Why Use Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Use Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to measure your business goals, find areas for improvement on your website and identify business opportunities. Google Analytics 4 helps you meet your organization's objectives. The data that you get from Google Analytics makes it possible to deliver better experiences that meet your business objectives. You can use analytics to expand content that's successful, to remove under-performing pages or messages, as well as identify content and landing pages that don’t perform as well as others on your site. Similarly, you can use Google Analytics to identify marketing messages that are more successful than others better performing marketing platforms and landing pages that perform well.
Google Analytics can also help you identify and address technical issues. For example, if a mobile optimized web page is underperforming you can determine if there are visitors who spend less time on this page or who leave the website entirely after this page.
Google Analytics also makes it possible to focus your advertising initiatives and marketing efforts on the most successful campaigns. You can do this by identifying which campaigns send the most traffic as well as which campaigns are driving traffic that may not perform as well or campaigns that are the most successful. The bottom line is that Google Analytics helps you align your website to your marketing objective and key results (OKRs) and Key performance indicators (KPIs).
Google Analytics provides a wealth of visitor information, data analysis tools and data segmentation tools. It does not provide many of the things that are necessary to make use of the data that is collected. Google Analytics does not provide analysis, it does not provide insight, it does not provide interpretation. All of the useful things that can come from Google Analytics require a skilled interpreter to provide the analysis as to what the data means. The person reviewing the Google Analytics data is the one that turns it into something useful.
Examples of how Google Analytics is used
You can use Google Analytics to determine what works or what doesn't work on your website. This includes finding pages that are performing well marketing initiatives that are succeeding or not. You can also use Google Analytics to analyze trends. This is because Google Analytics can provide data regarding how your website has performed over time, dating all the way back to the time when Google Analytics was initially installed on your website.
You can also use Google Analytics to monitor the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Measure which campaigns generated the most actions and what marketing efforts provide successful results with the lowest cost per action. You can also determine what sources of traffic such as specific websites or specific search engines, deliver the most beneficial results. Google Analytics can also tell you which landing pages work well so that you know where you should direct incoming visitors when they first arrive on your website.
Google Analytics can also be used to help determine the return-on-investment (ROI) of marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes measuring the success and usefulness of paid search advertising display advertising social media posting social media advertising e-mail marketing affiliate marketing and all types of digital advertising.
With tens of millions of sites using Google Analytics digital marketers are expected to make data-driven decisions. The data collected from Google Analytics makes it possible to deliver better experiences for users. It also makes it possible to make certain that marketing and advertising activities meet business objectives. Poor performing pages or screens can be removed from websites or apps. Technical issues on websites can be discovered. Successful content can be expanded. Unsuccessful content can be removed.
Google Analytics is part of an analytics process
The first step in analytics is to measure, and Google Analytics helps with this. When measuring we collect raw data. Raw data has not been interpreted or analyzed, it's simply numbers. The next step in the analytics process is to learn from the data. We do this by analyzing it by interpreting it by looking for patterns in an effort to make sense of the data that's been collected. After we have measured and learned from the data, we can then develop a hypothesis. At this stage we seek to understand what the data is telling us. What insights are available about the data and what information does the data actually tell us. Through the learning and hypothesis process we have distilled the data we have converted the data into information based upon the hypothesis we can then take action. We need to interpret this data ourselves, as GA4 does not do this work for us. In the case of Google Analytics we might decide to change a marketing campaign or revise a landing page. After we take action we repeat the process by starting over and measuring the data to determine what impact our revisions have made. We seek to understand whether our hypothesis was correct.
Creating a measurement plan for Google Analytics
Before starting into Google Analytics it's useful to create a measurement plan. This measurement plan should align with the objective of the business or the organization. The objectives for most organizations or businesses are measured as key performance indicators or KPIs and sometimes as objective and key results or OKRs. These are quantifiable results such as increasing sales by a certain percent or obtaining a certain amount of new customers. Google Analytics can help measure to determine whether these quantifiable objectives are being met.
Making the best use of Google Analytics
Analytics involves measuring, collecting and analyzing data for the purpose of optimizing and understanding your organization. The data that you collect in Google Analytics is not the end goal. Use the data that you collect in Google Analytics to create information that can help you make better decisions. Google Analytics provides an extensive amount of information, it can almost provide information overload. To obtain useful information out of Google Analytics it's useful to approach it with questions such as: how is the new ad campaign performing? Or is a social media platform providing engaged visitors? You can even find the answer to weather a redesign of a web page has improved business results.
Key questions Google Analytics answers
- how users arrived which is measured as acquisition in analytics.
- What visitors did when they arrived on your website which is measured as engagement
- Who visited your website which is measured through demographics
- Did visitors to your website do what you wanted them to do which is measured as a conversion
- Are visitors purchasing well on your website which is measured under monetization
There are many other questions that Google Analytics can also answer. These include which advertising campaigns are the most effective. Are certain websites better sources of traffic than others? Is social media driving useful traffic to your website? Are visitors engaging with content on your site? What landing pages are most effective. All these questions can be addressed if you have familiarity with how to access reports in Google
How Google Analytics works
Google Analytics 4 is an on-site analytics tool
GTA4 is an on site analytics tool. Google Analytics provides data about a specific website. Access to Google Analytics data about a website requires that you own, manage or control a site. It also requires that you install and set up analytics on a site. Google Analytics data is not captured for all websites. Google Analytics data is only collected when you have installed Google Analytics on a website and then it only reports data to authorized users.
Why you need to use Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Universal analytics stopped collecting data in mid-2023 for most users. Since July of 2023 only Google Analytics 4 (GA4) data has been collected. The old universal analytics data will be retained by Google through the end of 2023. Any universal analytics data that you want to keep beyond this time must be backed up. The options to backup your universal analytics data include exporting your data from Google Analytics to excel or Google Sheets or using a third-party data connector which can send your data to big query. The third-party data connectors to big query from universal analytics is a paid service. While in GA4 this connection to Big Query is available at no cost, this functionality to connect Universal Analytics to Big Query does not exist in legacy UA. The ability to export data to excel or Google Sheets is available at no cost.
If you choose to export your data from universal analytics to Google Sheets or Excel you should identify the report in universal analytics that you wish to export then expand the date range to include the period of time that you wish to back up. For most users backing up one year or two years of data should be sufficient. Expanding the view of your universal analytics report to show the maximum number of rows available will make certain that you back up as much data as possible. After selecting the date range and expanding the number of rows you can then use the export option in the upper right corner of the universal analytics interface. You can choose to export your data to CSV or Google Sheets