GA4 is here: Everything you need to know about Google Analytics 4

4 min read

Avatar Toma Valciukaite

27th May, 2022

Technical SEO

GA4 is here and will be replacing the Universal Analytics from the Jul 1, 2023. If you’re using the Google Analytics 360 properties, they will stop collecting data on October 1, 2023, but Google Analytics 4 will replace it in the most revolutionary way. GA4 is here to give you powerful insights and help you make better decisions. Read on to discover the latest developments and what this upgrade means for your business.

 

What is GA4?

GA4 is the newest version of Google Analytics, also known as the “App + Web” property. If you previously had the beta reporting platform App & Web or Firebase Analytics account, this will automatically be upgraded to GA4. 

If you already have a Universal Analytics account, we recommend you set up a GA4 account alongside your already existing GA account to give it time to collect data without losing any previously collected information about your website/app users. 

GA4 was created to keep up pace with the evolving technologies and adapt to the increasing privacy regulations in the future, with or without user identifiers or cookies. It measures the users’ experience with the website/app and fills the gaps where the data may be limited or incomplete.

 

What has changed from Universal Google Analytics? 

Universal Analytics was built to facilitate a mindset and technology that has become obsolete. GA4 has come to introduce us to the future, facilitating multi-platform functionality and user-centric measurement. GDPR, reporting, conversions, measurements, demographics, and customer funnels are changing rapidly- let’s see how.
 

GDPR

When the GDPR came into force on May 25, 2018, all websites were required users to give consent to cookies to track their website tracking, including GA. Google has introduced the new GA4 to reduce the reliance on cookies to record traffic and conversions on websites and apps by using AI. Machine learning will be used only when the user is not giving full consent to track his experience with the app or website. This will prevent future gaps in the data, and it will make industry changes more stable. 

 

Customisable ‘Dashboard’ & Reporting

GA4 have introduced the “Dashboard” that is now customisable, which lets you change the scorecards and graphs as you like. GA4 real-time reports are now clickable, which means you can compare additional parameters with specific events. 

You can also customise the report navigation. GA4 also has several collection templates that you can just use without changing each different graph. Collection templates include:

Life Cycle: helps you understand customers’ experience from acquisition to retention.

User: helps you understand what technology they are using and their demographics.

App developer: helps to understand in-app user experience.

Games: helps to understand display dimensions and metrics in-app games.

 

Conversions / Goals / Events

GA4 Conversions has replaced Goals from UA. Old Google Analytics allowed you to have only 20 goals, but in GA4 you will be able to create up to 30 conversions. GA4 now only allows users to set conversions using events, which means that any conversion first needs to be appointed as an event. 

To set conversions, first, you will need to select already existing events or create new ones. GA4 automatically tracks purchase, clicks, page_view and several others that only applies to apps. If there is no existing event that you want to use as a conversion, you can create a new event from the existing event and add different conditions and parameters. 

Previously for any thank-you pages, we could just add a destination goal, as now. In GA4, we would need to create a new event with page-view and add a custom parameter with your thank-you page URL. 

If you already had all goals set on your UA property, you still have time to replicate your UA goals to GA4 as conversions. Google has created a comprehensive guide and goals migration tool that will help you map your goals to GA4 Conversions.


Enhanced Measurements & Demographics 

Enhanced measurement lets you measure interactions with your content, but you need to make sure that you have enabled this function first. Once it’s turned on, GA4 will start sending events right away. You can use the enhanced measurement events guide from Google to know how to enable this feature. 

Demographics are one of the important reports as it helps you to classify your users by age, location, gender and language. This helps you to better understand your audience and their interaction with your website/app.

Activating Google Signals will give you more information on their demographic and interest data. Google uses the data from users who are signed in to Google and consented to share this information with other parties. Read the activate Google signals guide on how to easily enable Google Signals.

 

Custom Funnels

Google Analytics previously have one good funnel that was for Enhanced Ecommerce tracking, where we could see the Shopping and checkout behaviour. With GA4, we are able to build custom funnel reports that are based on page views or conversions. 

The funnel exploration section can help us visualise the steps that our users take to complete our set conversions or see where they drop without purchasing something or contacting the company.

 

Ready to switch to GA4 ?

Prepare for the future with Google Analytics 4. If you’re looking for guidance on how to navigate new challenges, we’re here to help. The Digital Ethos technical SEO team can help you migrate your UA property to GA4 and move to a new tracking future using GA4. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business.

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