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Everything To Know About the Google Analytics 4 Update

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The Google Analytics 4 update brings a new dashboard and new marketing abilities to all businesses with an online presence. Whether you’re an experienced Google Analytics user or have never tried it, now is a great time to get deep into this free platform. It helps you make the most of ad opportunities to increase sales and income while successfully navigating the rapidly changing internet.

We’re facing new privacy laws that have greatly restricted the use of the old, highly profitable retargeting ads. Internet marketing is also becoming more splintered. It used to be enough to have a presence on Google and Facebook, but today, most businesses must combine other platforms and mediums to reach their customers.

Users are often looking at different channels to gain information (or be entertained), switching between search engines, social media platforms, apps, and entertainment channels while using different devices (e.g. a smartphone, laptop, or smart TV). This can make it challenging for businesses to identify where their target audience is located when creating a marketing campaign.

So how do you track your online customers without running afoul of the new privacy laws? And how do you know where they’re likely to go next so you can get in front of them without wasting ad dollars?

The updated, user-friendly dashboard in Google Analytics 4 helps to solve this problem by giving you powerful ways to stay one step ahead of your customers and competition. With it, you can keep your marketing strategy humming. Plus, you can customize the dashboard to suit your particular marketing strategy and get the crucial analytics you need while filtering out what's no longer working.

Why Analytics Are Critical to Your Online Sales Success

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

Peter Drucker

Analytics are critical to online sales success because they help you measure and improve marketing performance across channels and platforms. Analytics help you understand:

  • Where your customers live on the internet
  • How they use it
  • What they want and need
  • What pain points to solve to turn people into loyal customers
  • The areas you need to improve to get more sales and increase income

When you’re armed with this all-important information, you can tailor your marketing and sales strategies to increase sales and grow your bottom line. You can identify and sell to your most profitable customer groups. You’ll also be able to:

  • Test and improve your website design
  • Improve user experience (UX)
  • Create better content
  • Test different offers
  • Increase conversions
  • Reduce bounce rates and cart abandonment
  • Track and evaluate your campaigns and promotions
  • Measure your return on investment (ROI)
  • Know your customer lifetime value (CLV)

You can discover new opportunities, trends, and insights in real-time to meet your customers with up-to-date content that will keep you ahead of the competition.

What Makes Google Analytics 4 Better than the Old Universal Analytics?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is more than an update. It uses a completely different data model and assigns each data stream a unique ID that it can track without violating privacy laws.

It used to be enough to use Google’s Universal Analytics to track individual visits and page views on your website to build an effective marketing plan and tweak your strategy. But the internet has become more complex. Now, you must track customers across multiple websites, apps, and devices to market effectively.

GA4’s new data model generates data streams based on events and parameters across the internet rather than just on sessions or hits to your website.

  • Events are user interactions with a website or app, such as page views, clicks, downloads, or purchases.
  • Parameters are additional details about the events, like product name, price, or category.

Using data streams from events and parameters lets you get information about how customers interact with your brand everywhere. You can get the broad, overall picture or drill down for info on an individual product or campaign.

The GA4 dashboard is more intuitive and user-friendly, with improved reports and visualizations. Some of the new features included are:

Data Streams

Data streams give you a helpful way to connect multiple data sources, like websites and apps, to a single GA4 property to view their streams in a unified report. With this, all of your analytics data is gathered in one place.

You can configure various settings for each data stream using:

  • Enhanced measurement, which lets you analyze page views, scrolling, video interaction, outbound clicks, site search, file downloads, and ad impressions and clicks. You get a comprehensive view of how your website is working and can drill down to specific areas.
  • Consent mode helps you comply with privacy laws while still collecting needed information.
  • Cross-domain measurement lets you track user behavior across multiple domains and apps you control.

You can also create different Web, Android, iOS, or Firebase data streams. Each data stream has a unique ID and a measurement ID. The Data Streams section of the Admin page in GA4 is where you can view and manage your data streams.

