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Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Is Here

Google Analytics 4 is now available and is set so that it can run in conjunction with Universal Analytics, and if rumours are true GA4 will be set to eventually replace Universal Analytics.

Google is still working on the robust ecommerce reporting and attribution model within GA4, so it will likely not replace Universal Analytics any time soon, so it is important to continue to run your Universal Analytics alongside GA4.

GA4 is a new and improved way to measure insights. Things like automation, predictiveness, cross-platform/cross-device reporting, new event-based measurement, and more. It is important to note that everything Google rolls out in the future will be for Analytics now will be for Google Analytics 4. 



Let’s start by listing some of the benefits of GA4:

  • See More of a User’s Journey

Instead of having fragmented data about a user’s journey from finding your site through various devices and applications, GA4 now allows you to track an individual’s journey, from all their interaction with the site no matter what device they used in visiting, through multiple sessions.

For example, a user may find your site on their desktop, revisit from their mobile and then perhaps purchase through an ecommerce app. GA4 has the tools to allow you to track that user’s journey.

  • More Focus on User Engagement

Audience, Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversion menus have been removed from GA4. There is now a ‘Lifecycle’ section which divides analysis into Acquisition, Engagement, Monetization and Retention. This is to assist marketers and their goals and separate the ‘User’ section which will give data on demographics and technology. A visitor is automatically labelled as ‘engaged’ if they spend longer than 10 seconds on the site, view 2 or more pages, or complete a conversion event.

  • Predictive Metrics

GA4 has an AI that essentially predicts a user’s potential retention and purchase probability, and essentially is able to predict a user’s actions and value.

These predictive metrics will help with audience targeting and assist with marketing strategies.

  • User Privacy and Tracking Features

GA4 is designed to be more flexible and is able to adapt to a future where cookies will be less common, and where privacy has become more of a concern for users, governments and regulatory bodies.

  • Engagement Metrics

Google is doing away with ‘Bounce Rate’. Instead GA4 will have metrics such as 

pre-configured scroll, video, outbound clicks and file download events which will help site-owners and marketers better understand the engagement that is occurring on their site.

  • Enhanced Tracking and Measurement

A new feature called ‘enhanced measurement’ in GA4 will automatically track file downloads, outbound clicks, video interactions, site search, and scroll events via the base GA4 tag. This can be turned on to enhanced measurement with no additional code or tagging being required. 

GA4 measurements are event based which means unlike Universal analytics, all interactions are an event. These events fall into 4 categories:

  1. Automatically Collected – these are automatically logged from the gtag or gtm configuration.
  2. Enhanced Measurement – these are special sets of events that can be enabled or disabled, such as Events that include file_download, scroll and video_start.
  3. Recommended Events – these are events with predefined names and parameters that are recommended for different business types. These events require custom changes to the code.
  4. Custom Event  – these are events that you name and implement yourself (similar to Universal Analytics). These events also require changes to the code.

At the moment there seems to be no way for GA4 and Google Console to link. We therefore recommend running your old UA alongside GA4 until such time as there is better integration.

Tag Manager or Google Site Kit (on WordPress) with integrated Tag Manager. Google has made it very easy to install Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager. The old Universal Analytics used a ‘UA’ tracking code, while the new GA4 code starts with a simple ‘G’.

When you initiate GA4 you will be given an easy step-by-step process in Analytics on how to install the code for GA4. The same approach is used on all platforms.

Yes. GA4 uses cookies to identify unique users across their browsing sessions.

Absolutely. With Universal Analytics you would need to use Google Analytics for Firebase or Google Analytics APP View created in a separate property for tracking app data. GA4 allows you to integrate app data alongside your website data all using one property.

Let Semantica give you expert advice and assist with your upgrade to Google Analytics 4. The transition to GA4 is not seamless, but it’s important to note that this is how Google is moving towards the future, where more powerful and intelligent features allow marketers and site owners to generate more sales and improve ROI, and Semantica can assist with your transition and evolution to the future of Google Analytics.

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