With more and more businesses switching to online sales since the pandemic, the number of new people using Google Analytics to track their website traffic and other such data has significantly increased. If your company is a bit late to the party, you might have heard that you should start using the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) program.
Universal Analytics (UA) is on its way out, so you won’t want to waste your time learning it. Before you begin studying this new system, though, you should familiarize yourself with it a little bit by using this list of things all beginners should know about Google Analytics 4.
It’s a Replacement, Not an Update
With the name Universal Analytics, some people assumed that the previous version of Google Analytics might have been the final one. Obviously, it would receive updates and overhauls still. However, it turns out that wasn’t the case with the introduction of GA4. Some people even hoped that you could use UA and GA4 in tandem, but as of July 2023, Universal Analytics will no longer update data results and will soon become inaccessible.
That means all users will need to transition to the new platform. Fortunately, since you’re new, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you took the time to learn UA, you’ll need to look into how GA4 differs since it’s more than just a simple update. If you created a profile on the old platform, you must make a brand-new one since Google Analytics 4 won’t pull over your old data.
It Focuses on Events Instead of Sessions
While GA4 uses lots of new technologies, which is part of the reason why a fresh start was required, the primary focus of the new platform has shifted as well. In UA, companies would create sessions that grouped user data based on determined time frames. While this has its uses, seeing things on an individual level makes it easier for companies to make decisions that’ll make their customers happier.
That’s why GA4 focuses more on the users. You can still use a session-based model to see an overview of your data, but these are now known as events. They’re much more flexible in how you can design them and allow you to take a closer look at data on the individual level.
It Uses Predictive AI Algorithms
Like many new things that have come out in the last year, Google Analytics 4 has put a heavy focus on integrating predictive AI to improve the results of the program. UA had a small version of this, known as Insights, but GA4 goes much more in depth and makes it a core part of the program.
Through this program, Google Analytics can show users important information in a more digestible way to help all the numbers make more sense. On top of that, it can also use that information to predict future purchase or churn rates for specific audiences you currently sell to. Of course, this is only the beginning. With AI baked into GA4’s core, the list of future possibilities is nearly endless.
It Visualizes Lots of Your Data
We’ve mentioned how the AI can take data from your site and display it in a more digestible format, but it doesn’t stop at the insights section. Google realized that most people understand their data better when it’s in a chart or a graph. Because of that, they’ve made visualizations a big part of GA4.
Not only are charts and graphs easier to follow, but they also make trends, spikes, and dips in your performance metrics more noticeable. In GA4, you can turn almost any of your data into a visualization. This will make it much easier to analyze your data and make smart decisions for your company.
It Has More Ways To Analyze Your Data
Of course, what good would a new version of Analytics be without some new ways to analyze your data? That’s why one of the main things that beginners should know about Google Analytics 4 is that there are new types of analysis you can utilize. We won’t go into detail about how they work here, but we’ll briefly describe what they are.
- Funnel Analysis: This is a way to track the sales funnel path of your website visitors.
- Path Analysis: This puts related user events in a tree-like path.
- Cohort Analysis: This lets you see how specific groups respond to your marketing attempts.
- Segment Overlap: This tool allows you to create groups based on overlapping traits.
- User Lifetime: This lets you see everything a specific user has done over time.
With this kind of additional information, it’ll be much easier to identify flaws in your marketing structure and fix them accordingly. You can even use this kind of data to identify some of the more common web design mistakes you might have made when creating your site. No matter how you use it, though, the more information you have, the easier it will be to improve your business.