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What is Google Analytics 4? A Complete Guide

In: News, SEO & SEM

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google’s web analytics platform. It was launched by Google in October 2020 as a successor to the previous version known as Universal Analytics. GA4 offers several new features and enhancements to help businesses gain valuable insights into user behavior across various digital platforms.

In a statement, Google’s Director of Product Management, Google Analytics states in part, “Starting July 1, 2023, you’ll still be able to access your standard Universal Analytics properties in your account, but only for historical reporting, which will be available until July 1, 2024. To learn more about what happens after July 1, 2023, see our guide to prepare for the Universal Analytics sunset.”

Key aspects and features of Google Analytics 4

It’s important to note that while GA4 introduces many new features and improvements, it also represents a departure from the traditional Universal Analytics implementation. Transitioning from Universal Analytics to GA4 requires setting up a new GA4 property and implementing new tracking codes and configurations. Here are some key features you should know about.

  1. Event-based data model: GA4 employs an event-based data model, which means it focuses on tracking user interactions as events rather than pageviews. This allows for more flexibility in tracking and analyzing user behavior across websites, mobile apps, and other digital platforms.
  2. Cross-platform tracking: GA4 enables cross-platform tracking, allowing businesses to understand user journeys and interactions across multiple devices and platforms, including websites, apps, and offline touchpoints. This provides a more comprehensive view of user behavior and engagement.
  3. Enhanced machine learning capabilities: GA4 incorporates advanced machine learning techniques to provide automated insights and predictive analytics. It can help businesses identify trends, discover new opportunities, and optimize marketing campaigns based on AI-driven recommendations.
  4. Streamlined data reporting and analysis: GA4 offers a simplified and more intuitive user interface for data reporting and analysis. It provides preconfigured reports and insights that are easier to navigate and understand, making it accessible to both technical and non-technical users.
  5. Enhanced user privacy and data control: GA4 includes privacy-centric features to align with evolving data protection regulations. It provides more granular options for data control and enables businesses to define data retention policies. Additionally, GA4 supports consent management tools to help businesses comply with privacy requirements.
  6. Customer-centric measurement: GA4 emphasizes a customer-centric approach to measurement, focusing on user engagement, lifetime value, and cohort analysis. It allows businesses to understand the entire customer journey, from acquisition to conversion and retention, enabling them to make data-driven decisions to improve customer experiences.
  7. Integration with Google Ads and other Google products: GA4 offers seamless integration with Google Ads, allowing businesses to analyze the performance of their advertising campaigns alongside user behavior data. It also integrates with other Google products such as Google Tag Manager, BigQuery, and Data Studio for advanced data collection and analysis.

Should I Switch To Google Analytics 4?

The simple answer is YES! Make the move over to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible to build the necessary historical data before Universal Analytics stops processing new hits.

How To Set Up GA4

To set up Google Analytics 4 (GA4), follow these steps:

  1. Create a Google Analytics 4 property
    • Go to the Google Analytics homepage and sign in using your Google account.
    • Click on the “Admin” button in the lower-left corner.
    • In the “Property” column, click on “Create Property.”
    • Choose the “Web” or “App” option, depending on your platform.
    • Enter the required information, such as property name, URL or app ID, and time zone.
    • Enable or disable data sharing options based on your preferences.
    • Click on the “Create” button to create your GA4 property.
  2. Install the GA4 tracking code
    • After creating the property, you will see a screen with your GA4 Measurement ID (starts with “G-“).
    • Copy the Measurement ID or click on the “Global Site Tag” snippet to copy the code.
    • Place the GA4 tracking code on all the pages of your website or in the appropriate code section of your mobile app. If you’re using a content management system (CMS) or tag management system (TMS), follow the instructions provided by the platform to install the code.
  3. Set up additional data streams (if applicable)
    • If you have multiple platforms or data sources, such as mobile apps, YouTube channels, or offline data, you can set up additional data streams in GA4.
    • In the Admin section of your GA4 property, click on “Data Streams.”
    • Click on the “Add Stream” button and follow the instructions to set up each additional data stream.
  4. Configure data settings and options
    • In the Admin section, navigate to the “Data Settings” tab.
    • Review the data collection options and enable or disable them based on your requirements.
    • Configure data retention settings to determine how long user-level and event-level data will be stored.
    • Set up data filters, if necessary, to exclude internal traffic or specific IP addresses from your data.
  5. Configure conversions and goals
    • In the Admin section, go to the “Conversions” tab.
    • Click on “Create Conversion Event” to define specific actions or events on your website or app as conversions.
    • Set up goals based on specific user actions or metrics you want to track, such as form submissions, purchases, or time spent on a page.
  6. Verify data collection
    • Once the tracking code is implemented and your website or app is live, you can verify if data is being collected correctly.
    • Go to the “Realtime” section in your GA4 property to see live user activity and events.
    • Perform actions on your website or app to ensure that events are being tracked and recorded accurately.
  7. Explore and utilize GA4 reports
    • After data collection, navigate to the “Reports” section of your GA4 property to access various reports and insights.
    • Familiarize yourself with the different report categories, such as Engagement, Acquisition, Monetization, and Retention.
    • Customize reports, create dashboards, and set up alerts based on your specific needs and goals.

