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Google analytics is an outstanding tool when you know how best to use it


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Goodbye universal analytics - welcome Google analytics 4

User experience is complex, and tricky to track what the visitor does on your site, through mobile and desktop devices. After Google released the third version of Google universal analytics (UA) where a small project was technical and expensive across multiple teams.

Then enters Google Analytics 4 (GA4) - the most anticipated update by Google, which was announced back in October 2020. Our Caria Watt team have been using it since early 2021, and have seen a massive shift in determining what customers actually want.

No matter what device a person uses, GA4 can capture that data and provide a big-picture view of how that user engages with your site on multiple devices. The ability to combine data is a game-changer, and undoubtedly one of GA4's most significant selling points.


Below are the differences between Google Universal Analytics and GA4, how user-centred reports and data collection are important, and how you can get insights to improve the ROI and marketing decisions.

Google universal analytics vs Google analytics 4

Google Universal Analytics began in 2013, when mobile apps weren’t as prolific as they are today. So there was little importance to provide a 360 degree view of the customer journey across apps and various smart devices.

Since then, mobile usage has increased, and marketing teams need to find a way to analyse this data across multiple platforms to have a broad view of user behaviours. This is mainly because the same user often looks at a website on their mobile, and revisits it using a laptop, or tablet. So, how do you combine all data sets of the customer value across multiple devices in Google universal analytics? You can’t.

Google began looking for technical changes to solve these issues - the result is Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and the capability to look at users cross-platform analytics.

Google analytics 4 built in model capabilities

In the past, if you wanted to run models with Google universal analytics, you had to get technical and data engineers to work on them. Even on a small project, it was a lot of work across multiple teams.

GA4 has three built-in model capabilities that make it more effective:

  • Purchase ability - predicts the choices of users who have visited your site in the past 28 days, who will choose to purchase in the next seven days.
  • Churn probability - the ratio that active users will not be active on your site, in the next seven days.
  • Revenue prediction - estimates the revenue expected from all purchases in the last 28 days, by active users.

With all these built-in models available, your team is now free to solve more complex and advanced problems.

GA4 user-centric reports and data collection

Google analytics 4 (GA4) helps you focus on finding answers to specific questions, by exploring the user centric data - because it gives you a better image of how the customer behaves. Rather than Sessions or Pageviews, GA4 focuses more on interactions and events, giving you a clearer idea of the user behaviour.

If you want to build a relationship with customers, you need to understand what they want by analysing their intent on your site. The shift from what users are looking to do, compared with what they are trying to do, focuses on the user engagement. Using predictive analysis can mean the difference between prospects and customers that lead to more sales and retention, without an increase of costs.

Data that improves decision making and ROI

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has built-in models and user-generated reports that are powerful on understanding the customer journey. The more advanced models still require serious efforts from your analytics team, but GA4 will simplify the data extraction. 

You can measure the customer data of prospects, actual customers and users who are likely to buy compared to less likely to buy. Using these insights can help you adjust sales to project against your pipeline because it gives extra insights to a buyer's behaviour.

You and Google analytics 4

There will always be a natural resistance to change. Google Universal Analytics was great although a steep learning curve for most.

In comparison, Google Analytics 4 is already starting to evolve, and gives great data insights to the customer. For those who adapt it for their business, will take a competitive advantage that open new ways to sell.


More resources on Google Analytics


About the Author
Caria Watt
With 18 years experience in digital marketing and online growth strategies, Caria has consulted in iconic brands, not-for-profit and the entertainment industries in Sydney and London. As a presenter and a Business Building Expert for the Holistic Entrepreneur Association, Caria's writing is published in international publications - Thrive Global, The Good Men Project and The Dating Directory Co.
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