Is GA4 the Future of Analytics for Growth Hacking?
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The previous ten years have seen the widespread adoption of Universal Google Analytics by multiple companies all over the world. The said game-changing innovation, Google Analytics allows companies to comprehend their KPIs by providing precise data about the sources of website traffic leads. Additionally, it enables corporations and changemakers to concentrate on expansion through greater investment in IT, marketing, and sales-related services.
Although it has a lot of momentum, Google Analytics has recently had trouble keeping up with technological advancements. As a result, the system is fundamentally altering and some of the data that the Google tool collects is no longer valuable.
With these significant advancements in the digital industry, Google Analytics experts can see why the GA4 release is so vital in keeping their company, clients, or themselves as freelancers to hack growth in the next digital era.
How do you explain GA4?
Google Analytics 4 (formerly known as "App + Web") provides consumers with a different collection of reports in contrast to those they are used to viewing in Universal Analytics (Google Analytics 3). One big advantage of this latest iteration is that it may be used for insights on a website, an app, or both a website and an app. What App + Web was giving is now expanded upon and rebranded.
This new version of analytics, according to Google, is a platform that combines cross-channel management, privacy-first tracking, and AI-based predictive data. Google Analytics 4 heavily relies on the company's machine learning models; for instance, it can spread information about user behavior and website traffic without seeking clicks from every page.
Why is Google switching to GA4?
Recent privacy restrictions, such as iOs14 and Europe's GDPR, have made the older analytics software less stable or reliable. If you've ever noticed that your data is incomplete or wrong, it's probably because users have refused to consent to cookies. In order to circumvent this, Google Analytics GA4 uses data modeling to extrapolate and make assumptions based on already-collected data and user behavior.
With the launch of GA4 Google Analytics, Google is planning ahead on their digital data dashboards. What if there were no cookies or other sources of personally identifiable information? In this way, Google Analytics 4 is made to ensure that you may continue to derive value from the analytics feature in the future.
Google Analytics 4 has a number of primary objectives, including:
- Change the way data is displayed so that users and their user journeys are more apparent.
- Track "events" - this is how data is mostly shown in Google Analytics 4
- Make sense of your data by using machine learning technologies to fill in the blanks for business owners or marketers.
What is the difference between Google Analytics and GA4?
Its appearance is just one of many distinctions. Here are some of the main distinctions between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics, broken down.
The measuring strategy
Pageviews and sessions form the foundation of the measurement paradigm in Universal Analytics (UA). It monitors information from sessions like pageviews, events, and transactions as "hits," and it examines each action a user takes over a certain period of time.
GA4 Analytics differs in that its measurement framework is centered on events and parameters. Even a pageview is regarded as an event in this scenario. In GA4, each action the user does will be recognized as an event.
What makes this a crucial difference? You need a more in-depth understanding of event monitoring and Google Tag Manager in order to track additional interactions in Universal Analytics, such as:
Automatically Collected Events
These are those that the gtag or gtm setup has set up to automatically log. First_visit, page_view, session_start, and user_engagement are some of these common events.
Enhanced Measurement Events
These are a unique group of events that can be enabled or disabled through the GA4 interface. File_download, scroll, and video_start are examples of events.
These are occasions with names and parameters that are suggested for particular business models. Such events call for extra code updates, either on the page or through Google Tag Manager. (Google's support documentation lists a few suggested occasions for various business kinds.)
These are events that you designate and carry out on your own (much like Universal Analytics). These events, like the Recommended Events, necessitate changes to the normal tracking code.
Data tracking for mobile apps and websites
In the past, a Firebase integration was required to track a mobile app's data in your Google Analytics account. Occasionally, it was difficult to understand what you were looking at because of this.
Google Analytics G4 combines online and mobile app data so you can monitor, track, and manage it all from a single platform. Your information will be transferred if you already use Firebase. If otherwise, GA4 won't use Universal Analytics to pull historical data since it uses a different data model.
Engagement rate has replaced bounce rate.
Bounce rate is not used as a measurement at all in Google Analytics 4. Instead, a new metric termed engagement rate has been introduced in its place, which provides comparable data.
