What is Google Analytics 4 and Why Should You Use It?

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When it comes to growing a website, data is one of the most valuable assets for any business, regardless of size or industry. For small businesses, Google Analytics is a simple and reliable way to track important website data and analyze this information to make well-informed marketing decisions and build a successful SEO strategy.

Read on to find out more about Google’s 2020 software update, Google Analytics 4, and how it can help you learn more about your customers, track relevant KPIs, and improve SEO.

What is GA4?

Introduced in 2020, Google Analytics 4 is an update to Google’s widely-used data collection and analysis software, designed to help businesses with an online presence learn more about their customers.

Google Analytics 4 is meant to address some of the most prominent trends affecting digital marketing, such as shifting policies regarding user privacy and the widespread use of smartphone applications.

What are the advantages of using GA4?

One of the most significant advantages of transitioning to Google Analytics 4 is the software’s use of machine learning and predictive analytics to fill in potential gaps in data and give businesses greater insight into customer behavior.

By integrating tracking on both the web and mobile applications, Google Analytics 4 properties allow for a better understanding of the full customer lifecycle.

Google Analytics 4 properties also allow for new features such as the ability to customize events and easily implement cross-domain measurement without the need to manually edit a website’s code.

How do UA and GA4 work together to provide value for businesses?

Both Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 allow businesses to collect and analyze important data involving customer demographics and behavior, sources of website traffic, goal conversions, and other helpful metrics.

Universal Analytics provides a foundation for businesses and marketers to track and analyze the KPIs that are most relevant to their specific business goals.

Google Analytics 4 adds to this existing functionality by introducing a new event-based method of measurement, advanced predictive analytics, new report types, and the integration of both web and mobile application tracking, all while retaining a simple and accessible user interface.

What is the difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics?

According to Google, the primary difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics involves the three new priorities introduced with Google Analytics 4 properties:

  • the use of machine learning
  • a renewed focus on the customer lifecycle
  • the ability to function with or without the use of cookies

To fulfill these priorities, Google Analytics 4 properties include:

  • a streamlined user-centric interface
  • the ability to track customer activity on both the web and mobile applications
  • new reports and visualizations
  • fundamental changes to the way that data is recorded and analyzed

How can Google Analytics improve content SEO and reporting?

Google Analytics can assist businesses with much more than just tracking customer behavior, as the software can prove to be a useful tool when it comes to SEO as well. One of the most useful SEO features that Google Analytics provides is the ability to track conversions, an important metric for measuring the success of an ongoing SEO strategy.

In addition, Google Analytics allows marketers to keep track of organic leads, understand what content performs best, and even utilize referral data to improve off-page SEO. When used with tools like Google Search Console and Tag Manager, Google Analytics can become a valuable part of any business’s SEO strategy.

How do we implement GA4?

Google has made it simple to transition an existing Universal Analytics property to Google Analytics 4 through the use of migration tools such as the GA4 Setup Assistant. This tool allows an account administrator to easily create a new Google Analytics 4 property that collects data together with an existing Universal Analytics property simultaneously.

This means that it is possible for businesses to test out the newest version of Google Analytics while retaining the option to continue using Universal Analytics and the ability to switch between properties at any time.

How do we set up a GA4 property?

Set up a new Google Analytics 4 property based on an existing Universal Analytics property in 5 simple steps:

  1. Navigate to the Admin page in Google Analytics
  2. Ensure that correct account and Universal Analytics property are selected
  3. In the Property column, select GA4 Setup Assistant
  4. Under “I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property,” select Get Started
  5. Select Create Property

Navigating between GA4 and Universal Analytics properties

Now that you have a new Google Analytics 4 property set up, you can start taking advantage of all the features that have been introduced in Google Analytics’ newest update.

However, if you ever want to view your Universal Analytics property, you can navigate back and forth between properties at any time using the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the Admin page in Google Analytics
  2. In the Property column, click the drop down menu that displays the property ID (this menu can be used to toggle between all active properties)
  3. Select the Universal Analytics property, which will have an ID that starts with “UA”

Conclusion

Google Analytics can be a useful tool for any business when it comes to learning more about customers and improving an existing SEO strategy. The introduction of Google Analytics 4 properties gives businesses even more control over how they track important metrics such as conversions, organic traffic, returning visitors, and more. Google has made it simple to create a GA4 property based on an existing Universal Analytics property, allowing businesses to harness all the benefits of GA4 while retaining the flexibility to switch properties at any time.

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