Google Analytics 4 – the upgrade your company needs for greater marketing insights

Written by: Minh Hoang Le & Ross William Lancaster

Published on: October, 4th 2022

Introduction

With over 70% of e-commerce purchases happening on mobile phones and Google planning to retire Universal Analytics (UA) in June 2023, companies should upgrade to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). If companies do upgrade to GA4, companies must follow special implementation to ensure GA4 does not infringe on EU law. This is due to Google Analytics’ recent non-compliance issues with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. 

Built with innovative AI tech, machine learning and the flexibility to read data from different sources, GA4 helps companies understand the complex, multi-platform customer journey, from tablets, and iPhones, to web browsers. This helps companies predict wider market trends and deepen their understanding of customer behavior beyond what UA could offer. 

Companies taking advantage of GA4 include the global fitness apparel brand, Gymshark. By introducing GA4 across its mobile and web apps to understand user movement through the purchase funnel, Gymshark reduced user drop-offs by 9% and improved click-through rates by 5%. With proven results and UA’s cut-off date fast approaching, companies must consider introducing GA4 this year. 

In this next article, we’ll dive into how GA4 works, how to upgrade, its benefits and our final thoughts. 

 

Chapters:

The definition of GA4

Why your company should upgrade to GA4

The benefits of your GA4 for your company

How to upgrade & Introduce GA4 into your company

Is it the right time for your company to introduce GA4

The definition of Google Analytics 4

GA4 is the analytical property from Google that helps companies measure data from multiple sources while increasing user privacy. The software is called a property as it’s a set of reports and data grouped together from multiple sources. Find out more about properties here.  

What is the objective of using GA4?

  • Collects data from websites and apps to understand the customer journey

  • Increases privacy & security controls

  • Seamlessly integrates into other media platforms

  • Predictive abilities show complex issues in easy-to-understand ways

Google-Analytics-4

Why your company should upgrade to the advanced GA4

Importantly, Google’s previous analytical platform, Universal Analytics, will be retired by Google. 

As the property was created for a generation of online desktop users to read data from cookies, the approach has quickly become outdated. The decision to retire the property will take effect on July 1, 2023, when the platform will stop reading data.

In contrast, Google Analytics 4 offers to work across different platforms, doesn’t rely on data from cookies and has increased privacy controls – one of its core features. As a result, Google Analytics 4 has more thorough and detailed data gathering controls and will stop storing IP addresses. These added features are important in the current climate, where users demand more privacy safeguards and control over their data.

These are not the only new features of GA4. The property is also event-based, meaning that user interactions are recorded as events across all web and app visits. This allows for simple yet very configurable data configuration, saves Google processing space, and enables Google Analytics to generate reports that are more user-centric. 

YouTube video

 

The benefits of GA4 for your company

Here are some of the best ways GA4 helps improve your company: 

Understand customer touch points

  • Event-based analytics gives a comprehensive understanding of the customer journey. 

Updated Reports 

  • A new set of Customer Lifecycle reports, including Acquisition, Engagement, Monetization, and Retention. 
  • Improved funnel analysis reports, segment overlap reports, and user lifetime data.

Automated Tracking 

  • Track all or specific events by changing settings in GA4. 

Link with Google platforms 

  • Link Google Ads to Google Analytics 
  • Combine web and app data to improve your campaigns.

Compliance Improvements 

  • Change Google Analytics 4 to suit your data governance requirements. 
  • Easily and securely choose who accesses data.

AI & Machine Learning 

  • Develop new audiences of users who are likely to make purchases
  • Generate deep insights into user behavior and conversions
  •  Automatic and insightful reports 

 

How to upgrade & introduce Google Analytics 4 into your company

We recommend using GA4 Set Up Assistant to migrate UA to GA4. 

How to introduce GA4

  • Click Admin in Google Analytics

Google-Analytics-4-screenshot

  • In the Account Column, click the right account

Account-Column-on-Google-Analytics-4

  • In the Property Column, select the Universal Analytics account that currently collects all your data

In-the-Property-Column-select-the-Universal-Analytics-account

  • In the Property Column, click GA4 Setup Assistant – the first option in the column

In-the-Property-Column-click-GA4-Setup-Assistant

  • Click ‘Get Started’ under I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 Property

Click-Get-Started-to-create-a-new-Google-Analytics-4-Property

  • Click Create Property

Screenshot-when-creating-a-new-Google-Analytics-4-property

This should be the final process in creating your GA4 property, and once finished, you’ll receive the message, ‘you have successfully connected your properties.’  Also, please be aware Google recommends retaining Universal Analytics till its retirement, as some features have yet to be fully updated on GA4.

If you’re looking for further information regarding these steps, please take a look at Google’s detailed guide here.

Is it the right time for your company to introduce GA4?

With the end date of Universal Analytics set for July 2023, companies should start to make the cross-over to GA4. By introducing GA4 before July, your company will become more comfortable with the advantages of flexible event tracking. This will allow your company to better understand the customer journey across devices, helping you make more accurate marketing decisions that speak to all your customers on all platforms. 

Although the recent Data Protection Authority rulings cloud Google Analytics’ future, the EU market is lucrative and essential for Google to maintain its competitiveness. Therefore, we see Google making necessary changes to continue being part of data analytics in the EU.

For more information regarding the recent rulings, please read our blog. 

 

See more:

  1. Google Shopping – Your guide to an impactful channel
  2. Using Dynamic Search Ads to increase your Returns-On-Investment
  3. 5-step guide to get better at Data-driven decision making
  4. Improve your marketing strategy and ROI by building better apps with Google Firebase
  5. The Color Flow – How to increase your marketing production efficiency with a dynamic brand management system
  6. Connect Google Search Console & Google Analytics for better data-driven decisions & insights.

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