Analysis Hub

This is where you analyze your data using GA4's helpful tools. You can create and customize reports and analyses of your data using different techniques:

  • Funnel analysis tells you how each stage of your sales funnel is working so you can improve the steps that are losing prospective buyers.
  • Path analysis tells you how people are moving through their online journey to buy your products. Knowing which websites and apps are moving people along to become buyers is handy. You can then eliminate or improve the ones that are not working well.
  • Segment overlap analysis can show hidden opportunities to create personalized messages for high-value customers. You can also reduce marketing costs and boost retention by not sending irrelevant messages.
  • Cohort analysis lets you compare the behavior of groups of users who share characteristics or experiences. You can compare retention, engagement, conversion, and revenue rates to see which marketing strategies, product features, or user experiences give the best results.

The GA4 Analysis Hub has a variety of templates and tools that make it easy to analyze different aspects of user behavior. You can better understand all the sales funnel stages and analyze improvement efforts for:

  • Acquisition — where you cast a wide net to gain prospective buyers
  • Engagement — where you keep prospects moving toward buying
  • Conversion — where you make the sale
  • Retention — where you keep customers and sell them more

You can apply filters, segments, and dimensions to data and see the results in charts, tables, or maps. It's also easy to export, share, and collaborate with other people. Using data-driven insights to make the most out of marketing strategies gives you the highest ROI.

BigQuery Integration

GA4 BigQuery integration allows you to export GA4 data to BigQuery, a cloud-based data warehouse service from Google. You can store, query, and analyze large volumes of data from many sources there.

You can use SQL and other tools to join and analyze data from sources like a customer relationship management (CRM), e-commerce, or social media to gain deeper insights into your users and their behavior.

You also gain more control and flexibility and can work with data from all those sources in one place — your GA4 dashboard. With this, you save time and better understand how marketing efforts on different platforms are working together.

Interestingly, you can also leverage advanced features like:

  • Machine learning: Provides deeper insights into user behavior, preferences, and trends. GA4 can automatically pick out important information to identify potential customers, predict future revenue, and detect problems.
  • Geospatial analysis: Uses time and location data. It also Maps, graphs, statistics, and cartograms to give you a more complete picture of events by including information like customers’ zip codes and the times of their interactions. With this data, you’ll know when and where to advertise.
  • Streaming data ingestion: Sends data to you when events occur on your website or app, giving you more flexibility and customization along with faster and more accurate reporting. You can see the impact of your campaigns and actions on user behavior almost instantly and adjust your strategies accordingly. This is beneficial for tweaking campaigns on Google Ads fast.

Predictive Metrics

These advanced analytics features help you understand and anticipate your users’ behavior and preferences. The insights and predictions help you get ahead of users and display content or ads where they’re most likely to click next. GA4 Predictive Metrics can help you improve:

  • Marketing campaigns to get more out of ad budgets
  • User experience to keep visitors engaged and moving toward buying
  • Conversions and retention to grow your revenue.

Highly useful GA4 Predictive Metrics include the most widely used measurements and more. You can see and use:

  • Purchase Probability: The chance that a user will purchase within the next seven days. You can target this group with more sales messages.
  • Churn Probability: The chance that a user will stop using your app or website within the next seven days. You can reduce ad spend for this group.
  • Revenue Prediction: The estimated revenue that a user will generate within the next 28 days. You’ll know how much you can spend on ads to get the sale.
  • Lifetime Value Prediction: The estimated revenue a user will generate over their lifetime.

GA4 Predictive Metrics are easy to set up and use without coding or configuration. You can customize them to suit your business needs for web and app properties. Plus, you can access them through the Analysis module, Reports section, or BigQuery export.

Let Google Analytics 4 Work for Your Business

The free Google Analytics 4 platform allows you to stay ahead of changes in online marketing to gain more customers and beat your competition. If you’re unfamiliar with GA4, then it’s worth investing your time to learn this platform to catapult your business to the next level.