A new version of the popular Google Analytics tool has just become a reality and there is no way back. From 1 July 2023, GA4 becomes the only version available. Although some people are still watching the last breaths of Universal Analytics, it is definitely necessary to say goodbye already and start a new exciting chapter of web analytics under the title: Google Analytics 4.

What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 is an analytics service that lets you measure traffic and engagement across your websites and apps. This documentation provides implementation instructions and reference materials geared towards a developer audience.

If you are living under a rock (or I have not been interested in digital marketing so far) you should be familiar with what Google Analytics stands for and what it is used for. However, if you’re not completely on the subject, it will be the most effectively spent hour of your professional life when you watch a comprehensive introduction to the subject by Google Analytics expert himself, Julius Fedorovicius, known as AnalyticsMania:

What makes Google Analytics 4 different?

Google Analytics 4 is first and foremost a business tool, which means it’s not meant to accurately account for your revenues and profits. It’s a behavioral analysis tool that will answer questions such as:

  • how do users know about your brand?
  • what sites are they visiting?
  • which products are most popular?
  • what revenues are generated for me by each channel?
  • how many users are visiting my site for the first time and how many are returning?

Configuration Google Analytics 4

Simply implementing Google Analytics can be problematic at first, but don’t give up and consistently learn about this powerful tool. Below is a list of suggested steps to help you get started with the setup.


Dark side of GA4

Once you know what Google Analytics 4 is, it is time for an honest opinion and concrete applications in practice. Let’s start with what it is the most disliked tool for:

  • poor real-time reporting
  • confusion between user-based and session-based metrics, making reports very difficult to read
  • a complicated reports section with non-intuitive metrics that are incompatible with each other
  • the lack of the view known from the UA, which means that each property has to contain a separate tracking tag and this is a lot of work

Apart from obvious deficits such as a difficult-to-adapt interface or complicated configuration in the case of e-commerce, Google Analytics 4 also surprises with positives.

Benefit of using GA4

  • great flexibility in customising the views of the default report
  • more interesting breakdown of default channels, taking into account the complexity of the omni-channel world
  • relatively simple integration with BigQuery, which opens up completely new doors in terms of new skills and usages

What should you know about Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics has long been the go-to tool for website owners and digital marketers aiming to understand their audience and improve their online performance. This new version is not just an upgrade but a complete reimagining of the platform. Main difference:

  1. Event-based trackingGA4 is event-driven. This means that user interactions, such as clicks, scrolls, or video views, are now tracked as individual events. This offers a more granular view of user behavior, allowing for more detailed insights and analysis.
  2. Machine learningGA4 leverages Google’s machine learning capabilities to provide automated insights. This means the platform can predict future actions of users, identify trends, and even alert you to significant changes in data, such as a drop in e-commerce sales.
  3. User-centric data modelGA4 offers a more user-centric approach, focusing on how users interact with your content across multiple sessions and devices. This shift allows marketers to understand the entire customer journey, from acquisition to conversion and retention.
  4. Audience building – you can create audiences based on a combination of attributes, including past on-site behavior, predicted future actions, and more. This enhanced capability allows for more precise targeting in advertising campaigns.
  5. Omnichannel – one of the standout features of GA4 is its ability to track users across multiple platforms, including web and mobile apps. This unified approach provides a holistic view of user behavior, regardless of where the interaction takes place.
  6. Enhanced data controls – privacy concerns are at the forefront of digital marketing discussions. GA4 offers improved data controls, allowing website owners to manage how they collect, retain, and use data. This includes features like data deletion requests and cookie opt-out capabilities, ensuring compliance with regulations like GDPR.

Google Analytics 4 is a game-changer in the world of digital analytics. Its user-centric approach, combined with advanced machine learning capabilities, offers businesses unparalleled insights into their audience’s behavior. While there’s a learning curve associated with adopting GA4, the benefits it brings to the table make it a worthy investment for any business aiming to thrive in the digital age.

Would you like to order dedicated Google Analytics training for your team? Email me at kinga@lightbubbleagency.com and let’s spread our wings together!

Useful resources

  1. Google Analytics 4 for developers
  2. How to migrate to GA4
  3. Comparing metrics UA vs GA4