Any company with a digital presence knows that having information about your site users and customers is essential to providing content and or products that appeal to them. You don't want to promote the hottest new electronics product if your average user is 60+ and barely electronics-literate. Conversely, you don't want to launch your site or new product to a primarily male audience if the people landing on your website are mostly female.
Information is necessary to avoid making costly errors and wasting time and energy on marketing campaigns that are doomed from the start. That's where Google Analytics can offer a huge advantage. Google has been providing data about web traffic since 2005 and is recognized as the leader in providing easy-to-digest, pertinent data about web users.
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 (GA4), launched in 2020, is the latest version of Google's web reports that allow you to see things like where your web traffic is coming from, which pages users are viewing, the sites referring users to your website, and the demographics of your average user. Most importantly, it replaced former versions of Google Analytics on July 1, 2023.
Unlike previous versions, GA4 uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help refine the data mined from your site and make it more easily actionable.
Five features you need to know about Google Analytics 4
1. No cookies.
Different from previous versions of Google Analytics, GA4 doesn't rely on cookies to gather data. That means a broader section of users (not just those who allow cookies) are included in the results. The data is also event-based rather than session-based. That prevents users who toggle back and forth to your website from being "over-counted".
2. Predictive capabilities.
New with GA4 is the tool's ability to predict future results based on past data. While predictive data isn't a new phenomenon, this capability hasn't been available for free until GA4.
This is GA4's new custom reports function. While previous versions allowed you to create on-screen custom reports, GA4 takes that a step further by giving you the ability to export data to programs like Excel or create a PDF with the data you choose. Anyone with admin status can customize a report.
4. Tracking, tracking, and more tracking.
GA4 gives you the ability to track up to 300 separate events with a few clicks. No developer needed.
5. Anomaly Reports.
The flip side of predictions is identifying when GA4 thought something was going to occur, but it didn't. For example, if GA4 predicted that (based on past data) you would sell 1,000 widgets today, but you only sold 200, the anomaly report will call your attention to this fact, so you can work on identifying the cause of the poor performance.
For information you need in order to make good, informed decisions about your digital assets and marketing, look no further than Google Analytics 4.
This new incarnation of the reliable Google web tool is not only more thorough and able to get you even more reliable data, it can predict based on your past performance what's likely to happen with your web traffic in the near and even distant future.