A GA4 Beginners Guide – Only last year, Google came out with a newer and updated version of Google Analytics, the fourth rendition of the software. Google promises that GA4, short for Google Analytics 4, will provide more intricate insights to better prepare you for what’s next and better equip SEO services.
Even though the platform still suffices in its previous utility of assessing user behaviour and website traffic, it greatly differs from the conventional Universal Analytics a developer knows. While having a GA4 property is not a requirement as of now. It is recommended that you at least install a GA4 property to acquire more data.
This will further help you get more acclimated to the new property type. If this is your first time learning about GA4, this blog is a great read. Here you will learn everything there is to GA4 and get more familiarised with the software.
How Is Google Analytics 4 Different?
When compared to Universal Analytics, Google Analytics 4 is quite different in its objectives and features. GA4 was made with the primary motive of preparing digital marketers and website owners. It takes into account the ever-changing privacy concerns, data collection possibilities and cookie restrictions.
It utilises a more events-based model, negating the conventional traditional sessions-based approach. However, these differences are only scratching the tip of the iceberg. Keep reading to learn a few more ways GA4 and Universal Analytics differ.
The Interface and Reporting Capabilities
Universal Analytics has five main categories of reporting is divided, namely, Audience, Real-time, Acquisition, Conversions and Behaviour. However, when it comes to GA4, you will see very different ways reports are organised and laid out.
Firstly, the main navigation only has four categories, as opposed to the five in Universal Analytics, Explore, Reports, Configure and Advertising. Here is a detailed explanation of what each of these categories includes.
As per Google, with the new explore facilities in GA4. You can take both data collection and assessment to the next level. It comes with a few newer and better techniques that can help you uncover better insights about your customers and their behaviours.
This is the category where you can access all your data. Along with your Real-time report, you also have the user and life cycle reports. The former includes sub-categories like demographics, where you get all details of the user, like their location, age, gender, etc.
Then there is tech, which allows you to understand the device, operating systems and similar technical information on how the users are accessing your app or website.
Life cycle reports, on the other hand, include acquisition, where you can see how the users found your website or app, and engagement, which shows user behaviour and how they interact with the site elements and web pages.
In addition, you will find monetisation, which is a new ecommerce report that can track overall revenue, promotion performance, revenue by product and more. Lastly, you have retention there, which can help you understand returning and new users, lifetime value and cohorts.
In this sector of the application, you can get all information about what the user does on your app or website and how he uses it. It will also show you what channel brings in the most revenue. With this report, you can allocate your budget more efficiently and also get a better understanding of ROI.
In this category, you can set up new events, audiences and conversions. Configure also has a debug tool that you can use to monitor all events as they occur live.
Another noticeable difference you will find in GA4 properties is the Measurement ID. Instead of a Tracking ID, GA4 uses a measurement ID that starts with ‘G-‘ than ‘UA-‘.
New Metrics Added
As mentioned earlier, GA4 does not use a session-based model anymore, and with that, it has also introduced new metrics that do not exist in Universal Analytics. Some of the newer metrics include:
These are sessions that can last for 10 seconds to anywhere longer, have two or more views and even more than one conversion event.
Engaged Sessions Per User:
This shows you how often each user completes the engagement session.
Average Engagement Time:
Instead of using older metrics like Average Session Duration or Bounce Rate, GA4 now uses Average Engagement Time, estimating the engagement time of each user.
If learning the new features of GA4 can seem confusing to you or time-consuming, you can always seek the help of a digital marketing company that has trained professionals for it, like Web Design City.