As an SEO agency, staying up-to-date with the latest developments in analytics tools is crucial. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the newest version of the popular analytics platform, and it brings with it some major changes that could significantly impact how you measure website performance. The core difference between the incumbent analytics version and GA4 is the data model. GA3 is a model based on sessions and pageviews whereas GA4 is designed around events and parameters. This change means that GA4 provides a different perspective on the same (sorts of) data.
A User-Centric Approach to Web Analytics
One of the most notable changes in GA4 is its focus on user-centric measurement, which tracks user interactions across devices and sessions, allowing for a more holistic view of user behaviour. This upgrade contrasts the traditional web analytics model, which often focuses on tracking individual sessions on a single device. While Universal Analytics was designed to track users across websites, GA4 has been built for a world where users navigate across websites and apps. GA4 combines web and app data from multiple sources in the same property.
A user-centric approach provides a more accurate view of user behaviour and allows for a better understanding of the complete customer journey. It enables marketing agencies to see the full picture of how users interact with their client’s assets and identify areas for improvement. For example, GA4 can track how users move from one device to another as they interact with a website or app. This tracking can help understand the different ways users access a website and better the user experience for each device.
In addition to providing a more accurate measure of user behaviour, the user-centric approach of GA4 has several other benefits. For instance, it allows agencies to better target their marketing efforts by understanding how different demographics of users interact with their client’s websites. Furthermore, GA4’s ability to track user interactions across devices and sessions can help identify issues within the customer journey. As always, by understanding how users move through a website and interact with different pages and features, we can identify areas where the user experience could be refined and make changes to enhance the website’s overall usability.
One potential area for improvement of GA4’s user-centric approach is that it currently requires users to be logged in to their Google account in order to track their interactions. Unfortunately, this means that the data collected may not be representative of the overall user population, as not everyone will be logged in to their Google accounts while accessing a website.
To overcome this drawback, analysts can combine GA4 data with other user data sources, such as surveys and customer feedback, to get a more complete picture of user habits.
Improved Integration with Google Products and Services
GA4 allows users to seamlessly integrate data from other Google products, such as Google Ads and Google Search Console, allowing for a complete view of user behaviour.
This integration makes it easier for agencies to track their efforts’ effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. For example, they can see how users interact with their clients’ websites after clicking on a Google Ads advertisement and how this impacts their overall engagement with the website. The integration with Google Ads is richer making use of the new and improved tracking features and parameters, giving advertisers more data to tailor campaigns.
GA4’s integration with other Google products and services provides a deeper understanding of users actions and can be used to improve marketing efforts, targeting and relevance.
Leveraging Machine Learning for Enhanced Insights
GA4 uses machine learning algorithms to automatically identify user behaviour patterns and make predictions about future interactions. This feature allows GA4 to provide more accurate and actionable insights, which we can use to improve the user experience and grow conversions. For example, GA4 can identify common patterns in user behaviour, such as which pages users tend to visit first or which actions they take most frequently. We can use this information to optimise the website’s content and design and provide a better user experience. GA4 will attempt to provide predictive metrics for purchase probability, churn probability and predicted revenue. These predictive metrics can be used to create predictive audiences in the audience builder for better insight and planning.
The use of machine learning algorithms in GA4 can also help to identify potential issues with the website and to take corrective action. For instance, if GA4 detects a sudden drop in user engagement on a particular page, this could indicate a problem with that page’s content or design. By quickly identifying and addressing these issues, agencies can prevent potential loss of traffic and conversions. Furthermore, the predictive capabilities of GA4’s machine learning algorithms can forecast future user behaviour and make more informed decisions. For example, GA4 can highlight which pages are most popular with users or which actions will likely increase conversions. GA4’s machine learning capabilities can form part of CRO processes to see how changes affect user behaviour. By conducting A/B tests and other experiments, analysts can gather more data and make better decisions.
A possible weakness of GA4’s use of machine learning algorithms is that it relies on sufficient data to make predictions. For example, if a website doesn’t have enough visitors or user data, the algorithms may not be able to identify patterns or make an accurate prognosis. While there is a minimum threshold for these features to work, by using a more comprehensive range of data, GA4’s algorithms can better identify patterns and make more accurate predictions about user behaviour.
Overall, Google Analytics 4 offers several powerful new features and capabilities. By leveraging GA4’s data import, machine learning and integration capabilities, we can gain valuable insights into user behaviour and optimise websites for better performance. The new features of GA4 make it an invaluable tool to gain deeper insights into user behaviour and improve the effectiveness of campaigns. If you’d like to learn more about GA4 then check out our guide linked above or give us a call.