What is Google Analytics 4? 

Google recently announced Google Analtyics 4, a new version of its famous data collection and web traffic analysis software. Google Web Analytics is very important for search engine optimization (SEO) since it helps understand the user's experience after they visit your website and gives you important information that allows you to make modifications to your website to improve its Google Rankings.

Users should note that Google Analytics 4 is a new kind of property that uses different reports than Universal Analytics properties.

There are three big differences with the switch from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4):

1. How Users Are Tracked

Previously, Universal Analytics would track users via individual “sessions,” which are measured in period time that envelops everything anyone did on a site. The new Google Analytics 4 is based on each independent event rather than session-based. This means that rather than create a separate session when a user returns, GA4 records every event as it’s completed. This serves to eliminate duplicate users to your site and puts an emphasis on what they actually do there, rather than only noting that they got there in the first place.

2. Google Analytics 4 Reporting

In Universal Analytics, there were multiple set reports along with a few customization options. GA4 contains only the top-level reports with specific reports relegated to the analysis tab. This was done to provide more freedom regarding how reports appear and lets you sift through data for what’s most important.

3. Google Analytics 4 Setup and Structure

While Universal Analytics uses a view and property setup, Google Analytics 4 allows for the mixing of data from your website and apps via one property and GA4’s data streams. Consolidate the data for tracking users between streams and by placing the same tracking code into separate properties such as an iOS app, website, or Android app. Note that there has also been a change in the tracking code: the new tracking ID appears as G-XXXXXXX rather than UA-XXXXXX-X.

Should You Switch Over to Google Analytics 4?

With new and improved features, GA4 keeps the most important information at the forefront while still allowing you to customize your data experience. Since it’s updated for both websites and apps, it’s highly actionable across multiple devices and platforms. 

With new technology offerings sans-additional coding needs, GA4’s already functional data analytics is truly forward-facing. However, it will not import data from Universal Analytics, so it’s a good idea to get familiar with GA4 sooner rather than later. There are also many upgrades that are going to be rolled out in the near future to further enhance functionality.

Upgrading to Google Analytics 4 is simple: 

  1. Navigate to your account at google.com/analytics

  2. Select “Upgrade to GA4”

  3. Under “I need to create a new Google Analytics 4 property,” click “Get Started” 

  4. Select “Enable data collection using existing tags” if your instance of GA is installed using gtag.js

  5. DO NOT delete your UA tag if you use Tag Manager; you only require your GA4 ID and to prime your trigger to fire on every page view akin to the Universal Analytics base tag. This will need to be done manually.

Google Analytics 4 is poised to overtake Universal Analytics in providing the most relevant data about why users visit your app and/or website. Combining data from several different data streams into one convenient property will allow you to accurately attribute usage across devices. 

Adopting GA4 early will aid you in formulating the best uses of this data sooner than the competition, and since GA4 appears to be the future of Google Analytics, it’s never too early to start getting a leg up!  To learn more about Google Analytics or how to increase your Google rankings, contact our team today!

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