What's New for Google Analytics 4

November 9, 2020

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.