The NextGEN of Google Analytics is Here
Google has just launched their new and improved Google Analytics 4.0, extending beyond Universal Analytics. The New GA relies on AI and machine learning to create predictions for traffic, conversion, products, etc. What does this mean for businesses? Read on for 10 key things to know, as well as a deeper dive into this exciting update to Google Analytics.
10 Key Things to Know About GA 4.0:
- It no longer requires coding or GTM for event tracking.
- You can access 4.0 from your current Analytics account by going into Admin 🡪 Property (Create new property) 🡪 Select (Web and app) 🡪 where you can track your website, mobile app or both.
- It is moving away from cookies and will no longer use third-party cookies to track performance.
- GA 4.0 is where AI meets data for marketers.
- You will have access to predictive metrics and customer lifecycle metrics.
- It provides more granular data control.
- It allows improved cross-device measurement & tracking.
- It allows deeper integration with search efforts on Google Ads.
- Google will be investing more in Analytics 4.0, and will stop updating the older version.
- While GA in the past was divided into Acquisition, Behavior, Audience, and Conversion reports, the new platform is divided into Life Cycle, User, Events, Explore, and Configure.
What This Means for SEM & Google Ads
As we know, Google Analytics is the backbone of a strong SEM strategy, enabling us to make data-driven decisions and immediately adapt to market changes, test results, trends, etc.
With GA 4.0, we now have better audience integration, empowering better exclusion and audience selection based on actions taken across devices and platforms. This means you will be able to see, for example, if someone came from the web, but ended up converting from desktop, which could open up whole new channels for understanding the customer journey.
From a user behaviour standpoint, Google has introduced more user-centric metrics such as LTV (Life Time Value) and expected average churn rate, empowering more informed long term strategies.
GA 4.0 will also allow you to set up enhanced measurements to automatically measure interactions and content on your site, in addition to standard page view measurement.
In this example, you can see on the dashboard right after being set up where GA captures the Page View + Video Progress + Video Start as part of the enhanced measurement features. See below:
This means, you will no longer need to code or use GTM to track specific actions on-page, making it easier and possibly faster for marketers. This is especially beneficial for marketers who do not have the know-how or access to make code changes, or in organizations where code changes need to go through approvals or a potentially lengthy ticketing process.
Why You Should Set Up 4.0 (aside from the benefits)
In their update, Google noted that they will be investing in the new platform moving forward and, therefore, moving away from the old one. Your current GA account will still be fully functional, but this likely means that things like support, bug fixes and updates will be phased out, so it’s a good idea to upgrade now.
How To Get Setup
The first step is to know what account type you currently have. If you were part of the GA 4.0 beta program, your account would have been known as “App + Web properties”. If you were not part of the beta, your account type would now be known as “Universal Analytics”.
If you have a Universal Analytics account, you can easily create your new GA 4.0 property from your existing one, meaning you won’t lose your current data. The link above will give you the information you need to do this.
Note: If you did not previously have a GA account, GA 4.0 is now the default, so you would automatically get it upon setting up your account.
When it comes to tagging, you can continue to use existing on-page tags or add new on-page tags. Currently, there are no benefits or downsides to either choice, this is a matter of preference.
Here is a sneak peek into the new GA experience look and feel:
As mentioned earlier, the previous categorization of Acquisition, Behavior, Audience, and Conversion reports has been updated to Life Cycle, User, Events, Explore, and Configure. Here’s what that looks like:
The Bottom Line
Love it or hate it, Google Analytics 4.0 is here to stay, and there’s no question that the platform is getting more powerful with each iteration. What are your thoughts on the new GA?