Google Analytics 4.0 (GA4) is the latest version of Google Analytics, a web analytics tool provided by Google. GA4 is a major update from the previous version, Google Analytics 3.0 (also known as “Universal Analytics”).

Some key highlights of GA4 include:

  • A unified data model that makes it easier to collect and analyze data from multiple sources
  • Improved integration with Google’s other products and services
  • A redesigned, user-friendly interface that makes it easier to use

What is Google Analytics 4.0?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) was the next generation of the Google Analytics platform released in October 2020. GA4 offers the ability to collect and process data more effectively, improved insights, and increased integration with other Google products. GA4 has made it to many big companies, rapidly becoming the preferred choice for new analytics implementations.

Google has built GA4 on many core principles, including customer-centricity, data-driven decision-making, and platform openness. These principles allow GA4 to be flexible and adaptable to the needs of modern businesses. It’s also more user-friendly than its predecessor, with a simplified interface and easier-to-understand reports.

Major Changes in Google Analytics 4.0

GA4 switched from a feature-based approach to a measurement-based one. Instead of defining what you want to track as individual features (such as page views, downloads, or form submissions), you define your key business metrics and let GA4 automatically collect the data needed to measure them.

This change is significant because it gives you more flexibility in measuring your website or app’s performance. For example, you can now measure offline conversions or track users across multiple devices. GA4 also switched from first-party cookies to Universal Analytics (UA) ID, which improves tracking. GA4 also makes it easier to share data with other Google products, such as Google Ads and BigQuery.

GA4 also offers the switch from a Last-Click attribution model to a First-Click attribution model. This update will significantly impact how businesses measure their marketing campaigns’ effectiveness. It will now be possible to see which channels drive initial interest and are responsible for conversion.

Another big change in GA4 is the introduction of a new concept called “Events.” Events are essentially a way of tracking user interactions with specific elements on a website or app. You can use it to track anything from page views to button clicks and measure the effectiveness of a wide variety of marketing campaigns.

What are the New Features in Google Analytics 4.0?

GA4 also introduces many new features, such as:

  • Support for app + web properties: You can now use GA4 to measure data from both web and app sources in a single property. It allows you to view your users’ interactions with your business comprehensively.
  • Enhanced data collection: GA4 collects more data than previous versions of Google Analytics, allowing you to paint a complete picture of your user’s behavior.
  • Improved analysis tools: GA4 makes it easier to analyze your data with options like Path reporting and Conversion Probability.
  • Machine learning: Google Analytics 4.0 uses machine learning to automatically surface insights and recommend actions.
  • Attribution modeling: The new version includes built-in attribution modeling to help you understand your customers’ journey before converting.

Using Google Analytics 3.0, you can upgrade to GA4 without losing your data. GA4 is compatible with all the feature-based tracking you’ve set up in GA3, so you don’t need to start from scratch.

How Do These Updates Apply to Businesses?

Google Analytics 4.0 introduces many new updates to help you better understand your website visitors and improve your marketing campaigns. Here are the key features and updates in Google Analytics 4.0:

  1. New data model: Google Analytics 4.0 released a new data model that gives you more flexibility in collecting and viewing your data. The latest data model lets you view your data by dimensions, such as location, device, or browser. You can also view your data by conversion path, which enables you to see how people move through your website and where they drop off.
  2. User ID tracking: User ID tracking is a new feature in Google Analytics 4.0 that lets you track individual users across devices and platforms. With User ID tracking, you can see how people are using your website on different devices and how they are engaging with your marketing campaigns. It gives you more accurate data on how users interact with your website or app.
  3. Enhanced Ecommerce: Enhanced Ecommerce lets you track user behavior on your website and see how they interact with your products. You can see what products people are viewing, what products they are adding to their cart, and what products they buy.
  4. Increased data accuracy: Google Analytics 4.0 has many features that improve the accuracy of your data. For example, the new auto-tagging feature automatically tags your marketing campaigns, so you don’t have to tag them manually. In addition, the new cross-device tracking feature lets you see how people use your website across devices. You can identify which devices are driving the most traffic and conversions.
  5. New reports: Reports will help you analyze your website visitors. For example, the new Active Users report shows how many people actively use your website. The new Conversion Funnel report shows where people drop off in your conversion process.

You can now collect and view your data more flexibly, track individual users across devices, see how people interact with your products, and more.

How Does Google Analytics 4.0 Impact SEM?

This version includes several improvements that will impact SEM efforts. Some of the most notable changes in Google Analytics 4.0 include:

  1. Quality data – Google Analytics 4.0 will improve data quality by better handling duplicate pageviews and improving filters that prevent invalid data from being collected. You also get an enhanced collection pipeline, server-side tagging support, and increased data accuracy control in reports.
  2. Improved conversion tracking and data visualizations – The improved conversion tracking and data visualization features make it easier to track conversions, such as support for cross-device conversions and multiple conversion types.
  3. Improved user experience – The new version of Google Analytics includes an improved user interface and user experience.

Overall, the new features and improvements in Google Analytics 4.0 will positively impact SEM efforts by increasing data accuracy, improving conversion tracking, and enhancing data visualizations.

How to Setup Google Analytics 4.0

If you’re already using Google Analytics, you can upgrade to GA4 by following these instructions:

  1. Sign in to your GA account.
  2. Click Admin.
  3. Select Create a new account from the drop-down menu in the Account column.
  4. In the Account name field, enter a name for your account.
  5. Select your preferred time zone in the Reporting time zone field.
  6. Select the options you want in the Data sharing settings section.
  7. Click Create.

First, you’ll need to create and set up a GA account and property. You can skip this one if you already have a Google Analytics account.

Once you’re set-up, you can add the GA4 tracking code to your website or mobile app. You’ll need to get your tracking ID. To do this:

  • Log into your Google Analytics account.
  • Click Admin in the left navigation panel.
  • In the Property column, click Tracking Info > Tracking Code.
  • Copy your tracking ID from there and paste it into your website code.

You can also find your tracking ID using a tag manager like Google Tag Manager.

You can implement Google Analytics 4.0 on your website now that you have your tracking ID. You don’t have to add anything else to set it up if you have the global site tag – GA4.0 will automatically start tracking your website traffic.

To learn more about GA4 and how to upgrade, visit the Google Analytics Help Center.

Final Thoughts

Google Analytics 4.0 is the latest version of Google Analytics, a free web analytics service launched in October 2020 by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. It comes with several changes and new features, most notably the inclusion of machine learning capabilities. Google Analytics 4.0 is designed to work with Google Marketing Platform and Google Ads and can be used to track conversions, goals, and engagement across multiple devices and channels.

Overall, GA4 represents a significant step forward for Google Analytics, providing several advantages over the previous version. The new features and changes make tracking and understanding your website traffic even easier. Businesses looking to implement a new analytics solution should consider GA4 as an option.