Considering GA4? Here Are Five Reasons to Implement It
By Jeff Daley, Bite IT Marketing
Google has completely rebuilt the Universal Analytics (UA) tracking tool to measure website and app data more efficiently. This marks the third major overhaul for the Google Analytics platform hence the name Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
Differences between GA4 and UA?
- Event vs Session Based Tracking
In Universal Analytics, users are tracked primarily via sessions (a fixed timeframe which starts when the user first lands on a site). In contrast, GA4 tracking is event-based with a focus on recording all user actions on-site for deeper customer-intent analysis. This also helps with deduplicating users and puts greater focus on site optimisation and conversions rather than just caring that users get there. It is important to note that Universal session “hits” are tracked in GA4 as events so no information is lost by moving from UA to GA4.
- Centralised Cross-Platform Tracking
Universal Analytics requires users to create separate tracking properties for web and mobile apps. In contrast GA4 allows you to mix data from your apps and website in a single property. You can place the same tracking code in the different properties (i.e., website, iOS app, or Android app) and consolidate the data to track users between the streams as they move along the buyer’s journey. Being able to get a clear picture as to how users move back and forth between platforms before making a final purchase decision can provide invaluable insight into improving conversions.
- Built-in Event Tracking
GA4 comes with several of the most common event tracking conversions that you may want to monitor on your site built-in. Examples include button clicks and video views. This means that you don’t have to write HTML listeners and configure firing tags for common website events anymore. This is in direct contrast to Universal Analytics which requires you to write code to track common website/app events.
- Better Insights, More Recommendations
Thanks to the cross-platform consolidation of user data and the inclusion of new machine learning algorithms, GA4 is able to provide more accurate, actionable insights that can help predict user behaviour. e.g. users likely to purchase over the next 7 days etc. While this data was available in Universal Analytics, it required users to do a lot more of the heavy lifting in terms of data manipulation and analysis to find valuable insights. GA4 identifies user trends based on their cross-platform actions and recommends insights to optimise conversions.
- Data Privacy By Design
Created in the age of GDPR, GA4 was built with privacy in mind. It provides access to cookie-less and IP-anonymised tracking capabilities such as Google Signals and User-ID which allow users to be tracked via their Google/app accounts vs cookies. Both these methods are opt-in only, ensuring GDPR compliance. This privacy-centric approach will help to future-proof your digital measurement framework against new GDPR/privacy concerns.
What Others Are Saying
“The new Google Analytics is just what it sounds like: new and improved. Google Analytics is for apps and websites. If you’re ready for actionable insights regarding those who view your content, Google Analytics 4 is the solution.” – Search Engine Optimisation Account Manager
“You’re probably asking yourself: “As an SEO, should I take action for GA4?” The answer is yes!” – Semrush
Things to Consider
GA4 will not include historical data after implementation. It is therefore recommended to run GA4 and UA analytics tracking side-by-side to maintain historical data while getting the benefits of the new GA4 features going forward. GA4 is not perfect as yet, but it is the future and we suggest jumping aboard the GA4 train.
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