From July 1, 2023, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will replace Universal Analytics (UA) as the default analytics platform.
This is going to be a significant change. This blog post will cover the experiences of those who have already experimented with GA4. Let’s also explore the benefits of Google Analytics 4 and the gaps in Universal Analytics that GA4 bridges.
But first, let’s dive into a little bit of what GA4 is all about:
Google Analytics 4: What is it, and how is it different from Universal Analytics
GA4, like UA, will help you measure traffic and engagement, among other insights. It will monitor interactions across your business websites, apps, and social media platforms. It is an evolved version of analytics that helps businesses unfold more layers to their insights.
It is different from Universal Analytics based on the understanding that the GA was more streamlined with the 2000s trends of:
- Primarily desktop usage
- Third-party cookie reliance, with only fundamental first-party data
- Fewer user privacy concerns
- Less focus on data democratization
In 2022, the above trends have completely turned on their heads. GA4 addresses these changes, along with several new features and benefits. For example, GA4 can help nurture your omnichannel marketing strategies, give you unrestricted analytics beyond 10 million a month (the limit for GA), and prioritize user privacy and data without relying on third-party cookies.
While GA4 is running parallel to UA for now, businesses will have to move to GA by the end of June next year as Google phases out UA.
Benefits of Google Analytics 4 vs. UA and previous GA versions
The benefits of GA4 are numerous. Most of all, it can uplift your campaign ROAS.
GA4 benefit 1: Unified user behavior tracking
GA4 recognizes that users browse through brand websites and apps with various devices. According to a Google infographic, 90% of consumers move between multiple devices to accomplish their goals. Specifically, 67% of consumers use multiple devices sequentially before making their purchases when shopping online.
GA4 addresses this trend by tracking activity in a user-first manner, unlike UA, which was device-first.
Here’s an example. Jill is an ardent customer of oat milk. She browsed through the dairy app on her phone and placed an order through the brand’s website. Under the UA regime, the analytics report would render these as two user interactions. This would be a skewed representation, as both these interactions are a part of one single customer’s buying journey. GA4 records this as one interaction from a single user.
Every brand needs to visualize its customers’ journey from browsing to finally converting while engaging with them on different devices and platforms. So, an analytics tool like GA4 needed to move beyond device-based identities and interactions.
Through GA4, the focus is now on the user and their journey through platforms and screens across TV, web, mobile, and so on.
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Benefit 2: Granular data collection and analysis
Max Benz, the founder of BankingGeek, emphasizes the importance of the events-based model that GA4 brings in. He lays down the advantages of this model succinctly:
“GA4 uses an events-based model, which allows for more granular data collection and analysis. This new model has several advantages over the traditional pageview-based model. First, it provides more accurate data about how users interact with content. Second, it allows a better understanding of user behavior across devices and platforms. Finally, it makes it easier to track conversions and other logger actions.”
Further, GA4 improves campaign performance monitoring with this feature.
Joel Messner of konstructdigital explains this, “When looking at reverse goal path data in UA, you are limited to seeing three previous goal steps. In GA4, this limitation does not exist when creating a path exploration report. Seeing even more steps in a user’s journey before converting allows for even more insight into a campaign’s performance.”
Earlier iterations of Google Analytics tracked only basic events automatically. Every other kind of event required manual intervention.
Benefit 3: Improved messaging due to omnichannel view of the customer
With GA4, brands get a single view of the customer. The cross-device analysis gives holistic insight into the customer journey. With this advanced understanding of the customer, brands can improve their resonance in terms of content, creatives, and timing.
GA4 gives brands a better idea of multichannel attribution. As a result, they will have deeper insights into what kind of messaging performs well on which platform, thus optimizing their content and creatives for more substantial customer acquisition, engagement, and retention.
Regarding timing, Rengie Wisper, Co-Founder at Ever Wallpaper, notes that GA4 has helped them target their customers in a more nuanced manner. They can anticipate the needs of a specific customer and target them with a relevant ad. In addition, it has allowed the brand to be visible during the critical moments in the buyer’s decision-making process, helping them increase conversion rates by over 30% for some campaigns.
Benefit 4: More robust reporting
GA4 reporting capabilities bring some breakthrough benefits for brands. It includes a wide range of parameters:
- Life cycle reports, including acquisition, retention, monetization, and engagement;
- User collection: Demographics (age, location, language, gender, and interests) and tech (the technology the target audience uses);
- App-related information
Patricia Jones, Co-Founder at Neutypechic, reveals that courtesy of the GA4 reporting capabilities, they have been able to “track how their ads are performing across a wide range of metrics such as clicks, impressions, cost per click (CPC), cost per thousand impressions (CPM), conversion rate, revenue generated from ads shown on publisher sites (RevPAR), etc.”
With GA4, brands now have the ability to unlock stronger messaging without any additional effort. In addition, the transition from old GA or UA to GA4 will give them access to comprehensive reports that help optimize campaigns.
Realize the benefits of GA4 with our customizable data analytics platform
The benefits of Google Analytics 4 will create a seismic shift in how brands approach advertising and marketing.
But to make the most of GA4 benefits, you need a platform with the right integrations. Rebid Insights is that platform. With on-demand integration across numerous data sources, real-time product analytics, and vast data activation, we have all you need to embrace GA4 and surge ahead.