As Google Analytics is used by millions of marketers and businesses, a rebuild from the ground up was expected to cause a lot of chaos and furore. And this expectation turned into a reality when Google first introduced Google Analytics 4 or GA4 in October 2020.
To say the least, most users were disappointed with the upgrade. Some found it difficult to use, while others opined that it was more focused on enterprise-level users and disregards smaller businesses. But a lot has changed since then. People have started understanding the effectiveness of the upgrade, and Google, too, has continued to add new features.
If you still believe that the older Universal Analytics is better than the upgrade, here are 7 GA4 features that will make you think otherwise-
1. Improved GA Layout
If you have been using GA for some time, one of the biggest differences you’ll notice as soon as you open the GA4 account is the layout. Google has redesigned the navigation layout while also recategorizing and renaming many sections.
While getting used to the new layout can take some time, the update has been built around events and user paths to provide a clearer understanding of the customer lifecycle.
2. Additional Reporting Features
The traditional “Custom Report” of Universal Analytics has also been upgraded with many new features. There is now an “Analysis” section where users can drag-and-drop dimensions, metrics, and segments, such as funnel analysis, cohort analysis, user lifetime activity, segment overlap, etc.
There is also an “Exploration” section which is now the standard category for breaking data into many different ways for improved analysis.
3. Better Visualizations and Reporting
Visualization has also been significantly improved to provide a holistic view of digital activities at a single glance. For instance, with Universal Analytics, users could view real-time data through overview, traffic sources, locations, events, and content reports.
But in GA4, all of these real-time reports are visualized in a single place. Dynamic data interaction and report/data comparison are other features that help users make more sense of the available information.
4. Automatic Event Tracking
Through enhanced measurement, users can also automate different types of events in GA4. The event options are scroll, page views, site search, outbound link clicks, file download, and video engagement.
Logged events can also be marked as conversions without any limitations. In Universal Analytics, there is a limit of 20 conversions for every reporting view.
5. Granular Data Control
As data privacy is now critical in every industry, Google has also refurbished its data control policies. Users now have more control over analytics data collection, usage, and retention. For instance, marketers can now select whether they want to use data purely for measurement or ad optimization.
The changes have been made to comply with the future updates related to limited identifiers and cookies.
6. Predictive Analytics Capabilities
One of the top features of GA4 is the predictive metrics. The tool uses machine learning algorithms for measuring conversion progress and predicting potential user actions. There are three predictive metrics currently available in GA4- Purchase Probability, Revenue Prediction, and Churn Probability.
With the help of these metrics, marketers can identify users as well as their actions that could result in a conversion or purchase.
7. Anomaly Detection
Google again relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect anomalies on most line graphs available in GA4. Anomalies are when GA4 expects something to happen in a particular way on your website, but it doesn’t.
In simple words, it alerts you about things that might need your attention. You can choose the graphs for which you’d like to activate anomaly detection and even select the learning period and sensitivity.
Should You Upgrade to GA4?
As GA4 is the future of analytics, as declared by Google, it is time for businesses and marketers to start embracing this upgrade. It has some pretty impressive features, and Google will keep updating it well into the future. But as with any major upgrade, there is a learning curve with GA4 that could require your time and effort.
A smarter solution for businesses is to rely on a top digital marketing company to help them transition and access updated features that could revolutionize their digital initiatives.