Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – What is it? What Will Change? Why Migrate?

What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the next generation web analytics platform set to replace Universal Analytics (UA). Google Analytics built GA4 using Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven technologies to address the evolving needs of businesses and security trends. 

What will change with GA4?

GA4 uses an event-based data model to track user behavior.  With the transition to tracking events and parameters, GA4 also introduced some new metrics. These are new metrics such as engaged sessions, engaged time and engagement rate.

While Universal Analytics is limited to tracking individual web sessions, Google Analytics 4 expands to track data across App and Web properties combined, giving users a broader view of their data.

With GA4, you will be able to aggregate clicks and visits as well as other data. GA4 will allow you to record and combine user details, actions taken on the page, transaction and product details, and even data you collect on other platforms such as your CRM.

1. Data Collection

With the emergence of omnichannel tracking systems, GA4 can collect data from both web and app to enable businesses to see unified user journeys and customer lifecycles across different platforms.

2. Activity Based Tracking

Universal Analytics’ (UA) measurement of users based on device and platform sessions resulted in missed opportunities and lost data during device changes. Now GA4 uses an event-based data model to track user behavior. Using user IDs and unique Google signals, it will be much easier to follow users throughout the customer journey.

3. Data Control and Privacy 

Following data privacy laws such as GDPR and CCPA, GA4 offers new data controls for users to protect their privacy. These data privacy options include the user being able to

Control how they can collect, hold and share their data. They can decide whether the data collected can be used to deliver personalized ads.

Delete Analytics data by sending a request to Google Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 does not collect IP addresses and does not save cookies.

4. Machine Learning

GA4 uses machine learning technologies to fill the data gaps that will occur with the changes to be made. Predictive analytics allows you to provide smarter insights and create forecasts by finding trends in user behavior.

5. In-depth Reporting

GA4 introduces “Discoveries” that give you access to data and analytical techniques not available in the default reports of Universal Analytics (UA). These features allow you to look deeper into your data to answer complex questions.

6. Extended Integration 

GA4 is designed to work better with other products such as BigQuery, Google Ads and Google Data Studio.

Why Switch to GA4?

Upgrading to Google Analytics 4 is a necessity due to the combination of advanced features including cross-platform tracking, AI-driven insights, user privacy and data control. It is very important to migrate to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible and to accumulate data and prepare the necessary reports as soon as possible before Universal Analytics disappears completely in July 2023.