Google Analytics 4 was announced in October and it’s the most significant change to Google Analytics ever. With this update come a lot of new changes and features that you need to know about. While we don’t know if traditional GA will be going anywhere anytime soon, it’s clear that learning GA4 is worth prioritizing. In this complete guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to get started with Google Analytics 4.
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. GA also helps you measure conversion rates, track sales and goal funnels, identify referrers, and much more.
With the release of GA v.45 in October 2020, Google rebranded its product from “Universal Analytics” to “Google Analytics.” This was more than just a name change; it represented a fundamental shift in how the product collects and processes data.
The most significant change with GA v.45 is the introduction of Google Analytics Property types. There are now two property types: web (formerly known as “universal”) and app (which is new).
Google Analytics web property type can still be used to collect data from websites, while the app property type must be used to collect data from mobile apps.
How to Create a Google Analytics Account and GA4 Property?
If you’re starting from scratch, setting up GA is simple. Just create a new property in your Analytics account and select “Google Analytics for web” as the property type. If you already have a Universal Analytics property, you can upgrade it to GA by selecting the “Upgrade to GA” option in the admin settings.
Once you’ve selected the appropriate property type, you’ll be asked to provide some basic information about your website or app, such as the name and URL. You’ll also need to select a data-sharing setting: either “Share with Google products only” or “Share with everyone.”
After you’ve provided the required information and selected your data-sharing setting, click “Create.” You’ll be taken to the tracking code page, where you can get your GA tracking code. Copy this code and paste it into the appropriate location on your website or app.
Once you have a GA account, you can then create your first GA property. To do so, log in to your GA account and click “Admin.” In the Accounts column, select “+ Create Property.
You’ll then be asked to select a property type. There are now two types of properties in GA: web and app. If you want to track data from a website, select “Web”; if you want to track an app, select “App.”
How to Upgrade to GA4 Property From Existing Universal Analytics Property?
If you have an existing Universal Analytics property, you can upgrade it to GA by selecting the “Upgrade to GA” option in the admin settings.
Once you’ve upgraded your property, you’ll be able to take advantage of all the new features and benefits that GA has to offer. You’ll also be able to use both GA and Universal Analytics side-by-side, so you can compare data and see how your website or app is performing under the new system.
There are some important things to keep in mind when upgrading to GA:
- If you have any existing tags, triggers, or variables in your Universal Analytics property, they will not be carried over to GA. You’ll need to recreate them in GA.
- Your Universal Analytics tracking code will continue to work alongside your GA tracking code. However, it’s recommended that you remove the UA code once you’ve upgraded to GA.
- Some features, such as content grouping and remarketing, are not available in GA. If you rely on these features, you may want to keep your Universal Analytics property active.
How Does GA4 Help With Reporting?
Google Analytics includes several standard reports, as well as the ability to create custom reports. GA also allows you to export data into other Google products, such as Google Sheets, for further analysis.
One of the most significant changes with GA v.45 is the introduction of a new reporting interface. The new interface includes updated versions of some existing reports, as well as new reports designed to help you better understand your website or app’s traffic and user behavior.
Some of the new features in the GA reporting interface include:
- The ability to compare up to four date ranges side-by-side.
- A report explorer that allows you to quickly find and open the report you want to view.
- The ability to pin favorite reports to the top of the report list for easy access.
- The ability to save customizations made to reports so you can quickly apply them to other reports.
How to Add GA4 Tracking Code to Website without Using Google Tag Manager?
If you don’t want to use Google Tag Manager, you can add the GA tracking code directly to your website. Just copy the code from the tracking code page and paste it into the appropriate location on your website.
The GA tracking code should be added before the closing tag on each page of your website. If you’re using a content management system (CMS), you may be able to add the code to your site’s header or footer template, so it appears on every page automatically.
Some common places to add the GA tracking code are:
- In the head section of your website’s HTML code
- Just before the closing body tag
- Within your website’s template, if you’re using a CMS
Once you’ve added the GA tracking code to your website, you can start collecting data about your site’s traffic and activity.
How To Read Analysis Hub Reports?
The GA reporting interface includes a new “Analysis Hub” that allows you to quickly find and analyze data from your website or app.
The Analysis Hub offers three different types of reports:
- Data Explorer reports allow you to explore your data in an interactive way.
- Dashboards provide an overview of key metrics and trends.
- Custom Reports allow you to build reports tailored to your specific needs.
To access the Analysis Hub, click on the “Analytics” tab in the left-hand navigation menu. Then, click on the “AnalysisHub” option.
You can use the Data Explorer reports investigating specific questions about your data. For example, if you want to know what countries your users are coming from, you can use the “Explore by Country” report.
The Dashboards reports provide an overview of key metrics and trends. For example, the “Audience Overview” dashboard provides information about your website or app’s users, such as their location, device type, and how they found your site.
Custom Reports allow you to build reports tailored to your specific needs. For example, if you want to track the performance of a specific marketing campaign, you can create a custom report that includes only the data relevant to that campaign.
To create a custom report, click on the “Create Report” button in the top-right corner of the Analysis Hub. Then, select the “Custom Report” option.
You’ll be taken to the custom report builder, where you can add the dimensions and metrics you want to include in your report. Once you’ve added all the desired information, click on the “Save” button to save your custom report.
Types of Analysis:
There are two types of analysis you can perform with GA data:
Descriptive analysis is used to describe the characteristics of a data set. For example, you could use descriptive analysis to answer questions such as “What is the average age of our users?” or “What percentage of our traffic comes from mobile devices?”
The inferential analysis makes predictions or inferences about a population based on a sample. For example, you could use inferential analysis to answer questions such as “What is the likelihood that a user will purchase our product?” or “How many visitors will come to our website in the next month?”
What are some benefits of using GA?
- The ability to collect data from multiple channels (e.g., website, mobile app, etc.), provides a more holistic view of your audience and how they interact with your brand.
- Improved data accuracy and completeness, thanks to the new property types.
- More insights into customer behavior, including what led them to your site or app and what actions they took while there.
- A better understanding of marketing ROI and campaign performance.
- The ability to track conversions across devices (e.g., a customer who starts on your website and then completes a purchase on your mobile app).
- Improved data privacy and security, thanks to the new data-sharing settings.
Here are some benefits of using Google Analytics for your business.
So… Should You Start Using Google Analytics 4?
If you’re just getting started with Google Analytics, then starting with GA version four is probably your best bet. If you already have a GA property, then you might want to wait a bit to see how the new features develop and whether they address your specific needs.
In any case, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest changes in GA so that you can make the most informed decisions about how to collect and analyze your data.
Now that you know all about Google Analytics version four, it’s time to start using it! Use this guide as a reference as you begin exploring GA, and be sure to check out our other guides for more tips on how to make the most of this powerful tool.
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