Google Analytics is a phrase often used by marketers to convince you that marketing is really complicated. And with the release of Google Analytics 4, you’re probably being told that there’s a lot you need to do in preparation for GA4.

The truth is, while everything has changed with Google Analytics 4, it also simplifies a lot of things while giving you more accurate tracking.

In this article, we’ll take you through:

1) Why Google is releasing Google Analytics 4

2) What’s new with Google Analytics 4

3) Why you need to implement Google Analytics 4 today

Why is Google releasing Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics was originally released 17 years ago and to this day, still uses a lot of the technology that existed then.

Considering how much technology has progressed, some of the technology that Google Analytics utilizes today is outdated and no longer accurate. In fact, some of the fundamentals on which Google Analytics relies on will soon be shut down.

Google has been working on Google Analytics 4 to utilize today’s technological infrastructure to provide a more accurate view of your businesses’ data online.

So, what’s new with Google Analytics 4?

1) Cross-device tracking
One of the largest issues with Universal Analytics (current version of Google Analytics) is that it couldn’t tell when the same user browses using multiple devices, resulting in duplicate sessions being reported. Google Analytics 4 fixes this, ensuring that the same user, using multiple devices are shown across one user journey.

2) Cross-domain tracking
Google Analytics 4 makes it much easier to track users moving between multiple domains. This makes tracking much more accurate for tour operators using booking software solutions like Rezdy where customers are sent to a domain extension to complete their booking.

3) Website & app reporting
Google Analytics 4 makes it much easier for users to track data across websites and apps. This means that tour or attractions operators who have their own app(eg. For memberships) will be able to better track between the two.

4) Better privacy
As privacy concerns grow, people are becoming more sensitive about sharing their data. This means that certain types of data can no longer be collected. Google uses advanced algorithms to fill in those gaps, so you still get an accurate view of your customers without compromising their privacy.

How does Google Analytics 4 deliver these benefits?

In Universal Analytics, Google used one data source (Device ID) to track users. In Google Analytics 4, Google combines 3 data sources, combined with advanced algorithms to deliver more accurate measurements.

1) Google Signals: Google products sign-in data. Eg. Google Chrome, Android, Gmail, etc.

2) User ID: You can now upload your own unique identifiers that you use internally into Google Analytics. Eg. customer ID, membership ID, etc.

3) Device ID: A unique customer identifier used to distinguish a mobile device or browser.

Data explorations

In addition to reports, Google Analytics 4 also allows users to uncover much deeper insights using data exploration tools. These tools allow you to dive much deeper into your data; you can easily filter, sort, refactor, drill-down into your data as well as create segments & audiences.

Google Analytics 4 comes with 4 key exploration templates:

1) Free form exploration
Similar to a pivot table, you can explore your data in a familiar layout. Easily add data sets to the rows, columns, etc. You can then visualize them in the form of bar charts, pie charts, geo maps, etc.

2) Path exploration
Explore all the different paths/journeys a user does on your website before exiting or purchasing. You can view the all the pages a user views or all the activities/ events they do.

3) Funnel exploration
Build your own funnel and visualize the steps a user takes to complete tasks on your site. See where users are exiting and which part of your funnel is the most inefficient.

4) Segment overlap
Similar to Venn diagrams, you can compare two set of user groups or segments and see what they have in common. For example, you could compare the two biggest customer groups you have and find out what they have in common.

So, why do you need to implement Google Analytics 4 today?

While Google Analytics 4 comes with a large number of benefits as mentioned above, the biggest reason that you’ll want to start implementing Google Analytics 4 is that Google will be shutting down Universal Analytics in July 2023.

This means from July 2023 onwards, if you have not yet set up Google Analytics 4, you will no longer be able to track data using Google Analytics. Even if you set up Google Analytics 4 then, you’ll still have a lag period in which you won’t have any data.

Run Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 simultaneously

We highly recommend setting up your Google Analytics 4 account today so it can start tracking your data alongside your Universal Analytics account.

This will allow you to compare the data collected between your Google Analytics 4 account and your Universal Analytics account and monitor for large discrepancies. Ideally, the data should be pretty similar between the two.

Starting early will give you time to ensure that your Google Analytics 4 account is set up correctly with your events tracking data accurately. This’ll ensure that when Google shuts down Universal Analytics in July 2023, you will already have an account you can confidently rely on.

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