Your Guide to Getting Started with The All-New Google Analytics 4

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Google Analytics 4

Universal Analytics (UA), the tool we have all learned to love and rely on for our website data, is not only getting a facelift, but has been given an entirely new revamp from the inside out. Google Analytics 4, better known as GA4, will become the industry standard beginning in July 2023. The new GA4 is meant to address shifts in consumer behavior, changing privacy standards and the need for improved analytics.

While July 2023 may seem far away, the time to prepare is now. Currently, Google has not provided a plan to allow carry over of historical data into the new GA4 platform. It is crucial to start now to protect your historical data and begin to collect data in the new GA4 platform. You’ll want a year’s worth of data in GA4 alongside your UA data.  That means you have less than 30 days to get GA4 set up on your site!

Let’s dig into the key changes we can expect along with important next steps you should take now.

 

Data model

Quite possibly the biggest change happening is the move from a “sessions-based” data model to an “events-based” data model. A data model tells GA4’s platform what to do with the information it collects when a user visits your site. For example, in the traditional sessions-based model, each session would collect pageviews, the time on these pages, and some of the actions taken. While GA4 will still have session reporting, the events-based data model will track every interaction taken on a site as an event. Pageview? Event. Button click? Event. Even a user scrolling on a page? Yes, Event!!

The reason for this update is so all the events taken can be tracked directly back to the User-ID rather than sessions broken up by people coming and leaving your site through a variety of channels and devices. The event-based data model is user-centric and allows for the ability to track cross-device and cross-channel. Due to the change in data model, we will be seeing some new and updated metrics.

 

Metrics

What happened to the “Bounce Rate” metric?  Well, this is one major difference to note between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4.

With Google Analytics 4, there will no longer be a Bounce Rate metric within your reporting.  Instead, GA4 has rolled out some new metrics to help measure on-site engagement, the most popular one being the “Engagement Rate” metric.

Essentially, Engagement Rate is the inverse of Bounce Rate.  Rather than simply reporting on how often or how quick a user leaves the website (bounce rate), Engagement Rate will measure engagement actions that users are taking and how often those users stay on the website or app.

Engagement Rate is more helpful and insightful in analyzing user behavior, as well as user experience with your website.  Although it may take some time to get used to the new metrics, we believe that this will only help enhance findings and optimizations as we continue moving forward.

 

Reporting

With Google Analytics 4 reporting, one size truly does not fit all anymore. Each website has different needs, mainly depending on what products or services are being offered and what your business objectives are.  Instead of relying on the pre-set, standardized reports that we are accustomed to viewing in Universal Analytics, you will want to utilize GA4’s powerful custom reports to gain a better understanding of how users are engaging on your website, as well as gain more insights into how to improve your website for a better overall user experience. Google Analytics 4 provides us with brand new robust, custom reporting options that allow us to dig even deeper into the data.

Under the “Explore” section of Google Analytics 4, you will find customizable reporting options. Building custom reports will require an intimate understanding of the types of dimensions, metrics, and segments to use, to properly set these reports up and tell the story that you are hoping to achieve.

 

Predictive Audiences

Another great feature that is being offered within Google Analytics 4 is “predictive audiences,” With predictive audiences, GA4 will leverage its AI & machine-learning capabilities within its data model to help classify website users into more specific groups but even further, it also helps predict users who are likely to perform a specific action on your website in the near future.

For instance, if you are interested in reaching more users that are similar to your recent website converters, then predictive audiences will allow you to build an audience that is specific to reaching more users who are likely to make a purchase or convert on your website.  This is only one example of the exciting possibilities with predictive audiences!

By incorporating these predictive audiences into your digital marketing strategy, this will allow us to leverage all the data that we are capturing in the backend to create more specific audiences, which we can then add into your marketing campaigns to reach additional users who are more likely to convert. Predictive audiences can allow us to reach a more targeted user and increase ROI.

To utilize these predictive audiences within your campaigns, this will require a large data set of users to enhance and improve the machine-learning algorithms, so getting GA4 installed on your website sooner rather than later will only help with getting this process started!

 

What’s Next?

With its new interface and data model, GA4 may seem daunting, but it’s important to understand what it can do for your business. With proper set up and custom reports, you can look forward to:

  • Improving ROI with data-driven attribution
  • Measure engagement and conversions with business needs in mind
  • Get greater value from your data
  • Easily apply insights across your marketing channels

 

We recommend installing the new Google Analytics 4 on your website as soon as possible, or before July 1, 2022 in order to build the necessary data before UA stops processing hits on July 1, 2023.

Need help setting up or training within Google Analytics 4? At Brawn Media, we have a team of analytics experts that can help, so you can leverage your website’s data to influence and enhance all your other marketing efforts. Contact us today to learn how.

 

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