Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest iteration of Google’s powerful web analytics platform for marketers. It brings a whole suite of features and improvements to help you get more out of your digital marketing efforts.
So, let's dive into what makes GA4 different from its predecessor Universal Analytics (UA), how to get the most from GA4 and how it can help you with your Google Ads campaigns.
Unlike UA, which was focused solely on website traffic tracking, GA4 allows marketers to better connect online and offline activities when measuring customer journeys across devices. With improved audience targeting capabilities, you can now refine your segmentation criteria in greater detail than before — meaning more accurate insights into user behaviours! Plus, with additional attribution modelling options such as time decay, marketers are able to gain a better understanding of the true value of each ad campaign.
When it comes to reporting, GA4 really ups the ante compared with UA.
It allows you to build highly granular reports in minutes, then save them for future use. This means no more wasting time manually creating and updating reports — now all your essential insights are just a few clicks away!
And if that wasn’t enough, GA4 also gives you access to predictive metrics powered by Google’s machine learning models. By leveraging these insightful predictions, you can make smarter decisions about how best to optimise your campaigns for maximum ROI.
What’s new in GA4 vs UA and where additional value can be unlocked
GA4 introduces a number of new features and improvements, such as:
A new data model that makes it easier to collect and analyse data
Improved integration with Google Ads
A new user interface
Support for BigQuery export
One of the key differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics (UA) is the way data is collected.
GA4 uses an event-based data model, which means that data is collected whenever a user performs an action (e.g., views a page, adds an item to their cart, etc.). This allows for more granular data collection and analysis. UA, on the other hand, uses a pageview-based data model, which means that data is only collected when a user loads a new page.
Another key difference between GA4 and UA is the way in which data is processed. GA4 uses a streaming architecture, which means that data is processed in real-time.
This allows for near-instantaneous reporting and analysis. UA, on the other hand, uses a batch processing architecture, which means that data is processed in batches at set intervals (typically every few hours).
One of the main benefits of GA4 over UA is its improved integration with Google Ads. With GA4, it’s now possible to see how your Google Ads campaigns are performing in relation to your other marketing channels (such as organic search or social media).
This allows you to better understand which channels are driving conversions and adjust your budget accordingly.
Another benefit of GA4 is its support for BigQuery export. BigQuery is a cloud-based data warehouse service offered by Google Cloud Platform. With GA4, you can now export your raw event data to BigQuery for further analysis. This opens up a whole world of possibilities for advanced analytics and reporting.
How to utilise the new platform to maximise the impact of your Google Ads campaigns, with better audience targeting and attribution modelling capabilities
1. Understand the GA4 platform
The GA4 platform is the latest iteration of Google Analytics, and it offers a number of features that can be used to maximise the impact of your Google Ads campaigns. One of the most important features of GA4 is its ability to track conversions across multiple devices. This means that you can see not only how many people are clicking on your ads, but also how many of those clicks are resulting in sales or other desired actions.
2. Set up conversion tracking
In order to take advantage of the GA4 platform, you need to set up conversion tracking for your Google Ads campaigns. Conversion tracking allows you to see which ads are resulting in conversions, and it also provides data that can be used to optimise your campaigns for improved results. To set up conversion tracking, you will need to create a new “Conversions” goal in Google Analytics and then link your Google Ads account to that goal.
3. Use the GA4 reporting tools
Once you have set up conversion tracking, you can start using the GA4 reporting tools to see which ads are performing well and which could be improved. The GA4 reporting interface provides a number of different reports that can be used to track campaign performance, including the Top Conversions report and the Multi-Device Conversions report. You can use these reports to identify which ads are driving conversions and then make changes to improve the performance of your campaigns.
4. Optimise your campaigns for GA4
Once you have a good understanding of how GA4 works, you can start optimising your campaigns for improved results. There are a number of different ways to do this, but some of the most effective methods include targeting specific devices, using negative keywords, and bid adjustments. By taking advantage of these optimisation techniques, you can ensure that your campaigns are as effective as possible and that you are getting the most out of the GA4 platform.
