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Vime • August 11, 2023

Diving into Google Analytics 4: An Introduction to G4 Data Analysis and Insights for Beginners

Google Analytics is one of the most renowned tools available worldwide. If you landed on this article, you are aware that this tool has recently undergone a substantial transformation with Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and want to learn all about it.

This article explores the most significant changes in features we found after a month using GA4.

What is GA4?

Google Analytics is a free analytics service that assists marketers in making data-driven decisions. By quantifying and assessing user interactions, it provides valuable insights into our audience and Customer Journey. This extensive data covers from visited URLs to user interactions like clicks, views, scrolls and basic demographics, such as location, device, age and language.

Launched in October 2020, Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google Analytics, introducing a remarkable upgrade in functionality and a change of platform. GA4 and Google Analytics’ previous version – Universal Analytics - coexisted until July 2023, when GA4 took over as the only existing version of Google Analytics and forced businesses to migrate all pre-existing data to the new platform.

Differences between Universal Analytics and GA4

Google Analytics 4 is leading to a new era of analytics, pivoting its entire approach towards a user-centred perspective. This transformative shift not only revolutionises the analytics field but also introduces a more general and intuitive method for configuring and conducting analyses.

We have been analysing the difference between UA and GA4, and these are the three areas where GA4 stands out after our first impressions.

Data Consolidation

One of the fundamental differences between UA and GA4 is their approach to data consolidation. The former measures screen views in distinct mobile-specific properties, whereas the latter takes a unified process by combining web and App data within a single property.

Google Analytics 4’s shift towards consolidation is a pivotal transformation in analytics, especially for organisations tracking website and App activities. The departure from the compartmentalised structure of UA resulted in a more holistic perspective of user engagement across various touchpoints and, in general, the whole evolving digital landscape.

This characteristic is particularly relevant for the iGaming industry, as most brands heavily invest in two distinct user experiences: website and App. This new Google Analytics 4 property takes on significant importance in this context. It enables a clearer understanding of the differences between these two user experiences, facilitating the identification of areas of improvement and habit trends in a user base that requires a high degree of security and comfort while engaging.

Filtering Options

Another significant contrast between Universal Analytics and GA4 lies in their filtering capabilities. UA empowers users to apply a variety of filters that can impact the data displayed. These can exclude specific geographic regions or internal IP traffic and have the potential to create variations in pageview counts when compared to GA4. The dynamics shift in Google Analytics 4, as filtering capabilities are absent in its properties. We consider this alternation in data interpretation dynamics underscores the need for meticulous consideration when comparing metrics between the two platforms.

Marketers working in industries requiring a high degree of consumer trust, like Fintech, should keep this in mind when reporting their first Quarterly and Yearly Marketing Strategy Results. We strongly recommend finding a change ratio to contextualise the data, so our marketing efforts are noticed.

Single-page Applications

The measurement of single-page applications (SPAs) brings to light another critical differentiation. Universal Analytics required setting up pageviews for SPAs manually due to constraints in automatic pageview measurement. On the other hand, GA4 introduces a streamlined approach through enhanced measurement, eliminating the requirement for custom tagging. We concluded that this innovation facilitates the automatic measurement of pageviews for SPAs, simplifies tracking processes and reinforces GA4's dedication to a user-centric design philosophy.

This may be a very convenient feature for the Crypto industry, such as Crypto, which must comply with regulations like Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML). SPAs are an excellent tool that can be designed to capture and track users' interactions related to these compliance requirements.

New Key Metrics

In addition to these more generic changes, we also realised that Google Analytics 4 has transformed some specific metrics to improve interaction and performance analysis. The ones that drawn more our attention are:

Users

GA4 introduces a novel metric, "Active Users," encompassing individuals across mobile and desktop sessions. This metric becomes the default User field in standard reports, differing from Universal Analytics, where User count includes all sessions, possibly leading to inflated figures. “Total Users” remain in GA4 as a separate metric, providing valuable insights into volume and engagement on your website and enriching our understanding of user interactions.

Page Views

GA4 enhances its methodology for capturing the complete customer experience. As a result, Page Views now naturally include App engagement information, eliminating the need for specific mobile configurations, as seen in Universal Analytics. Businesses that heavily utilise mobile apps should take note of this change when performing before-and-after assessments.

Purchases

Although Purchases are expected to show consistency, variations may arise when analysing data from different systems. These differences are often attributed to complexities in the back-end infrastructure and the speed at which tags are executed. It's important to highlight that GA4 involves a more sophisticated technical configuration to ensure precise Purchase tracking. Due to the updated definitions and tracking methods for Users and Sessions, inaccuracies in the eCommerce tracking setup could result in misalignments between GA4 Purchase data and previous reports.

Bounce Rate

In GA4, the Bounce Rate takes on a new role, becoming a more comprehensive measure of engagement than the previous platform. Traditional Bounce Rates struggled to assess effectiveness on modern websites and apps due to their reliance on page transitions or event triggers. This led to inflated bounce rates for pages with continuous experiences. GA4 addresses these challenges, offering a refined metric that accurately reflects user engagement and page success.

Do you have doubts about making to make the most out of Google Analytics 4? Our team is here to provide clarity and assistance. Reach out by filling in the form below for reliable insight and solutions tailored to your needs.

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