In October 2020, Google announced a brand new product – Google Analytics 4 or GA4. This new product provides a more streamlined platform for your website and app analytics. A main focus of GA4 is to improve the user interface and make it easier for users to view, manage, and understand their sites’ analytics. Let’s take a closer look at what Google Analytics 4 is and why your site needs it.

What Is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google Analytics, which will possibly replace the Universal Analytics (UA) property type. This is a new property type that can be used for a website, an app, or both. This core feature helps streamline the process for users that need to track, manage, and access different digital projects in one central location. This is different from Universal Analytics properties, which can only support websites.

What’s New in Google Analytics 4?

How Users Are Tracked

The first core difference between UA and GA4 is how users are tracked. In Universal Analytics, Google tracks users via sessions. Sessions are specific periods that include all user activity on a site. 

In GA4, Google records all events a user completes on a site. This places a huge focus on what users do on a site. Indeed, site owners or managers can then track what users are doing on their site, rather than just track users visiting a site.

Reporting Setup

In Universal Analytics, site owners or managers can set up and customize different site reports. In GA4, there are core reports built-in to the tracking platform. If you would like certain analytic reports, you can fully customize your reports on the analysis section. This is a great feature that allows you to customize how the report looks and focus only on the data you need to see.

GA Setup 

If you are familiar with Universal Analytics, you will know that this older version uses a view and property setup. In GA4, you have the freedom to combine your data from your websites and apps. Google has streamlined this process through one property and the data streams.

Google Analytics 4 allows you to use the same tracking code in different properties, such as for your website or apps. You can then combine the data and make it easier to track users between the data streams. The familiar track code associated with Universal Analytics (UA-XXXXXX-X) is replaced with G-XXXXXXX for Google Analytic 4 users. 

Why Your Site Needs GA4

Like any new technology upgrade, there is a learning curve for switching to Google Analytics 4. While it’s unclear when Google will replace Universal Analytics with GA4, know that it will eventually happen later on. Thus, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the new version, even if you don’t want to completely replace UA. 

You may be asking yourself, “Why do I need to switch to something else?” That’s a great question! One of the biggest benefits of using GA4 is that you can streamline your data for both websites and apps. If you have websites and apps, this new platform makes it so much easier to combine your data and track user activity across different products.

When you create a property in Google Analytics 4, Google will only start gathering data from the day you set up the property. This new platform will not import data from Universal Analytics’ properties, which is something to consider. 

Since user data is crucial for any analytics report, site owners and managers will appreciate the flexibility offered to GA4 users. Instead of generating a bunch of irrelevant, premade reports, Google Analytics 4 allows users to customize the reports they need. This makes it easier to get the data that is the most important for your business and reduces the amount of unnecessary data displayed on your dashboard. You will then find it easier to track and manage your site and/or app’s data and make improvements based on your findings.

We hope you found this week’s article helpful, which discussed what Google Analytics 4 is, some differences from Universal Analytics, and why your business can benefit from using this new tracking platform. It’s unclear as to when Google will replace UA with GA4. However, it’s a good idea to start getting used to the new platform now before the older platform is gone. You will likely discover that GA4 offers some great benefits for your site’s analytics, especially since you can combine data streams into one property. If you would like to learn more about analytics, check out Awesome Website Guys’ all-in-one analytics reporting platform. This service is available to all of our amazing AWG clients and allows you to track and manage your beautiful, customized reports via email.