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Digital Analytics
February 10, 2023

What to Expect from Google Analytics 4 Reporting

If anything is certain in the marketing world, it’s that Google continues to make updates to their platform to make it better - one of the most significant updates in the last year being how Google is implementing the switch from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4).  

While the older version of GA isn’t going anywhere, any new properties default to GA4 on July 1, 2023. Once this date hits, UA will stop processing new website data. This is one of the ways Google is hinting at the importance of this update. Even though changes to your marketing reporting can come with initial uneasiness, Team True is here to walk you through what to expect.  

What’s Changed Between Universal Analytics and GA4?

While there’s a long list of changes GA4 will implement, we’re going to focus on the top level. In the traditional Universal Analytics, a session-based model was used to collect data based on a specific time frame. In GA4, the data collection is now centered around users and events. While this is a significant change, the increased focus on individual users and events paves the way for new opportunities for marketing professionals.  

For example, GA4 uses a combination of machine-learning and existing data to better predict user behavior – called predictive metrics. This is important because, with continued use, GA4 can help you identify key trends with your users without raising any privacy concerns. In fact, GA4 implemented a variety of updated privacy features including:  

  • Making it easier for the user to anonymize their IP address  
  • Spreading user data across a wider variety of servers  
  • Giving the user the ability to delete their own data after a set period of time    

What’s New and Improved with GA4 Reports

One of the main reporting changes to GA4 is how a user is tracked throughout their journey. In Universal Analytics, it was common to run into trouble when a user’s journey included a variety of platforms and/or devices. Using machine learning, GA4 adapts to capture user journeys with added variables like the type of device being used or whether their activity starts and stops more accurately.  

Once data is collected, GA4 also modifies how reports are broken down and viewed. In Universal Analytics, you may have noticed that data reports are housed in a long list that can be difficult to organize and navigate. With GA4, the central reporting dashboard lets you see an overview of your reports in summary cards. This way, you’ll get a quick snapshot of key metrics with the option to click into any scorecard for a more detailed view.  

Three Helpful Tips You Can Use with Google Analytics 4 Reports

Utilize the New Layout

Once GA4 is up and running, you’ll notice that the homepage is essentially a summary of all the traffic and conversions for your website. With the new layout, the homepage makes it easy to see where new users are coming from, which campaigns are top performers, and which website pages are getting the most views.  

Follow the User Journey

If you want to learn more about the user journey taken throughout your website, check out the Realtime Report tab. Here you will find a useful feature called “View User Snapshot”. When this is clicked, you’ll dive into a detailed snapshot of a single user on your website. You’ll be able to see their rough location, what device(s) are being used, and what their engagement on your website looks like in real-time. This information is great for optimizing the user experience on your website and building personas.  

Be Sure to Use Path Analysis

Our last tip for using GA4 is based on Path Analysis. Think of it as the upgraded version of the behavior flow reports found in Google Analytics. Each Path Analysis creates a “tree graph” that shows the events users went through on your website. This report helps you with two crucial insights. First, this report can help you identify any looping behavior that’s causing users on your website to get stuck. Second, it’s a great way to see what content on your website is the most influential in getting goal conversions.  

Level Up Your Digital Marketing Strategy with True

If you’re looking to level up your digital marketing strategy with accurate reporting and on-brand ad campaigns, Team True can help. We can help your brand transition to GA4 before the official deadline, so you don’t have lapses in data in your reports.  

Our team specializes in making digital marketing simple while helping our clients reach their marketing goals. Contact us today to learn more about how we can provide expert support for your brand.  

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