Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google's web analytics service, which was officially released in October 2020. GA4 is designed to provide a more holistic view of user behavior across different platforms and devices, including websites and mobile apps.
It offers enhanced insights into user interactions and behaviors, enabling businesses to make more informed decisions based on a comprehensive understanding of their customers' journeys.
In previous version of Google analytics, Universal Analytics, there are two User metrics: Total Users, and New Users. In Google Analytics 4, there are three User metrics: Total Users, Active Users, and New Users.
Some key features of Google Analytics 4 include:
- Event-driven data model: GA4 employs an event-based tracking system that allows for a more flexible and customizable approach to data collection. This model enables businesses to track various user interactions, such as page views, clicks, video views, downloads, and more, providing a more comprehensive understanding of user engagement.
- Enhanced cross-platform tracking: GA4 provides improved cross-platform tracking, enabling businesses to analyze user interactions across websites and mobile apps in a more integrated manner. This functionality helps businesses gain insights into how users engage with their brand across different platforms, leading to a better understanding of customer behavior.
- Machine learning capabilities: GA4 leverages machine learning algorithms to provide valuable insights and predictive metrics, such as churn probability, purchase probability, and lifetime value predictions. These insights can help businesses optimize their marketing strategies and improve customer retention by identifying potential opportunities and risks.
- User-centric data measurement: GA4 focuses on user-centric measurement, allowing businesses to track user engagement and behavior across multiple sessions and platforms. This approach provides a more comprehensive view of user interactions and helps businesses understand the complete customer journey, from acquisition to conversion and retention.
- Enhanced reporting and analysis: GA4 offers improved reporting capabilities and analysis tools, including data exploration, customizable reports, and advanced data visualization options. These features enable businesses to gain deeper insights into user behavior and make data-driven decisions to optimize their marketing efforts and improve overall performance.
Universal Analytics Vs. Google Analytics 4
- Data model:
- Universal Analytics: Universal Analytics uses a session-based data model that tracks user interactions on websites, focusing on metrics such as sessions, pageviews, and events.
- Google Analytics 4: GA4 uses an event-driven data model that allows for more flexible and customizable tracking of user interactions across various platforms, including websites and mobile apps. GA4 focuses on user-centric measurement, providing insights into the complete customer journey across multiple sessions and platforms.
- Cross-platform tracking:
- Universal Analytics: While Universal Analytics primarily focuses on website tracking, it offers limited support for cross-platform tracking, making it challenging to analyze user interactions across different platforms comprehensively.
- Google Analytics 4: GA4 is designed to provide enhanced cross-platform tracking, allowing businesses to analyze user interactions across websites and mobile apps in a more integrated manner. This feature enables a more holistic understanding of user behavior and engagement across different platforms.
- Reporting and analysis:
- Universal Analytics: Universal Analytics offers traditional reporting and analysis tools, including standard reports, custom reports, and data visualization options, providing businesses with insights into website performance and user behavior.
- Google Analytics 4: GA4 provides improved reporting capabilities, including data exploration, customizable reports, and advanced analysis tools, along with machine learning-driven insights and predictive metrics. GA4's enhanced reporting and analysis features offer businesses a more comprehensive understanding of user behavior and enable them to make data-driven decisions to optimize their marketing strategies.
Overall, while Universal Analytics has been the go-to analytics platform for many businesses, Google Analytics 4 offers enhanced cross-platform tracking, a more user-centric data model, and advanced reporting and analysis capabilities, making it a more powerful tool for understanding user behavior and optimizing marketing strategies in the long run. Businesses are encouraged to transition to GA4 to take advantage of its advanced features and capabilities.