Should You Make the Switch to Google Analytics 4?

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Should You Make the Switch to Google Analytics 4?

New privacy policies and tracking limitations, such as limiting cookies and identifiers, suppressing third-party tracking, and a rise in opt-in pop-ups, prevent marketers from creating truly robust consumer profiles. This push for increased privacy during browsing sessions and app usage has really diminished a company’s marketing ROI. Enter Google Analytics 4.   Google Analytics 4 is the search engine giant’s solution to circumvent such tracking limitations with the help of advanced machine learning. The new property was created with the expectation that privacy restrictions will likely become increasingly prohibitive.   Sounds pretty useful – but do you need to rush to switch to the new analytics platform?   In this article, we’ll help you decide by discussing the following:  
  • What Google Analytics 4 is
  • Major changes and new features
  • How to set up a GA4 property
  • Our final thoughts on whether to bother making the switch
 

What is Google Analytics 4?

  GA4 is the updated version of Google’s Universal Analytics App + Web property. The new platform analyzes and conceptualizes data differently than in Universal Analytics and can be used to track, compile, and visualize data from apps, websites, or a website and app combined – while Universal Analytics only allows web tracking.   GA4 was built with Web + App as the scaffolding, but with major improvements to user insights with the use of machine learning as the core of the platform to compensate for privacy changes. Google is confident that leveraging advancements in machine learning will help you anticipate consumer behavior and use these insights to craft marketing campaigns and SEO strategies that bring in sales.  

What Are the New Features of Google Analytics 4?

  More Intelligent Marketing Insights Driven by Machine Learning   Google is more than a search engine or analytics company. For years, they’ve paved the way towards artificial intelligence, so it should come as no surprise that they’ve decided to integrate machine learning into the core of their new analytics platform.   With the help of machine learning, GA4 automatically detects trends gleaned from a company’s data and sends alerts. Essentially, Google Analytics can predict user behavior, allowing you to create a marketing strategy that is more likely to convert. These predictions can be so precise that you’ll be able to project revenues from specific groups and analyze why certain groups are more likely to buy than others. And Google has promised these predictive measures will only advance over time.   Customer-Centric Measurements and Better Understanding of Consumer Life Cycle   One of the biggest game-changers in Google’s analytics upgrade is the switch to customer-centric measurements – rather than the piecemeal approach of previous properties that took separate measurements by device and platform. Businesses and marketers now have a better gauge for user interaction and engagement with their websites.   Because Google uses multiple identity spaces, including marketer-provided user IDs and Google signals from ad personalization opt-ins, a business can trace the full customer journey before purchase -  and even better understand their customer’s life cycle to capture and retain new patrons.  Google also allows a business to customize reports based on priorities, such as how a user interacts with their site before buying.   New Data Controls   Industry regulations paired with the rising controversy surrounding the way marketers collect and use consumer data have instigated many businesses to reevaluate their privacy and data usage policies. Taking a proactive approach can go a long way toward increasing transparency and building trust with current and prospective customers.   Google Analytics 4 has three new ways businesses can protect their consumers’ data:  
  • Control the data settings in the account: Accept the optional Data Processing Terms, enable IP anonymization, disable data collection, set the data retention period, select what data is shared with their support team and Google, and review Google signals settings.
  • Choose whether data is used for ads personalization: Control ads personalization for the entire Analytics property or by geography, event type, user property, or individual event or session.
  • Remove data from analytics: Submit requests for data removal, delete data for individual users, or delete a property from the Analytics account.
  Deeper Integration with Google Ads   Google Analytics 4 is more integrated with Google Ads than ever before. Businesses can leverage data from GA4 to build custom audiences that increase the relevance and usefulness of ads to potential consumers. Google Analytics can also show you traffic that didn’t convert – this is an opportunity to understand why 97 percent of traffic didn’t make a purchase.  

How do you set up Google Analytics 4?

  There are several steps needed to set up your Google Analytics 4 account:  
  1. Create an Analytics account.
  It’s easy to create an account. Simply find the Account column, navigate to “Admin” then click “Create Account”. You’ll provide an account name and configure the data sharing settings. If you already have an account, you can still create a separate account for different businesses as needed.  
  1. Create a Google Analytics 4 property.
  To add properties, make sure you have edit permission – this is the default for the account creators. To create a property from the main page, double-check to see that the correct account is selected and then click “Create Property” under the Property column. If you’re continuing directly from creating an Analytics account simply enter a name for the property. In the following sub-steps, you’ll choose the time zone, industry category, and business size and accept the terms of service. You can create up to 100 properties.  
  1. Add a data stream.
  From the Admin page, ensure the correct account and property are selected. Click “data streams” then “add stream”. Your options will be “iOS app”, “Android app”, or “Web”.  
  1. Set up data collection for websites.
  If you host your website on a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress or Shopify, you’ll have to manually add the Analytics tag code in your website’s HTML. To do so, look for “Tagging Instructions”, click “Add new on-page tag” to look for “Global Site Tag (gtag.js)”, then copy-paste your entire Analytics page tag on each page of your website.  

Final Thoughts

  Google Analytics 4 is a superior analysis tool that circumvents tracking restrictions via unrivaled machine learning and fills in gaps created by stronger privacy protections for users.   Rather than the disjointed approach of Universal Analytics, GA4 provides a comprehensive understanding of how consumers interact with your business with real-time data tracking, user snapshots, and life cycle reports (user acquisition, engagement, monetization, and retention).   Google Analytics 4 produces smarter insights to improve marketing strategy and boost ROI, so you can make every marketing dollar count. If you want to take full advantage of Google Analytics ’ updates, hire our inbound marketing experts at Social Spice Media. We create data-inspired marketing campaigns that make lasting impressions and expand your brand’s influence. Contact us today!