5 GA4 Features Every Marketer Should Utilize
Google Analytics has long been the standard for web analytics, providing businesses with insights into how users interact with their websites. However, as the digital landscape has evolved, so has Google Analytics. GA4 is the latest version of the platform, offering a range of new features that aim to provide even more in-depth insights into user behaviour. This article will examine GA4's main features and how they can help businesses improve their digital strategies.
5 Game-Changing GA4 Features to Boost Your Analytics Strategy
1. Event-based data model
One of the key features of GA4 is its event-based data model. Unlike the previous version of Google Analytics, which was focused on pageviews, GA4 is built around events. Events are user interactions with a website or app, such as clicks, form submissions, and video plays. These events are then structured with parameters which provide additional context about the event. For example, a video play event may have parameters for the length of the video, the title, and the category. User properties such as demographics, interests, and behaviours are also tracked.
Under the event-based model, GA4 properties focus on events rather than separate web and app platforms. This means that web and app data streams can be analyzed in the same property, providing a more holistic view of user behaviour across platforms. The event-based model also allows for better identification of users, utilizing a range of methods such as User ID, Google Signals, and cookies.
Changes in user behaviour drive the shift to an event-based model. With people increasingly interacting with websites and apps in a non-linear, intermittent way, the traditional session-based model no longer reflects how users engage with digital content. GA4 can provide a more accurate and comprehensive picture of user behaviour by focusing on events rather than sessions.
One of the key advantages of the event-based model is its flexibility and customizability. With GA4, businesses can set up and measure any custom event and track relevant parameters and user properties. This allows for a more targeted and relevant analysis of user behaviour without the noise of irrelevant events and data.
The event-based model also enables businesses to design their implementation from scratch, with guidance from Google. This means they can focus on tracking the things that matter most to them and use custom events to gain insights into specific actions and behaviours.
2. Cross-Platform Insights
Another important feature of GA4 is its ability to collect data from multiple platforms, including web and app data streams in the same property. This makes it easier for businesses to understand their users' behaviour across different platforms. By collecting data from multiple sources, businesses can gain insights into how users interact with their brands across various touchpoints. It is powered by User ID, a unique identifier specific to your business. It can be set as a field in Google Analytics using Firebase or Google Tag Manager (GTM) to pass that user property.
Cross-Platform Insights Powered by User ID is a game-changer for customer journey measurement. It enables businesses to fully understand how users interact with their content across devices and platforms. Going off the user ID rather than the cookie means we get a far better view of what that user has done.
This is particularly important for businesses with frequent visitors or subscribers who often engage with content on both web and mobile platforms. With this feature, businesses can now look at their users holistically and understand what they are interested in and what they are doing, enabling them to make data-driven decisions that optimize their customer journey.
3. Predictive Analytics
GA4 also includes advanced predictive analytics capabilities. This includes insights, which provide businesses with suggestions for improving their website or app, predictive audiences, which can target users with specific behaviours or characteristics; and machine learning capabilities, which can help businesses identify trends and patterns in their data. These features allow businesses to understand their users' behaviour better and use that knowledge to improve their digital strategies.
One of the key benefits of predictive analytics is the ability to surface insights automatically. Using a range of signals, such as purchase history, website behaviour, and demographic information, ML algorithms can identify which users are most likely to convert or churn. These insights surfaced automatically, allowing businesses to take action quickly and efficiently.
Predictive analytics can also help businesses identify anomalies and unexpected behaviours. By analyzing patterns in customer behaviour, ML algorithms can identify when something is amiss and alert businesses to potential issues. This can be invaluable in helping businesses detect fraud, prevent data breaches, and mitigate other risks.
Another key feature of predictive analytics is the ability to make recommendations. By analyzing data from various sources, ML algorithms can identify which features, products or services most likely resonate with different customer segments. This can help businesses tailor their marketing efforts to specific audiences, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
One of the most exciting aspects of predictive analytics is how it can help businesses unlock new insights into customer behaviour. Businesses can better understand what drives their customers' behaviour by examining dozens of signals, from clickstream data to purchase history. This can help businesses identify new opportunities, optimize their marketing efforts, and increase conversions.
4. Custom Reports
Finally, GA4 offers a range of customizable exploration reports, allowing businesses to understand their users better. These reports include data on user behaviour, demographics, interests, and behaviours and can be customized to fit the specific needs of a business. By using these reports, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their users and use that knowledge to make data-driven decisions.
The Exploration section in GA4 is an advanced version of Custom Reports that allows businesses to use custom dimensions and metrics to build reports specific to their business needs. This feature is particularly useful for businesses still getting used to the new data model in GA4 and who want to understand how everything works for their business.
One of the coolest features of GA4 Exploration is the ability to build funnels with very specific conditions. Businesses can specify campaigns, pages, and behaviours and see how users interact with their websites. This is much more advanced than the funnel options available in UA and can help businesses better understand the user journey.
Segment overlap reporting is another powerful feature in GA4 Exploration. This feature allows businesses to look at how different segments of users interact with each other. For example, businesses can compare new and returning users' behaviour and see how many subscribers are in both segments. This visual reporting is much easier to understand than just looking at numbers on a page.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) offers a powerful platform for data integration (see integrations menu) and deeper insights that can help businesses make informed decisions. GA4 provides integration and sharing capabilities for data from multiple sources, including web, app, marketing, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This makes GA4 a connective tissue that enables businesses to leverage data across platforms and gain valuable insights into customer behaviour and preferences.
One of the most significant features of GA4 is its deeper integration with Google Marketing Platform (GMP) and other tools. This enables businesses to connect their ad platforms, such as Ad Manager and Campaign Manager, with GA4, providing a more comprehensive view of marketing campaigns. GA4 integrates with other Google tools, such as Optimize and Google Tag Manager (GTM), making it easy to analyze website and app data.
However, GA4's integration capabilities don't stop there. Businesses can also connect their customer data from CRMs like Salesforce and other data sources, allowing them to analyze and gain insights from customer data beyond the website and app usage. With custom data imports, businesses can also bring in data from other parts of the organization, such as supply chain management, financial systems, etc. This data can be used to create custom reports and dashboards, which can be shared with different teams within the organization.
Another significant advantage of GA4's integration capabilities is leveraging data on other platforms, such as Looker Studio, Looker, and Tableau. This allows businesses to analyze data in new ways and gain insights into customer behaviour and preferences, which can be used to inform marketing and product decisions. With Looker Studio and Tableau, businesses can create advanced visualizations and dashboards that enable users to explore data in new ways.
GA4's main features give businesses a more complete and nuanced view of their users' behaviour. By using an event-based data model, collecting data from multiple platforms, and offering more robust user identification and predictive analytics capabilities, businesses can gain insights into their users' behaviour that were not possible with previous versions of Google Analytics. Additionally, exploration custom exploration reports provide businesses with the tools to drill down into their data and gain a deeper understanding of their users. With these features, businesses can make data-driven decisions that lead to more effective digital strategies.
Universal Analytics will reach the end of life soon, and we have developed a comprehensive guide and checklist to help you migrate from UA to GA4. Please contact us if you need any additional support in the migration process.