Digital Analytics MiniDegree from CXL — every marketer must try — Part 3Review
Yet again we are here to understand the learnings at CXL Institute. This 21st century has been the world of analytics, analytics is the sexiest word for at least the professionals who understand it, most of the students and professionals are following this as a career, rather for the pay than its actual understanding and passion. Let’s not argue over this, since it has lots of points balancing on either side of the equation.
Before I go any further I will just give a brief on myself, I am Nischith a sales & marketing professional working in the health sector. I live in Bangalore India and I am from Mysore, City of Heritage.
The information shared below is based on the learnings from CXL Institute, you need to have a bare understanding of what Digital Marketing or Google analytics is, as CXL themselves say their courses are not for beginners. Let’s dive in, I hope I give you a good insight into their teaching.
Today we will try to understand what is Google Analytics4 — GA4 the new update from google after Google Analytics earlier version Universal Analytics.We will understand what are the new features in Google Analytics GA4 and we will also state the difference between Universal Analytics and GA4.
Starting from Urchin Analytics the first version of Google Analytics, then came the classical google analytics, after that was universal analytics, the latest one is this new next-generation version of Google Analytics was introduced in the late months of 2020.
Even though google analytics is here for more than 15 years, there are features that were never available to marketers before at this level in GA4 including access to raw data in BigQuery, which opens up lots of advanced data science components, predictive analytics, machine learning and many others.
Google Analytics users are literally in want of better funnels and better pathing reports.
Lets get into the topic GA4 features without any delay,
Reunification of our measurement platforms at GA4
You may or may not know that there are two distinct measurement platforms, the current one used by many the universal analytics and they’ve also had this google analytics with firebase component used for mobile apps. As a matter of fact, firebase had all things which we mentioned earlier like BigQuery, funnels, etc., which universal analytics never has(unless you had the enterprise version of universal analytics 360 which is a paid one)
Brand New UI
Since everything in Google Analytics is being re-built the UI- User Interface has been changed and with a brand new data model.
New tracking Methods
In Universal Analytics tracking was happening through hits, like the page you hit or an event hit or a social hit, but now GA4 firebase you track with an event. GA4 uses an event-driven data model requiring you to add new tags to your website. Which you can also do it through GTM -Google Tag Manager, we will cover this in a later stage of the syllabus.
GA4 has an interactive real-time report, You have more data, having new features like report cards. Its an absolutely fresh look and feel. In GA4 real-time reports has custom dimensions that give more flexible data.
Huge improvements to debugging
The other area of development in GA4 is debugging. Earlier In universal Analytics tracking anything could be debugged with multiple steps like to open up browser and load up the developer console and then start looking at network history maybe use an extension, there were no options of debugging in GA itself, but now with GA4 has the debug view, this allows you to see all the events (including page views, scrolls, outbound clicks etc.,) in a chronological order of everything that happened, drill down deeper and helps you understand whether the tracking is happening properly.
but there was an issue, sometimes tracking waswhen you try to set tracking codes and somethings not right, you are not able to retrieve the data
New Audience Builder
Whenever we you speak with an business expert on audience, the expert tries to understand the segmentation of your business, what kind of audience do you cater. So, definitely in Google Anaytics too segmentation and audience building is quite an important feature.
GA4 has made the feature more advanced, by taking it to the next level with segments, GA4 has a brand new Audience Builder and they’ve added components that have never been available to you before. Now you can do hit scoped segments(something like an advanced segmenting feature), this is something that was available in adobe analytics & now google too has this. Also there is facility added around this as temporary versus permanent excludes. So, will just give a brief why this is important, if you have ever done remarketing, a person who has purchased one category of product, should this person be excluded permanently or temporarily, this largely depends on the category of product purchased.
New Conversion Tracking
Conversion tracking has been completely re-built, earlier in Universal Analytics conversions had to be defined of a certain page that someone viewed, but in GA4 its a simple toggle,so if you know you want a certain event type to to be a conversion, just toggle it on.
If you can remember there were only 20 goals per view in earlier google analytics. In GA4 you can now achieve goals which free up slots.You get more flexible now on GA4 around event modifying, creations & creating conversions from segments.
New Funnel Reports
When it comes to funnels, GA basic did not do a great job. But GA 360 enterprise had this capability. Now Google has taken the funnel capabilities that used to only exist in enterprise and it’s given it away to everyone in the basic version of GA4.So now you can create meaningful funnels with less efforts, they’re retroactive, you can customize your steps, you can make them open versus closed.
The elapsed time between steps and action in funnels
Here’s an instance of it in practice. If you created a funnel, any steps you desired, so a person that viewed your blog then viewed your web page then got here again and viewed your About Us, and also you desired to realize on common what’s the time that came about among the ones interactions, you may simply toggle on Elapsed Time withinside the funnel. Now Google will inform you precisely what time, quantity of time on common that took, whether or not in minutes, seconds, or maybe days. We additionally have Next Action. So you may without difficulty see what customers did next and all varieties of different additives round that. So funnels are a large place of improvement.
Next Pathing report
Pathing reports as the funnels, GA did not do a great job.It had flow reports, flow visualization even though not impossible but very challenging.It was very difficult to use it meaningful as they were highly sampled, they were not flexible as segments and other components.
Google’s re-built pathing in GA4 and is more flexible making you work with events,page titles,page URLs easily and make things out what exactly is happening. You can add segments and more importantly the capability of backward pathing.
Free Big Query Linking
This one was available in UA Enterprise level as told earlier.This is the biggest and most important change to google analytics ever. There was a common challenge earlier with respect basic GA, connecting GA to advanced visualization platforms such as Tableau was not possible at its full power this is because of API integration and these allowed only for sampled data.
GA4 with a huge improvement is giving access to a free BigQuery linking from the very beginning(meaning exporting all of your raw data) into a datawarehouse and from there use can use the data by exporting.Now everyone can do their own machine learning.You can build your own predictive analytics.
You can combine this with all of your other marketing platforms, which is very challenging to do with that standard or basic version of GA.
So now we have stated the updated new features in GA4 and also we have seen comparison between GA-UA and GA4 where ever possible.
One thing starts to bother your mind now, should I drop GA-UA and move to GA4, the answer is a simple no. It takes time get accustomed to the new GA4 and also its in the beginning stage and there might be shortfalls which will definitely be improved in the coming months.
Best thing to do now is to tag yourself to both of this (GA-UA and GA4). Implement GA-UA together with GA4 and play around with GA4 to understand what is happening at the new garage.
Thanks to Charles Farina,CXL Instructor on GA4.
- Measure chat
- Charles Farina’s Blog
- Data blog — Krista Seiden
- Ken Williams Blog
- Google Analytics 4 Guide
- GA, GTM: Simo Ahava’s help docs
We will comeback next week with more advanced topics on Google Analytics.