Move over Universal Analytics; marketers are now relying on Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
But what is GA4? GA4 is now Google’s default method for measuring digital analytics. In short, GA4 is the bigger, better version of Google’s earlier analytics tools.
This switch allows analysts and marketers better insight into a buyer’s journey. These updated tools allow for more accurate analysis, which means marketers better understand app data and website inclusion. This offers the most up-to-date insight into Google Ads and eCommerce transactions, to name a few.
Anyone who previously used Universal Analytics (UA) had to make the switch because, on July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics would no longer process data. If you use Analytics 360 properties, you have until October 1, 2023, before the GA4 migration.
You’ll find it challenging to compare data from 2023 to data from 2022, so it’s best to migrate to GA4 sooner than later. You’ll be glad you did because GA4 can exponentially help marketers. Here’s what you need to know and how GA4 can help you.
For starters, you can use Google GA4 to specify conversions using the parameters you feel adhere to certain conditions. This offers an updated, accurate view.
You’ll also find that GA4 isn’t a session-based model but an engagement-based model. This means it foregoes measuring hit types but instead focuses on measured events. In turn, you’re afforded a more accurate understanding of engagement.
Since Google Analytics GA4 focuses on events and not sessions, marketers have greater control over the data they seek to acquire. This means you can measure data from apps and websites. You can also support cross-domain tracking.
GA4 also offers you customized visualization and reporting that’s been enhanced to better meet your needs. In turn, you can use this information to better understand and predict the behavior of users. You can also use GA without cookies or other identifying data. As if that’s not enough, GA4 provides you with conversion tracking.
Here’s what else GA4 can do.
You can define your audiences with GA4 by collecting detailed data. GA4 lets you combine two categories, using data from the same audience. This applies to organic traffic and ads.
You can also create specific audiences, taking into consideration the customer journey or specific user behavior. This is ideal if you have multiple audiences on your website or app, as GA4 simplifies the entire process for you.
GA4 has updated the way bounce rate used to be calculated and offers marketers a more accurate, informative experience. Universal Analytics missed an incredible amount of valuable information where bounce rate was concerned, especially when users took action on a page but UA failed to record it.
Enter GA4. It corrected UA’s bounce rate issue and now focuses on engagement rate. GA4 records when a user engages with a page for 10 seconds or more. It now considers the bounce rate to be the “negative engagement rate,” which means it monitors how many people visit a page but fail to interact with it. These new metrics are paramount for marketers as they filter out bots.
Be mindful not to give this new feature too much credit, as engagement is best used as a diagnostic tool so you understand which pages are the most interesting to users, and which aren’t.
GA4 helps marketers understand how long someone engages with a page. Unfortunately, there are some flaws with GA4’s user engagement.
An event must be triggered by a user or else the engagement goes undetected. Just because someone spends several minutes on a page doesn’t mean they’ll trigger an event, especially if they don’t click on embedded links or scroll the vast majority of the page (think 90%).
But there is a workaround.
Content Consumption by Kick Point is a plugin that marketers can add to any WordPress site. They can also add it to any other type of website using Tag Manager. Content Consumption works to track the length of time it takes a user to read content, factoring in word count.
As a user spends the designated amount of time on a page, the first event is triggered. Once they scroll to the end of the content, the second event is triggered. Once both events are triggered, the third event occurs — that user is tagged and recorded as having consumed all of the available content on that page.
Marketers are well-versed with UTMs or urchin tracking modules. They focus on organic and paid content and track attribution. While you can still use UTMs in GA4, you’ll be pleased to learn they now function differently.
As data is filtered into UA, it would be grouped into different channels. These channels were devoted to data about link acquisitions and were based on the information and the source in the UTM.
Conversely, GA4 shakes things up with default channels and how they’re defined.
For starters, Universal’s “Other” channel is not “Unassigned” in GA4. You’ll also find a myriad of new channels, including Paid Shopping, Paid Social, Audio, and Video. Even better, Google plans on adding more and more channels.
Unfortunately, GA4 doesn’t have an Offline channel. This means that, if offline acquisition is important for your traffic, you may want to use Offline as a medium and rely on the Unassigned channel to monitor said traffic.
One of the biggest differences is that GA4 no longer allows you to create your own channels. The only available channels are the ones provided to you. This means that, as you transition from UA to GA4, you most likely need to update all UTM procedures. Otherwise, your data may not be captured and reported in a way that you can use as a marketer.
Although GA4 can greatly help marketers understand growth strategies, it’s just one piece of a larger marketing puzzle. Let’s B Media works with you to create a tailored marketing strategy to help your business thrive.
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