4 Reasons to be excited about Google Analytics 4

The news that Google is switching over to Google Analytics 4 in July, was understandably daunting to many of us. Google Analytics has always been a powerful, but complex tool — having to relearn it sounds frustrating.

But there’s a lot to look forward to in this new iteration of the platform. GA4 is Google’s answer to some of the key challenges that many people experienced with Universal Analytics. It was created to be more engagement-oriented and to offer more flexible reporting. Here are some of the key reasons we’re excited about this new version of Google Analytics.


1) They’ll do the technical part for you

Concerned about figuring out how to set up a new account or tag? If you already have a Universal Analytics account, there’s no need to worry about it. Google recently announced that they’ll be automatically setting up GA4 accounts attached to existing UA properties starting in March. They’ll bring over any existing tags you may have set up and do some basic events and tag set up.

If you have new site tags you want included or want to be more in control of the set-up, it may still be worth doing this yourself. But for many people this can take one step out of the set up process. The account will be ready and waiting for you to use this spring.


2) GA4 is better at tracking how people use the internet now

Google acquired Universal Analytics in 2005. People have radically changed the way they use the internet in the last two decades, which has made UA’s web-browser-oriented, cookie-based approach to tracking less reliable.

Google Analytics 4 factors in the way people use the internet now. According to Google, it uses AI and data modeling to track users across devices and tabs and relies less on cookies to understand people’s activity. Plus, it is more readily able to track the key actions people take on a given site.


3) GA4 measures what people are doing on the site, rather than just how many people visited and how long they were there

Google Analytics 4 is oriented around key event tracking, rather than number and duration of sessions. Universal Analytics automatically told you how many people were coming to your site and how long they stayed. GA4 automatically tells you what they DO there.

Many key engagement metrics that used to take a lot of configuring in Google Tag Manager are now available automatically. Automatically tracked events include:

  • Link Clicks
  • File Downloads
  • Video Views
  • And Scroll Depth

All the metrics that used to be available are still there like:

  • Traffic Source
  • Page visit
  • First page visit
  • Engaged users (GA4’s version of bounce rate. People who stayed for more than a few seconds – rather than through the people who leave quickly.)

This focus on events immediately makes Google Analytics much more useful and relevant. Want people to have access to an application? You can see how many people are clicking the online link, how many people are downloading the PDF and how they got to that page. Want to understand how many people are reading information vs. watching videos, so you can spend your content development time more efficiently? You can compare how many people watch videos vs. read blogs, and how far they get down the page or through the video.


4) Its easier to report on metrics that are directly related to your communications goals

These clear events make it easier to link your web efforts to your organizational goals. For instance, if it’s an organizational goal to promote a specific program, you can more easily measure how people are engaging with content about that program or clicking on the enrollment materials.

GA4 offers customizable dashboards and explorations that can help you check in on your progress, or easily share with your team. Especially people who are less comfortable with the platform.The advent of Google Analytics 4 could be a great opportunity to reset the way you track against your goals and better engage folks across your teams.

We can help!

If you’d like support getting the most out of Google Analytics 4, we can help! We can work with you at a range of levels – from defining goals to building reports – to make Google Analytics work better for you and your team.