Google Analytics 4: What You Need to Know Before Making the Switch

By RafterOne

As businesses move to an increasingly digital landscape, analytics tools have become an essential part of understanding and optimizing customer journeys. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the newest version of Google’s powerful analytics platform, designed to provide detailed insights into user behavior and drive better decisions for businesses. Google Analytics 4 offers a variety of benefits, including enhanced data accuracy, better data protection, and improved personalization capabilities. In this article, we’ll explore all the celebrated features of Google Analytics 4 and why it’s the perfect tool for commerce businesses looking to take their digital analytics to the next level.

What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics has evolved significantly over the years since it first launched in 2005 and then became Universal Analytics (UA) in 2012. On the surface, the newly rebranded Google Analytics 4 looks very similar to UA. However, it’s quite a different beast.

When compared to UA, GA4 is more powerful, intuitive, and easier to use. It’s designed for cross device reporting, tracking data from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets and is compatible with both Google and Facebook platforms.

In short, a new analytics platform was needed that would be able to handle all the data marketers were collecting. It also needed to be able to meet the evolving needs of marketers to stay relevant and useful long into the future.

Why is it time to switch to GA4?

There are many upsides to using GA4 over UA, including improved tracking accuracy, more granular data, and a better user experience. The switch to GA4 is also necessary if you want to track conversions from Facebook Ads and Google Shopping campaigns.

All in all, switching to GA4 will allow you to get better insights into your business, target your marketing efforts more effectively, and optimize your online strategy for better results.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that Universal Analytics will no longer collect data come July 1, 2023. As such, marketers need to transition to GA4 soon to avoid any data gaps.

Advantages of switching to GA4

Better tracking accuracy

Universal Analytics has a history of reported inaccuracies. It has been criticized for significantly overstating viewability, bounce rates, and averaging time. GA4 is designed to address these issues and provide marketers with more accurate data. One specific issue was that UA had a monthly hit/event limit per account. GA4 has eliminated this limit which improves tracking accuracy especially for sites with high volume traffic and a large user group that initiates many site events.

More granular data

Another perk of switching to GA4 is the ability to access more granular data. For example, you’ll be able to see the number of people who landed on your page but left without clicking through to your site, as well as those who engaged with your content for a certain period before leaving.

Easier user experience

UA is notoriously clunky and difficult to navigate. This has often been cited as the biggest challenge marketers face when using UA. With GA4, you’ll have a more streamlined, user-friendly platform that’s designed to be simple to use, regardless of your level of experience.

Improved cross-device tracking

One of the biggest challenges marketers face is tracking users across different devices. UA has come under fire for not being able to achieve this need since it groups website and mobile app data into one property. GA4 now offers built-in support for mobile apps, allowing users to integrate app and web tracking into a single property. Game changer.

What tools and features does GA4 offer?

Custom insights

A custom insight is a single visual that represents a group of metrics and data. It makes it easier to understand your data at a glance and spot potential issues that may otherwise be missed.

Custom audiences

Creating a custom audience allows the collection of a group of people who have visited your website, app, or other digital property. You can then target content to this group to increase the relevancy of your digital marketing efforts.

Dynamic content

This feature allows you to customize your content by filtering it based on your audience’s location, device type, language, and more. It’s a great way to increase relevance and drive higher engagement.

Email observations

You can take advantage of email campaign analysis that provides actionable insights so you can optimize your email marketing efforts.

How is GA4 different from Universal Analytics?

While there are plenty of similarities between the two platforms, there are also a number of key differences. Here are a few that stand out.

User interface

The first major difference between the two platforms is the user interface. UA has a very basic user interface, which makes it difficult to navigate. The new GA4 has a modern, minimalist user interface that is much easier to use.

Data visualization

In contrast to the limited data display options UA provides, GA4 offers a wide range of advanced data visualization tools, including path, waterfall, and funnel visualizations. This feature was previously only offered to 360 customers. Now all users of GA4 have access.

Data filtering

While UA offers some, the new GA4 offers many different filtering options, including date- and range-based filtering, smart data visualization, and more.

It’s go time.

For any commerce business on Salesforce, Google’s Universal Analytics has been a powerful tool helping track web traffic, measure the effectiveness of online marketing efforts, and understand user engagement. As your business grows and evolves, you need a better way to ensure it’s still effective.

Fortunately, Google Analytics 4 is here to help. It’s a completely revamped version of Universal Analytics that’s packed full of new features and benefits. By switching to GA4, you’re ensuring that you’ll have access to valuable insights for years to come. Whether you’re just starting your analytics journey or an avid UA user, you should consider this new version. It’s sure to impress.

Our experienced GA4 experts have supported dozens of businesses with GA4 setup and implementation. RafterOne’s GA4 Quick Start includes a 4-phase approach to a smooth GA4 transition.

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