As more businesses move online, insights from Google Analytics and other tools are crucial for understanding customer preferences, creating better user experiences, and making every marketing dollar count. In recent years, however, there have been major shifts in consumer behavior and data privacy. According to Google Marketing Platform, “current approaches to analytics aren’t keeping pace” with these changes which is why it’s “creating a new, more intelligent Google Analytics.” 

Learn more about Google Analytics 4 and key features that digital marketers should know to be ready for an evolving technology landscape.

Key Features of Google Analytics 4

As Google begins to phase out support for third-party cookies in the Chrome browser, it anticipates there’ll be data sparsity. Google Analytics 4 builds on the foundation of the App + Web property that was introduced in 2019 and relies on machine learning to fill in the data gaps. The new privacy-centric Analytics automatically provides insights and a holistic understanding of customers across devices and platforms, regardless of industry changes (e.g. restrictions on cookies and identifiers) that create data gaps. Whether you’re already using Google Analytics 4 or plan to soon, here are key features you should know.

1. Smarter insights from advanced machine learning

Analytics is now capable of alerting marketers to significant data trends, which is made possible by Google’s advanced machine learning models. These insights can help marketers improve their marketing decisions and get a better ROI.

2. Deeper integration with Google Ads

A deeper Google Ads integration allows you to build and maintain audiences so you can “reach customers with more relevant, helpful experiences, wherever they choose to engage with your brand.” Google Analytics now measures interactions across the web and apps together, including conversions from YouTube video views, Google and non-Google paid channels, Google Search, social media, and email.

3. Customer-centric data measurement

One of the biggest differences between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics is its customer-centric data measurement, instead of measurement by device or platform. It uses multiple identity spaces like marketer-provided User IDs and unique Google signals from users who opted into ad personalization. Marketers will be able to gain a better understanding of the entire customer lifecycle – acquisition, conversion, and retention.

4. More granular data controls

Marketers have more granular data controls to manage how data is collected, retained, and used. They’re able to choose when to use customer data for ad personalization, and when to limit data use for measurement only. These options can help marketers adapt to limited cookies or identifiers in the future.

Evolve Your Digital Marketing

Google Analytics 4 is now the default for new properties, however, Google understands that digital marketers may need to retain capabilities before switching to the new Analytics. It’s encouraging marketers to create a new Google Analytics 4 property alongside their existing properties to start gathering data and benefit from the latest innovations while keeping their current implementation. As the technology landscape changes, it’s imperative that brands evolve their digital marketing by using responsive software products to remain competitive.

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