Digital marketing is data driven. Businesses need a way to measure user engagement on their websites and apps, so they can easily determine where they’re succeeding and where they can improve. For the past several years, Google’s Universal Analytics (aka Google Analytics 3 or GA3) has been the go-to source for web data, while Analytics for Firebase has been the go-to for app data. However, this year, Google is combining these programs into a single platform ‒ Google Analytics 4 (GA4). GA4 isn’t an update. It’s a whole new program you’ll have to download and install. And although this sounds like a headache, rest assured the benefits of Google Analytics 4 are definitely worth the effort.

Track Users Across Devices and Domains

The primary benefit of GA4 is it provides a full and accurate summary of how customers interact with you online. Besides monitoring everything they do on your website and mobile apps, GA4 also lets you track the same user as they jump from one device to the next.

Before, if a customer visited your website on their desktop, then returned later on their smartphone, GA3 counted them as separate users. This meant you got a lot of information on pageviews and sessions, but not people. But, by combining user-ID, device-ID, session data, and behavior modeling, Google can now identify individual users, even if they switch devices.

What’s more, companies with multiple domains can also track users as they hop from site to site. Instead of compiling and sorting fragments from multiple platforms, GA4 hands you a complete picture of each user’s digital activity. Rather than guess at the course of their journey, now you have a roadmap.

Watch Users Move Through the Sales Funnel

With GA4, every time someone interacts with your site, you know about it. (Google defines all user interactions as “events.”) Starting a session, reading a blog, downloading a file, making a purchase ‒ Google shows you every step your customers take, from first discovery to final purchase. It tells you instantly where customers are dropping off, where they’re most engaged, and how often they return to repurchase your products and services.

Gain Fresh Insights into Your Customer Base

One of the chief benefits of Google Analytics 4 is its ability to segment your audience. You can break them down by device, geographic location, services or products purchased, action taken, even the time of day they visited. Details like this help personalize your marketing. Instead of broad, sweeping statements, now you can target individuals surgically, with customized messages that appeal directly to their specific needs and interests.

Tailor Your Metrics Without Additional Code

While GA3 placed a greater emphasis on negative engagement, GA4 focuses on positive ones. Instead of measuring your bounce rate or session length, GA4 measures engagement rate ‒ the percentage of visitors who interact with your site or app. The program will begin monitoring a larger number of events as well. In this version, “advanced” actions in GA3, which might have required additional coding, are standard actions in GA4. This includes scrolls, downloads, outbound clicks, site searches, in-app purchases, and video progress. (Click here for a complete list of automatically collected events.)

These metrics provide a general rundown of all the basic interactions that occur on your site. Anything not covered can be added through the interface, without entering any extra code. Custom events can be added as well, allowing you to track unique interactions on your website or app. However, because these events are one-of-a-kind, a small amount of coding may be required to capture them.

Track Users Without 3rd Party Data

Google is phasing out third-party cookies in 2024. This means websites will no longer be able to share user data, restricting your ability to monitor and respond to online activity. However, Google’s advanced behavior modeling allows them to fill in the gaps in a user’s history by blending it with information from similar users whose behavior they can follow. As a result, GA4 can continue providing valuable feedback on your marketing campaigns without violating customer privacy.

Applying Marketing Data with YPM

YPM doesn’t wait for data to roll in. We actively monitor your campaigns, amplifying what works and responding to what doesn’t. Our understanding of consumer preferences allows us to hone your marketing efforts, with content that drives engagement and generates bigger returns.

Digital spaces aren’t static, but fluid. They’re constantly shifting as new technologies and platforms emerge. Universal Analytics will stop collecting new data on July 1st, for instance. Any company that hasn’t migrated to GA4 by then won’t be able to receive new website data.

And we leave you with great news.  By partnering with YPM’s web team, you stay ahead of the curve. We’re always thinking two steps ahead. Not only can we help you set up your GA4 configuration, our analysts also keep you abreast of new trends in your marketplace, ensuring your message finds its target and lands with greater impact. Contact us today for fresh insights into the digital trends affecting your marketplace!