GA4 Upgrades Machine Learning, Integrations & Privacy
Google Analytics has just released its most significant update in aeons.
This update, termed Google Analytics 4, essentially replaces the App + Web property that was released in beta last year and will affect the majority of websites using GA. Users will now see richer integrations with the likes of YouTube and Google Ads as well as being able to better leverage machine learning for data analysis.
Enriched data importing will also now allow for an even broader deep dive into a variety of real-world, offline datasets.
In a nutshell, with Google Analytics 4, Google has basically given away an enterprise-grade business analytics tool for free to tens of millions of businesses worldwide.
That all sounds great, so let's take a look into what Google Analytics 4 offers.
What Can Google Analytics 4 Give Me?
Google has marketed this update based on the strength of the machine learning they've integrated with Google Analytics 4. According to the company, this will bring several key benefits:
- Generate automatic alerts to significant trends in data
- Help users to anticipate future customer actions
- Predictive metrics mean you'll be able to create audiences to reach higher-value customers and analyse churn rate
- Deeper integration with Google Ads will ensure potential customers are targeted with more relevant adverts
- App and web metrics are now measured together and includes conversions from YouTube engaged views
These new features will provide marketers with a better view of the customer lifecycle, and it'll produce useful information applicable to predictive marketing features.
Marketers will have more information and better ways to act on that information, which should save time and increase return on investment.
"By applying Google's advanced machine learning models, the new Analytics can automatically alert you to significant trends in your data – like products seeing rising demand because of new customer needs.
It even helps you anticipate future actions your customers may take."
Marketers will now be able to predict events with greater accuracy, anticipate what customers might do in the future and use that information to focus on audiences that are going to provide more value.
How Will GA 4 Integrate With YouTube And Google Ads?
This new update will provide a deeper audience integration that includes Google Ads and YouTube. The integration with Google Ads lets marketers and brands create audiences that reach new customers, without being so annoying whenever they choose to interact with an ad.
Google Analytics 4 will also include conversions from YouTube engaged views.
"Seeing conversions from YouTube video views alongside conversions from Google and non-Google paid channels, and organic channels like Google Search, social, and email, helps you understand the combined impact of all your marketing efforts."
The integration with Google Ads is also important, and it should help reduce wasted budget due to inefficiencies in delivery.
Marketers will be able to build and maintain audiences from the web and through apps. Helping to ensure that audineces are not retargeted due to the actions they took across the web and in an app.
Previously if a customer browsed on the web and completed a purchase in an app, they may still be served inappropriate retargeting ads. This update removes some of that risk.
Google Signals – What's The Deal?
Using Google Signals from users who have opted-in to ad personalisation will give marketers a more rounded view of how audiences interact.
According to Google, Signals are 'a cross-platform measurement feature with optional advertising applications', and they are required in order to 'report on cross-device user journeys and/or remarket to signed-in Google users, you need to activate Google signals.'
Google Analytics 4 uses Signals to keep businesses in the loop regarding their customers' lifecycle, from advertising to retention. It'll also allow companies to adjust to the rapidly changing marketplace and help stay in tune with any shift in consumer taste.
What About Privacy Requirements?
The convenient thing with Google Analytics 4 is that it'll include options to help advertisers stay on the right side of privacy requirements like GDPR and CCPA.
Consent mode means analytics and ads that require separate consent opt-ins will now get them, while it'll now be easier to find and delete data if requested by the customer.
Machine learning will also be relied upon to fill the gaps created by the phasing out of third-party cookie data.
Do I Need To Update Now?
Universal Analytics will continue to be available, but Google has recommended that site owners set up UA and GA4 and run them together. It's wise to switch over towards the new version because any new developments will be solely focused on Google Analytics 4.