Get to know Google Analytics 4: Google's vision for the future of analytics

The new Analytics adds AI-driven insights, tracks users across devices and provides more granular data controls.

The latest iteration of Google's web analytics platform, called Google Analytics 4, is now available. The new feature type includes extensive predictive insights, deeper integration with Google Ads, cross-device measurement capabilities and more granular data checks. 
New reports within Google Analytics 4. Image: Google.

The release, which became Wednesday advertisedis an extension and rebranding of the one launched last year App + Web property and marks the first big step in development beyond Universal Analytics.

 

New AI-driven insights and predictions. Although for some time now new insights and predictions in the field of machine learning are availableThe new insights and predictions that paved the way to Google Analytics 4 jobs, can automatically alert marketers to data trends, such as an increasing demand for a product they are selling.

An example of predictive metrics in Google Analytics 4. Image: Google.

This technology is also used to predict results, such as churn rates and the potential revenue a company could earn from a particular segment of customers. These insights can help marketers anticipate actions their customers might take in the future and target higher-value audiences.

Read: Welcome to the Predictive Marketing Era

Deep audience integration with Google Ads. Marketers can build and maintain an audience of their visitors on the web and their app. If a user qualifies for an audience list as a result of an action on the web and is removed from a list because, for example, he has made a purchase within the app, the list is automatically updated to remove the user so that he is not approached again with advertisements.

YouTube opinions followed alongside cross-network, Google searches and Google Display Network ads. Image: Google.

In addition, Google Analytics 4 will report on actions from YouTube engaging views that occur both in-app and on the web.

Customer lifecycle reporting. One of the most striking differences between Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics is the way reports are organized.

"We've reorganized all the reports in the App + Web beta, made a handful of additions and now it's organized around the customer lifecycle," said Russell Ketchum, Group Product Manager, Google Analytics, to Search Engine Land.

The reports are designed to help marketers identify certain aspects of the customer journey. "For example, in the user acquisition report, you can see which channels are driving new customers, and then use the engagement and retention reports to gain insight into the actions these customers are taking, and whether they are sticking around after they have been converted," the company says.

The new Analytics experience is also designed to give marketers a more complete picture of how customers interact with their business, both in terms of devices and channels. Marketers can specify their own user ID or Google signals deduplicate on different devices for reporting and ad targeting.

Event tracking without code. Comprehensive code-free features make it easier for marketers to track and measure actions that matter - in real time - on-site and in-app, such as scrolling a page or playing videos, without adding code or setting up event tracking in Google Tag Manager. Within Universal Analytics, event tracking requires additional processing, including latency, and the data is usually not available until the next day.

 

More granular user data. Analytics 4 also includes options to help advertisers comply with data regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA.

The consent mode is designed for sites that need to obtain end-user consent to collect analytical data. This new mode provides separate permission options for analytics and advertising. "Without this level of granularity in the previous version [of Google Analytics], what we saw customers do is simply exclude analytics wholesale, and so for that particular user, the value of the Analytics product to our customer was not there," Ketchum said.

The creation of a request for deletion of data within Google Analytics 4. Image: Google.

Data deletion capabilities are also enhanced, allowing companies to meet users' deletion requests without having to delete more data than necessary. These features also include a sample mode for companies to check the data they are about to delete.

Analytics in a future without cookies. As third party cookies are phased out, Google expects data scarcity to become the new norm. It will depend on machine learning to fill data gaps.

"The norm is that we're going to have a mixed set of data. We will have event data, but not necessarily a user identification. We will have gaps in the data and this will apply to all measurement providers," said Ketchum, adding, "We don't have any specific announcements about this today, but as we come in next year, we're going to learn to model mechanically to support different analysis modes in Google Analytics.

"We'll be able to have different modes that may place less emphasis on the user side of the analysis, but more on the behavior," he gave as an example.

 

What do we think of it?

The new feature of Google Analytics 4 provides a more complete cross-channel view of the customer lifecycle and deploys that information with predictive marketing features, allowing marketers to get more information and act efficiently based on those insights.

Google Analytics 4 will be the default option when you set a new property. The previous iteration, Universal Analytics, will remain available, but Google recommends site owners to set and run both types of properties in parallel. The development of new features will focus on GA4.

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