As of Wednesday, Google has announced the full release of Google Analytics 4. This was previously known as Google Analytics App and Web in its beta phase.
The digital landscape is changing
Getting a complete view on a customer and deriving insights from data is a key objective for most businesses, however we are living through a period of immense change with user’s privacy becoming more of a concern than it has in been in the past.
New laws such a GDPR have also come into place and as a result the majority of players in the game, such as Firefox and Apple to name a few, are making big changes to core technologies. Cookies are one of the biggest changes.
Cookies are something that Google analytics has fundamentally relied on for a number of years. Users themselves are demanding more transparency on how their data is used and collected. There has never been a time where so much data has been collected on users across different touchpoints. Without change, it’s likely that our (mine at least) beloved tool will be a thing of the past.
Google is Investing in better tracking for everyone
Google has seen this shift coming and has doubled down on trying to produce a tool that will withstand these changes whilst also providing better analytics.
Google Analytics 4 will be building upon the analytics App and Web property that has been in beta for just over a year. As part of this, Google Analytics will depart from its current session led structure. This structure has been great for websites, however at a fundamental level apps work differently. This is something that we already seen in other platforms, such as Facebook for example, so it’s only natural that Google is looking to move with the times.
What are the differences?
- Machine learning will be at the core, which in turn should offer greater ROI on marketing efforts. Through Google’s machines learning algorithms, you’ll get better information to make informed decisions
“By applying Google’s advanced machine learning models, the new Analytics can automatically alert you to significant trends in your data – like products seeing rising demand because of new customer needs. It even helps you anticipate future actions your customers may take.”
- A better understanding of how customers interact with your business across the platform. Google Analytics 4 will work across websites and apps to give you a more complete view of how your customers interact with your business. For example, you can see if customers first discover your business from an ad on the web, then later install your app and make purchases there.
- New features previously only on Analytics 360 will now filter down to the free version of Google analytics
- Downsides of the Analytics app and web property have been addressed. Ecommerce reporting and a Data studio connector have been added, and there are more features in the pipeline
The current version of Google analytics will remain, however it’s worth noting that any new features and improvements will only be available in Google Analytics 4. For anyone already running an App and Web property, this will automatically be replaced by Google Analytics 4.
The change to Google Analytics 4 is likely to be a big undertaking, so to help with the transition we recommend running two versions of Google Analytics to help with the transition. This allows you to create a foundation of data and get used to the new method of reporting. Then when you are ready, you can further customise your new Analytics 4 property.
We are here to help if you need help navigating the new hurdles of implementing Google Analytics 4. If this is something you will like more information or want to discuss in more detail, please do get in touch.