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Why is Modyo preparing for the transition to Google Analytics 4?

In this first article about the need to transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), we talk about the crucial moment when Google announces the obsolescence of the previous version, as well as GA4's benefits and new features.

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Published 25 May, 2022 7 minutes of reading

In this first part of the article about the need for companies and organizations to transition to the new version of Google Analytics, number 4, we will talk about the crucial moment when Google announces the obsolescence of the previous version, as well as its benefits and new features. We hope that this will encourage change and make it more understandable. Here we go!

Google Analytics Universal will become obsolete

We expected this moment to come, and it did. In March 2022, Russell Ketchum, director of product management for Google Analytics, published a post on the Google blog announcing that the Google Analytics Universal (UA) version is going to stop processing new data as of July 2023.

It seems that we already have a date for what they themselves call the "sunsetting" of Analytics Universal....

This means that the "new version" - which has been around for more than two and a half years now - Google Analytics 4 (GA4), is going to be, from then on, the standard solution for monitoring website or application activity. So, for those who have been avoiding it, it's time to get down to work, migrate all your configurations to GA4 and start taking advantage of its potential.

In the digital products that we develop in Modyo, we carry out a series of implementations that are part of the Measurement Process and that allow us to obtain data from the interaction with the product and, thus, to know if they are successfully meeting their conversion goals. This process requires planning and implementation that varies depending on whether it is done in Google Analytics Universal or GA4.

Although, until now, the recommendation we made to our clients was to opt for the most recent version, they had the last word. Now, if they want to have enough historical data (more than a year) to be able to compare periods in the future according to the same metrics and dimensions, or simply want to take advantage of all the benefits and new features offered by GA4, they should start now to migrate their Tag Manager and Analytics configurations or, at least, leave both versions receiving data in parallel.

What are the benefits and new features of this new version?

In Modyo's SEO Content Manager & Performance Analysis team, we know that the learning process required for this new version and the adaptation period to a new nomenclature is not easy to assume for organizations (nor for us as a provider!). To motivate the change and to show that it is not so complex if it is done in a gradual and orderly manner, we will expose some of the benefits and new features of GA4:

Benefits of GA4:

  1. It better understands the customer lifecycle: It is an intelligent tool that uses machine learning to extract statistics from the customer journey on different platforms (cross platform) and devices, without fragmenting it and considering it as a single session, allowing to generate predictive knowledge.

  2. Data-driven attribution distributes conversion value based on data for each conversion event, rather than just the last click, helping to understand how different marketing activities collectively influence conversions and improve ROI.

  3. Privacy becomes very relevant: GA4 offers new ways to measure traffic and lead interests that do not involve cookies as a unique way. We will no longer be so dependent on cookie restrictions from other platforms (or third parties) to obtain data to improve marketing strategies.

  4. Expanded and improved integrations with Google's advertising platforms: this allows us to optimize the performance of Google Ads campaigns and increase the return on investment (ROI) of marketing.

  5. It is a very valuable tool for ecommerce businesses as it allows for more accurate and in-depth metrics in relation to each sector, monetization and the buying process of ecommerce companies.

  6. Integrates with Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360 and BigQuery: these integrations are available to all clients, whether standard or 360.

What's new in GA4:

  1. Property types: the property in the previous version of Analytics had a prefix and was of type "UA-XXXXXXXXXXXXX-1", and in GA4 the property only contains numbers "XXXXXXXXXXXXX".

  2. Measurement ID: The tracking ID of type UA-XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX-1 is now a measurement ID and has the format G-XXXXXXXXXXXXXX, which identifies the data stream that sends data to the Google Analytics 4 property.

  3. Views no longer exist: Since Google Analytics 4 properties do not include views, user access and permissions are managed at the account and property level.

GAU Account > Property >View
GA4 Account > Property > Data Flow



  1. New interface navigation and new reports: the interface of the new version has a new navigation bar with the items "Reports", "Explore", "Advertising", "Configure" and "Manage", within Configure we can find the reports "Events", "Conversions", "Audiences", "Custom Definitions" and "DebugView". Within each report item, we find new reports.

