First Impressions of Google Analytics 4: Review after 11 Days

Google has always been at the forefront of providing groundbreaking tools and services to businesses of all sizes. Its latest launch, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), is yet another testament to their relentless innovation. With eleven days post its official release, we’ve explored this new platform and are here to share our early observations and impressions.

GA4 marks a significant departure from the previous Universal Analytics. It comes loaded with features meant to provide a more holistic view of user interactions and deliver actionable insights in real time.

  1. User-centric Measurement: Google has shifted the focus from sessions to users in GA4. It offers an event-driven model which provides a detailed picture of user interactions across various platforms. This shift enhances the capability to understand users’ journey, from their first interaction with your marketing initiatives to conversions and subsequent engagements.
  2. Predictive Metrics: One of the major additions in GA4 is the introduction of predictive metrics. It leverages machine learning to predict future actions users may take. For instance, the system predicts which users are likely to churn or the potential revenue a business can earn from a particular group of users.
  3. Cross-platform tracking: GA4 is designed to track user interactions across multiple devices and platforms seamlessly. This cross-platform functionality gives businesses the ability to track a user’s journey, whether it begins on a smartphone and finishes on a desktop, making the tracking more user-oriented rather than device-oriented.
  4. Enhanced Reporting: The reporting features of GA4 have received a significant overhaul. The dashboard is more intuitive, with reports providing in-depth details about user demographics, behaviors, and tech details. The new “Analysis Hub” is a stand-out, allowing users to customize their reports and perform advanced analysis.
  5. Privacy-centric Approach: With the increased global focus on user data privacy, GA4 has been built with privacy at its core. The platform is designed to adapt to a future with or without cookies, helping businesses navigate the evolving data privacy landscape while still being able to derive critical insights.

Despite the multitude of new features, the transition to GA4 has its challenges. Its new interface, while sleek and modern, presents a steep learning curve, particularly for those accustomed to the previous version. While event-based tracking offers more detailed insight, its setup can be complex for non-technical users. Furthermore, many reports and metrics that were available in Universal Analytics are either renamed, repositioned, or absent in GA4, which might initially confuse long-time Google Analytics users.

In summary, Google Analytics 4 appears to be a powerful upgrade and a step in the right direction. Its user-centric, privacy-focused approach coupled with its powerful machine learning capabilities, positions GA4 as a promising tool for the future of digital analytics.

However, like any new platform, GA4 will take some getting used to. We recommend businesses start by running GA4 in parallel with their existing Universal Analytics setup to fully understand the capabilities and changes before making a complete switch.

Over the next few weeks and months, as we delve deeper into this platform, we’ll continue to share our insights and findings. The potential of GA4 is immense, and we’re excited to see how it will revolutionize the way we understand and engage with our users.