Some Awesome Things That Come With Google Analytics 4 (Brie E. Anderson)

Brie E. Anderson


Listen, I get it. The last thing you wanted to do with your time is learn a new analytics platform. Most people were just starting to get comfortable with Universal Analytics when Google Analytics 4 was rolled out in October of 2020.

And just last month Google announced that Universal Analytics will be deprecated in July of 2023 and that data will no longer be accessible. What this means is if you want to collect website data at all, you’re going to have to use Google Analytics 4.

Now, I’ll be extremely transparent and say that Google Analytics 4 is very different from Universal Analytics and can be a bit intimidating. But it comes with a lot of really cool features that are worth getting excited about.

Customization

Perhaps the coolest thing about Google Analytics 4 is how customizable it is. Not only can you create custom dimensions, metrics, and events, but you can actually customize the user interface.

This means you can create reports to look the way you want them to from the visuals to the data that is pulled into the reports. You are also able to create your own custom navigation using GA4’s Library.

Insights

If you’re not a huge analytics nerd like me, Insights will be extremely helpful. Now, Insights were tested in Universal Analytics for quite some time, but they came out swinging in GA4. Insights can be accessed at any time in the top right corner where they are prompted by topic and question.

However, most people will likely find the Insights screen more useful. To access the Insights screen, you just go to your Reports Overview, find the Insights module, and click “View all Insights.” This will bring you to a screen that highlights all of the most notable information from your website analytics.

Event Tracking

Google Analytics 4 is an event-based platform, which means the event tracking is far more advanced than it was in Universal Analytics. This has both pros and cons, but it gives us far more information about our events overall.

When you create a Google Analytics 4 property by default there will be a few events tracked. However, during setup, you also get the opportunity to turn on Enhanced Measurement which will track some of the most common events seen on websites. Some of these events include file downloads, video views, and site searches. If you have any previous experience with Universal Analytics, you know that setting these events up in the old platform wasn’t quite as easy.

You also get the option to configure events in the platform. This allows you to create new events based on event parameters that are passed to Google Analytics 4 or through modifying current events.

Machine Learning

Previously, these tools could be very expensive because of the machine learning behind them. Google Analytics 4 gives every user access to some very powerful machine learning, for free! In GA4 every user gets access to predictive analytics and anomaly detection.

Once a certain threshold is hit anomaly detection will be available on most line graphs. If a statistical significance is found in your data plotted on a line graph, you will be able to see the anomaly highlighted on the graph.

Any report created in Explore that uses a line graph will have the option to turn on anomaly detection. In these reports, you will also have the ability to define the sensitivity of your anomaly detection.

Screenshot of Anomaly Detection feature turned on and set to a certain training period and sensitivity

Predictive Analytics is also available in Explore and for certain reports in Google Analytics 4. It’s important to note that Predictive Analytics is only available after a certain number of conversions are collected, so you will want to start collecting that data as soon as possible. Predictive Analytics will give you a probability of purchase or churn for users over the next seven days.

Predictive Analytics is a great way to understand how certain groups of users are interacting with your website or app. They can also be extremely useful in creating audiences to serve ads to.

You’ve got this!

Now as you move forward with getting Google Analytics 4 set up and becoming comfortable with the platform, don’t lose sight of all of the amazing things you’re getting access to. It might seem weird at first, but the platform should pay off in the end.


Brie E. Anderson @beastanalyticsco
Brie is an Analytical Nerd with a Soft Spot for Strategy! She’s the founder of BEAST Analytics, a digital marketing analytics consultancy, and founder of Marketing Merch Store.

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@beastanalyticsco great article…wondering if we can run both at the same time? or do you need to unhook the Universal Analytics?

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