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What is Google Analytics 4 or GA4

GA4 Faster Class

At the end of 2020 Google introduced a new version of Google Analytics called GA4. With the endless updates that are happening on the web and in normal life due to the pandemic. marketers and owners were looking for more insight as well as an easier way to understand Google Analytics as a whole. 


In this article we will be talking about what Google Analytics 4 is, how your company should adapt, and how to implement GA4 into your site.


What is Google Analytics 4 and why is it changing? 


With the evolution of technology, Google started working on a new, intelligent way to track user data. If you think about it, it makes sense for the evolution from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. Gone are the days of people sitting at their single home computer and surfing the web. People now have phones in the pockets, tablets by their bed, and many other devices scattered around the house. 


One of the major updates to this new tracking technology is the idea of tracking a single user across multiple devices and platforms. Let’s hear it straight from Google! 


“GA4 uses machine learning at its core to automatically surface helpful insights and gives you a complete understanding of your customers across devices and platforms. It’s privacy-centric by design, so you can rely on Analytics even as industry changes like restrictions on cookies and identifiers create gaps in your data. The new Google Analytics will give you the essential insights you need to be ready for what’s next.”  – Introducing The New Google Analytics 


Being able to track users across multiple devices will allow you to better understand your customers. Here is an example of this from Google:


“it can include conversions from YouTube engaged views that occur in-app and on the web in reports. Seeing conversions from YouTube video views alongside conversions from Google and non-Google paid channels, and organic channels like Google Search, social, and email, helps you understand the combined impact of all your marketing efforts.”  – Introducing The New Google Analytics 


Universal Analytics Vs. Google Analytics 4 data

So, with all that being said, what are the differences between these two platforms that you will need to know when it comes to viewing your analytics? 


One of the major differences google will be changing from session-based tracking to event-based tracking. What is this you ask? 


Session-Based vs. Event-Based Data Models

Coming straight from google the session-based model used for Universal Analytics properties

“In UA properties, Analytics groups data into sessions, and these sessions are the foundation of all reporting. A session is a group of user interactions with your website that take place within a given time frame.

During a session, Analytics collects and stores user interactions, such as page views, events, and eCommerce transactions, like hits. A single session can contain multiple hits, depending on how a user interacts with your website.”

So what is an event-based model? (GA4’s Model)

“In GA4 properties, you can still see session data, but Analytics collects and stores user interactions with your website or app as events. Events provide insight on what’s happening in your website or app, such as page views, button clicks, user actions, or system events.

Events can collect and send pieces of information that fully specify the action the user took or add further context to the event or user. This information could include things like the value of purchase, the title of the page a user visited, or the geographic location of the user.”


Below is a quick chart of some of the differences between the two platforms. 

GA4 Chart


What Does This Mean For My Company?

If you are currently not using analytics for tracking usage, behavior, and engagement, there is no better time to start and look forward to the future. It will help assist the growing consumer expectations with the changing technology, regulatory development, and updating the user privacy. This will also allow more personalized added and optimizing your ROI.


When Should I Stop Using UA? 

Not Yet! As we move forward with GA4 most marketing professionals plan to still use UA as the primary measurement for the next 6-12 years, learning the features as well as gaining the variable data in the UA property. 


What Are My Next Steps? 

If you are a marketing client as of April 30th, 2021, we have you covered. Faster Solutions has already taken care of the setup for you! If you have any questions about this feel free to contact your Marketing Team.


If you have yet to get started as a marketing client with Faster Solutions, we can complete it during your onboarding.  Or, you can easily add GA4 to your current analytics. Follow this link to the Google Support page on adding google analytics 4 property to your site that already has analytics. If you need assistance with your setup, feel free to reach out to Faster Solutions, we are happy to help! 


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