Google Analytics 4 has been released and currently, most people are focused on new attractive features such as event tracking, funnel analysis, etc. Before you get too caught up in the new features of Google Analytics 4, do you know about some major changes that are being overlooked? The introduction and release of Google Analytics 4 happened almost quickly. So many questions arose at this time, how to install it? Where can I find the different reports? Most importantly, should we switch to Google Analytics 4 right away?
It should be noted that Google Analytics Universal is currently in place and this platform will probably continue to work for years to come. Of course, Google Analytics 4 will be the future of data analysis. Beyond the new details of this tool, a lot has happened. So let’s take a closer look at this tool and talk more about the major changes.
Table of Contents
Application and website support in one platform
Tracking mobile devices has always been a challenge in Google Analytics. There has always been a different version of Google Analytics for tracking mobile apps, for example, Google Analytics for Apps, Firebase Analytics, and Google Analytics for Firebase.
Collect data from all platforms on one account
The main problem with these versions was that they were very different from Google Analytics for tracking websites. It was so different that it was very difficult to implement tracking on both platforms.
So the first big change to point out is that you can now send different data streams to Google Analytics 4. Now you can not only track your website but also all your mobile devices on one platform.
This is made possible by a new architecture that allows us to track multiple devices and unify data points across these different devices. Also, in this way, you can track a user on different devices.
There is currently no tracking of pageviews, bounce rates, or time on site for a mobile app on the Universal version. This brings us to the next big change, the new data model.
Integrating the data-driven model as an event
To unify all data collection methods and data coming in from different devices, a decision now has to be made about how Google Analytics works. This is because mobile apps generate completely different data than a website.
Therefore, Google Analytics got rid of page visits, transactions, social interactions, etc., and unified them all under a single concept called an event.
This is very practical and smart. Because an event can be anything you define it to be. You can name your event Pageview, Screen View, or App View.
Then you can send whatever data you want. When each event is triggered, you can send additional information that further explains the event. These are called event parameters.
Centralization of events in GA4
These properties can occur in other events. You can query and compare them with each other. This makes things more flexible in the long run. This will be future-proof that you plan to track with any other device model. This includes devices such as the Internet of Things Point of Sale systems or Smart purchases.
You may be familiar with the parameters called Dimensions from the Universal version. A purchase event can have properties such as Order ID, profit, items purchased, etc. These are key-value items that you can use later to sort, filter, or search for in the analysis phase.
It also means that you have to put more thought into setting up your events to analyze them in the future. Proper planning is one of the critical components of working with Google Analytics 4.
New dashboard view for reporting data
The next big change in Google Analytics 4 is how to view the data coming into the property from different streams. New views in GA4 help you analyze event data.
You may recall that UA had an extensive section of reports readily available to answer any questions you might have about your data. Now that event data can be anything, it can be hard for the tool to guess what data is being logged.
This is why you currently see fewer standard reports within Google Analytics 4. Instead, you can work with Analysis Hub, which allows you to query your data more flexibly. In this section, you can perform quick ad hoc analysis and create funnels and cohorts.
If you want a deeper look into your data, Google Analytics 4 allows you to export raw data to Google BigQuery. Google BigQuery is Google’s data warehousing solution. In this section, you can work more with your data combine them with other data sources, and perform your desired analysis.
You can also export data from Google Analytics 4 to Google Data Studio and then visualize and report it to your customers and stakeholders. This tool is very helpful if you want to display your data effectively. The fourth change is a summary of the previous three changes.
Changing the way you think about data analysis
As we can see, Google Analytics 4 is not similar to the previous model, Universal. Google Analytics 4 is a new tool that has a completely different perspective on data and how to present it to the new digital world.
The simplified data model allows you to be more flexible when it comes to sending information to the system. It also allows Google to connect this data to its machine learning systems so that they can provide us with various predictive information.
In addition, we do not need to ask questions; Because Google Analytics provides us with the information immediately. There are already predictive metrics in GA4.
Apart from these issues, Analytics 4 doesn’t care what device or business we want to track. This issue in this version makes it independent of guessing what business we are running or what website we are using.
This creates a lot of opportunities for personalization because the Google Analytics 4 setup is completely different for each person.
Finally, a new perspective on Google Analytics’ position in the Google Marketing Platform toolset has been created. Google has several tools in this platform, and Google Analytics has focused on evaluation and analysis and has delegated some reporting tasks to other tools such as Data Studio or BigQuery.
Therefore, all these changes make Google Analytics 4 more future-proof and allow us to meet our evaluation needs more flexibly and diversely in the future.
Let’s take a look at the 4 big changes in Analytics 4. In this article, we did not discuss the various features within Google Analytics 4 because they are changing daily. These changes were the fundamental changes made in GA4.