Knowledge is power in the world of digital marketing. Knowing where your website stands gives you clear direction on areas to improve and successes to replicate. And the best way to get these insights is by analyzing who is coming to your website, where they came from, how they got there, and what they do once they show up.
Google Analytics has become the standard web analytics service used by companies all over the world to gain useful insights into how people interact with their website.
First introduced in 2005, Google Analytics allows you to track a wide variety of metrics to assess the success of your website. These metrics feed into sales funnels, buyer personas, and can direct strategic changes.
This is why Google’s announcement in October 2021 of a major overhaul sent shockwaves across the internet. Google Analytics 4 is the newest iteration of this longstanding and widely-used tool which introduces some huge changes to how it is used and understood.
We’ll explore these essential aspects of Google Analytics 4:
- What’s Different About Google Analytics 4?
- How Do I Set Up Google Analytics 4?
- How Do I Use Google Analytics 4?
What’s Different About Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a new property that aims to further evolve digital measurements. A property “is a set of Google Analytics reports and data for your website and/or app.”
The current form of Google Analytics focuses on the sessions of a user. GA4 is focused on users and events by processing each interaction as its own event. This provides metrics on usage instead of just traffic.
Universal Analytics is the engine that drives the current version of Google Analytics. This is being replaced by GA4 which allows administrators to get metrics on both websites and applications.
GA4 provides a more well-rounded view of the behavior of users.
The reports dedicated to sessions will still be available, but now you can dive down deeper into specifics like engagement metrics.
The new insights provided by GA4 go beyond something as simple as page views (even though this is what we’ve been taught to value for years). But along with this learning curve, there will also be more actionable metrics.
How Do I Set Up Google Analytics 4?
Universal Analytics will still be available until July 1st, 2023. There’s no need to panic and ditch all of your current analytics reports. However, it’s recommended to set up your GA4 account as soon as you can so you can have time to get used to the new interface and start seeing the potential of the new functionalities.
Luckily, it’s very easy to set up your GA4 account.
- Log into your current Google Analytics account and click “Admin” in the lower left hand corner.
- Select your desired account and property.
- Select “GA4 Setup Assistant”
- A Setup Wizard will come up where you can click a button that says “Get Started.”
- Click the “Create Property” button and you’re all set!
How Do I Use Google Analytics 4?
Your new GA4 homepage will provide a quick overview of some important metrics:
- Where new users are coming from
- Your pages that are getting the most views
- Your campaigns which are performing the best
Use the search bar to ask specific questions such as “How many visits this year vs last year?” You can also search for specific reports, configurations, or even functionality queries like “how to create a new report.”
Use the Realtime Report in the navigation bar to see events that occurred within the previous 30 minutes. You can even click “View user snapshot” to see where your current visitors are located and the devices they are using.
Life Cycle Reports explain how users enter the funnel and what they do once they are there.
The Analysis Hub is where you can get the truly impressive metrics of GA4. There are various techniques to choose from which then automatically create their own reports.
There are numerous types of analyses that can be run including:
- Segment Overlap
- Cohort Analysis
- User Lifetime
The information gathered from these reports will provide a much clearer view of the behavior of your users.
The flexibility and expanded metrics make Google Analytics 4 an essential tool in any marketer’s toolbox. It might take a little bit to get used to the new interface, but just take some time to explore the various reports and functionalities and you’ll be better equipped to maximize your website and application to best suit your users.