What is Happening?

The latest iteration of Google’s web analytics platform, Google Analytics 4, is now available.

The new product has expanded predictive insights, deeper integration with Google Ads, cross-device measurement capabilities and more granular data controls for brands. Among the key changes is a shift away from web sessions towards an ‘event-driven’ model; the retirement of bounce rate, in favour of something called engagement rate; and improved cross-device attribution as mobile to desktop user behaviour becomes more important.

What Does it Mean?

Google is adapting to a new future for consumers. Privacy, cookie-less measurement, AI and Machine Learning technology are clearly part of Google's plan for supporting advertisers.

🍪 Analytics in a cookie-less future:
As third-party cookies are phased out, Google anticipates that data sparsity will become the new norm. It will rely on machine learning to fill in the data gaps.

From Google: “The norm is that we’re going to have a mixed set of data: We’ll have event data but not necessarily a user identifier associated with it. We’ll have gaps in data altogether and this is going to be true of all of all measurement providers,”

🤖 New AI-powered Insights:
Machine learning-powered insights in Google Analytics have been available for some time. However, Google is expanding this to help brands better forecast and predict data and user demand.

📄 Enhanced Reporting:
One key difference between Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics is how reports are organised. The reports are designed to help brands drill down into particular aspects of the customer journey. Google's aim is to give marketers a more complete view of how customers are engaging with their businesses across devices as well as channels.

🧪 Codeless Event Tracking:
Google is making it easier for marketers to track and measure on-site and in-app actions that matter in real time, such as a page scroll or video plays, all without having to add code or set up event tracking in Google Tag Manager.

🔏 Data & Privacy:
Analytics 4 includes options to help advertisers comply with data regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. Consent mode is designed for sites that have to obtain end-user consent to collect analytics data. This new mode provides separate consent opt-ins for analytics and ads.

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