6 mins

What is GA4 (Google Analytics 4)?

Date 10.11.2022

What is GA4 and why should you care?

Have you heard? Google Analytics is getting an update; GA4. It’s big news for anyone who looks after a website with Google Analytics installed, so just what is GA4, and why do we all need to get to grips with it?

This article explores exactly that, with a lighter touch intro into this new analytics platform to start us off. We’ll be delving into the nitty gritty in the months ahead to further explore its features, benefits, and differences, but let’s take a look at the fundamentals first.

GA4 is Google Analytics, but not as we know it…

A couple of years ago, Google released the futuristic sounding GA4. It passed many by upon launch (it was 2020 after all), but has been gathering pace alongside the digital community’s understanding and onboarding more recently.

GA4 is being presented as the solution for modern day tracking requirements (think websites and apps, which are currently seen as different entities in Universal Analytics). This updated platform also offers the answer to the question many website owners and marketers have been asking over recent years; how the heck do we collect the data we need in a climate of growing discontent with third party tracking cookies?

How is GA4 different to Universal GA?

Universal Google Analytics uses session tracking whereas GA4 uses event tracking and this presents a very different approach to data collection. With that, some of the information in the dashboard is different to that we’ve come to know, and Google are still making amendments to this at the time of writing. It’s going to take time and effort to successfully switch, but the good news is it will be worth it.

GA4’s key differences from Universal GA:

  • Ability to analyse apps and websites in a single reporting platform
  • Reliance on Google Signals (new technology from Google that can track users who are logged into a Google account) instead of third-party cookies
  • Automatic anonymity of IP addresses to protect privacy
  • A usable search function in analytics that not only helps you find the right reports, but also lets you ask questions about your specific data.

GA4 will be mandatory…

The drive to get all websites up and running with GA4 was amplified earlier this year, when Google announced that Universal Analytics will cease tracking new website visits on 1st July 2023. In short, we all need to get to grips with GA4 because it will soon be the only Google Analytics option.

Don’t GA4-get about your Google Analytics!

Have you made the switch yet? We’d love to know how you’re finding it so far.

If you’re hanging back for a little more information before making the jump, rest assured we’ll have more details over the coming months as we continue our blog series on all things GA4.

If all this new-fangled GA4 talk has you worried about tracking website stats for yourself or your clients, let’s have a chat.

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