In October, Google made announcement about its new version of Google Analytics (GA4), which incorporates information from both websites and apps. The release of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) represents a significant change in how web properties and app properties are tracked, how website activity is tracked. GA4 is a new Google product which enables the collection of web and app data. The switch from Google Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 is a big change in the digital era.

Let’s understand what is GA4?

GA4 is the new latest version of Google Analytics (GA) that incorporates both websites and apps. It means it can track both apps and web visits in a single property in GA properties. It enables you to measure both traffic and engagement on your app and website. GA4 allows you to collect data from both apps and web visits of a property listed under Google. Earlier, website requires cookies consent in order to track performance, it was cookie based tracking. With the new version of GA4, this reliability on cookies will decrease.

This brand-new generation of web analytics will allow marketers to thoroughly examine crucial client usage indicators, instead of just measuring traffic. Google Analytics 4 uses AI and machine learning to deliver more in-depth insights into how customers engage with your website and app while tracking the complete customer journey across various platforms.

What is the difference between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics?

The major difference between GA4 and UA is that GA4 enables you to track both web and app visits in a single GA property. GA4 uses event based model to collect data, which allows more accurate reporting, while UA uses user interaction and user session based model to collect data and make reports. Additionally, GA4 automatically tracks and collects events such as session start, first visit, which means that as soon as you set up a new GA4 property; it will start collecting useful data.

Let’s dig in step by step:

GA4 vs Universal Analytics

To learn more about Why Google Analytics is Important for your Website, read our blog:

1. Dashboard

There are changes in the dashboard of GA4, you will notice GA4 dashboard is more organised and customised. The navigator bar displays reports, home, configure, explore and library. You can view real time stats on the right followed by areas you have recently viewed. Under Insights, in the bottom, you will find predictive insights based on AI. In the Reports section, you will find many sections where you view several types of reports and can create different types of reports as well.

2. Session based model Vs Event based model

In UA properties, Analytics aggregates data into sessions, and these sessions are the core of all reporting. A session is a series of user interactions with your website that take place during a specific time range. UA was session based model where sessions could be page views, events, ecommerce transactions, which Analytics record. GA4 is event based model which gathers and preserves user interactions with

your website or app as events. Events have the ability to gather and communicate data that further explains the action the user did or provides additional context for the event or user. Events, like page views, button clicks, user actions, or system events, give you information about what’s happening on your website or in your app.

3. Data as Events Vs Sessions

GA4 count each and every session as event. In GA4, you can count every type of hit in UA as event such as page views, user timings, any transaction, event. A hit is a simple transaction that a user does on your website, it could be a click or a scroll or a file download or purchase or any type of transaction that can be trackable. These all interactions are called as events in GA4. UA also measures certain events but with the help of Google Tag Manager whereas GA4 track events by default and categorize them into two categories – automatically collected events and enhanced measurement events. We can say, all measurements are events in GA4. Things are more simplified in GA4 as everything here is counted as events. And together with events, you can create more accurate reports based on different parameters.

4. More control to Digital Marketers

No doubt, newest version GA4 gives more control to the digital marketing agencies and digital marketers. Marketers can personalize the dashboard in GA4 where they can view reports as per their requirements and can segregate reports as most important and least important. Marketers can also create custom segments based on trigger events which are essentially a subset of events that occurred on your website or application. This enables you to more properly track consumer interactions.

5. Cross-Platform Tracking

GA4 enables marketers to track cross platform users i.e. when users are active on more then on platform as GA 4 tracks both web and app data in one single property. You can view complete customer journey from start to finish with the help of cross platform tracking. You can even view engagement, acquisition, monetization and retention. From one platform to another. This is done with the help of unique user ID. This unique user id is sent to Google Analytics from website or app, and then this ID is reported to GA4 property. As and when user logs in on any platform, the reports will connect the users data to their ID. This data can be easily used to derive information.

Till now, you must have understood that GA4, the newest version is a game changer as it provides with all insights that matters. GA4 creates a framework for describing and gathering data in the manner that is most valuable for organisation. Collecting and analyzing information that you need is most meaningful.

Here are some advantages of GA4:

● Implified and organised reporting with new GA4 tools.

● Unified metric and dimension scopes as GA4 is the unified view between app and web.

● Track important marketing data & create reports in GA4.

● Enhanced measurements based on events.

● GA4 provides more accurate reports.

● GA4 provides automatic tracking.

● GA4 allows targeted segments in audiences which is beneficial for marketing campaigns.

Gives more precise information on user activity and user behavior by providing complete user journey under Life Cycle on dashboard.

Better ROI as now you can plan your marketing campaigns more effectively.

GA4 allows you to build funnels and apply on collected data.

BigQuery integration, it is a part of free suite of features in gA4.

Cross domain tracking can be done in GA4 by simply adding list of domains in a web data stream.

Nikhil Agrawal is the Director of Digital Marketing and Strategy of IS Global Web, a leading digital marketing agency that provides world-class search marketing services and web & application development. He has extensive experience across digital marketing verticals for over 10 years. He is helping many businesses for their search traffic, conversion optimization, product launches and their online presence. You can find Nikhil on LinkedIn & Twitter.

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