5. Keep an eye on changes in GA4
Google is constantly making changes to the way that its products work, and this includes the GA4 platform. As such, it is important to keep an eye on any changes that occur in order to ensure that your campaigns are still effective. You can do this by subscribing to the Google Analytics blog or following @googleanalytics on Twitter.
How to create and save highly granular reports in GA4
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has a powerful reporting feature that allows you to create detailed reports with very granular data. This helps you gain deeper insights into the performance of your website or app, and enables you to make better-informed decisions to improve your online presence.
To create a highly granular report, start by navigating to the Reports tab in Google Analytics 4. From here, you can select which type of report you would like to create. You can choose from a range of standard reports or customise your own by selecting specific metrics and dimensions. Once you have chosen your desired metrics and dimensions for the report, you can then save it for future use.
To save your report, click the settings icon in the top right corner of the report. This will open a new window where you can give your report a name and description, as well as decide who should be able to access it (for example, “only me” or “anyone with access to this property”). After you have saved your report, it will be available to access in the Reports tab.
With the ability to create and save highly granular reports, Google Analytics 4 gives you the necessary tools to monitor and analyse the performance of your website or app more effectively. By taking advantage of this feature, you can make informed decisions that will help you achieve your business goals.
For more information on creating and saving highly granular reports in Google Analytics 4, visit the official Google Analytics Help Center.
Ways to leverage GA4’s unique ‘predictive metrics’ to enrich your dataset with Google’s machine learning models
GA4 predictive metrics bring a new level of precision to data-driven marketing. By leveraging Google's machine learning models, you can use this feature to analyse customer behaviour and gain insights that are difficult to replicate in traditional analytics platforms.
Predictive metrics allow you to identify trends and patterns in user behaviour before they happen, enabling you to make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies.
With predictive metrics, you can understand user behaviour with more accuracy and insight than ever before, allowing for a better understanding of user intent and interest.
This will help you create more targeted campaigns to reach the right users at the right time. Additionally, predictive metrics enable marketers to optimise campaigns in real-time, enabling them to take advantage of opportunities to increase conversions and ROI.
Predictive metrics can also be used to automate marketing tasks, allowing marketers to spend less time on manual tasks and more time focusing on strategic growth initiatives.
By leveraging Google's predictive metrics, you can gain a deeper understanding of user behaviour, enabling you to create more effective and impactful campaigns that drive increased ROI.
By using Google's machine learning models and predictive metrics, you can gain a better understanding of customer behaviour and use that to personalise your marketing strategies for maximum impact.
With predictive metrics, marketers can create more effective campaigns by targeting the right users at the right time with the right messages. This allows them to reach their target audience more accurately and efficiently, resulting in increased engagement and conversions.
Additionally, predictive metrics can be used to optimise campaigns in real-time, giving marketers the ability to take full advantage of opportunities as they arise. By leveraging predictive metrics, marketers can drive higher ROI from their campaigns and get better results from their efforts.
Overall, GA4 predictive metrics bring a powerful and unique set of analytics capabilities to data-driven marketing. By leveraging these capabilities, marketers can gain deep insights into user behaviour, create more effective campaigns, and optimise campaigns in real-time for maximum ROI. With predictive metrics, companies can get the most out of their marketing efforts and stay ahead of the competition.
So there you have it: an overview of what makes Google Analytics 4 such a powerful tool for marketers, and how you can use it to get the most out of your Google Ads campaigns. With improved audience targeting, better attribution modelling, and predictive metrics based on machine learning models — GA4 is here to help you unlock new levels of success!
Ready to get started with GA4?
GA4 replaces UA 1st July 2023. If you're not ready, let us know as our Google Analytics experts offer a GA4 Migration Support service.