What is GA4 & Why Should You Use It?

On July 1st, 2023, Google officially retired its Universal Analytics (UA) system and ushered in the newest era of Google Analytics: Google Analytics 4 (GA4). While it is always hard to say goodbye to old habits and welcome in change, there is no denying that this new system has some exciting features for those in touch with their analytical side. If that is not you, don’t worry. We are here to break down some of its new features and how they can track your marketing efforts.

Continue Tracking Website Data

You already have website analytics, so you don’t need GA4… right? Sadly, this is not the case. The bad news is that if you were previously using Universal Analytics, it did not roll over into GA4. This means that your website is not collecting any current data and you are losing valuable information. However, the good news is that it is easy to set up, and once you have, it can pull a lot of data, so keep reading!

Cross-Platform Data Tracking

Perhaps one of the most exciting changes is GA4’s ability to track data across platforms. By using four methods called “identity spaces” (user-ID, Google signals, device ID, and modeling), Google tracks where your customers first come across your business and the complete customer journey that follows. This allows us to gain a deeper understanding of how users interact with your website and/or app. From there, that information can be used to increase engagement from the people that are most likely to need your products or services and convert them into customers.

Cross-platform data tracking is especially helpful for seeing what traffic is directly associated with your digital marketing and advertising. By measuring both app and web integrations, you can see the in-app and web conversions for both organic and paid channels, making it more clear which marketing efforts are delivering the best results (especially since you pay for clicks on your digital ads). From there, your digital campaigns can be adjusted and optimized so you can reach your marketing goals.

New Event-Based Data

Unlike its predecessor Google Universal Analytics, GA4 uses an event-based model which records each individual action taken by the web or app users as an event rather than being grouped together. This opens the door for new data collecting metrics (clicks, form submissions, searches, page scroll depth, etc.) and more in-depth analytical insights to apply to your marketing strategy. It even has AI-driven predictive capabilities to help interpret the data and offers guidance towards optimizing your digital presence – talk about smart technology!

Now, be careful not to rely on AI too heavily. It can be a helpful tool, but overreliance on it can result in incorrect actions that negatively impact your marketing campaign and how your clients interact with your brand. This is why at Tulip Tree we analyze the data ourselves and offer real feedback based on our industry knowledge and expertise.

Privacy Controls and Protection Features

This new analytics system keeps users privacy at the top of its priorities, an essential for businesses as the expectation for privacy and the protection of customer data are constantly increasing. What does that mean exactly? It means that you have more control on what data is specifically collected and how it is used, which helps to keep your clients’ information safe and sound, a feature your clients will definitely appreciate.

For businesses getting international online traffic, GA4 has also adjusted its data controls in accordance with international regulations. Therefore, GA4 no longer collects users’ IP addresses when gathering geographic demographics. Instead, it has a variety of granular location and device data that can be manually disabled on a per-region basis. This may seem incovienient but it ensures that you follow international privacy regulations while still collecting useful geographic data about your current and potential customers.

Make the Switch to GA4

Are you ready to undergo an analytical revamping? If so, the sooner you sign up the better. GA4 isn’t able to pull retroactive data, so the sooner you can start collecting data the sooner you will have information to compare to. Get started with GA4 by following one of these two ways that best fits your need:

  1. Start from scratch and set up analytics for the first time
  2. Switch from Universal Analytics to GA4

Now, before you call it complete and leave GA4 to start collecting data, there are a few default setting that will need to be configured:

We know that this is a lot to learn, but welcoming GA4 does not have to be scary. The new, more efficient data collecting features will boost your marketing strategy. However, if all this information still has your head spinning, don’t worry. The Google gurus at Tulip Tree are here to help you. To learn more about our digital services and how we can help you grow your online reach using your GA4 data, connect with us and start your digital journey today!