Remember to consult the official Google Analytics documentation and resources for more detailed instructions and best practices as the platform and setup processes may evolve over time.

How Does GA4 Help With Reporting?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) offers several benefits that help with reporting and provide valuable insights into user behavior and website/app performance. Here’s are several ways GA4 helps with reporting:

  1. Enhanced data modeling: GA4 introduces an event-driven data model that focuses on user interactions and events. It allows businesses to track and analyze a wider range of user actions, beyond just pageviews. With the flexibility of custom event tracking, businesses can capture specific actions or behaviors that are relevant to their goals and reporting needs.
  2. Cross-platform tracking: GA4 enables cross-platform tracking, allowing businesses to gather data from multiple platforms such as websites, mobile apps, and offline touchpoints. This provides a holistic view of user behavior across different channels and devices. Cross-platform tracking helps businesses understand the customer journey and identify interactions that contribute to conversions or other desired outcomes.
  3. Streamlined reporting interface: GA4 offers a more intuitive and streamlined reporting interface compared to Universal Analytics. It provides easier access to essential reports and insights, making it simpler to navigate and find the information you need. The clean design and improved user experience enhance the reporting process.
  4. Preconfigured reports and insights: GA4 provides preconfigured reports that offer valuable insights into user acquisition, engagement, and conversions. These reports cover key metrics and dimensions, allowing businesses to quickly access and analyze important aspects of their website or app performance. The preconfigured reports save time and effort in setting up custom reports from scratch.
  5. AI-powered insights: GA4 leverages advanced machine learning algorithms to deliver automated insights and recommendations. It can identify significant trends, anomalies, and opportunities within the data. The AI-powered insights help businesses discover valuable patterns and make data-driven decisions. They can also provide suggestions for optimizing marketing campaigns and improving user experiences.
  6. Customizable reporting: GA4 allows for greater customization in reporting. Businesses can create custom dimensions, metrics, and segments tailored to their specific needs. This flexibility enables businesses to focus on the metrics and dimensions that matter most to their goals and track specific segments of their user base. Customizable reporting empowers businesses to perform in-depth analysis and gain actionable insights.
  7. Audience analysis and segmentation: GA4 provides robust audience analysis and segmentation capabilities. Businesses can create audience segments based on various criteria such as demographics, user behavior, and conversion goals. Segmenting the audience allows for more targeted reporting and analysis, enabling businesses to better understand different user groups and tailor their marketing strategies accordingly.
  8. Integration with Google Marketing Platform: GA4 integrates seamlessly with other Google Marketing Platform tools, such as Google Ads and Google Tag Manager. This integration enables businesses to combine data from different sources, gain a comprehensive view of their marketing efforts, and analyze the impact of advertising campaigns on user behavior and conversions.


It is said that data is the new oil, but lack of a way to analyse this data doesn’t help that much since better analytics insights lead to better marketing decisions.

The features and capabilities of GA4 help businesses generate comprehensive reports, gain valuable insights, and make data-driven decisions to improve their digital marketing strategies and user experiences.

Feel free to reach out to the Strategine Team to help you with this move. Let’s jump in get some work done.

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