What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 is a tool that helps businesses see unified user journeys across their websites and apps, analyze insights with Google’s machine learning technology, and keep up with ever-changing technology trends. In October 2020, Google announced Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to evolve with measurement standards, regulation changes, browser updates, and user privacy controls. Effective July 1, 2023 the current analytics property, Universal Analytics, will no longer be available and will be replaced with Google Analytics 4 as the new default property.
Let’s go through the new features of Google Analytics and how to prepare for the removal of Universal Analytics in 2023.
Some of the new features within Google Analytics 4 include operation across platforms (app + web), no dependency on cookies or need to store IP addresses, and AI-powered insights/predictions. Web and app data being within the same property will be beneficial to businesses that use multiple platforms for analysis versus tracking screen views in separate properties, which Universal Analytics offers currently. As third-party cookies are being phased out, Google has relied on machine learning, which fills in the gaps as there will be no storing of IP addresses. This shift will also alleviate issues regarding user privacy. Although machine learning insights have been prevalent in Google analytics, the GA4 can automatically alert businesses to data trends, such as high demands based off of their product/service offering aligned with their audience they are tracking. These new features demonstrate the future of analytics in relation to the user’s journey to the first visit to the final conversion.
What Does This Mean For Businesses?
Although businesses have a year before Google Analytics 4 is the new default property, learning how to use it now and understanding the different features will be beneficial for audience tracking in the future. Also, Google plans to limit stored processed data to a few months after the default switch, which is an incentive to start using GA4 properties now to build historical data to reference.
4.8 million companies use Google Analytics for tracking their audience, where 74% are from small sized businesses.
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