The importance of data analytics isn't lost on most businesses. One study by EY found that 93% of companies plan to continue to increase investments in data and analytics. The tool of choice for many is Google Analytics. In fact, Google Analytics had a market share of 31.55% in 2021, the largest among all web analytics tools. Coming in second was Google Universal Analytics at 24.04%.
When the company announced that it would launch an entirely new version of the tool — abandoning Universal Analytics altogether by July 1, 2023 — any business using Google Analytics for digital marketing was left with one question: What is Google Analytics 4, and how will it impact a company's data analytics capabilities?
Another vast improvement in GA 4 is around Google Analytics views. Using multiple identity spaces and user signals, the new Google Analytics 4 offers more customer-centric metrics to provide deeper GA insights into the entire customer life cycle across platforms and devices. Attribution becomes much easier, making it possible to devote more spend on the initiatives that drive the most awareness, engagement, and sales.
Read our blog, "How to Use Google Analytics for SEO," for more information.
What's New in Google Analytics 4?
Although GA 4 is still fresh to the market and likely to have new Google Analytics features, it's already offering a broader view of your data than Universal Analytics. The following are just a few reasons that Google Analytics 4 implementation is a giant leap in the right direction:
• Greater reporting versatility. Universal Analytics reporting capabilities pale in comparison to those offered within the new GA 4. Through the Analysis tab, you can create custom reports to capture deeper insight from specific data sets — a significant improvement from the rather limited reporting customization within Universal Analytics. You can choose not only the format, but also the type of data included in your reports once you set up GA 4.
• Greater data control. With Universal Analytics, data from websites and apps requires separate properties for processing. Google Analytics 4 streamlines the activity by collecting data from websites and apps into a single property. And instead of different tracking codes, the same ones are used for each type of data stream. This makes data management for each user a less herculean task within Google Analytics 4.
• Greater tracking efficiency. Universal Analytics tracks user sessions, documenting user activities on a given site within set periods of time. Instead of creating sessions, Google Analytics 4 uses what are known as "events." These events record every user activity on a site each time a given user visits a site. The practice eliminates duplicate records for users. It also helps site owners more efficiently capture consumer information, analyze individual behavior, and cross-reference data to create actionable insights. As a result, marketing decisions become much more informed after Google Analytics 4 implementation.
• Greater marketing ROI. GA 4's deeper integration with Google Ads allows you to access greater GA insights from data. Then, all that's left is to use what you've learned to create custom audiences that contain higher-value customers and deliver more relevant, personalized experiences — and do so across channels and devices. It's an opportunity to optimize campaign performance and deliver a greater marketing ROI.
The new Google Analytics 4 will quickly become the default experience for businesses, so it's more important than ever to take some time to understand how to use all the features. Although you'll still be able to access Universal Analytics reports in the near future, they'll be gone on July 1, 2023. So, you've got time to master what's proving to be a better, more user-friendly tool for digital marketing.