During the last few months, the Alphabet team was busy making changes and upgrades to some of its key properties. In 2021, there will be a new ranking algorithm for Google searches. And right now, as you are reading this article, the well known Google Analytics Suite is being upgraded with Google Analytics 4.
What Exactly Is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 is not a new version of the suite, but an extension of it. For new websites, it will be the standard interface for analysing website and app traffic data. That is correct: the major change brought forth by Google Analytics 4 is the integration of traffic and conversion data from your website and your mobile app.
If you want to upgrade to Google Analytics 4 for an existing website right now, follow these instructions. This will not affect your current Universal Google Analytics panel; it will continue to collect website data without any interruption. However, in a short time, the Universal Google Analytics Panel will be replaced by the Google Analytics 4 interface, which will become the standard for all websites.
What is Different in Google Analytics 4?
Before we show you what new features you will see in the new extension, we will focus on the differences between the basic functions of Universal Google Analytics and Google Analytics 4.
1. Event-Driven Data
In Google Analytics 4 (G4), the Events metric has to be manually configured, because the panel incorporates Firebase Analytics to collect event-driven data. This is a simplified concept which brings together Pageviews data and Events data into an integrated report.
There are four types of events in G4:
- Automatically collected events, which are triggered by basic interactions with the website
- Enhanced measurement – including: file download, scroll tracking, video views and external link click;
- Recommended events – these have to be manually implemented, but have predefined names and parameters, grouped into industry types
- Custom events – defined and implemented 100% manually by the user.
2. BigQuery Becomes Free For All Users
One big incentive for upgrading to G4 is getting free access to BigQuery, Google’s cloud data warehouse. With its huge capacity to compute big data using machine learning, BigQuery is a powerful ally for any business that wants to make sense of its data and make strategic decisions based on it.
3. Cookies Play a Decreasing Role in Analytics
As a response to EU’s GDPR, which, among others, allow users to reject all cookies, Google is adapting to a cookie-free future. Thus, in G4 data modelling is used to fill in empty data fields, in case users refuse to allow your website to collect cookies.
What Are the New Features in Google Analytics 4?
Now that you know how G4 is different from what you are used to, here are its new features and functionalities:
1. Comprehensive Data Controls
In Google Analytics 4, you will be able to dive deeper into the website data than ever before. The interface features improved user acquisition and traffic acquisition panels, with visual representations and granular data tables.
2. Integrations with Google Ads
Users can easily link their G4 property to the Google Ads account to collect in-depth details on their PPC campaigns. Thus, you will be able to track the source of new traffic by device, app and platform.
This is extremely helpful for businesses running web-based and in-app advertising. Until now, they had to perform complex comparison data to understand which of them is better performing.
3. Smart Insights
Finally, Google Analytics 4, the Insights section allows you to generate custom reports concerning:
- User acquisition
- Traffic analysis
This means that each business can generate relevant reports for the metrics and KPIs that matter the most to them.