Officially launched on October 14, 2020, the new version of Google Analytics (GA4) brings many changes in the way you track visitors to your professional website.
But what are the differences between Google Analytics Universal and this new version, what does it add more, and is it necessary to switch from one to the other immediately? All the answers in this article.
What does Google Analytics do for your business
Google Analytics is a service used by more than 80% of professional websites in the world.
It allows to analyze the audience of a website or an application and is very useful for companies to understand the behavior of visitors and implement various optimizations to improve their experience on your website.
With the advent of e-commerce and the digitalization of businesses, it has become essential to collect data to monitor the results of marketing actions.
It is in particular thanks to this tool that it is possible to follow the conversion actions of an Internet user (subscription to a newsletter, purchase of a product or service, submission of a form, etc.) on a website. .
The new generation of tracking to follow your prospects
Google Analytics GA4 formalizes the 4th generation of tracking following a beta version called “App + web Analytics” which lasted more than a year.
Completely different from the previous versions (Urchin, Classic and Universal) which is based on sessions and pages viewed by Internet users, the GA4 version is centered on users and events.
In the new version, everything is just an event.
Thus, a page view becomes an event like any other, to which we can add several parameters (information or additional characteristics for example) comparable to what we find on Facebook Analytics.
According to Google, this release provides a better understanding of your company’s customer journey, from acquisition to retention.
Automated event tracking
The new version of Google Analytics allows automatic tracking of several interactions on your website.
It is possible to choose which data will be automatically collected
Unlike the previous version which only automatically tracks page views, the GA4 version offers by default, without any action required, the monitoring of many interactions :
- page views
- outgoing clicks
- the scroll (page scrolling)
- internal research on your site
- engagement with videos embedded on your site
It is of course possible to activate or not these improved measures in the interface, at the level of data flows.
Ubiquitous artificial intelligence
In order to help companies obtain relevant reports and recommendations, GA4 makes extensive use of artificial intelligence.
It is therefore now possible to easily and quickly access reports by typing a few keywords in the search bar thanks to machine learning (a technology that allows systems to learn on their own thanks to the data collected).
This continuous data analysis by the system can in particular make it possible to predict and anticipate the future actions of your customers on your website (predictive measures).
Strengthened data control
Google Analytics 4 is more respectful of user privacy.
It allows a more complete configuration concerning the collection of data from visitors to your website.
In addition, the anonymization of Internet users’ IP addresses is automatic and does not require any manual action (unlike the previous version).
Finally, it is now possible to delete data on request.
This version is therefore designed for the long term and to adapt to a future where the protection of user data will undoubtedly be reinforced.
Moreover, although Analytics GA4 still works thanks to cookies (small files installed by your browser on the computer), Google announces that this version will be able to function without, by using the data that they have on the users connected to their account. Google who have given their consent.
The missing information will be filled in by artificial intelligence.
Google Analytics GA4 is designed for the long term
Should we migrate to the new version now?
As recommended by the Mountain View firm, it is appropriate for the moment to use the Analytics GA4 version in parallel with the old Universal version.
For the moment the new version is still in advanced beta and some features are still missing.
Nevertheless, using Google Analytics 4 now is necessary to discover the new possibilities of the tool and to be ready for the future. Especially since there will be no further development on the old version and only GA4 will continue to evolve.