-based predictive data”. By implementing Google’s advanced machine learning model, GA4 can accumulate data for website traffic and user behavior without relying on hits from each page. It also aids organizations in understanding their customer base, and while it might not be completely cookieless yet, Google is currently modeling without cookies.
How G4 works?
GA4 works by tracking events that happen on your website or app and then uses this data to give you insights into how users interact with your business. GA4 uses a new type of data called “Events” to do this. Events are different from page views or other types of data that are typically collected by analytics tools. This is because they’re not just based on what users do on your website or app but also on how they interact with it. For example, an Event could be ‘Add to Cart’, ‘Complete Purchase’, or ‘Send Message’.
One of the main benefits of GA4 is that it allows you to collect data from multiple devices and platforms in one place. This means you can get a complete picture of how users interact with your business, whether they’re using a desktop computer, a mobile phone, or a tablet.
What are the reasons for the changes?
Google Analytics was built as a hosted analytics solution heavily focused on quantitative data. Its farthest-reaching effort, Universal Analytics (UA), was introduced in 2012. Universal Analytics lived up to its moniker by allowing for tracking users across multiple devices and platforms by assigning user IDs. Through this software, offline behavior monitoring, demographics, and machine learning provided consumer insight with incredible detail at the cost of user privacy.
Partially in response to Universal Analytics’ overreach, many governments around the world passed new online privacy laws, the most well-known being the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Google released Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to better comply with the new rules in 2020. GA4 only uses first-party cookies, and its Consent Mode adjusts the types of data collected based on user permissions. However, GA4 can still offer detailed consumer insight by tracking hit collection. GA4 considers every event a hit, collecting data that stretches far beyond page views.
GA4 also makes upgrades unrelated to privacy, like collecting data in the same way for both web and mobile. Other new features include real-time reports, cross-platform reporting, and the ability to exclude users for inappropriate behaviors. Universal Analytics officially shuts down in July 2023 in favor of GA4.
What Benefits Does GA4 Offer Businesses?
Google’s latest version is the future of analytics. The new GA4 module reflects how consumers engage with brands. Placing customers first brings numerous benefits to businesses. Some of the most important ones include the following:
- Cross-Device Reporting: With GA4, businesses can see how users interact with their brand across multiple devices. This includes seeing which device users started their journey on (such as a desktop computer) and then how they continued their journey on other devices (such as a mobile phone).
- Accurate Insights: As we mentioned before, GA4 provides businesses with more accurate insights into the customer journey. This is because it collects both website and app data to better understand the customer journey. Better understanding the customer journey helps you visualize what customers are thinking, feeling, and doing: the key to understanding their deepest needs and ultimately providing a better service.
- Predictive metrics. GA4 automatically enriches your data by using Google machine-learning algorithms on your dataset to predict the users’ future behavior. With predictive metrics, you can identify users and their actions on the website that will likely lead to a purchase or conversion.
- Attribution Modelling: Attribution modeling is a way of attributing value to different touchpoints in the customer journey. With GA4, businesses can attribute value to events such as ‘Add to Cart’ or ‘Complete Purchase’. This helps companies to understand which touchpoints are most important in the customer journey, so they can invest more in these areas.
- New User Interface: GA4 has a new user interface that makes it easier to use than ever before. The interface has been designed to make all features and options easy to find and use.
- Privacy controls. GA4 focuses on data privacy and provides updated privacy features that should help users comply more easily with most data privacy laws. These include IP anonymization, data storage duration, cookieless measurement, and behavioral and conversion modeling.
What GA4 means for your business
GA4 is a customer-focused tool emphasizing tracking users rather than user sessions. A user can engage with various touch points on an organization’s site, mobile app, and across various platforms, enabling businesses to accumulate activity to build a more engaging and consistent user journey. If used properly, GA4 will allow you to ensure that your digital marketing efforts are impactful, and engaging, and drive your customers to action.
At Steady Reach SEO, we are dedicated partners in your success, hoping to build long-lasting relationships with all our clients by providing results-driven SEO strategies. We have years of experience in digital marketing, having worked with multiple industries, including roofing, commercial landscaping, custom promotions, home services, and many others.
Let us handle the setup of your GA4 implementation and focus on what you do best: running your business.