Google has closed the curtains on Universal Analytics, and GA4 is now the default platform. While this may seem like a natural progression, the switch has been quite chaotic for users.
Google Analytics 4 is an entirely different platform with a steep learning curve and altered tracking and reporting methodology. Given the various operational challenges, many businesses are considering if the upgrade is even worth it.
If you have been asking yourself the same question, you are in the right place.
In this blog post, we explore the top benefits of Google Analytics 4 to help you understand and leverage its capabilities fully in your business to optimize key processes and generate valuable insights.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Key Benefits of Google Analytics 4
Still on the fence about GA4? Here are the top 15 benefits of using Google Analytics 4 that will change your mind for the better.
1. Web + App Tracking
With consumers preferring omnichannel experiences, there is a clear need for insights across platforms for businesses. Google Analytics 4 delivers those with its integrated web + app tracking feature. Earlier users needed two platforms, that is, Google Analytics and Firebase to analyze their web and app data respectively. But Google Analytics 4 has changed that by combining the two data streams. Users can now analyze their web and app properties collectively in GA4 to gain better insights into their customer journeys.
2. GA4 Measurement Model
The different hit types and event taxonomy in Universal Analytics are all based on this structure: ‘event category’, ‘event action’, and ‘event label’. Its measurement model focuses on sessions and pageviews which can be rigid at times.
In contrast, GA4 offers more freedom in tracking interactions through events and parameters. You can track every interaction through events that can be defined as per your requirements. This allows for a more customized and comprehensive data analysis for businesses.
3. Automated Tracking
Also called Enhanced Measurement, it is a built-in feature in GA4. It allows you to automatically track certain types of events and interactions without having to manually set up a tracking code. This helps users save time and ensure accurate data collection.
4. Reporting UI Customization
In Universal Analytics, custom reports are created in a separate environment. Whereas, in Google Analytics 4, custom reports can be created within the ‘Explore’ feature.
This includes changing the structure, adding or modifying reports, and adding permanent filters. While Universal Analytics may offer more default reports, GA4 enables full customization of the default reporting UI, leading to better insights accessibility.
5. Define Conversions
GA4 allows you to mark any logged event as a conversion. You can measure up to 30 events as conversions (50 for Google Analytics 360). You can also create conversions based on pageviews, events, duration, and screens per session. To create these complex conversions in GA4, follow these steps:
1. Create a new audience with one or more conditions
2. Create an audience trigger that logs the event
3. Mark the event as a conversion
6. Audience Triggers
Audience triggers in GA4 allow users to create specific audiences based on user behavior. These triggers can be set up to target users who have performed certain actions or reached specific milestones. This feature helps businesses deliver personalized content and improve user engagement.
Debugging your implementation setup is important to validate your analytics configuration. Google Analytics 4 makes it easier with its special real-time report called DebugView. It allows you to check the data and troubleshoot issues within seconds instead of waiting for hours for the incoming data in standard reports.
8. Free BigQuery Exports
BigQuery integration enables users to perform complex analyses and gain deeper insights into their data. GA4 offers free BigQuery exports which were earlier available only to GA 360 customers. Linking Google Analytics 4 with BigQuery provides access to raw GA data with an unlimited number of dimensions. You can run SQL queries on it or connect it to third-party data sources.
9. Privacy Controls
Another key benefit of Google Analytics 4 is its privacy-centricity. GA4 comes with IP anonymization that cannot be turned off. You can also disable Google Signals data for particular regions to adhere to their privacy regulations. Moreover, data retention can be minimized to 2 months, and deleting the data is quick and easy.
From a marketing perspective, you can also mark particular events as non-personalized ads in GA4. These events will not be used in building your retargeting audiences.
10. Predictive Metrics
Predictive metrics are used to identify visitors and their actions that would likely lead to conversion. They enrich your GA4 data with Google machine learning algorithms to discover more potential customers and predict their actions. GA4 currently supports three kinds of predictive metrics:
- Purchase Probability: A user active in the last 28 days will generate a purchase event in the next 7 days.
- Churn Probability: A user active on your website in the last 7 days will not be active in the next 7 days.
- Revenue Prediction: Expected revenue from purchase events within the next 28 days from users active in the last 28 days.
11. Predictive Audiences
Google Analytics 4 allows you to build predictive audiences if your website or app receives a high volume of traffic or purchases. These are audiences based on the conditions of predictive metrics. Here are a few examples:
- Likely seven-day purchasers
- Likely seven-day churning users
- Likely first-time seven-day purchasers
- Likely seven-day churning purchasers
- Predicted 28-day top spenders
These audiences can be leveraged for advertising and re-engagement campaigns for your business.
12. User Journey
GA4 enables users to combine sessions from multiple devices and browsers for accurate reporting. You can set the data streaming with the help of the User ID feature in GA4. Unlike Universal Analytics, you don’t need a separate User ID view for it. The Google Analytics 4 user interface is more user-centric and provides you with a holistic view of user interactions across platforms.
13. Anomaly Detection
While Universal Analytics offers the ability to set up alerts, GA4 takes anomaly detection to the next level. Custom insights in GA4 help track any irregularities in your data such as sudden drops or spikes and proactively notify you about them. Although occasional false positives may occur, overall, the automated feedback helps many users keep track of their performance.
14. Cross-Domain Tracking
Cross-domain tracking in Universal Analytics was quite complicated. It required configuring multiple commands in the code which often needed technical expertise. In contrast, GA4 has a much simpler and streamlined process. All you need to do is list all the domains associated with your business in the settings of a web data stream. GA4 will automatically track and consolidate data across these domains, thus, saving time and effort.
15. Flexible Attribution Model
Attribution models allow you to track and assign credit to various touchpoints in the customer journey. The default attribution model of Google Analytics 4 is data-driven. This means it uses your account’s data to calculate the actual contribution of each click interaction.
You can also change the reporting attribution model as per your requirements. User- and session-scoped traffic dimensions remain unaffected by these changes.
There you have it – the 15 key benefits of Google Analytics 4 that set it apart as the next-gen analytics platform. From integrated data streaming for web and app properties to automated tracking and privacy centricity, GA4 has a ton of features that empower businesses with deeper insights and data-driven decision-making. All in all, GA4 is a powerful tool to future-proof your analytics strategy and optimize your online presence.
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