Do you know Google Analytics GA4?

Do You Know GA4?

Ally Horridge

Digital Account Manager - PLMR Genesis

The sunsetting of Universal Analytics (GA3) is soon upon us, so we’re taking a dive into all things GA4 to make sure you have everything you need to know about the latest version of Google Analytics

Google released its latest version of Google Analytics, GA4. Whilst it was first released in its BETA form in 2020, it’s been developed extensively and is now in a position to replace the current Universal Analytics (GA3) version from 1 July 2023.

For those who have not yet explored GA4 and everything it has to offer, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered! Since the news landed, our team have been taking the time to become GA4 experts and we are here to help you utilise the new version of Google Analytics to its fullest.

What is Google Analytics GA4?

From 1 July, you will still be able to view previously processed data on Universal Analytics for at least 6 months. Google is yet to confirm the date on which Universal Analytics data will no longer be available. With this in mind, and knowing how important historical data is, we strongly recommended you download your reports from Universal Analytics.

So, what is the deal with GA4 and how is it different to Universal Analytics?

Long story short; everything! GA4 is a completely revamped system with a new interface, a new data and measurement model, new steps to configure and a new tagging template in Google Tag Manager.

GA4 vs Universal Analytics (GA3) – What Is The Difference?

  1. Data – One of the biggest differences from Universal Analytics is that GA4 allows you to collect data from both your website and your app in the same property (a property is a website or app that is associated with a unique Google Analytics tracking ID).  Previously in Universal Analytics, organisations tracking website and app data would require a property to gather website data and an additional property dedicated to app data.
  2. Measurement – The measurement model of GA4 also differs from that used in Universal Analytics. Where Universal Analytics was session-based and used hit types such as page hits, event hits, and social interaction hits, GA4 is event-based. Take Universal Analytics ‘pageview’ attribute for example, this would be classified as an event in GA4.
  3. Users – Whilst both Universal Analytics and GA4 both use the term ‘Users’, they mean very different things. Users in GA4 demonstrate active users, compared to Universal Analytics where it would mean the total users.
  4. Tracking – When using Universal Analytics, if you were using the more basic functionality, you could use the platform without the need for Google Tag Manager (Google’s event tracking platform). For instance, Universal Analytics allowed you to create destination page conversions within the platform. Unfortunately, this is not the case with GA4. As mentioned above, all goals are event-based, so it’s imperative you know your way around Google Tag Manager to ensure your tracking is correctly set up.
  5. Privacy – As internet users have become much more privacy aware, GA4 has been modelled around being more privacy-centric and has been designed to work with or without cookies.

How To Use GA4?

Much like Universal Analytics, when you first log in to GA4, you will see that the homepage summarises overall traffic, conversions and revenue for that property. This overview is best used as a quick and easy way of ensuring everything is behaving as expected.

Looking at the left-hand menu, you will see four options; homepage, reports, explore and advertising. Let’s dive into each category and how you can use them to leverage your marketing efforts.

  • Reports:
    • Here, you can monitor traffic, investigate data, and understand your users and their activity. Once you’ve clicked through to reports – and your account is collecting data – you will land on the Realtime report. This is exactly what it says on the tin; monitoring what’s happening on your website or app as it happens. The Realtime report will show the number of users during the last 30 minutes, where your users are coming from, who your users are (audience), users by page title (which content they are viewing), events users trigger, and which conversions they complete.
    • Of course, the report section dives much deeper than just the Realtime report with options to investigate and monitor acquisition, engagement, monetisation, retention, demographics and tech.
  • Explore:
    • The exploration tab is a collection of advanced techniques that go beyond the standard reports. The idea is to help you discover deeper insights into your users’ behaviours.
    • You can use the explore data to quickly perform impromptu queries, easily configure and switch between different techniques, sort and dive deeper into data, use filters and segments to focus on the most relevant data to you, and create specific segments and audiences. Additionally, you can also share your explorations with other users of the same property.
  • Advertising:
    • If you are looking to get a better understanding of the return on investment (ROI) of your media spend across all your advertising channels, then the reports within the advertising workspace are here to help.
    • As well as gaining an understanding of your ROI, these reports will subsequently help you make informed business decisions around budget allocations and allow you to evaluate your attribution models.
    • To ensure you are getting the most out of your advertising reports, make sure you link your GA4 property to your Google Ads account(s). This will allow GA4 to gather data from your ad’s campaigns and as such, you can dive deeper into your advertising performance.

Get In Touch

So, if you’re looking for more advice and guidance on setting up and using GA4 or wanting any other digital marketing assistance, speak to one of our experts today: / 01473 326400

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