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Deep Dive into Google Analytics 4: Unveiling the Future of Analytics

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Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is here, and it is revolutionising the world of data analysis. This next-generation platform is the latest offering from Google’s ever-evolving suite of tools designed to provide invaluable insights into your website’s performance. GA4 is the most significant transformation Google Analytics has undergone since its inception in 2005. Google Analytics 4 introduces a fresh approach to monitoring and evaluating your website’s traffic.

So what implications does this have for your Perth business website?

That’s precisely the focus of this guide. We will delve into all aspects of Google Analytics 4, including:

  • The essence of Google Analytics 4
  • The notable changes
  • The comparison with Universal Analytics
  • The Benefits of swapping to GA4
  • The timeline for transition

By the conclusion of this guide, you will be well-informed about the forthcoming changes and how best to equip yourself for them.

So let’s get into it. 

What exactly is GA4?

Google Analytics 4 represents the newest iteration of Google’s website analytics tool. It gathers data about your website’s visitors, empowering you to make educated decisions about aspects such as web design, SEO, and various marketing pathways.

As of April 2022, Google Analytics holds the top spot as the most popular tool for analysing website traffic. Google Analytics 4, the forthcoming generation of this tool, pledges to enhance data security and user privacy.

One of the most noticeable shifts in the digital marketing landscape currently is the focus on online privacy. There’s a growing concern among internet users about the extent of tracking employed by websites during their online activities.

A 2020 survey revealed that 78% of Australians expressed they were “somewhat worried” or “highly worried” about online privacy. The launch of Google Analytics 4 is Google’s answer to these escalating privacy concerns and the stricter laws being enacted around data protection. Specific web browsers have begun to default to blocking all trackers, Universal Analytics included.

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Google Analytics 4 is not merely an upgrade – it’s an entirely distinct tool.

There’s a difference in how it amasses and organises data. The established Universal Analytics account reporting interface is centred around user sessions. All user activities that transpired within a designated timeframe were collated into a single session.

Google Analytics 4, on the other hand, has transitioned to an events-based model. Each user interaction is considered as a separate event.

This is the most significant shift, which we will scrutinise in greater depth in the following section. First, let’s explore the alterations and their implications for your Perth business website.

A better way to see your audience

Google Analytics 4 employs an event-based model, unlike Universal Analytics, which relies on a session-based model. The session-based model of Universal Analytics initiates data collection through page views. Everything a user does from the moment they land on your website is recorded as a session.

However, in Google Analytics 4, data capture is triggered by events, ranging from page views and transactions to other user actions you’d like to monitor as a Custom Event. The event-based model allows you to acquire a more precise and thorough analysis of your website traffic. It provides comprehensive information about user interaction with your web pages.

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Such insights are invaluable for website optimisation. Universal Analytics was built around the concept of page views. When the initial version was launched in 2005, page views were perceived as the primary metric.

This is why you had to invest time configuring your Google Analytics account to monitor more detailed metrics, such as button clicks.

Google Analytics 4, on the other hand, enables you to monitor these metrics immediately after setup. You don’t have to spend substantial time setting up conversion events and other metrics you wish to monitor. Most of it is preconfigured as soon as you link your website. This ease of use makes it significantly more accessible for beginners to utilise the tool.

 GA4 is Great at Cross-Device Data

Event-based tracking facilitates detailed reporting across multiple devices. Google Analytics 4, as opposed to relying on cookies, employs Device ID, User ID, and Google Signals to track users as they transition between devices throughout their buying journey. 

This tracking enables you to recognise users who switch from app to website, from smartphone to tablet, or from one browser to another. Such insights can reveal how users interact with your brand across various devices.

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Universal Analytics doesn’t have the same capability to track users as they switch devices. Each visit is documented as a distinct user. The workaround was to use roll-up reporting, but this feature was exclusive to Analytics 360 Accounts. Google Analytics 4 enables a more comprehensive understanding of user engagement with your website. 

You can identify which channels generate the most traffic and the actions these users undertake. Additionally, Google Analytics 4 simplifies the process of identifying unique users who convert and whether they continue to revisit your website after becoming customers.

Google Analytics 4 uses Powerful AI

One of the most intriguing enhancements in Google Analytics 4 is the integration of machine learning capabilities. You can now leverage Google’s AI-driven ‘predictive metrics’ feature to classify audiences based on their anticipated behaviours.

For instance, predictive audiences can be used to pinpoint which users are most likely to make their first purchase within the forthcoming week. This can be a significant advantage for your Google Ads marketing strategies.

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It enables you to distinguish which of your users are most likely to transition into customers. Consequently, you can utilise this data in your Google Ads account to boost engagement and conversions. The application of AI-driven audience segmentation mirrors the functionalities offered by Facebook Ads.

Google Analytics 4 also employs AI to simulate audience behaviour in the absence of data. With the looming end of third-party cookies, this feature could become increasingly critical in the near future. In conclusion, Google Analytics 4 is more precise and potent. It is undoubtedly a tool you should be utilising to monitor and evaluate your Perth business website’s traffic.

Deadline for Switching to Google Analytics 4 is soon!

The cut-off date for transitioning to Google Analytics 4 has been set for July 1, 2023. You can continue using and gathering data via Universal Analytics until this date. Post-deadline, the historical data from your Universal Analytics property will remain accessible for a period of six months. If you need help migrating your website over to GA4, Reach out to us here.

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