Exploring the future of data analytics with Google Analytics 4

Google's Analytics is an essential digital marketing tool that is used by millions of marketers globally. It is used to track, analyse, and optimise online activity, but the recent announcement of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a quantum leap into the future. As the default for all new Analytics properties, GA4 introduces a slew of modifications aimed at preparing organisations for a world without cookies. Here's what you should know.

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The significant differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics

At its very foundation, its purpose and functionality is what distinguishes it from the Universal Analytics paradigm. GA4 is Google Analytics' latest version and aims to provide critical insights in the age of privacy-conscious, data-driven decision-making.

User-centred evaluation and measurements

From a fundamental level, GA4 switches from session-based to user-centric measurement, which offers a unified view of the consumer journey across devices and platforms.  Where Universal Analytics condenses data into a single property, GA4 evaluates user interactions throughout your website and app.

Metrics for prediction and forecasting

GA4's AI-powered prediction analytics represent a significant step forward. GA4 anticipates future activities will involve users utilising machine learning, allowing for more efficient ad expenditure and a higher return on investment.

More extensive and comprehensive reporting

The revised reporting interface in GA4 is more user-friendly and easier customisable. Rather than focusing on specific website analytics, it focuses on providing marketers with insights into the entire client lifecycle, from acquisition to retention.

Event tracking and monitoring

The latest version has improved event tracking capabilities allowing organisations to easily track interactions such as page visits, scrolls, video engagement, and file downloads without the need for additional coding.

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Getting ready for the end of GA Universal

The transition to GA4 signals the end of Universal Analytics. However, it is critical not to hurry through this shift without proper planning. For advice on where to start, follow these three steps:

1. Set up a GA4 property

Begin by adding a new GA4 property to your existing Universal Analytics property. This dual configuration means you can continue collecting Universal Analytics data while also beginning to collect data in GA4. It allows you to become acquainted with the GA4 interface and its capabilities without interfering with your current analytics.

2. Understand GA4

Next, devote time to mastering GA4. A little effort in the beginning will prove to be an invaluable investment in the long run. Educate yourself on its features and become acquainted with its user interface. Attend webinars and Google's Skillshop free online GA4 classes.

3. Data analysis and comparison

Finally, begin analysing and comparing the data from your GA4 property with the data from Universal Analytics. Making comparisons will help you to grasp the variations in data models while preparing you for Universal Analytics' inevitable retirement.

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Did you know how GA4 helped McDonald's in Hong Kong? Their goal was to increase mobile purchases and they achieved and exceeded this, by exporting a predictive audience of "likely seven-day purchasers" to Google Ads. This resulted in 6 times more app orders! The team observed a 2.3-fold boost in ROI, a 5.6-fold gain in revenue, all with a 63% decrease in cost per action. To know more about what Tina Chao, McDonald’s Hong Kong Chief Marketing and Digital Customer Experience Officer, click here.

What can your company accomplish with GA4?

You will be able to analyse your clients at all points of contact. This is achieved by creating a cross-platform event-based measuring strategy without the necessity for separate sessions for each customer.

This tool also determines how your marketing activities contribute to conversions and provides credit for actions beyond just the last click. Using such analysis, Google Ads and Google Marketing Platform media capabilities can be utilised to optimise campaigns. This data driven attribution will result in an overall Improved ROI.

Country-level privacy controls help in managing and minimising user-level data gathering while preserving critical measurement capabilities. In other words, you can keep a close eye on engagement and conversions.

Customers may now connect Search Ads 360 with Display & Video 360. This means that any Google Analytics 4 property (standard or 360) can use Analytics data in their Google Marketing Platform purchase tools, such as conversions and audiences, to boost campaign success.

Google Analytics 4 is a radical redesign of Google's analytic service, emphasising user privacy, cross-platform tracking, and predictive analytics. It is an advancement that reflects the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing and a progressive evolution in the field.

The imminent farewell to Universal Analytics means that the embrace of GA4 is crucial. While the shift may be difficult, the long-term rewards for firms are enormous. Begin your GA4 journey today and prepare for a future in which data analytics is more advanced, accurate, and more insightful than ever.


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Written by: Fiona Byrne

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