What is GA4? (+ why you need it) | Pri Kruijen

What is GA4? (+ why you need it)

Did you freak out when you got an email from Google saying they will sunset the current version of Google Analytics in 2023?

I had several clients forward me the email and ask me if they needed to get it set up, and I imagine they weren't the only ones wondering what was going on

What is GA4?

Google Analytics 4 is a new version of the platform – it's not an upgrade; it's an entirely new way of processing information

There is a massive jump in technology that the learning curve is steep for the average business owner

What is the difference between Google Analytics and Google Analytics 4?

The simplest way of explaining the difference between the current version of GA (known as Google Universal Analytics) and the newer version is like comparing the Nokia 3210 and the latest iPhone

When the Nokia 3210 launched, it was ahead of its time and allowed us to make and receive calls, text and, of course, play snake

Compare that to the latest iPhone that allows us to do all the things the Nokia 3210 can, plus allows us to browse the web, control our home panel systems and listen to podcasts

Why is it changing?

Here are several reasons why this change was needed

1️⃣ Technology has changed a lot

The current version of the platform was built before we had technology like mobile phones, tablets and apps and wasn't designed to store data from all of these places

2️⃣ Change in user behaviour

More users are opting out of sharing their browsing data with tools like Google Chrome, iOS and Google Analytics which means there is less data available in the first place

This makes the data in the current version of the tool less accurate than before

3️⃣ Privacy laws

On top of users opting out, new privacy laws also mean that businesses are limited from the data they can collect and share, making it harder to make accurate business decisions

How is Google Analytics 4 going to change this?

With all these changes, we have to accept that we will have less data to work with, but that's where GA4 comes in

Using machine learning and AI technology, Google Analytics 4 will be able to predict your user behaviour even when you are tracking fewer people

Let's say, for example that you can only track 65% of your website visitors, and Google will be able to use your data and model the other 35% based on what the AI has learnt

Once you have enough data in your account, the tool will also be able to make some exciting predictions like how many users you can expect to purchase in the next 7-days

So do I need GA4?

The short answer – yes

If you want to start/continue using data in your business and help your audience, then you'll need to start using the new platform as soon as possible

As I mentioned, there is a steep learning curve, but as we still have access to Google Universal Analytics until the end of 2023, I recommend setting up your new GA4 account and playing around with it to get comfortable

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