Then, how does the engagement rate operate? It is made up of engagement sessions that must satisfy one of the following criteria: a conversion, a session duration of more than 10 seconds, or several screen or page views.
Data retention for users and events
How long do you retain user-specific information? There are four alternatives under Universal Analytics: 14 months, 26 months, 38 months, and 50 months, or "do not automatically expire."
You now have an option between 2 months and 14 months in Google Analytics 4. Data storage for an unlimited amount of time is no longer an option at this time.
What are the benefits of GA4?
When compared to Google Analytics, employing GA4 has a number of advantages for your centralized data dashboards. Here are our top favorites:
Greater understanding of user behavior
You can gain more insight into how visitors engage with a website or app by using GA4's events as the primary unit of measurement rather than page views.
Enhanced cross-device tracking
You are able to track user behavior on a variety of platforms, including computers, tablets, and mobile ones, with GA4. This provides a more comprehensive picture of the customer journey and may aid you in learning how customers interact with your business through various touchpoints.
Superior features for machine learning
With GA4's elaborate machine-learning capabilities, you can make more educated decisions and gain a greater understanding of user behavior. It can, for instance, forecast which consumers will convert the most and offer information about your most successful marketing avenues.
Greater authority over data and privacy
GA4 was created with privacy in mind and contains tools like data deletion controls and a permission mode that lets companies get user approval before collecting and using user data. By doing this, you can gain your client's trust while simultaneously adhering to data privacy laws.
What happens if you don't switch to GA4?
Google will stop supporting the old Universal Analytics on July 1, 2023, so if you haven't set up a GA4 property yet, you should.
This indicates that after the sunset date, Universal Analytics will stop collecting data from your WordPress website; however, you can still access your previous data for at least six months after the sunset date.
How do you maximize your ROI with Google Analytics 4?
If you want to do some growth hacking for your website or business, have a look out for our best tips and tricks with GA4 analytics reporting.
Google suggests looking at your event first to see if it might potentially bucket into one of their suggested GA4 events, such as buy, sign_up, and so on. The fact that these events include predefined criteria like value/items, that they can make use of upcoming Google capabilities, and that they are accessible in normal reports are their main advantages.
Custom metric and dimensions
The first important thing to understand is that, as of the time of writing of this post, there are only two scopes available: user and event. This contrasts with UA, which also supports product and session scopes. Although Google may eventually introduce support for those scopes, you can already send e-commerce events using any of the additional pre-built item dimensions or metrics instead of products.
Standard report customization
The most significant change in GA4 reporting is the addition of a level of customization for standard reports, which enables you to fine-tune available reports as well as their contents. These common reports, including "Pages and screens" under Life cycle -> Engagement, are presumably familiar to you if you've spent any time with GA4.
You may almost completely customize every aspect of the report. As soon as you click the Customization tab, a list of report data, filters, charts, and other options will appear, allowing you to completely tailor the report to your company's requirements.
Property settings for GA4
Remember that you must at the very least acknowledge the data collecting setting if you wish to use GA4 audiences in Google Ads; otherwise, they won't populate. On the other hand, data retention only controls how long Google keeps non-aggregate data in GA4. Any data not used for regular reports have a two-month retention term by default in GA4.
This may not seem like a major concern, but it also limits the date ranges that can be used in "exploration" reports. Therefore, we strongly advise revisiting your retention settings in GA to better suit your business objectives if higher-level reporting is crucial to your organization outside of a 60-day window.
Need a hand?
Growth hacking is not a skill that can be picked up overnight. It draws upon a wide range of knowledge, including copywriting, basic design, development as well as data analytics. Having said that, it is always best to collaborate with a specialist if you're really looking into sustained growth for your company.
Every member of our cross-functional team at Lizard Global is an expert in their own field. We are commercial professionals, designers, and developers who know just how to get your company the attention it deserves. We will examine your target audience, their demands, and their behaviors along with you. We develop an impenetrable growth strategy using the data. Interested to find out more? Get in touch with our professionals by clicking the button below!