You Ask, I Answer: First Impressions of Google Analytics 4?

Tristan asks, “How are you getting on with the new Google Analytics 4 interface and data collection?”

Google Analytics 4 represents a sea change in how Google thinks of its marketing platform. Instead of an all-in-one application, it’s now part of a suite of 3 major pieces that every marketer will need to consider.

Google Tag Manager: tracking and configuration
Google Analytics: analysis engine
Google Data Studio: visualization and reporting engine

Some notable changes:
– Goals are gone.
– Scopes are gone.
– Channel groupings are gone.
– Segments are gone.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode, Tristan asks, How are you getting on with the new Google Analytics for interface and data collection? Yeah, Google Analytics for is a major sea change for marketers for all of us in how we use the application.

And it represents a sea change in how Google thinks of its own marketing platform.

You know, traditional Google Analytics, the classic version, which really has been functionally similar.

For the last 15 years, since they bought it from urchin in 2005.

It, it’s always been kind of all in one application where you drop the tracking code, and then you do everything in Google Analytics, and, and you get your reports and stuff.

And that’s the way people have been used to using this thing.

Now, the new version really represents a more mature philosophy about analytics and about analytics infrastructure, it is going to cause some people some pretty significant changes in how they do, how they do their analytics, how they think about the analytics.

So let’s um, let’s go ahead and and flip over here.

So if you have not seen that already, this is what Google Analytics for looks like.

And at first glance, it looks okay.

It kind of see how it looks like Google Analytics, you see some of the very basics, but you’ll notice right away, particularly when you go into things like the admin here, some major changes, they used to be things called accounts, properties and views.

Views are gone, right? Which makes you go, where do I put my goals? Those are gone to, there’s there are different ways Google is handling this now.

You see, from a philosophical perspective, you see now that Google Analytics really is a true analysis engine even has an analysis hub here where you can do ad hoc analysis, if you do true slice and dice, let’s look at your data and see all the different ways that you can analyze it to try and understand what happened.

So that raises the question, Where are your reports? Many of them, again, are gone, there’s a there’s a slimmer view in here.

And the way that we track things has substantially changed.

Let’s go ahead and look here at user acquisition real quick, how do I get users to my website, you’ll notice channel groupings are gone.

Right, so the, you know, organic, social email, all that’s gone is now source medium, or just medium, depending on what you want to use.

This is a big change, because for years, we’ve used channel groupings, sort of classify traffic, and now medium, obviously, has been channel for a really long time anyway.

But this is going to be a big problem.

For some folks, if you don’t have good governance, if you don’t have really solid, logical ways of laying out your source medium, like the medium is, is effectively a channel.

So as you’re doing your tracking codes, your UTM tracking codes, once you implement ga four, you’re really gonna have to make sure that they’re logical, they’re sensible, and that they and that you and your vendors all agree on what those should be.

Because if you don’t, you’re gonna have a hot mess in here.

The other big thing, and this is really, a, I think probably the biggest change for everybody is that the scopes are gone.

So previously, there were four scopes in Google Analytics and different metrics.

Within each of them.

There was users, there were hits, there were sessions and their products, right, those are the four major scopes.

And there are some things like for example, bounce rate was a page level, scope, hit level, whereas say, you know, retention, was a user level scope, and you couldn’t mix and match the two, it just didn’t work, because they were they were different measures.

And now, everything is events, everything from from the littlest interaction all the way up to the biggest measurement is all based on events.

And what this means is that we have to radically rethink how we do our analysis, right? Everything from you know, how you do our tracking codes to even your goals, like, for example, and here there are all these different events.

And you can mark some of them as conversions.

If you know what they are.

One of the big things that you’re going to have to do right off the bat when you switch over and go to Google Analytics for is go into, for example, your Google Tag Manager, which is where you’re going to be doing all of your goal setting goal configuration and go through and actually rebuild your goals as as events.

You have to specify like what these things are and you know, Tag Manager is is going to be a place that you do that.

So events are the new way of thinking about every interaction with a user.

And that’s a good in a lot of ways, because now you get rid of all the Oh, you can’t have this bounce rate.

If you’re looking at users.

Now it’s all events top to bottom.

One of the other big changes that’s gonna is super important for data nerds is that Google Analytics now out of the box integrates with Google’s BigQuery database, they can link it up to a table, and then in your BigQuery database, you can see all of the data that you get out of Google Analytics, let’s make this a little bit bigger here at an individual hit level, which is pretty amazing.

And you can see what types all different types of in session starts pageviews.

Any of the events, you configure user engagements, and each one of these has things like source and medium campaign, all this really good data that we’ve been, frankly, craving forever, right? If you have great database skills, this is a goldmine.

This is where you’re now going to be able to build amazing attribution analyses, amazing reports of every kind.

And that brings me to like the last thought on this, this change now means that Google Analytics is no longer an all in one application, it is one of three pieces.

So Tag Manager, a lot of the things he used to do in Google Analytics you now do in Tag Manager.

So it is sort of the the tracking and configuration component of the marketing platform, Google Marketing Platform.

Google Analytics now actually lives up to its name, it is the analysis engine that takes that raw data coming from Tag Manager slices and dices it, man prepares it for analysis.

And there are analysis tools, real business intelligence tools in here.

What’s not in here is a lot of canned reports, there’s very, very few canned reports.

Instead, there’s the analysis hub.

And it is up to you as the user to kind of go in here and build these reports, if you know what you’re looking for it to do the ad hoc analysis.

And you’ll note that a lot of these really are deep dives into into your data.

What’s not in here, the simple reports, right, so where do they go? That’s all Data Studio.

Google intends for Data Studio to be the visualization and reporting engine to take all the data that you’ve analyzed, and slice and dice in Google Analytics, and pass it to Data Studio.

So you can do your visualizations there.

And again, because everything is now at the event level, we see that the raw data, you’ll do things like segments and filtering and stuff within Data Studio, and not in Google Analytics.

Because again, with the view gone, there is no more there are no more segments, that’s that’s gone.

Now, it is all that’s all handled in the your visualization and reporting engine, which is Google Data Studio.

So this is a big change.

The good news is you don’t have to switch over right away.

And there’s not even big and been given a timeline as to when they’re going to sunset classic Google Analytics.

So if you’re just trying to get stuff done, stick with classic.

If you want access to the good stuff in terms of raw data, in terms of, you know, database level stuff, and the new analysis engine, it’s turn on Google Analytics for I recommend that everybody turn it on, get the basics of tagging and tracking set up so that you have the data because one thing that hasn’t changed, nothing with Google is ever retroactive, you can’t go back in time.

So get the get it configured, get your goal setup, get it deployed.

And then don’t worry about it if you can’t make use of it right, just so that you’re getting the data in the system and you’re tracking it.

And then you can always come back later and tune things up, especially since it’s now an analysis engine, which means that if you’ve got the data, you’ll be able to slice and dice it all kinds of different ways to do that.

If you got questions on that, or you need help with that, let me know, if you go to Trust insights.ai my company’s website you can ask for some help there.

Man, this free slack group have to TrustInsights.ai dot AI slash analytics for marketers.

But yeah, there’s a ton of new stuff that’s going on with Google Analytics for I recommend that you get your feet wet, and at least get familiar with it and all the big changes and then go from there.

Got follow up questions leave in the comments box below.

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I’ll talk to you soon take care.

One helps solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems.

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