Google Analytics has been part of most marketing departments’ toolkits for quite some time. With Google being the top ranking search engine globally and the target of many SEO strategies, marketers have relied on Google Analytics for quite a lot. Not only to tell them where most of their traffic is coming from but also to help determine whether or not they’re correctly allocating their advertising dollars.
With the latest update to Google Analytics, Google has attempted to help marketers improve their insights from data and increase their ROI. But what exactly are the new features available through GA4, and how will marketers begin using them to the maximum? We spoke to marketing experts to learn how they plan on using the next level of Google Analytics.
What Is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 is the latest upgrade to Google’s Universal Analytics property. It provides a way to improve understanding of web traffic and user behaviors. Built on the foundation of Google’s App + Web property, GA4 uses machine learning algorithms to provide the in-depth insights that companies need today, even as removing third-party cookies and other changes impact the data that companies have access to.
“The new version of GA4 is all about giving more understanding of customer journeys across devices,” says Sanket Shah, CEO at San Francisco, CA-based InVideo. While many marketers will be well versed in the capabilities of Google’s Universal Analytics, the data provided by that previous version pales in comparison to what is possible with GA4. “The biggest difference from the old version is with the help of AI it will fill in the gaps in data where the old version lacked due to the cookie consent issues,” Shah continued.
GA4 also provides new information, such as trends indicating changes in customer demand. Such features allow brands to predict churn better, understand customer spending patterns, and enable other features that help to improve ROI and decision-making.
There are quite a few differences between GA4 and previous versions, some of which marketers have been crying out for, for some time. “Because of Google Analytics’ deeper integration with Google ads, users will now be able to track conversions from YouTube ads,” explains Christopher Moore, CMO of Mooresville, NC-based Quiet Light. This will allow marketers to have a better idea of the effectiveness of ad campaigns.
With YouTube being the second most popular website in the world after Google, the ability to improve campaign effectiveness can make a huge difference in advertising spend and conversions.
Also, Google Analytics 4 tracks user interactions beyond time spent on site or links clicked. “Analytics 4 also tracks when they scroll a page, letting you know which sections of your site are being read and which are being passed by,” added Moore.
Most In-Demand Features for Marketers
We’ve so far established that GA4 provides some remarkable new features that can help marketers dig deeper into website data and understand exactly how their customers interact on the page. However, our experts weighed in on the standout features they were most looking forward to using.
AI Insights: Marketers have been using artificial intelligence to help streamline their work and save time from mundane tasks. With the AI features from GA4, getting answers to specific questions is much easier. “You can ask simple questions, and it will give you reports on things like “What country looked at our home page the most at 4 pm?” This helps our cold outreach campaigns and helps us save time,” explained Douglas Liantonio, SEO Specialist at Cummins, GA-based Gravy.
Customer Lifecycle: Knowing exactly where customers are located within their buyer’s journey is a critical consideration for marketers who want to ensure they provide them with the best content at the right time, and GA4 does just that. With lifecycle reports, it’s possible to see where customers are in the funnel and at a much more granular level than behavior reports. “When we have the same users going deeper into our blogs, we can make “cards” that encourage email building, so they get more nurtured instead of booking them for a sales call,” added Liantonio.
Future Actions & Customer Churn: Predicting customer behavior is essential for planning future marketing campaigns, product releases, and more. It is also critical for deciding where to focus marketing efforts. As Shah explains, Google Analytics 4 can “predict the future action that a customer may take and with the help of this new feature to calculate churn probability, we can efficiently invest in retaining customers.”
With better insights, marketers can improve their decision-making process and more quickly respond to customer interactions. There’s much more to Google Analytics 4, but marketers seem to be already salivating at the potential possibilities.