30 Seconds Summary:

  • Google announced the launch of Google Analytics 4 on Wednesday 14th of October
  • Google Analytics 4 is an evolution of the App + Web Property that was launched in beta last year, and a significant step up from its predecessor Universal Analytics
  • Google Analytics 4 has been built with machine learning at its core to make it easier to uncover insights from data
  • The new platform will provide a more complete understanding of the full customer lifecycle, from acquisition to retention
  • Google Analytics 4 has been built to be future-proofed and work with, or without cookies

You might have heard already, but Google has just announced the launch of its version 4 of Google Analytics, which is simply called Google Analytics 4. Google Analytics 4 has been built upon the development of the App + Web version of GA which was in beta since last year.

GA4 sets a key milestone and a much needed refresh of the framework and features, bringing in more advanced capabilities powered by AI and machine learning. For example, with Google Analytics 4, marketers will be able to leverage on automated insights and alerts predicting valuable users trends upon which to act on.

An example of this type of machine learning driven insights is the churn probability in the Analysis module, which will help identify customer segments that are more likely to stop using a brand’s product or service, and therefore address it with appropriate marketing strategies.

Source: Google

Whilst this is just an example of what is already possible to achieve today in Google Analytics 4, Google also mentioned that they will continue to add new predictive metrics.

Here we can start to see one of the big changes between Google Analytics 4 and its predecessor (Universal Analytics), the shift of focus from (metrics such as) sessions to users.

And this is an even more important move than what it at first might look like.

For starters it addresses the much required need for marketers to better understand their audiences, but it also aligns Google Analytics with the latest trends around user privacy and the demand for more transparency.

Regulatory changes such as GDPR and browser changes to cookies, mean that Google had to redevelop and build Google Analytics 4 so that it will work with or without cookies, as in the not too distant future where data sparsity will become the norm, the GA4 modelling, based on its machine learning, will help to fill the (data) gaps.

As mentioned above, in Google Analytics 4, users and audiences are put at the centre of the data collection, reporting and insights. As such a deeper integration between GA4 and Google Ads is part of the key features of the new platform.

Source: Google

With an holistic approach that brings together a cross-device and cross-platform view of the user, Google Analytics 4 unlocks the potential for brands to start focusing on the customer lifecycle, regardless of whether interactions and engagement are happening on web properties or apps. This will truly allow marketers to fully grasp and analyse the customer journey from acquisition, to conversion and retention.

And the new, enhanced platform comes with a number of exciting new or improved features, amongst which are:

  • Event editing, which can be done from within the UI and therefore without the need of manipulating code
  • A wider data import functionality
  • Easier cross-domain measurement, which can also be set up from within the UI
  • Lifecycle reporting. A simplified and enhanced reporting suite that pivots around the customer lifecycle, plus eCommerce reporting
  • Migration tools to simplify the adoption of Google Analytics 4, including a Get Started Wizard and Setup Assistant
  • A new onboard flow, making Google Analytics 4 the new default when setting up new properties

So if all this sounds exciting (as it really is), where to start?

Well, Google recommends starting with a dual-setup, meaning that you should keep your current Universal Analytics property, and get started with a Google Analytics 4 property to gather data and run in parallel.

It is also worth noting that in its launch release Google announced that “the new Google Analytics is now the default experience for new properties and is where we’re investing in future improvements”.