The Beginners Guide to GA4

We’re sure that by now you’ve heard that Google Analytics is changing to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Does this news make you feel a bit uneasy? That’s okay! We know that a major platform update like this can seem intimidating! That’s why we are going to walk you through the update!

What Is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

To put it simply, GA4 is the latest update to Google Analytics. Google announced in October of 2020 that the platform would be moving away from Universal Analytics (the current Google Analytics platform) and eventually to GA4. The good news is that Universal Analytics will stay in place for the time being. Users can still use their current metric tracking—while also testing out and learning the new features of GA4. With the update, GA4 will track similar data to Universal Analytics, but the reporting and structure of the data (and the logic behind data collection) are new. 

GA4 Data Structure

The first important update to note is the shift in focus from sessions to users and events. Previously, Google Analytics tracked data within sessions. Sessions are reported as a group of user interactions within a specified time. With GA4, the focus will be on individual user interactions. This shift in direction is significant because it means that data will be better able to predict user behavior and trends.  

GA4 Features

One of the main goals of GA4 is to make data easier to digest. Let’s be honest. Looking at an entire page of numbers and tables can be overwhelming! Google recognized this and created new features that make the numbers a little bit easier to understand. Here is a breakdown of how this works into some of our favorite new features. 

Analysis Hub

The new Analysis Hub breaks down data into templates and graphics that users can select and customize according to their needs. This enhanced visualization of data will help users understand and apply the numbers more easily and, in turn, create better-informed marketing strategies. 

Path Analysis

The current Google Analytics platform provides reporting on user behavior, but the new Path Analysis takes it one step further. This tool provides a visualization of each step along a user’s website journey. This information is extremely helpful in finding user patterns and behaviors—and identifying areas where users are getting stuck. 

Cohort Analysis

Understanding audience demographics is essential in identifying a target audience. The Cohort Analysis tool allows users to create groups of website users with common characteristics. This kind of data reporting provides a deeper dive into audience demographics and the ability to track conversion on specific marketing campaigns and tactics. 

Realtime Report

Waiting for reports can be a pain and, sometimes, that information simply can’t wait. With Real-time Reports in GA4, users will be able to look at event reporting in just 30 minutes! This feature is exciting because it will allow users to quickly track engagement and check to see that codes or features are working correctly. 

Looking to the Future

The GA4 update can feel a bit overwhelming. But the goal of the update is to make analytics more accessible and easier to understand. This update will also help users make predictions about user behavior and forecast future trends. All of these updates are meant to help you make more informed decisions and marketing strategies! 

We’re Here to Help!

If the GA4 update is something you want to learn more about, or if you simply want to learn more about websites and analytics, our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services are here to help! Contact our SEO team today!