Google Analytics 4 (GA4): Modern Analytics For A Data-Driven World
By Morgan Eichsteadt
The data landscape has significantly transformed as technology has evolved. With this shift, business owners and marketers rely on data-driven insights to inform decisions and predict trends more than ever before. Once upon a time, uncovering valuable data wasn’t always as accessible as logging in to accounts, toggling date ranges, clicking buttons and locating data points — imagine that concept! The relieving news is with Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) and other analytics solutions, the data analysis process feels approachable, somewhat less cumbersome and streamlined.
Moving into the future, we must address the complexity of the modern-day customer journey that usually involves multiple platforms. While UA is the current go-to solution, it just doesn’t facilitate cross-platform customer journey measurement or prioritize user privacy — both new challenges facing businesses today.
The ultimate question is: How do we continue to measure and navigate the influx of data available, while also respecting user privacy concerns?
The answer is: Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
What Is GA4?
Announced in October 2020, GA4 is Google’s next-generation analytics solution. GA4 is a new property type that operates across platforms to unify data for comprehensive analysis and reporting. In tandem with this announcement, Google also shared that GA4 will replace UA entirely as of July 1, 2023, and UA properties will no longer process data.
While GA4 adoption is ongoing, it’s important to understand the overall impact and what to expect in planning for full rollout. To help prepare, let’s explore key benefits and features associated with GA4.
GA4 Key Benefits + Features
- Consolidates app and website data into a single property using data streams. This provides a holistic view of the customer journey and relevant touchpoints.
- Operates using event-based data, rather than session-based data. The updated data model automates event tagging without additional coding needed for common web events like page views, scrolls, downloads, video views, etc. Learn about GA4’s enhanced event measurement feature.
- Provides privacy capabilities like cookieless measurement, and behavioral and conversion modeling. GA4 doesn’t rely on cookies, no longer stores IP addresses, and minimizes collection of user-level data.
- Utilizes predictive metrics powered by machine learning to automatically enrich data and forecast future user behavior. GA4 generates predictive insights and suggests predictive audiences.
- Offers direct integrations with media platforms to foster engagement across apps and websites. Product integrations include Google Ads, Ad Manager, BigQuery, Display & Video 360, Merchant Center, Google Play, Search Ads 360, Search Console, Google Optimize and Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
GA4 Is the Future
GA4 is here to stay, and UA properties stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. It’s time to make the transition from UA to GA4 sooner rather than later! Plan for the future and build valuable historical data in GA4, while UA continues to work its magic and remains a source of truth. GA4 and UA are incomparable in many ways, so dedicate time and resources to learning nuances.
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