The Power to Do More – Google Analytics Overhaul – GA4
Google have released their latest analytics software, Google Analytics 4. Analytics are what help you understand your customer’s requirements. Knowing your customer’s needs and seeing market shifts in advance allows you to keep ahead of the pack and provide a better customer experience. We thought it’d be a good idea to look at what benefits we’re already seeing with Google Analytics 4, and what more we can expect.
In previous versions of GA, managing your web and app properties was a separate affair. Replacing the App + Web property, GA4 combines the analytics from both platforms giving you a much better view of your performance. GA4 is a much more powerful tool than roll-up property, which you may have used in the past.
Universal Analytics now has a sunset date. The platform will no process new hits as of 1st July 2023. You will still be able to access historical data reports for a further 6 months, minimum, though.
Initially, GA4 may seem like a foreign land with not much in the way of reports coming through. The reports won’t start until you are tracking events. Some metrics and reports have been removed or replaced, but this is all in the name of evolution and you’ll soon be reaping the benefits.
What are these Fabled Benefits?
First and foremost, cross-platform and cross-device tracking. This has been a much sought-after feature for just about everyone in marketing. Merging the analytics from both web and app gives you a more complete and better view of your performance.
GA360 Features as Standard
The advanced analysis reports previously only available on GA360, are now available to all GA4 users. Simply called Analysis these reports offer more detailed data from segment overlap, funnel analysis, user explorer, and more.
Another GA360 feature being made available to all for free on GA4 is Big Query. This gives access to raw GA data and allows for running SQL queries.
New Home Page
A new homepage for GA4 was released earlier in 2022. The page works to bring the tools you use most to the forefront, and becomes better the more you use it. From the homepage you can monitor traffic, view insights about you assets and property and navigate analytics.
The homepage is split into 5 key areas: –
- Overview – shows metrics relevant to your previous behaviour in analytics.
- Realtime – uses realtime reports to display activity as it happens.
- Recently viewed – displays your most recent interactions with GA4.
- Because you viewed cards – shows cards you use frequently.
- Insights – shows trends and unusual changes in both web and app as well as other insights.
Search Ads 360 Now Integrated
With Search Ads 360 now integrated with GA4, advertisers are able to view sessions, users and conversions through source, mediums, campaigns and their default channel grouping. Reports for model comparison and conversions will now also include cross-channel reports as standard.
These more detailed and balanced reports mean more effective campaigns can be created as a result of the cross-channel reports. GA4 can export to Search Ads 360, and Search Ads 360 can export both campaign and cost data into GA4.
To link the two, in analytics: –
- Head to Admin
- Select the property you want to link from the property column
- Select SA360 from the product links
- Link to link table
- For multiple accounts, follow Link to Search Ads 360 manager accounts I manage and select Choose accounts to select the manager you want to link your property to
Configuration default on recommendations are to enable : –
- Personalised Advertising
- Campaign Attribution
- Cost Reporting
Link Google Analytics 4 with Google Search Console
Merging GA4 with Google Search Console will offer more scope when analysing search traffic. With all your data for both web and app coming in together, you have an overall view of traffic sources and customer journeys through direct comparisons between search data and analytics. This correlation of data should again help you build more effective, more successful campaigns.
Unique Users and X-Platform Insights
You’ll now be able to see reports on Total Unique Users across your platforms. This feature disappeared from GA some time ago, only allowing for new and returning user reports.
Cross-platform insights are a biggie. The ability to see your customers’ journey through the web, app, and email means you can better understand how they became a conversion. If the customer saw an ad on the web, downloaded the app, and then made a purchase, you’ll be able to see the entire process.
Bye Bye Bounce Rates
In GA4, bounce rates are no more. The reporting view in GA4 provides a new set of metrics for engagements. These new metrics offer more accurate tracking of users across your website and app.
Your engagement rate is equal to your engaged sessions which are calculated from users who engage with your site or app for more than ten seconds. Two page views, two screen views, or a conversion event are also reported as engagements.
The advantage here is a more complete view of web engagement. Bounce rates counted one page views, which didn’t really fit the bill for blogs, news or other forms of publishing. With these sites, one page views are the main bulk of their traffic.
No Data Limits
Lastly, there are no data volume limits for data sent to the GA4 property. Unique events do however have limits that when exceeded, will not be logged. A more detailed list of those can be found here – https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9267744?hl=en&ref_topic=9267641
For a digital marketer, analytics is how we plan, understand, and build your business. GA4 presents us with new opportunities in foresight of changing market trends and customer behavior. For more on how we use analytics, you can check the CRO & Analytics section of our blog here.
If you are struggling with implicating GA4 or understanding any of its features, we’d be happy to help. You can get in touch here.