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Digital Analytics

Google Analytics 4 – What It Is and How It Works

Sep 22, 2021

5 minutes read

“Google Analytics is the best friend of all digital marketers as it dictates the decision-making and success of every website.”

Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the latest version of Google Analytics, was released officially in October 2020.

It takes a different approach to collecting user data and analyzing web traffic, as compared to Universal Analytics (UA).

Universal Analytics was blocked several times due to cookie-consent rules, as well as privacy concerns.

While the reporting tool was traditionally used to track user interactions and offline APIs, Google Analytics 4 uses data modeling with artificial intelligence to plug these gaps.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about the latest version of Google Analytics, its highlights, the benefits it provides, as well as how it works.

So, let’s get started!


What is Google Analytics 4?

The latest version of Google Analytics provides:

a. A Privacy-First Tracking Approach

b. AI-Based Predictive Data

c. X-Channel Measurement

Built on the ‘App + Web’ platform, GA4 focuses on data presented from the user’s first visit to the final conversion.

This data is showcased as an ‘event’.

Highlights of Google Analytics 4

1. GA4 has machine learning as a form of data measurement. Modeling is used to understand user behavior from existing data.

2. You can automatically highlight relevant data across devices with the ‘Insights’ feature.

3. GA4 provides metrics across different devices and webpages, and focuses on an end-to-end measurement of the user journey.

4. It can work without cookies or identifying data.

5. GA4 uses ‘data streams’, as opposed to ‘views and segments’ in Universal Analytics.

6. It also has ‘Account’ and ‘Property’ levels, unlike traditional analytics, which has the ‘Account’, ‘Property’, and ‘View’ levels.

7. You can also edit, track, and fine-tune events within your user interface in GA4.


New Capabilities in Google Analytics 4

1. GA4 enables you to edit and fine-tune events without the need for complex coding.

2. The data import feature includes a range of data within one property, from non-website sources.

3. It also enables you to perform cross-domain tracking within your user interface without the need to adjust code.

4. GA4 provides you with a ‘Lifecycle Report’ that focuses on user journeys.

How Does Google Analytics 4 Work?

1. The GA4 property uses the ‘Event + Parameter’ measurement model. This is a user-centric model, as opposed to the traditional session + pageviews centric model.

2. It enables you to track user activity, including pageviews, as an event. You can also create custom events.

3. The ‘Event + Parameter’ based data model allows you to measure custom events.

4. You can also automate the tracking of certain types of events, such as scroll, video, exit, and site search, without additional coding or tagging.


How Are Events Tracked in GA4?

What Are the Benefits of Google Analytics 4?

Access BigQuery for Free

BigQuery was initially only available to Google Analytics 360 (paid) users.

With GA4, you can access it for free.

An enterprise data warehouse, BigQuery enables you to store massive datasets.

You can also enable super-fast SQL queries using the processing power of Google’s infrastructure, in order to manage massive data.



Connecting to BigQuery

Collect Unlimited Data

Universal Analytics has a monthly limit of 10 million hits per property for the amount of data that can be collected.

However, a lot of sampling can occur while processing data.

With Google Analytics 4, sampling is removed.

This enables you to collect an unlimited amount of data.

Focus on the User Journey

Since GA4 has data streaming capabilities, you can measure user interaction across platforms.

For example, you can generate a combined user activity report when accessing your website via mobile application and desktop, while carrying out an activity like ‘Add to Cart’.

Get an Interactive User-Centric Interface

With the new GA4 interface, you can generate user-centric reports.

The latest version of Google Analytics has user buckets such as ‘acquisition’, ’conversion’, ‘monetization’, and ‘retention’.

You can also fetch user definitions such as mobile users and purchases by defining them in a separate audience report.


User-Centric Interface

Track Events Automatically

With ‘Enhanced Measurement’, you can automatically track certain events in GA4.

These include page scroll, video engagement, PDF download, and outbound clicks.


Automatic Event Tracking

Get Advanced Analysis & Tracking Reports

GA4 comes with predefined analytics, a feature which was unavailable in earlier versions, except for Google Analytics 360.

It supports a variety of reports such as exploration, funnel analysis, segment overlap, path analysis, and user lifetime.


Advance Analysis Report

Get Enhanced Data Visualization and Reporting

GA4 gives you a holistic view of real-time data visualization with different charts.


Data Visualization And Reporting (1)

GA4 also provides dynamic interaction with data. It enables you to build comparisons.


Data Visualization And Reporting (2)

Enable One-Click Conversions

In GA4, you can easily mark a tracked event as a conversion.

You just need to switch on the icon present in front of the event name, in order to do this.

You can also mark as many events you want, as conversions.

This was not possible in Universal Analytics, since it only allowed 20 conversions per view.


One Click Conversions

Modify Events Easily

With GA4, you can modify or create a new event based on the occurrence of other events and parameters in the list of existing events.


Modify Events

Analyze at a Granular Level With DebugView

You can find DebugView in the bottom-left corner of your GA4 interface.

It enables you to analyze data in real-time, at a more granular level.

You can also monitor the user device, top events, and user properties, using DebugView.

Wrapping Up

Google Analytics 4 comes with updated features and a truckload of benefits when compared to the traditional Universal Analytics.

Track marketing campaigns with this new and improved way of analyzing user interactions with your business.

Want to Know More About Google Analytics 4? Contact Us!

Grazitti has a team of digital marketing experts who work tirelessly to support their customers with best-in-class digital marketing solutions.

Should you want to learn more about Google Analytics, take a look at this eBook or drop us a line at [email protected] and we’ll take it from there.