You Ask, I Answer: Google Analytics 4 Long-Term Benefits?

Tanner asks, “Can you explain why Google Analytics 4 is supposedly going to be better in the long run?”

Three major benefits that will take time to see the value:

  • The event model gives us much more granularity with our data.
  • BigQuery for all gives us the ability to create much more advanced attribution models and our own ‘secret sauce’ for unlocking the value of our data.
  • Improved cross-device tracking, especially if you have a mobile app.

Watch the video for an explanation of how this benefits you.

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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, Tanner asks, Can you explain why Google Analytics four is supposedly going to be better in the long run? That’s a really good question.

Because obviously, with a lot of the transition issues and the fact that it’s still a little rough around the edges, it may not be able to easy to see what those benefits are.

And certainly, if you are not already on Google Analytics, for, there is no immediate need to make the switch, there is, in my opinion, the immediate need to get it set up and get it collecting data.

But once you’ve done the basic setup, you can just set it and forget until you’re ready.

And until the platform has matured.

So there’s three big things that Google Analytics four offers that are different and better than what you get in Google Analytics, three, or Universal Analytics.

The first, an easy one is the improved cross device tracking, especially if you have a mobile app.

So if your company has a mobile app, having Google Analytics for allows you to unify your mobile app users with your web users, and that gives you a much bigger, better, cleaner picture of who your audience is.

So that one’s kind of a no brainer.

If you have a mobile app.

If you don’t have a mobile app, you still do get better cross device tracking, and better raw data on the back end, because Google Analytics for as we’ve talked about, fundamentally, under the hood, is actually Firebase Analytics.

It’s actually the Firebase database underneath there with the Google Analytics interface on top of it, the the GA four interface on top, so it’s built for mobile first, which is a phrase you’ve heard a lot from Google in the last 10 years, right? Mobile First, mobile first web mobile first indexing, mobile friendly mobile usability.

Clearly, it’s not a surprise, right? These things are everywhere.

It is a mobile first world.

And so it makes sense for our animate analytics to reflect this particular strategy.

That brings us to point number two, the event model that Google Analytics for uses is the Firebase model, where every interaction somebody has swipe, tap do this do that is tracked as its own separate event.

That’s one of the reasons why out of the box, it says, you know, you want to turn on enhanced measurement, and it tracks all these extra things.

Those are standard Firebase events.

And so the benefit of this is that it makes our data more granular.

If you look in the Google Analytics BigQuery, that it will set up for you automatically, it is much easier to see every individual interaction that a user has now, this is a lot more of a tenuous benefit right now to the average marketer, for the average database person, it’s a huge benefit.

Because in the previous version of Google Analytics, you had four scopes, right, you had the hit, you had the session, you had the user, and you had the product.

And not all the data was compatible with each one.

Right? It was very, very challenging.

In some cases, to get unified data out.

If you wanted to know about users who had converted within a session, it was a real pain in the butt to get that what the Firebase database looks like, on the back end is the technical term is denormalized.

Right? Instead of a unique user, a user will have a unique event and a whole bunch of, in some ways, duplication of the user data, it makes for a very big flat spreadsheet, essentially, instead of having, you know, four, actually, that’s a really good way of explaining it.

Imagine those four scopes in Google Analytics, three are different for different tabs in a spreadsheet, it’s kind of a pain in the butt to get data from one tab to the next.

Google Analytics for denormalize is that which is a fancy way of saying it just puts it all in one big sheet.

So you don’t have to reference cells and other tabs and things like that, you can do it all in one table.

This obviously has a major benefit for Google itself.

Because a denormalized table is easier to process.

It’s faster to process.

But it has benefits for us as marketers if we have the skills to work with that kind of data.

Because now, all the fields, all the dimensions and metrics that we’re used to that used to have these limitations don’t have those limitations anymore, we can query the database through either Google Analytics for or the back end database.

And pull out that the data that we want and aggregated at the the level that we want to view things at so you can roll everything up to a user or you can break it down to a session or even into a session data.

That in turn gives us the ability to have much better path analysis.

There was a substantial limitation in Google Analytics three, four path tracking conversions it is it is still not great.

But it’s a pain in the ass to get to get that data out.

Because in the dimensions and metrics in in ga three, you had to reference a whole bunch of you know, the three steps before conversion, I’m trying to aggregate this model together, which you can do.

But now in ga for this event model, it gives us the ability to track every single action, somebody took on the way to a path to purchase.

So if you’re using advanced attribution models, suddenly, as long as you can retrofit your code, your model is so much better.

Because you don’t you’re not limited to a look back window of the last three or four interactions that somebody had, you now can see if they’ve been on your website for an hour and a half clicking around, you can see all 5060 7080 hundred different events that happen before that conversion and build a much more robust conversion model.

So that event model really gives us the granularity we need to do very substantial analysis.

Is it easy? No, no, you got to be really good at working with that data.

But can you work with it and turn it into valuable insights? Yes.

The third major thing in the long run is that BigQuery integration.

Up until now, only Google Analytics premium users were able to get the back end raw data from Google Analytics.

Now, everybody has it.

And again, this is not something that a non technical market is going to find a whole lot of benefit with.

because it requires a lot of expertise.

But for the technical marketer, this is a huge benefit.

This is a massive benefit.

Because you can now go in and get the raw data, you don’t have to do things Google’s way, if you have a better way of doing it, right.

If you are a skilled programmer, and our Python or Java or any of the languages can talk to a BigQuery database, you can write your own code to access the data to process the data, and maybe even visualize the data in some other way.

For a lot of the third party visualization tools like alteryx, and Tableau and stuff, they have BigQuery connectors that are native.

and pulling data out of a BigQuery database is way easier than pulling it out of the Google Analytics API.

It’s faster, it’s more accurate, you run into fewer connection issues.

So for the data driven marketer, that BigQuery integration is a massive benefit.

And it will be better in the long run.

What this means for most marketers, at least those who have the budget to either build the technical capability themselves or hire it out, is that you’ll have much more custom attribution models, you’ll have much more custom audience models.

And you’ll have your special sauce, your unique way of of analyzing your data that other companies don’t have, right? That technical proficiency will be part of your secret sauce that makes your company more successful.

If you have a better model, a better template a better algorithm for analyzing that data, you can use that to create competitive advantage.

Whereas other companies that are stuck with just the stock tools in the interface, they’ll do okay, right.

But they won’t be able to reap the full power and benefits of that data.

Google is essentially giving you all the raw ingredients and saying hey, some people are only going to be able to make pizza, right? And that’s okay, because pizza will feed you.

But if you can take this flour, and yeast and all this stuff, you can make breads, muffins, and pies and all these things that other people might not be able to.

So that’s where you’re going to see in the years to come.

A big competitive difference is those companies that can leverage the data.

And those companies that can’t.

So those are the three major benefits, they’re going to take time to see the value, there’s one more benefit and that is for agencies specifically, again, if you develop a proficiency if you develop a capability who developed the algorithms and the models and the software to leverage the data that will be part of your secret sauce that you can bring to your clients.

And that can be a major major benefit.

So if you got follow up questions, it’s a good topic follow up questions, leave them in the comments below.

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