GA4 Key Features: What to Expect
Universal Analytics vs. GA4: A reminderTo recap, Universal Analytics was designed to support web analytics. While a workaround (using Firebase) was implemented to combine web page data and app data, this solution was highly technical. GA4 is designed from the ground up to blend web and app data. Also, GA4 records events rather than the hit-based data collected by Universal Analytics.
Simplified Tag ManagementIn Universal Analytics, marketing teams had to invest significant time to set up code to track user activity in Google Tag Manager. GA4 tracks and measures some onsite and in-app events by default. Important events are automatically recorded, such as scrolling, outbound clicks, video engagement, file downloads, and so on. Reporting at this level is as simple as identifying which events to record, which makes this code-free solution very efficient.
Better Audience Targeting with Google AdsWith better user stitching, GA4 supports better user targeting. If you set up a single-sale campaign and a user responds to it. Once they’ve made the purchase, you can ensure that they are automatically removed from the campaign list. No more running a blocklist alongside your campaigns. Expect a much more efficient process and reduced Google ads costs.
Goodbye Firebase, Hello BigQueryGA4 pushes users to export data to BigQuery directly. The Pros:
- BigQuery is an excellent data warehouse solution for your raw event data
- Once the data is in, the marketing team control the data management cycle (how long do you want to work with the data, when will you call it old and send it to cold storage?)
- There are some free usage offerings
- BigQuery represent a new step and, therefore, potentially a new point of failure in your data pipeline
- BigQuery has a learning curve, which may require that marketing teams recruit and collaborate with qualified colleagues
- Once you go beyond the free usage, you have an elastic, usage-based bill. This adds a level of unpredictability to your budget forecasts.