This week, Google launched Google Analytics 4, and it has some new exciting features. Here’s a rundown of what the new Google Analytics offers and how to set it up.
First, the benefits. Google Analytics 4 uses machine learning to offer new predictive insights, better Google Ads integrations, cross-device tracking, reporting focused on the customer lifecycle, codeless events, and better data controls.
Predictive insights. The new platform leverages machine learning for better insights into trends and predictive insights. It can automatically alert you to trends in your data such as an increase in demand for a certain product and help you anticipate actions customers might take in the future.
Cross-device tracking. Google Analytics 4 also measures app and website interactions together. Google gives this example:
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.
Google Ads. It offers better integration with Google Ads that “lets you create audiences that can reach your customers with more relevant, helpful experiences, wherever they choose to engage with your business.”
In addition, it integrates cross-device/app tracking. For example, if a user visits your website, but makes a purchase in the app, the user can be removed from that Google Ads retargeting list.
Customer lifecycle reporting. Google says its reorganized reporting is designed to help you dig into the customer lifecycle, so for example, you can easily identify which channels are converting customers and then dive deeper to see what actions those customers take.
Codeless event tracking. The new Analytics offers real time event tracking without needing to place code or setup events within Google Tag Manager for onsite and in-app actions such as a video play.
Better data controls. In an interview with Search Engine Journal, Google said the new platform includes a consent mode for websites that must get approval from users to collect their data. It offers separate opt-ins for Google Analytics and Google Ads. In addition, it has improved data deletion capabilities.
Planning for the death of third-party cookies. Google says Google Analytics 4 will also help marketers prepare for the phasing out of third-party cookies:
Because the technology landscape continues to evolve, the new Analytics is designed to adapt to a future with or without cookies or identifiers. It uses a flexible approach to measurement, and in the future, will include modeling to fill in the gaps where the data may be incomplete.
Setting up Google Analytics 4
If you set up a new Google Analytics account, it will default to a Google Analytics 4 property. If you already have Google Analytics, then you need to set up a new Google Analytics 4 property.
Here are Google’s instructions for creating or upgrading to Google Analytics 4. Note that when I tried to find the “Upgrade to GA4” under properties within Admin, it wasn’t there. So, if you don’t see that, here are my instructions:
- Sign in to Google Analytics.
- Click Admin.
- In the Account column, select the account in which you want to create the property. (If you only have one Google Analytics account, it will already be selected. However, if you have more than one Google Analytics account, make sure that the account you want is selected.)
- In the Property column, click Create Property. Then scroll down to Apps & Web beta.
- Then enter the property name (e.g., Wild Strawberry GA4) and your other property details.
- Next, on Set up a data stream, click Web and enter your website url. Click create stream.
- Next, under connected site tags, add your Universal Analytics ID (the ID from your previous Google Analytics account).
Creating a Google Analytics 4 Tag in Google Tag Manager
To place the new Google Analytics 4 code on your website, you can use Google Tag Manager. Here’s how:
- Sign in to your Google Tag Manager account.
- Navigate to your container overview.
- Click New Tag.
- Title in GA 4 and select Tag Configuration. Select Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration.
- Under Triggering select All Pages.
- Save & publish your container.
Have questions or want help with your marketing analytics? Let’s chat!