Let's explore the Advantages and Disadvantages of Google Website Analytics with GA4.
In October 2020, Google introduced the next generation of its popular web analytics platform, Google Analytics 4 (GA4). As of July 1st, 2023, the old Universal Analytics will stop recording data and GA4 will be the analytics option. With GA4, Google aims to provide a more advanced and flexible analytics solution that addresses the evolving needs of businesses in an increasingly data-driven world. However, like any new technology, GA4 comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this blog post, we will explore the key benefits and drawbacks of GA4 as we head into a new way of looking at data.
Advantages of Google Analytics GA4:
Cross-Platform Tracking: One of the significant advantages of GA4 is its ability to track user interactions across multiple platforms, including websites, mobile apps, and offline data sources. This enhanced cross-platform tracking offers businesses a more holistic view of customer behavior, enabling them to gain insights into how users interact with their brand across different touchpoints.
Enhanced User Journey Analysis: GA4 introduces a new feature called "Event-driven Data Model" that focuses on individual user interactions or events rather than pageviews. This shift allows for more accurate tracking of user behavior throughout their journey, offering deeper insights into how users engage with specific elements on your website or app. This enhanced user journey analysis helps businesses identify bottlenecks, optimize conversions, and personalize user experiences.
Machine Learning-powered Insights: GA4 incorporates advanced machine learning capabilities, allowing it to automatically surface valuable insights and trends in your data. The platform can help you discover significant changes in user behavior, identify high-value customer segments, predict churn rates, and suggest optimization opportunities. By leveraging machine learning, GA4 empowers businesses to make data-driven decisions with greater speed and accuracy.
Privacy-centric Approach: With the rising concerns around data privacy, GA4 takes a privacy-centric approach by providing more control over data collection and management. It is designed to comply with stricter privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Apple's App Tracking Transparency (ATT). GA4's focus on privacy enables businesses to build trust with their users while still obtaining valuable insights from their analytics data.
Disadvantages of Google Analytics GA4:
Limited Historical Data Comparison: One of the major disadvantages of GA4 is the limited ability to compare historical data directly with the older version, Universal Analytics (UA). Since GA4 uses a different data model and reporting structure, transitioning from UA to GA4 can be challenging for businesses that heavily rely on historical data for analysis and decision-making. This limitation has been avoided for awhile by maintaining both GA4 and UA implementations in parallel during the transition period. Now that the transition is here, reporting will be a crucial way to keep that history.
Learning Curve: As a newer version of Google Analytics, GA4 introduces several changes to the user interface and reporting structure. This can result in a steep learning curve for those accustomed to the traditional GA interface. Users may need to invest time in familiarizing themselves with the new features and functionalities of GA4 to fully leverage its capabilities.
Third-Party Integration Support: At present, GA4 has limited support for third-party integrations compared to UA. Some popular integrations and plugins that were available in UA may not be fully compatible with GA4. This could pose challenges for businesses that heavily rely on these integrations for their analytics workflows or marketing automation.
Conclusion: Google Analytics GA4 offers several advantages that make it an enticing upgrade for businesses seeking more advanced analytics capabilities. The cross-platform tracking, enhanced user journey analysis, machine learning-powered insights, and privacy-centric approach are notable strengths of GA4. However, there are limitations, such as the limited historical data comparison, learning curve, and potential challenges with third-party integrations, that will take some time to iron out.
RonSchindler.com offers a transition service that includes setting your business up with a GA4 account and regular reports of your traffic and events.