GA4 Google Analytics: Basic Guide to Understanding Your Website Data
As of the start of 2023, there are 5.16 billion internet users worldwide.
Having an online presence has become an essential part of business, but there’s more to it than you might think. A website is ideal, but you want to be able to see how it’s performing, so you know what’s working well and what isn’t.
Tracking metrics allows you to determine how effective your website and app are. From this, you can make improvements to benefit your business in the future. GA4 Google Analytics is one of the best platforms available for this.
This guide will provide a rundown of Google Analytics 4. For a better understanding of your data, keep reading.
What Is GA4 Google Analytics?
GA4 is Google’s latest version of their analytics software. While it’s natural to think of this as an upgrade from their Universal Analytics platform, it’s actually an entirely new tool.
It allows you to collect both app and web data so that you can track a wide range of metrics. This will give you an idea of how your audience is interacting with your brand.
Support for Universal Analytics will stop on July 1, 2023. This means that if you want to continue tracking metrics with Google’s service, you’ll need to move over to GA4. For any new projects, GA4 will be the default.
Using GA4 is one of the best ways to better understand your clients. Through this, you can improve the quality of your services/products based on your customers’ needs and wants.
GA4 offers several benefits over Universal Analytics. It’s more flexible, provides more detail, and collects data more efficiently. You can use it to increase your overall revenue, which is one of the main goals of any business.
How Does Google Analytics 4 Work?
GA4 uses machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) at its core. This helps make it superior to Universal Analytics in various ways. For example, it can provide customer insights at any stage of the customer journey automatically.
People have been using AI to gather customer insights for several years, but the tools previously available don’t have anywhere near the level of functionality of GA4. It can also predict various metrics, giving you an idea of how your customers are likely to behave in the future.
What Makes GA4 Different From Google Analytics?
One of the reasons for the creation of GA4 was that Google felt Universal Analytics didn’t fully meet the needs of marketers. This new platform provides several new features that make it the ultimate tool for tracking metrics online.
The first obvious change with GA4 is that the dashboard has been redesigned. The new platform has a more modern and streamlined feel, and various elements have been moved. Some reports have remained the same, but are in a new location, and a few have been removed completely.
There’s a navigation bar on the left side of the screen that you can use to access different areas. At the bottom, you’ll see the Insights section that shows a range of predictive insights.
GA4 allows you to customise the dashboard so that you can get a layout and style of your choosing. An example of this is the ability to add custom segments for trigger events based on specific interactions. These will alert you of certain customer behaviours so that you can track these types of interactions more accurately.
You can also use Google Data Studio to design personalised visualisations for the data you’re collecting. This won’t have a huge impact on the functionality of GA4, but you can work with a design style that you prefer.
One of the most impressive new features of GA4 is predictive insights. This can give you a better idea of the types of customer behaviours you can expect in the future. With this information, you can make proactive business decisions to achieve better results.
Some examples of the metrics that GA4 can predict are:
- Purchase probability
- Revenue prediction
- Churn probability
When developing strategies, knowing your audience is crucial. Predictive insights can help you by showing how your future audience will behave. For example, GA4 might predict how many customers are likely to make a purchase from you in the next month.
You can also create social media campaigns and targeted ads in advance. You’ll then be able to put these into action as and when needed.
Better Google Ads Integration
Google Ads can be great for marketing, especially for a new business that isn’t benefiting from SEO (search engine optimization) yet. With GA4, you can track metrics directly from your ads with ease, regardless of whether users are on the web or an app.
You’ll be able to see conversion rates for Google Ads as well as several other channels such as YouTube Ads, social media, and email. This will show you where your brand is performing the best, and where it’s performing the worst. You can then make changes to improve things in the future.
GA4 can even show you what keywords people are searching that lead them to your website. These high-ranking keywords can help you improve your SEO strategy.
Reporting is very in-depth with GA4, but it organises things in a way that makes it easy to manage and understand. You can see various metrics throughout the entire marketing funnel giving you a comprehensive view of your customers’ behaviour at every stage.
In the Life Cycle section, for example, you’ll be able to see reports on acquisition, engagement, monetisation, and retention. Of these, Universal Analytics only provided acquisition reports, so you couldn’t see nearly as much information.
The Analysis section is another new addition. You can use it to create charts, graphs, and more based on the metrics you’re tracking. There are various templates readily available, making this very convenient.
Another major upgrade for GA4 is cross-platform tracking. For many marketers, this is the most important benefit that GA4 has to offer.
With Universal Analytics, it was almost impossible to track a single user across various devices. This meant that if someone took certain steps on your app, and then completed the customer journey on the web, you wouldn’t be able to determine if it was the same customer or two different ones.
GA4 uses unique user IDs to remedy this. Each customer will create their ID when signing up on the app or website.
Whenever they interact with your brand, Google Analytics with record their data. If they then switch to a different platform, GA4 will recognise their user ID, and continue from where it left off.
This means you can easily track the entire customer journey for every customer. You can also build more comprehensive customer models based on the data you can extrapolate. As such, you’ll be able to make better-informed decisions about the future of your business.
Migrating to GA4 Google Analytics
A new property will automatically use GA4, but if you have a project that already exists, it will likely be using Universal Analytics. It’s important to bear in mind that these are separate platforms, so to migrate over you’ll need to make sure you first have both of them running at the same time.
You can’t import data from Universal Analytics to GA4. You can, however, transfer your configurations over by linking the accounts. This will make migrating easier as you won’t need to worry about going through the configuration again.
It’s generally considered a good idea to move over to GA4 as soon as you can. Universal Analytics is retiring soon, so you’ll need to make the change at some point.
It can be difficult to understand how to use GA4 as it’s so different from Universal Analytics. The sooner you migrate, the more time you’ll have to familiarize yourself with everything before Universal Analytics stops working. You’ll also be able to start taking advantage of the many benefits GA4 offers sooner, giving you an edge over your competitors.
Using GA4 Google Analytics for Your Business
Using GA4 Google Analytics offers a wide range of benefits. You can see how customers are interacting with your brand, gain predictive insights, and improve your overall digital marketing strategy. It’s better to move over to GA4 as soon as possible so you can start reaping the benefits it provides.
One thing to bear in mind is that it’s not easy to use. To do so effectively, you might need to undertake Google Analytics Training. Alternatively, you could hire a professional digital marketing agency to help.
Cosmik Carrot offers a range of services that can help your business online. Contact us to hear more about our digital marketing services today.