Just over a year ago Google launched the new Google Analytics 4 reporting tool out of beta and made it available to all users. It was designed to “meet the challenges of an evolving measurement landscape and get better ROI from your marketing for the long term”. However, it’s not been that well received by users and Google has been making changes to the layout and adding new features to encourage more users to make it their primary tracking tool.
One of the main differences with Google Analytics 4 (GA4) was that it offers privacy-safe solutions to measure the customer journey, as well as machine learning to predict outcomes and automate the discovery of insights. However, many users have found the shift in reporting options and tools from the existing Universal Analytics platform is quite dramatic, and GA4 needs more user understanding and input to get the best from the platform.
Over the past year Google has introduced features like improved advertising reporting, plus support for user consent choices that help marketers achieve their business objectives without compromising user privacy. They have also recently launched some additional capabilities, including an improved Search integration and smarter attribution to give users better insights to help optimise performance across all marketing channels.
One of the big drawbacks with GA4 has been the lack of integration with a Search Console account, where the Search Performance report provides detailed information about a website’s organic Search performance, including rankings, the search queries that led to clicks, and post-click data like engaged sessions and conversions. With the new Search Console integration, users can now import this data in the same way that Universal Analytics allows, so that you can now get a clearer understanding of the role that organic Search plays in driving traffic to and engagement on your site relative to other marketing channels like Search ads, email, or social.
Data-driven attribution for goals / conversions has been a key part of Universal Analytics reporting and the new GA4 currently includes two attribution reports, Conversion paths and Model comparison. Google has now also introduced data-driven attribution to Google Analytics 4 properties which will help users get a better understanding of how all marketing activities collectively influence the tracked conversion actions. Unlike last-click attribution – where 100% of the credit goes to the final interaction – data-driven attribution distributes credit to each marketing touchpoint based on how much impact the touchpoint had on driving a conversion.
Data-driven attribution improves marketing ROI by helping users make smarter decisions about where and how much to invest, and as a result, drive more conversions for less cost. With its use of machine learning, data-driven attribution is a more durable approach that will deliver results even when it’s difficult to observe conversions. This data-driven attribution will be available in GA4’s attribution reports in the coming weeks and at the property level soon after, at which time users will be able to see attributed revenue and conversions in the Conversions report and in Explorations.
Finally, by using Google’s advanced modeling technology, the new Google Analytics 4 platform allows users to fill any gaps in their understanding of customer behavior when cookies and other identifiers aren’t available. It analyzes vast amounts of historical data, identifies correlations and trends between key data points, and uses those insights to make predictions about the customer journey.
Google is bringing a few new modeling capabilities to GA4, including conversion modeling in attribution reports, the Conversions report, and Explorations to identify where conversions have come from and allocate them to the right Google and non-Google channels, such as Search ads, email, or paid social.
Secondly, behavioural modeling will soon be supported in reporting as well. Behavioral modeling uses rigorously tested and validated machine learning to fill gaps in behavioral data, like daily active users or average revenue per user. This allows users to conduct uninterrupted measurement across devices and platforms, and answer questions like, “How many new users did I acquire from my last campaign?” or “Which steps in my funnel have the highest user drop-off rates?”
These new additions to Google Analytics 4 are designed to replicate popular reports from Universal Analytics and also make the GA4 reports more meaningful for regular users to get a better understanding of their data and user reports. By making these changes, Google is hoping that more users will migrate from Universal Analytics and start using the GA4 platform over the coming months.
Some of these new changes may not yet be available in your GA4 property as they are currently rolling out, but keep a look out and if you’d like to know more, you can read our previous blog posts on GA4, or contact us for more information.