6 Reasons Why Google Analytics 4 Is A Real Improvement
Google Analytics 4, the successor to Universal Analytics is coming.
This new platform, GA4, was first announced on March 16, 2022 and goes into full effect on July 1, 2023.
In the process, the method of measurement is changing and the interface also received a thorough redesign. Not really a refresh, rather a completely new user interface.
There has been a lot of commotion around that. The new interface requires more effort. You have to become a little more technical as a marketer. And the learning curve is just that little bit steeper with GA4.
Change is good, and from a technical standpoint, this new (to most) type of analytics is how the industry evolves. From session-driven to event-driven analytics, more uniform with product analytics.
By moving away from sessions based on pageviews, we get user-level data that in turn triggers events. This makes it possible to measure through from campaign clicks to e.g. the use of a specific functionality in a SAAS product in the same format. In terms of breaking silos, this matters.
Since Google Ads is one of the largest advertising platforms, this may well benefit marketing when it comes to attribution.
Customer journey measurement in one platform
For the first time, there is an accessible platform to fully measure the digital customer journey. Set events as targets and filter target groups? Possible! Measuring the order of magnitude of a customer journey phase? Also possible!
This was already possible with other tools such as Snowplow or Segment. However, Google Analytics 4 is the first to make a full implementation in one widely accessible platform. So can an Adobe Suite, but it's not for everyone.
Up-to-date with industry standards
Google Analytics 4 works for websites as well as mobile apps and even games. For many marketers, it takes getting used to the interface, and yes it is a little different from the one that has had 20 years on it by now. That will work out, that new way of analyzing. In addition, you stay up-to-date as a marketer. Matomo, Piwik Pro or other lightweight analytics platforms are nice, but event-driven analytics is the way forward, even for marketers.
More features out of the box
Out of the box, GA4 measures a lot of events. In Universal analytics, we had to make do with just page views. Now we automatically get outbound clicks, scroll events, video views and file downloads. That covers a lot of ground for many small websites. The threshold for measuring is noticeably lower. If you still want to get more out of it, you can get to work work with Google Tag Manager.
Bounce rates are no more!
Google Analytics 4 no longer provides this statistic.... Whew. A cry of joy for many. Time to supplement that report with better metrics such as: engagement rate or engagement time.
Funnel reports on steroids
Funnel reports are now possible for all event types. In Google Analytics Universal there was the enhanced e-commerce report and setting up a form as a funnel was also possible, but that's pretty much where it stopped. Setting up funnels based on a click was not possible by default out of the box. You had to come up with some hocus pocus for that with virtual page views that could skew your page views. No more! Google Analytics 4 got your back! Events funnel here we come.
Fair is fair. The interface, that's a love-hate relationship, but the ability to build reports yourself has become virtually endless and opens doors for marketers who want to dig deeper. Need a little more time? That takes some getting used to. You'll get the hang of it quickly though! Release your inner analyst and go explore.