  2. Changes in the metrics: there are some metrics that do not appear the same in GA4, some of them we can easily calculate:

Universal Analytics  Google Analytics 4
Users Total users
New users
New users
Sessions
Sessions
Number of sessions per user
Sessions per user
Number of views per page
page_view Event
Pages / Session
Calculate as: Event page_view / Sessions
Average session duration
Calculate as: Event user_engagement / Sessions
Bounce Rate Engaged Sessions


  1. Predictive metrics: GA4 enriches the data it offers by using predictive metrics, which use machine learning to predict future user behavior. These are: Probability of purchase, Probability of abandonment and Revenue prediction.

  2. Event-based measurement: in Universal Analytics an event is composed of a category, an action, a tag and a hit type, but in GA4 each hit is an event and there is no longer a distinction between hit types. In the second part of this content, the step-by-step to migrate events to GA4, you can read more details about this new measurement.

  3. Measurement protocol: the GA4 measurement protocol allows you to make HTTP requests to send events directly to Google Analytics servers, allowing you to measure how users interact with your business from any HTTP-enabled environment.

a diagram of how users interact with a website

  1. Explorations: GA4 allows you to edit the predefined reports using the "Explore" tool, customizing them according to your needs.

template gallery of GA4

  1. Improved and intelligent search bar: questions about GA4 data can be typed in using the Analytics Intelligence search engine at the top of all pages and, through Machine learning, we will obtain insights and predictions that will allow us to anticipate our users' needs.

  2. Comparisons between time periods: Comparisons allow you to view subsets of data side-by-side in GA4 reports and are created using dimensions or audiences. By exporting a report to the Exploration Center, the comparisons it includes are converted into segments.

  3. Multi-domain measurement: In GA4, you can measure both a website and an app, as well as up to 50 data streams for each property across websites and apps. In multi-domain measurement, session and user IDs persist when users navigate between different domains that are tagged with the same measurement ID (i.e., they report within the same data stream)



  1. Targets are now conversions: what used to be a hit in UA, is now an event in GA4 and, the ones we mark as conversion events in our property (the number of these is limited), will be the ones that replace our targets. Here, we can use different matching options (equals to/does not equal to, contains, starts with, ends with).

  2. Identity spaces: these are the groups of identifiers that allow us to interpret the user journey, such as the IDs assigned when logging into a website, the Google Signals data (Google session initiated in the browser) and the IDs of their devices. This allows users to remain anonymous while being identified to complete the history of their journey.

  3. 360 integration: the paid version of GA4 allows access to premium features including more advanced analytics, standard boundary extension or data-driven attribution.


Google Analytics 4 Analytics 360
Who is it intended for?
Individuals or small and medium-sized companies Large companies requiring full functionality 100 2,000 100 50 400 Advanced and customizable conversion funnel reports Advanced (including data-driven model)
Payment Options
Free
Billed monthly
Data storage
2 and 24 month options
2, 14, 26, 26, 38 and 50 month options
Native data integration
Google Ads, Google AdSense and Search Console
Google Ads, Google AdSense, Ad Manager, Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360, Campaign Manager 360 and Search Console
Native remarketing integrations
Google Ads Google Ads and Display & Video 360
Big Query Export
1 million events per day
20 billion events per day
User properties
25 100
Dimensions and metrics per property
50 x 50 125 x 125
Customized dimensions and metrics per property
50 max 200 max
Dimensions per event
25 100
Event limit per user
500 2,000
Dimensions per event
25 100
Conversions
30 50
Audiences
100 400
Conversion funnel reports
Basic
Advanced and customizable conversion funnel reports
Attribution models
Basic
Advanced (including data-driven model)


Conclusion

If you've read carefully about the benefits and what's new in Google Analytics 4, you'll see that, in addition to the imminent need for organizations to start using this version of the tool, is that GA4 offers a more current view of the digital landscape that will allow them to better leverage data to generate conversions across all of their platforms.

Photo by Clint Adair on Unsplash

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