Last week we were thrilled to host the latest event in our Incubeta Ignite series: GA4, The Future of Measurement. Incubeta’s US MD of Adtech & Measurement Solutions, Zoe Hall was joined by ZA Head of Data Strategy and Analytics, Jade Arenstein, EU Strategy Director Jessica Jacobs and UK Analytics Manager, Monika Mesnage.
The panel discussion took a deep-dive into the latest GA4 opportunities & technicalities, explaining the importance of ensuring your business is up to date with the latest modifications. Followed by a sneak peak tutorial of the platforms user interface by Jade Arenstein.
The Analytical Game Changer
There’s no denying that GA4 will be an analytical game changer for the industry. Not only does it combine Web and App interactions, but it already displays features which UA does not have – and this gap is only going to increase. Add in the new ML algorithms which will improve the level of analysis available, GA4 is becoming increasingly relevant within the constantly changing regulatory landscape.
With the imminent removal of third-party cookies, the right technology partner and the right choice of the tool is crucial – and GA4 fits the bill. The modelling Google is planning to roll out, and the ease with which first-party data can be uploaded within GA4 will prove invaluable as third party cookies disappear for good. Not to mention, that as the new generation of Google’s product, all the new features aimed at mitigating the impact of browser restrictions will be launching within GA4.
Comparing GA4 and UA
There are many differences between GA4 and UA, yet the biggest feature change we’ve seen is undeniably Data Ingestion. In UA, and all previous versions of Google Analytics the metrics have been around the users, their sessions and how they interact with each page on the website, yet GA4 is purely event based. While GA4 will still have pageview and session start events, the complexity of session, pageview and user scope have fallen away. This change allows for greater analysis and more flexibility in implementation and reporting – whilst easing the process of user sampling.
Another big difference is the addition of GA360 features which are now available for free in GA4. Once fully rolled out, these will include integrations with DV360, SA360 and Campaign Manager. Already included in GA4 is integrations with Google Ads, BigQuery and Firebase. Additionally, the Analysis Hub has also been carried over, which allows you to slice and dice the data as a data analyst would do – shown within Jade’s platform demo.
It’s also important to discuss the addition of Machine Learning and AI capabilities available in GA4. These essentially allow for predictive metrics and audiences, as well as providing users with great machine driven insights across reporting.
Undoubtedly, GA4 brings significant benefits to marketers. From an analysis perspective, GA4 eases the process of funnel creation and allows more intuitive data manipulation. Additionally, there are other enhancements like the possibility of using Google Signals as a Reporting Identity rather than in a few pre-built reports. This means a higher level of cross-device user identification, and being able to use this freely in the reporting.
To add to that, from an implementation side, GA4 offers an increase in event flexibility and parameters. Each event can have 25 parameters with 500 distinct events per data stream which is a big step up from the Event Category, Action and Label setup we’re used to in UA.
It’s also worth mentioning the data import feature, which enables uploading first-party data (from a CMS or CRM) and using it to enhance the efficacy of your future marketing campaigns; helping to enhance the efficacy of your marketing efforts and mitigate against the loss of third party cookies. Another point of note is the introduction of ML algorithms, which will help marketers better understand the ROI of their marketing efforts , and help to optimize budget allocation and decisions moving forward.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the official sunsetting of UA, organizations should be taking advantage of early adopter status, preparing their teams for the impending migration. With the set-up of GA4 having no impact on an existing GA property, organizations should consider running GA4 alongside their existing UA property, to start the process of collecting data in GA4 to build up historical data. This will make it easier to generate value from reports and other user cases going forward.
Organizations should start by creating a GA4 property and placing a tag on their site, but since GA4 brings a new way of collecting events and custom values, we would recommend revisiting your measurement plan; mapping all events, custom dimensions and goals to the data model of GA4.
Following the panel discussion, Jade took viewers through a step by step tutorial of the GA4 user interface covering some key tips surrounding general navigation, insights, and her favourite part of the platform, the analysis tool.
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