GA4, or Google Analytics 4, is the latest version of the popular web analytics platform offered by Google. It was officially launched in October 2020 and is intended to replace the previous version of Google Analytics, Universal Analytics.
GA4 represents a significant update to the platform, with new features and a different approach to data analysis. One of the most significant changes is the focus on event-based tracking, which allows for a more comprehensive understanding of user behaviour across multiple devices and channels.
Other key features of GA4 include machine learning capabilities that allow for more sophisticated data analysis and a more user-friendly interface that makes it easier to create custom reports and track user engagement metrics.
On July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data. However, it is worth noting that GA4 is still a relatively new platform and may undergo further updates and changes in the coming months and years.
As of now, Google recommends that businesses begin implementing GA4 alongside their existing Universal Analytics implementation to ensure that they are prepared for the future of analytics.
Overall, businesses should plan to begin transitioning to GA4 in the near future to ensure that they are able to take advantage of the platform’s features and capabilities, as well as to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in analytics technology.
Opinions among marketers about GA4 versus UA (Universal Analytics) are mixed, as it depends on specific use cases and goals.
Some marketers believe that GA4 is a significant improvement over UA, thanks to its event-based tracking and machine learning capabilities. With GA4, it’s easier to track user behaviour across multiple devices and channels, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of the customer journey. Additionally, GA4’s machine learning capabilities can help identify patterns and trends that may not be immediately apparent through traditional analysis.
On the other hand, some marketers believe that UA still offers some features and capabilities that are not yet available in GA4. For example, UA has been around for much longer, and many marketers are more familiar with its interface and functionality. Additionally, some marketers may have custom integrations or scripts that are not yet compatible with GA4.
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Event-based tracking – GA4 uses an event-based model that allows for more flexible and comprehensive tracking of user behaviour across multiple devices and channels. This means that you can track user interactions beyond just pageviews, such as button clicks, video views, and other types of user engagement.
Improved analysis with machine learning – GA4 uses machine learning to help identify patterns and trends in your data that may not be immediately apparent through traditional analysis. This allows you to gain deeper insights into user behaviour and make data-driven decisions.
Better cross-device tracking – With GA4, you can track user interactions across multiple devices, allowing you to get a more complete view of the customer journey. This is particularly important as more and more people use multiple devices to access online content.
Simplified interface – The GA4 interface is designed to be more user-friendly and easier to navigate, making it simpler to create custom reports and track user engagement metrics.
Future-proofing – GA4 is the latest version of Google Analytics, and as such, it is likely to receive continued updates and support in the coming years. By adopting GA4, you are future-proofing your analytics strategy and ensuring that you have access to the latest features and capabilities.
Overall, GA4 offers several significant advantages over UA, particularly in terms of its event-based tracking, machine-learning capabilities, and cross-device tracking.
While GA4 offers several benefits over UA (Universal Analytics), there are also some downsides that marketers and businesses should be aware of:
Lack of feature parity – GA4 is still a relatively new platform, and as such, it does not yet offer all of the features and capabilities that are available in UA. For example, some integrations and custom scripts may not yet be supported in GA4.
Learning curve – Because GA4 uses an event-based model, it may take some time for marketers to become familiar with the new tracking and analysis approach. This can require additional training or resources to get up to speed.
Limited historical data – GA4 cannot import historical data from UA, so you may need to start from scratch with your data analysis. This can be a significant limitation for businesses that rely heavily on historical data to inform their marketing strategies.
Customization limitations – GA4 has a different data model than UA, which can make it more difficult to customize reports or dashboards to your specific needs. This can be a limitation for businesses that require more flexibility in their analytics approach.
Overall, while GA4 offers many advantages over UA, it may not be the best fit for every business. It’s important to carefully evaluate the specific needs and goals of your organization to determine whether GA4 is the right choice for you.
Yes, GA4 (Google Analytics 4) is GDPR compliant, as it has been designed with data privacy and protection in mind.
GA4 provides several tools and features that are specifically designed to help businesses comply with GDPR regulations. For example, GA4 allows you to configure data retention settings, giving you control over how long user data is stored in your analytics account. Additionally, GA4 provides a data deletion feature that allows you to delete user data upon request, as required by GDPR.
Furthermore, GA4 supports the use of user consent modes, which allows you to obtain user consent for data collection and processing in accordance with GDPR regulations.
It’s important to note that while GA4 provides tools and features to help businesses comply with GDPR, it is ultimately the responsibility of each business to ensure that they are following GDPR regulations in their data collection and processing practices.
There are several alternatives to GA4 (Google Analytics 4) that businesses can consider for their analytics needs. Here are a few popular options:
Matomo is a self-hosted analytics platform that provides businesses with complete control over their analytics data. It offers features such as real-time tracking, user privacy controls, and customizable reporting.
Adobe Analytics is a popular analytics platform that offers a range of features and capabilities for businesses. It includes real-time data analysis, advanced segmentation, and personalized reporting, among other features.
Mixpanel is an analytics platform that focuses on user behaviour analysis. It offers event-based tracking, funnel analysis, and A/B testing capabilities, among other features.
Amplitude is another user behaviour analytics platform that offers a range of features for businesses. It includes user segmentation, cohort analysis, and behavioural targeting, among other capabilities.
These are just a few of the many alternatives to GA4 that businesses can consider for their analytics needs. The best option will depend on the specific needs and goals of your business, as well as your budget and resources.
Overall, businesses should plan to begin transitioning to GA4 or an alternative platform in the near future to ensure that they are able to take advantage of the platform’s features and capabilities, as well as to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in analytics technology.