BLOG Flying into the Future: Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Flying into the Future: Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

POSTED BY Brittany Lewis | Sep 27, 2023

Staying up-to-date on the latest tools and trends is essential for staying ahead of the marketing game. And that's what we're all about. It's time to get excited about Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and what it can do for your business. So, buckle up—we will make this a short flight.  

Navigating with GA4

GA4 is the next generation of analytics for your website, app, or other digital properties. But it's not just a new coat of paint. After all, we're talking about the future of analytics, and you wouldn't fly to outer space on a prop plane. GA4 is a completely new software. Google's approach to GA4 focused on machine learning (that's right, AI) and data visualization. GA4 is packed with new features that can help you unlock insights into your audience and better understand their behavior. 

Bird's Eye View of GA4

  • First, starting July 1, 2023, and July 1, 2024, the old Universal Analytics and GA360 properties will no longer be able to process new hits. This means we'll have to migrate everything to the new system. 
  • GA4 focuses on event tracking, which means you can track specific actions taken by your users on your website or app. This can help you better understand what your users are doing and what they're interested in. 
  • GA4 includes predictive metrics, which help you forecast future user behavior and take action to improve your website or app. 
  • GA4 also integrates with Google Ads and other Google marketing tools, making it easier to track your advertising campaigns and measure their impact. 
  • GA4 utilizes improved data privacy features, which give users more control over their data and help ensure compliance with privacy regulations. 

Major Differences Between UA and GA4

The best way to dive into these updates is to compare it to what we've been using, UA (Universal Analytics).

Cross-Platform Tracking

The most obvious difference between the systems is how GA4 tracks users across platforms. Each user is given a specific ID. So, when Jane jumps from a website on her laptop to the app on her phone (which Jane does constantly), GA4 will be able to track that. Using GA4, you will get to go on Jane's marketing journey through cross-platform tracking. From her first interaction to her click to purchase to her return to your site for more, you can better understand her user experience.

Farewell to Page Views

This brings us to another difference. Previously, UA utilized page views as its primary metric. With GA4, page views are no more; in their place are "events." These events reveal data that breaks down a user's interaction with your app and website. Some of the new helpful metrics are "engagement" metrics, including their engagement sessions, rate, and time they spend on your web or app.

Balancing Metrics With Privacy Concerns

Metrics don't stop with engagement. They can also track attribution and demographics. And remember how we talked about GA4 using machine learning? Well, this AI technology incorporates the power of predictive metrics. (You should be hearing dramatic music right now). What that means for you is that you can learn more about Jane and her purchase, churn, and even expected revenue probabilities. Truly its capabilities are intriguing as it allows more control in how to market your brand.

Now, for users, Google worked hard to ensure they complied with privacy laws. These laws include things like IP anonymization, server location, restricted data transfer, consent mode, users' personal data deletion, and rules regarding personally identifiable information (PII).

While those may be meaningless terms, they held a lot of weight. In fact, these privacy concerns are what fueled the release of GA4. One thing is for sure, with GA4, users gain more control over their information.

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Flying Isn't So Scary with Us As Your Co-Pilot

While this flight into the future of analytics may have some in the SEO Industry cringing, there is fair weather ahead. Yes, the user experience will be different. But GA4 is just another tool to uncover what is and what is not working with your digital and web content. In essence, it will help you measure your goals. Of course, there are other ways to do that, too, hence the link to the left. 😉

When you partner with us, we will help you arrive at your figurative marketing destination, capitalizing on the most up-to-date analytics for your business. And we promise a nice, smooth landing.



About the writer, Brittany Lewis

Brittany is a copywriter at Primitive and enjoys connecting with people, exploring new ideas, and expressing thoughts through written language almost as much as she loves a latte. As a Texas Tech University graduate, she is a Red Raider through and through. She graduated with honors in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Since then, she has spent a large part of her career in the field of education, teaching English to secondary students and working in early childhood programs.