Google announced the release of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) on October 14th. The new property type builds on the foundation of the App + Web property that Google introduced in Beta in 2019. The new property uses machine learning to offer predictive insights, offers deeper integration with Google Ads and more useful customer-centric metrics to improve business outcomes. GA4 was also built with the future in mind to adapt to changing technologies and user privacy regulations.
The new property does not integrate with existing property data from Universal Analytics & Global Site Analytics. Therefore, users will want to keep code for existing analytics properties in place and accruing data for historical comparisons. There currently has not been any announcement regarding the sunsetting of previous Google property versions. You will find that Google Analytics 4 properties are now the default setup. New improvements to Google Analytics will only be available in GA4 properties moving forward.
Machine Learning offers insights and predictions. Google machine learning models now offer insight into data trends that highlight specific user behaviors. Leveraging this data allows Google to predict future user events.
A model example, used by Google, is Churn probability in its Analysis module. Marketers will be able to use this information to make strategic adjustments to marketing campaigns and deliver greater success.
GA4 better integrates to Google Ads. Audiences have been enhanced to allow greater definition. Users can now be targeted or excluded across web and app platforms. Tighter audience creation will enable marketers to deliver enhanced ad targeting across campaigns. Because the new property encompasses both web and app, it can include conversions from YouTube engaged views from both web and app in reports.
GA4 moves to a Customer-Centric model. Previous Google Analytics versions focus ondevices and platforms to report user behavior. This disjointed approach segregates user behavior. GA4 now focuses on the user first. User specific reporting allows Google to share data from interactions from a single user across device and platform. For example, a user who first interacts with a brand’s website, but then installs the brand’s app and converts, will have those data points linked. The initial web site visit will gain credit for its role in the in-app conversion.
Google built GA4 with the future in mind. The GA4 property takes into consideration changes to the technology landscape and potential regulatory changes. GA4 is designed to adapt to a future where cookies and other identifiers no longer exist. Already, Google Chrome is set to eliminate 3rd party cookies in 2022. GA’s flexible approach to measurement and future modeling enhancements will fill the gaps where incomplete data exists. GA4 offers enhanced data controls to better manage data collection, retention and usage. This will be quite helpful to marketers who must comply with various data regulations.
Google continues to evolve its tools and platforms to aid marketers in delivering positive ROI. The Google Analytics 4 property does just that as it advances data gathering across devices and platforms. Further leveraging machine learning, Google is evolving prediction modeling to a new level. Marketers will find that GA4 delivers data previously unavailable and allows more of their energy to focus on decision making and away from data mining.