Google Analytics 4 is the latest update to Google’s Analytics product.
As part of the update, we are introduced to some new features while simultaneously old ones have been put on the backbench. The update is in line with how users are interacting with the web in 2020. One of the key changes is the shift away from web sessions. Instead, an ‘event-driven’ model is being used. This sees bounce rate retired and taking its place is something called engagement rate along with improved cross-device attribution.
What do the changes in Google Analytics 4 mean for marketers?
Google Analytics 4; rethinking digital measurements
This new and improved Analytics is essentially a re-architecture of the platform we know and love. Analysts, marketers and developers alike are going to need to rethink how they measure their digital footprint.
However, it is worth noting that the changes are still being developed and changed as we use them. That doesn’t mean they can be ignored, and marketers should instead look at learning how to use GA4 effectively now to save time in the future.
GA4 has the capabilities to offer cross-device tracking and reporting. In previous versions of GA, this hasn’t been possible. Alongside this and despite Google removing a lot of standard reports in Universal Analytics, marketers now have access to ad-hoc reporting. These reports are fast, easy to use and have improved visualisations which allow for a better understanding of user behaviour.
GA4; the cookie-less era
By now, we all know that the future of marketing is to rely less on third-party cookies. With some browsers now blocking third-party cookies by default, it seems the age of the cookie is finally near its end.
To combat the death of the cookie, GA4 uses and “event-based” data model for attribution. This provides insights using machine learning. With that in mind, GA4, therefore, focuses instead on ‘events’ as opposed to bounces. An event could be anything from a page scroll or watching a video – essentially, an action. So, it’s goodbye to our familiar bounce rate and in its place, we welcome “engagement rate’.
Engagement rate is quantified by users that:
- Are actively engaged with your website for at least 10 seconds.
- Start a conversion event.
- Complete two or more screen or page views.
Despite marketers having to adapt to a cookie-less digital world, there will still plenty of ways to can track and monitor user behaviour and interaction with a site.
Predictive analysis & machine learning
GA4 is putting more emphasis on machine learning. The updates allow you to automatically find anomalies, insights and make projections. For example. GA4 can now alert you to a sudden surge in demand for a particular product you sell.
To further tackle to death of the third-party cookie, GA4 is to release the Group Product Manager next year. They call this a ‘machine learning led solution’ to the problem created for marketers by not using cookies. While it hasn’t been revealed yet exactly what this is or how it will work, it’s certainly a hopeful glimmer for those who rely on third-party cookies at present.