Google Analytics 4 is now fully operational, as the July 1 migration deadline has passed along with (some of) the summer heat and celebratory fireworks! No matter what capacity you are using this extensive platform for, we have concocted a few very useful tips to work more efficiently and get the most out of this tool that provides so much useful insight for allocation and fine-tuning technique.
GA4’s Event-Driven Tracking vs. Universal Analytics:
It’s important to understand a bit of the background to how GA4 originated, and why its separation from UA is crucial to adapting to learning it efficiently. First, there were two key differences regarding the new platform and what it accounts for, which affect how it is best used:
- Browsing behavior that takes place across both platforms and devices.
- Privacy changes offer much less user data within cookies, and an increase in data that protects privacy.
Universal Analytics was constructed for an entirely different time of browsing before these major occurrences and was quickly becoming less useful by the day. GA4 was designed to put data streams to use and vastly measure across many facets of the web. It uses an event-based model with unified measurement for breaking down the necessity of the all-important user journey. Even if you are not using both a website and a mobile app, GTA4 will be a great help because it scraps third-party cookies entirely.
Setting the Stage for Data Dominance and Business Growth:
For anyone who is in the advertising game, one of the most important things to do first is make sure that your Google Ads links are imported. Then, make sure that their goals and conversions have migrated safely and that your bids are targeting the correct conversions and audiences within Google ads. The “Collect Universal Analytics events” in your tag settings will quickly get busy to your benefit, and record Category/Action/Label traits as useful parameters. We know that doing conversions such as this is not as simple as standing in line and ordering a cappuccino, so thankfully the GA4 Setup Assistant is on hand to make things a bit simpler.
Getting a Familiar Feel Before All-Out Duty:
Many of the professional marketers who are using GA4 claimed that their initial encounters with GA4 were a bit unsure and confusing. The Skillshop modules do a great job of helping you understand the key concepts and unique account structures that the platform features.
Analytics for beginners & SMBs walks you through the setup and reporting tasks, leaving you feeling as if things aren’t as harsh a landing with the switchover. Here you can get familiar with the homepage, install the analytics mobile app, browse reports, grant access, add collaborators, and link a Google ads account. With a clean layout and a sensible approach, this is a gold mine for anyone struggling.
The Mini Guides online collection allows you to explore the playbook, and offers a great section on how to navigate analytics, as well as information on setting up data collection for an app. It’s also a great resource for many guys on conversions, explorations, and creating a remarketing audience.
Harnessing the New Features Absent From UA:
Here are a few of the new and improved features in GA4 that can help those just getting started nail down the results that will improve their campaign.
Business Objectives provides a signal used to customize a very useful set of reports to your goal and can aid with lead generation, online sales, and gradually building a loyal following. This useful set of aids is also available in the report Library whenever you need quick access.
The Customized Home Page is much more efficient in GA4. Here are some specific stats about product usage and user signals that make things much more “your own” and accessible.
Analytics Intelligence is a very handy set of features that uses machine learning and rules you set to create automated and custom insights. Finding trends within your data is how to change your approach and celebrate big wins regarding data! This feature also allows you to use the “Ask Analytics Intelligence” suggestions at the bottom for insights that give you an edge regarding activity and SEO trends.
Enhanced Event Measurement allows you to enable events right in the GA4 interface to closely monitor many different types of interactions with your content. Here you can see how video engagement is going, along with form interactions, and downloads. Whether your product is a hot new food truck or online shoe store, this type of information is very valuable when you are figuring out when to have a big sale or build up holiday traffic.
Predictive Audiences here in GA4 provide a few unique benefits that we’re missing in UA. There are now enhanced AI features that can build predictive audiences, drastically assisting with your ability to pinpoint “what happens next.” These features do require a fair amount of data to work efficiently, but the result can make your entire operation seem like you are on solid ground instead of shooting “digital blanks” into the wind.
Analytics Audience Builder in Google Ads is another way in which the new platform is superior to UA. Here you can create regular and predictive audiences in ads, directly after you link the accounts. The new setup is also better in that you don’t need to change accounts to have comprehensive leverage over your audiences while still using both products during the transition.
User ID was once only used in special views and reports. In GA4, User-ID is used during the entire reporting process to give you the most accurate and useful view of customer behavior that allows you to adjust your message, copy, and potentially even paid ad spend.
Explorations are a very useful component that was once only available in UA 360. They are very useful because they equip you with more data than the standard reports and enable you to keep an eye on the business metrics that matter most.
Custom Funnel Reports arms you with a visual breakdown of the steps that users take to complete a task and evaluate how many users suddenly drop off between these steps. You also can conveniently save final explorations to the report Library, so you won’t have to dig far for them when preparing a report or checking back over past data.
From Blueprint to Reality: More GA4 Features Coming Soon
Here at FarFetched Studios, we are eager to dive into the promising new era GA4 was prepped for, and how it will continue to evolve. There will most likely be exciting updates coming soon for the Advertiser Workspace, and heightened customization features for SMB customers. If you don’t feel that you have an abundance of extra time for learning GA4, our team has already put the hours in to feel comfortable with this very useful and timely tracking tool. We can effectively streamline your analytics process, and jumpstart your Q4 efforts with the findings from the largest Search Engine’s savvy relative!