Welcome to the latest version of Google Analytics, called Google Analytics 4! This new property type (there are no views as we are used to) provides, among other things: greatly expanded predictive information, deeper integration with Google Ads, more measurement capabilities between devices, and more specific data controls.
The launch, announced on October 14, is an expansion and renaming of the well-known App + Web property launched last year. It marks an important first step in the evolution of Universal Analytics. Let’s take a look at some of its improvements:
- It will provide us with new insights and predictions based on artificial intelligence. Although machine learning-based insights in Analytics have been around for some time, new insights and predictions coming to Google Analytics 4 can automatically alert marketers to some trends, such as growing demand for a product. It can also be used to predict results such as bounce rates and potential revenue that a business could earn for a specific customer segment. This information can help us anticipate what our customers might do in order to focus on higher-value audiences.
- Improved integration with Google Ads. Now we can generate and maintain audiences of our users on the web and in the application. For example, if a user is qualified for an audience list due to an action performed on the web and was removed from a list because they made an in-app purchase, the list can automatically update to remove the user with no impact on other ads. In addition, Google Analytics 4 will report about actions in views on YouTube that occur in the application and on the web.
- One of the biggest differences between Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics is the organization of reports based on the customer lifecycle. These reports will help us delve into specific aspects of the customer journey. For example, we can see which channels are generating new customers in the user acquisition report. Then, we can use the engagement and retention reports to understand the actions that these same customers take. Plus, we can see whether or not they stay after conversion. The new Analytics experience also aims to give us a more complete view of how customers interact with their businesses across devices and channels. We can also provide its user identification or enable Google signals to de-duplicate users on all devices, in the generation of reports, and in the targeting of ads.
- Another advantage is event tracking without code implementation. This makes it easy for us to track and measure the actions that are important on the site and in the app, and also in real-time (in Universal Analytics, events usually arrive with some latency). For example, we can measure a scroll event or video playback, without having to add code or configure event tracking in GTM.
- We are also going to have more specific user data control. Analytics 4 also helps advertisers satisfy data regulations like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Consent mode is designed for sites that require end-user consent to collect analytics data. This new mode provides us with separate consent options for analytics and for ads. Data deletion options have also been improved, allowing companies to fulfill user deletion requests without having to delete more data than necessary. In addition, it includes a preview mode so that companies can verify the data they are about to delete.
- And how will it affect our analytics in the cookieless future? Well, as third-party cookies are removed, Google already anticipates that data scarcity will become the new norm. It will rely on machine learning to repopulate data gaps.
In conclusion, the new property of Google Analytics 4 provides a more complete cross-channel view of the customer life cycle and uses that information with predictive marketing functions, providing us with more information, and more efficient ways to act on those discoveries. Our recommendation is that when you have to configure a new property, do so with this new version. The previous version, Universal Analytics, will continue to be available. However, we recommend activating GA4, since it will be the focus of improvements and news within Google, and keep both measurements in parallel.
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