Google Analytics is a vital source of marketing campaign intel for millions of businesses but you might have found that it hasn’t really kept pace with changing consumer behaviour or growing pressure to justify every penny of your marketing campaign.

This is something that many marketers have also wrestled with, with a Forrester Research survey revealing that while making better use of analytics data is a top priority for many teams, it’s hard to extract meaningful insight and build a 360 degree consumer picture due to changing privacy requirements and evolving search habits.

Recognizing these challenges, Google announced that it was working on a new Analytics suite back in October 2020. At the time, it said that a more intelligent, next generation Analytics would be developed to help marketers get better ROI from their campaigns.

Hinting at what would be to come, Vidhya Srinivasan, the VP/GM Buying, Analytics and Measurement, Google Ads revealed that machine learning would play a major role and would help to automatically give campaign owners useful insights and alert marketers to significant data trends such as increased demand for certain products. Other features, such as predicting consumer behaviour, potential revenue and churn rates, along with a new integrations, would further help to improve ROI and elevate campaign performance.

One often requested change – to simplify reporting along the customer journey – was also a core component of the design process. Future versions will reflect the shift to a cookieless world and make data modelling possible.

What metrics are different in Analytics 4?

It’s worth mentioning that you’ll need to create a separate Google Analytics 4 property, even if you already use Universal Analytics, so you won’t lose any data metrics or be faced with a brand new interface, should you wish to continue using the old version.

Analytics 4 can be used for your website or app or website and app together. It makes sense to get set up because you’ll get greater cross-channel visibility than is possible with Universal Analytics (website only) and therefore, more insight to refine your campaigns.

Detailed instructions on how to set up Analytics 4 can be found here.

So, what’s different?

Adrac has taken Google Analytics 4 for a detailed test drive. We’ve been focusing on what’s the same and what’s different in terms of metrics, as these are naturally the first point of call for many marketers who want to understand campaign performance.

When creating dashboards on Analytics 4, the following metrics were noticeable by their absence:

  • Pages per Session
  • Avg. Session Duration

These metrics weren’t recorded:

  • New users
  • Total users
  • Sessions
  • Pages / Session
  • Avg. Session Duration
  • Transactions
  • Revenue
  • Bounce Rate

But these alternatives are available:

  • Avg. Engagement Time
  • Avg. Engagement Time per Session
  • Engaged Sessions
  • Sessions per User (this will be low generally)
  • User Engagement
  • Engagement Rate

Bounce rate is probably the biggest omission for many. This tells you how many people visited your site but left without journeying through to any other page. This in itself doesn’t tell you much, as it could be that they found everything they needed on that single page – such as on a landing page from a Google Ads campaign for example.

Its Google Analytics 4 replacement is Engagement Rate and this factors in this potential reason for staying on one page when visiting a website or app. To register as Engaged, a user must be active on your site or app for at least 10 seconds, or trigger a conversion action or look at additional pages or app screens.

Want more information? Get in touch to find out how the Adrac team will be using Analytics 4 to derive the best possible performance from our campaigns.  

Author Rebecca

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