Originally published on AAR Partners
GA4 is available now. But it will officially replace Universal Analytics (UA) on July 1, 2023. That’s when UA will stop processing new data.
Unlike previous versions, GA4 is not an upgrade. It’s a completely new rebuild and rethink of the platform.
GA4 is powered by machine learning and can predict user behavior. In fact, it’s the intuitive analytics platform CMOs have long been waiting for. Let’s see why.
1. User-Centric Engagement Metrics
The current UA platform measures clicks-to-cash. It focuses on measurements that are easily fragmented by device or platform, such as sessions.
GA4, on the other hand, is all about users and their interactions. This makes it easier for CMOs to dive into user-focused reports centered on the lifecycle and user.
GA4 uses artificial intelligence and machine learning. Therefore, it predicts customer actions and implements more intelligent tracking and predictive analytics.
The powerful user-centric engagement metrics provide a well-rounded view of behaviors and actions on a brand’s website and app, across any device.
CMOs will see how visitors interact with the website and what content drives conversion. Plus, where optimizations can improve desired results.
2. Improved Customer Journey & Attribution Measurement
The GA4 Lifecycle reports align with the customer journey. This includes the initial touchpoint with a website visitor through customer retention after a purchase.
User interactions across a brand’s website and app are captured as events. CMOs can now use a single set of metrics for both web and app data, allowing more intelligent aggregation.
For example, a user may engage with the brand’s website on a smartphone. Then revisit on a laptop. Before finally making a purchase on the app.
GA4 allows you to track user journeys more accurately. More visibility into the customer journey enables you to identify gaps and opportunities. Plus, enhance attribution management, the customer journey and marketing strategies.
3. Ability to Create Accurate Customer Segments
GA4 enables marketers to create precise audiences. Users can be grouped based on interactions and time between events.
These powerful measurements show who’s using the brand’s website and how they’re engaging with content. CMOs can make data-drive decisions to optimize conversions and sales.
What’s more, GA4 audiences are shared across the Google-verse. That means paid advertising campaigns in Google Ads can focus on website visitors following a specific pattern of behaviors.
With GA4’s better targeting, campaigns can be optimized to reach the right audiences at the right time. Better audiences make campaigns more successful, improving ROI on marketing and ad spend.
4. Forecast Results
GA4 platform is powered by machine learning. Data becomes more accurate, more quickly, the longer campaigns run—without human bias.
GA4 offers advanced analysis tools that were previously available only to GA360 customers. The Analysis Hub goes beyond standard reports. It enables marketers to drill down and visualize data.
With GA4, marketers can uncover deeper insights into customer behaviors and tell data stories that matter. These predictive insights enable marketers to forecast results more accurately and with more confidence than ever before.
5. Out-Of-The-Box Integration
GA4 integrates with BigQuery, Google AdWords, programmatic and more. The platform’s machine learning can perform advanced analyses on massive datasets of raw data.
Imagine the valuable patterns that can be identified, and the insights gathered. By combining data from various marketing or CRM tools, it delivers a clear picture of customer journeys.
Related Podcast: 5 Misconceptions About Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
How To Set Up GA4 To Get The Most Value
Many marketers have a misconception about GA4. They believe GA4 is a one-to-one swap for UA. That’s not the case.
GA4 must be manually set up separately than the current platform. Plus, it requires a mindset shift on what data to collect and how.
Planning is more important than it’s ever been. So is a close working relationship between marketing and analytics teams.
Here’s how to CMOs can direct their teams to set up GA4 so they can turn data into actionable insights that meet business objectives.
1. Set Up Parallel Platforms
Don’t swap GA4 for UA. Instead, let both platforms run side-by-side. Allow the machine learning to begin gathering data and provide predictions.
2. Identify & Align To Objectives
Identify the brand’s business objectives. Then perform at SWOT analysis of GA4 against them. Define the role of GA4 in existing tech and data architecture.
3. Launch, Optimize & Scale
Configure GA4 with events that align to the business objectives. Identify patterns and optimize campaigns. Drive, measure and scale performance against the business objectives.
Related Podcast: Part 1: Shift To The Future With Machine Learning
GA4 is essentially a re-architecture of the existing platform. Implementing it is best treated as a migration project. That includes training teams and adapting existing processes and workflows.
The benefits of GA4 are worth the extra planning and setup. GA4 reporting empowers CMOs to effectively make data-led marketing decisions and successfully achieve business objectives.
In her previous role as Vice President of Technology, Tessa helped clients execute engaging, multi-platform experiences and products to bring their brands to life. Moving into her role as CTO, Tessa oversees Mod Op’s technology stack to ensure the agency is leveraging the right platforms to deliver valuable and measurable marketing communications, entertainment and experiences.
Tessa Burg, Chief Technology Officer