What Is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 or GA4 is the latest version of Google Analytics that is characterized by uniting the measurement of applications and web in the same place without having to consult different tools. Until now, properties could only be used on websites.
GA4 was released on the market at the end of 2019, a version with a very different aesthetic that not everyone ended up liking since it completely changed the way of measuring that we knew until then.
That’s why, following this announcement, it’s imperative to switch all accounts to Google Analytics 4 ownership as soon as possible, if it hasn’t already been done. This is important, in order to have enough historical data before Universal Analytics stops operating.
How Is GA4 Different From UA?
Google Analytics 4 is built differently to align with current and future reporting and privacy needs. Here are some of the differences and benefits.
From sessions to events
Until now with Universal Analytics, sessions were the central axis of Google Analytics. Now the central concept is events. That does not mean that the sessions disappear, but they go to the background.
An event is a discrete action that occurs at a specific time and is associated with a user. Therefore, pageviews are now going to be one more type of event. For example, a page_view event fires when a user views a page on her website.
Events can be of 3 types:
Automatically recorded events – Triggered when basic interactions with your app or website occur.
Recommended events: predefined events for specific actions. They have name and predefined parameters.
Custom events: events defined by ourselves, spending 25 custom parameters is allowed.
Multi-platform and multi-device
As Google Analytics 4 allows us to extract data from the web and app , they will allow us to effectively trace the complete navigation path of the user and obtain more data on how users interact with the brand.
GA4 uses machine learning to mine customer journey insights across platforms and devices.
Integration with BigQuery
For high traffic websites Google Analytics 4 includes a native integration with BigQuery . It is a non-relational database that allows the generation of tables with billions of rows focused on obtaining maximum performance.
You can access a Google demo account that contains both properties to view data and try out the different features of Google Analytics.
How To Configure Google Analytics 4?
In case a website is already using Google Analytics, you can create a new GA4 property. In this sense, it is advisable to create it from today so that both properties coexist and collect data.
When creating the 2, both will coexist and continue to collect data in parallel. You can go from one to another to familiarize yourself with the data through the administration panel or the account dropdown.
In addition, it is not recommended to delete the UA property that has already been created, it is important to save the history and that both coexist. As I have mentioned before, they measure differently, therefore, it is normal that you find discrepancies in the data between both properties.
Go to Analytics, in the Management of your property tab, and look for the GA4 configuration assistant property:
Steps to follow:
- GA4 Setup Wizard. Want to create a GA4 property.
- Create property.
- Under Data Streams you can see the Measurement ID to set up tracking in Google Tag Manager.
- Add the configuration code throughout the website through GTM.
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