Summary: A more human view of site engagement, powerful AI-driven predictive analytics, improved journey tracking, and robust audience segmentation make GA4 the intuitive analytics platform we’ve all been waiting for.
In October 2020 Google announced the introduction of Google Analytics 4 (GA4). In July 2023, the current Universal Analytics will be deprecated.
There are some major differences between Universal Analytics and GA4. One of the biggest differences is GA4’s use of machine learning to derive insights from the data collected. To make this use of predictive analytics valuable to users, Google Analytics brought a number of changes to the new platform.
Here are five of the top benefits of GA4.
1. User-centric engagement metrics
In GA4, Google has made it intuitive for marketers and data analytics to dive into user-centric reports focused on the Lifecycle and the User. GA4’s powerful new user centric metrics and dimensions use AI and machine learning to predict customer actions and implement more intelligent tracking and predictive analytics.
Universal Analytics’ bounce rate has been done away with and replaced by more powerful and useful engagement metrics. With GA4, a session is considered engaged when it lasts for at least 10 seconds, has at least one conversion event, or involves at least two page views.
GA4's dashboard showing engagement metrics over time.
GA4 metrics use events to measure engagement and give a well-rounded view of website visitor behaviors and actions. The new feature, enhanced events, allow you to know exactly how your website visitors interacted with your content. Enhanced events include:
- Scroll data
- File downloads
- Site search
- Video engagement
This level of event tracking requires no custom code or developer assistance, so you can easily understand how users interact with their site, what content is compelling users to take action, and what content needs further optimization.
2. BigQuery integration
BigQuery is a data warehouse that helps you manage and analyze your data. It includes built-in features like machine learning, geospatial analysis, and business intelligence. With BigQuery, you can use SQL to quickly answer complex questions without the need for infrastructure management.
GA4’s integration with BigQuery allows you to analyze massive datasets within seconds, perform advanced analyses on raw data from GA4, and gather valuable insights from the platform’s machine learning. In addition, you can combine this data with data from your other marketing or CRM tools, creating a repository that truly tells the story of your customer journeys.
3. Improved customer journey tracking
With GA4, the focus is no longer on measurements easily fragmented by device or platform, such as sessions. Instead, the focus is on users and their interactions, captured as events. These events can happen on a combination of and across both website and app.
GA4 Lifecycle reports are designed to be aligned with the stages of the customer journey - acquisition, engagement, monetization, and retention. With these reports, you can better understand the journey, identify gaps and opportunities, and gain insights into where to tweak your marketing strategies. This spans from the initial touchpoint with a website visitor all the way through to retention of a customer after purchase—all possible via GA4’s event-driven measurement model.
4. Powerful Audience Segmentation
GA4 audiences provide more targeted segments for marketing campaigns. New to GA4, you can create segments based on events and time. This allows you to group your users based on interactions and time between events versus arbitrary device categories or platforms. By honing in on these more powerful measurements, marketers can create precise audiences that give a valuable picture of who is using your website and how they are engaging with the content, creating endless opportunities to optimize conversions and sales.
As if that weren’t enough, GA4 will automatically share audiences with Google Ads so you can laser focus your paid advertising campaigns on those website visitors that exhibit a specific pattern of behaviors.
GA4 allows for deep audience segmentation.
With more targeted audiences, marketers are able to plan optimized campaigns and reach precise audiences at the right time. Better marketing campaign audiences leads to more successful campaigns and better ROI on both marketing and ad spend.
5. Analysis Hub
Analysis Hub is a collection of advanced analysis techniques to help you uncover deeper insights into your customers’ behaviors that go beyond the standard reports. Tools previously available only to GA360 customers are now available to everyone for free with GA4.
In the new analysis hub, marketers can choose a variety of ways to tell data stories.
What tools are available in the Analysis Hub?
- Heat maps to add an additional dimension to your analysis.
- Segment overlap report that shows relationships between targeted segments.
- Funnel customization options that enable the set up of specific funnels.
- User explorer report to get a closer look at user segments most relevant to your analysis.
- Path analysis to identify the most common navigation paths taken by users across the website.
- Visualization techniques to apply to your analysis.
- Export analysis data in a variety of formats.
GA4 gives marketers different ways to drill down and visualize data.
We can help
Need help getting GA4 set up for your organization’s website? We can help with that! From strategizing what events to track to helping build reports and dashboards, our Marketing and Optimization team are your partners in the new future of analytics. Let's chat!