GA4, also known as Google Analytics 4, is an analytics service offered by Google that lets you measure traffic and engagement across websites and apps. This is an upgrade from their 2012 Universal Analytics (UA), which focused on website analytics. UA has been an essential tool for businesses and marketers to understand how their website performs and make data-driven decisions. Google Analytics 4 training is available, but do you need it? How can this newest release help you and your business?
UA Is Out, GA4 Is In
GA4 is an entirely new product. It can be installed with the existing UA profiles, but if you’re new to the platform, start with GA4. You’d have to switch soon anyway! The original UA will only be available until July 1, 2023. However, historical data will remain open for an additional six months. After that, businesses should expect to use GA4.
If you started with UA, keep it in place for now. All that historical data to analyze website traffic works to influence and inform your current analytics and can provide valuable insights. However, GA4 has new features and offers better protections for data privacy.
There are new laws on the books mandating analytics to be less invasive for consumers. In the case of GA4, you can no longer log IP addresses. It also means that data from EU countries must be processed in the EU. You can still see the data, but processing stays within the EU, where there are different regulations for consumer privacy.
Google has changed a lot. Pageviews have been replaced with Views since GA4 combines both web and app analytics. It includes page views, as before, but adds screen views from mobile devices. You get a more comprehensive ‘view’ to analyze website traffic.
In addition, GA4 is removing the “Bounce Rate” feature and replacing it with “Engagement Rate.” Companies get better, more usable information knowing what is there rather than what isn’t. You see what percentage of people are interacting with the site and where you get the most engagement. This data can better influence your decision-making in the future and allows you to give consumers more of what they want.
Similarly, GA4 replaces the average session duration with the average engagement time. Engagement time hones in on what the user is doing while they’re visiting the site, allowing business to fine-tune their content.
Identity Spaces is a brand-new feature designed to create a more comprehensive view of individual users regardless of device. All data associated with a particular user ID is assigned to the same Identity Space and used across GA4’s reporting, which helps minimize duplicates and streamlines your understanding of consumer behaviors.
As individual metrics changed, the insights and data businesses can get from GA4 have too. Google has worked to combine everything and keep it as simple and easy to understand as possible.
The most crucial aspect of this upgrade is the unification of analytics between web and app data. Collecting data across platforms and combining it under a single user ID gives companies a holistic view of their metrics.
Google has also added several new reporting tools and redesigned the platform. This allows users to customize their reporting and analysis and incorporate privacy-conscious data controls. If you’re interested in learning more about the ins and outs of this, look into Google Analytics 4 training. They offer several courses to learn everything you could ever want to know.
There are many more new features, benefits, and design changes to grasp, but the key is this: you get the best, most complete data available in real time. You can see how well your marketing strategies are (or aren’t) working. And if you aren’t seeing the expected results, it might be time to look into a marketing team.
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