Google Analytics 4 is Google’s most recent iteration of its Analytics programme. It’s the latest and greatest when it comes to both online tracking and analytics. It comes with a wide variety of tracking and reporting features that distinguish it from its predecessor, Universal Analytics.
So, how good is the new platform update, and what are the benefits of Google Analytics 4?
A brief overview of Google Analytics
Believe it or not, the Google Analytics software is almost 16 years old. It revolutionised the analytics industry when it was released back in 2005. Since then, Google has stayed on top of the analytics game for years.
7 years after its release, the original GA was replaced by Universal Analytics, a better version that came with a lot of new features. Those features include custom metrics and dimensions, cross-platform tracking, tracking code that can be attached to any device, and more.
Then came Google Analytics 360, in 2016. GA 360 boasted seven main products under its umbrella: Analytics, Optimise, Tag Manager, Data Studio, Surveys, Attribution, and Audience Centre.
A year later, a newer version of Google Analytics was announced, known as Global Site Tag. It aimed at unifying Google’s tagging system in order to simplify the whole process for the average user.
Then Google Analytics 4 came into fruition in 2020, improving on almost everything that was already good and useful about UA and what came after it.
Benefits of Google Analytics 4
The benefits of Google Analytics 4 are many, and in this article, we have decided to focus on 10 of them, in no particular order. See below:
Before the release of Google Analytics 4, people had to deal with separate engagement measurements on their websites and apps. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in its beta stage, GA 4 was known as Google Analytics App+Web.
Users of GA no longer have to go through a tedious, manual process to have a complete idea of their engagement metrics across all platforms.
Benefits of Google Analytics 4: Unlimited data
Universal Analytics has a monthly limit of 10 million hits per property. And a lot of that data is sampled simply because if you choose to process the data of any property that surpasses 500,000 sessions, Google will automatically sample it.
In case you are not familiar with the concept, data sampling refers to the process of selecting a part of data for analysis and reporting. It is basically a cost and time-efficient way of analysing large amounts of data.
Things are different with GA4, though, since the sample has been removed in the standard reports. Additionally, the amount of data that can be collected with each property is unlimited. Yes, it is true that sampling can be quite useful, especially if you’re dealing with segments or secondary dimensions. However, it fails to ensure that you’re getting data that is complete and reliable.
Advanced segmentation parameters
Within GA4, audiences enable you to reach more targeted segments for superior marketing campaigns. For example, GA4 allows you to create segments that are purely based on temporal events. That option isn’t available in Universal Analytics.
In other words, you can focus more on the interactions of people across all platforms and devices. Moreover, this additional element of time control in your segmentation means that you can better analyse both the behaviour of users and the amount of time they spend on your website(s).
On a side note, any Google Analytics 4 audience that you decide to publish will be instantly available to you in Google Ads, allowing you to run accurate campaigns.
Google Analytics 4 isn’t limited to the percentage of people that leave your page without interacting with it and such. Instead, it focuses on advanced engagement events such as a site search, a scroll, a file download, and more.
You get to know the nitty-gritty of everything that a user does from the moment they land on your page to the moment they leave it. Such data will give you an insight into whether your landing page or blog post is engaging enough for people to stick around for a download or a sign-up.
Such tracking capabilities are also available in Universal Analytics, but they require decent amounts of custom coding. In other words, they aren’t as readily available as they are in Google Analytics 4.
Benefits of Google Analytics 4: Predictive metrics
Using proprietary machine learning, Google will predict the future behaviour of your users and provide you with the necessary data about your customers.
- Purchase probability: this refers to the probability that a user who was active in the last 28 days will perform a conversion within the next 7 days
- Churn probability: this refers to the probability that a user who was active on your website or app within the past week will not be active within the next 7 days
- Revenue prediction: as the name suggests, this refers to the expected revenue from all purchase conversions within the next 28 days from a user
Using these metrics, you can create predictive audiences. Those audiences can be used to initiate thoroughly targeted ad campaigns in crucial time periods.
Built for the future
Nowadays, the scene for online tracking and analytics is full of uncertainties. That’s due to the stricter privacy laws that are being implemented by regulators and governments all around the world. Tracking users using cookies is becoming more and more difficult. That is a blow in the back for most analytics software.
However, Google Ads’ Vice President Vidhya Srinivasan, in a blog post from last year, assures people that:
“Because the technology landscape continues to evolve, the new Analytics is designed to adapt to a future with or without cookies or identifiers. It uses a flexible approach to measurement, and in the future, will include modelling to fill in the gaps where the data may be incomplete.”
This modelling is based on Google’s state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence and machine learning.
Back in the day, only Google Analytics 360 users had access to a certain set of tools that allowed them to perform advanced analysis and to create ad hoc funnels. These tools are now readily available, free of charge for Google Analytics 4 users. They include:
- More advanced funnel customisation options enable you to set up extremely specific funnels
- A Path analysis, which tells the most common routes taken by users once they land on your site
- Easy to understand heat maps
- A user explorer report, which allows you to take a thorough look at user segments that matter to your overall analysis and goals
Our 8th pick for the benefits of Google Analytics 4 will go to the BigQuery integration into GA4. BigQuery is a data software that allows users to process SQL queries at extremely high speeds.
Such a combination gives you the ability to analyse terabytes upon terabytes of raw data quicker than ever.
Similar to the way certain analysis tools were previously only available to paying Google Analytics 360 users, BigQuery is now a free addition for Google Analytics 4 users. However, there are certain limits and quotas on the amount of data that you can store and analyse in the free tier. More specifically, you get a monthly 10GB of free storage and up to 1TB of query data to be analysed. You can do wonders with such quotas, but if you feel like you need more, you can pay for it.
Benefits of Google Analytics 4: Complete user experience
Google Analytics 4 features a new section called Life Cycle. It covers everything from acquisition, engagement to monetisation and retention.
What are those?
These sections refer to the journey that a regular customer takes on your website or page. In other words, Google Analytics 4 now allows you to focus on the behaviour of customers like never before. And as such, you will be able to create more elaborate strategies that allow you to achieve better engagement stats and such.
Additionally, the reports provided to you under the acquisition and engagement sections can very well tell you which of your ad campaigns are working and which aren’t.
Not only that
But of course, your focus shouldn’t only be on engagement; after all, you’re a business, and your prime goal is to make revenue. And this is where the monetisation reports come into play. They will give you a clear idea of whether you’re meeting your revenue goals or not.
Last but not least, we have retention reports. These reports provide you with information about customer loyalty and how to entice them to stick around.
This complete user experience is all thanks to GA4’s cross-platform capabilities and its straightforward interface. A user can first land on your website using their computer then eventually find themselves making a purchase using your app. GA4 enables you to track them from start to finish, without any detail missed.
When you think about it, Google Analytics 4’s tools greatly decrease the chances of you collecting misleading information. As a result, it can help you to make better marketing decisions.
Consequently, you will find yourself wasting less and less ad spend. That, surprise, surprise, leads to a better ROI (return on investment).