GA4: The Future of Analytics

The future of (free) Google Analytics is here with a completely revamped interface and feature set, bringing the user journey to the forefront. The new Google Analytics 4 (commonly referred to as just GA4) is tackling the “privacy-first” mindset that so many users are moving toward, using AI to power insights and predictive analysis. GA4 builds off of the “Web+ App” platform which provides data across multiple channels (enabling tracking across apps, software and websites), which is vital for modern omnichannel strategies. 

New Features

  • Previous GA360 features which were available only to paying customers (now free on GA4):
    • Funnel Analysis
    • Segment Overlap
    • Path Analysis
  • Enhanced Measurement (automatically measured without any additional configuration in Google Tag Manager):
    • Pageviews
    • Scroll Depth
    • Outbound Link Clicks
    • File Downloads
    • Video Engagement
  • Intelligent user tracking and privacy features:
    • Churn Rate
    • Predict potential revenues from a segment of customers
    • Consent mode – separate consent opt-ins for analytics and ads for sites that have to obtain end user consent to track analytics
    • Machine learning will be used to fill in gaps where third-party cookies are no longer available

Check your bounce rate at the door

While there are many exciting upgrades, there are also some major changes that will take some getting used to. 

  • Bounce rate is no longer a measured metric (don’t say we didn’t tell you!).
    • Google said there are many other metrics that measure engagement better.
    • Due to its widespread use in reporting, YoY comparisons will need to be altered and communicated. 
  • There are no longer “Views” – only Data Streams. 
    • Data Streams can be filtered, but there will no longer be a “catch all” view that is untouched by filters.
    • Testing new filters will be extremely important moving forward. 
  • The user interface is set up completely differently.
    • Once you get used to it, the user-centered interface really brings forward the most important aspect of a website: the user journey. 

When you set up a GA4 property, data will start getting collected alongside your current Universal Analytics property, so no data will get lost. That being said, the data in GA4 is not exactly apples to apples with Universal Analytics data, so you will want to start collecting both of these in tandem so that when you do decide to make the switch over to GA4 for reporting purposes, you will have data to compare it to. 

If you haven’t started looking at GA4 for your organization, we highly recommend you start now. Unsure of how to go about it? Let us help.

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