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Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a massive update that is set to take over from the standard Universal Analytics by July 1, 2023. This upgrade will use machine learning techniques to improve the way marketers can collect and analyze data. It will also deliver better insight into user behavior and promote the development of development of better digital marketing strategies.
For now, GA4 is running parallel to Universal Analytics. While it does not mean you have to make a switch right now, it is advisable to do so anyway. The earlier you can start using GA4 to collect and analyze your data, the more meaningful insights you can draw later on.
It provides for five significant improvements to the use of Google Analytics including:
- The ability to collect more meaningful data from your websites and apps through new metrics including sessions, rate, and time.
- Activate enhanced measurement through event tracking instead of just sessions.
- New privacy controls that simultaneously protect users while still providing marketers with valuable data.
- Simplified predictive capabilities.
- Cross-platform compatibility and tracking.
Under Universal Analytics, the focus is on page views. With GA4, the measurements will be in terms of events. This will provide better insight into how users are interacting with the content on your websites and apps. You will still be able to view reports not just session-based, but also broken down in terms of interactions for better insights. Ultimately, GA4 will enable marketers to more easily track user experience throughout their journey.
How to Setup GA4
You can continue to use Universal Analytics as normal while activating this upgrade. To configure for this update, all you need to do is log into your Google Analytics Account as the admin, and click on the gear icon on the bottom left of navigation. Select the account you want to update and the desired property.
Then under the Property column, click on the GA4 Setup Assistant. The Setup Wizard will appear with a Get Started button. The next step will let your Create Property, with guidance on how to configure settings.
The wizard will automatically activate enhanced measurement that enables better collection and analysis of data to understand user behavior and content success.
You can also customize the dashboard to prioritize the arrangement of reports and in what format the data will appear. Marketers can also set up custom segments based on trigger events. This will allow you to designate subsets of events that occur on your website or app and whose interactions you want more precisely tracked.
Using GA4 Reports
Once you log in, the new dashboard will display different data including overall traffic and revenue. You can click on the graph icon on the left navigation bar to get to the Reports dashboard. On this page, there will be several snapshots of different reports based on various metrics. You may find all kinds of helpful data on engagement, monetization, user demographics, and acquisition. You can also compare different metrics here.
As you create reports, you can also organize the layout of your overview to control which ones will appear as a priority snapshot when you log in. This way you get to see the metrics that matter most to you first.
As GA4 is primarily targeted at tracking events rather than sessions, you will be able to create events and have GA4 track behavior into a tree graph that lets you follow the events users trigger along their path. This analysis can help reveal stages at which users repeatedly come to a stop.
GA4 can also be used to target new audiences. Based on the details you provide about your business, it can generate new audience suggestions that would offer better potential for conversion.
You can also make use of the new search bar in GA4 to get answers to various queries including property configuration, how to generate reports, and other helpful content.
How to create a Goal in Analytics GA4
A new feature of GA4 is the standard events, like in Facebook Ads, Google GA4 will now show a list of standard events which will make it easier for less technical users to use as goals (as they are already in the account), to create a Goal in GA4, first an event needs to be created.
On the Events page, you’ll see a list of the standard events, which can include clicks, first visits, page views, scrolls etc (any of these can be marked as a conversion).
In this instance, we are setting up an Event for a form completion, where the confirmation page includes /thank-you.
Testing the Conversion / Events
Once you have setup the Conversion, you can test is by heading over to the Report > Real-time section.
This should show you what Events and Conversions have occurred (in the last 30 minutes).
The new GA4 Analytics may take some getting used to as the previous Google Analytics has been used for so many years. However, those of us used to creating events in Tag Manager, or using standard events in Facebook, as well as having to use third-party tracking for Apps, will most certainly benefit from the new GA4 capability.
If you’re having trouble using the new Analytics or would some help in general with your digital marketing, get in touch with one of the team at Phoenix Media today.