Any business owner serious about measuring the impact of their online marketing budget should use a web analytics program.
Arguably, the most famous out there is Google Analytics. Launched on November 14 2005 (after acquiring Urchin) it is a web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic.
There have been minor updates to Analytics interface since 2005 but that all changed on September 29, 2020, when Google released a significant update called Analytics 4.0 – if you use Google Analytics Universal, you need to be ready for Google Analytics 4.0.
I have been getting to know Analytics 4.0 on a test account and wanted to share some of my initial findings.
Reports and Interface
When logging in for the first time, you will see that pretty much all the reports have had an update in the new version of Google Analytics. The new interface feels streamlined, especially the reports section on the left-hand navigation bar.
Within the main section of the platform, you are usually greeted with rows of data, but with this new version, it is compact data cards that you can drill down into for more information.
As mentioned above, most of the names have had an update. However, some have remained the same. For example, they have kept Acquisition (source of traffic) which holds the data to let you know where your website's traffic has come from.
However, Monetization is new and interestingly is higher up navigation hierarchy. It looks like it has replaced eCommerce reporting in universal analytics but appears to have fewer options for data analysis.
User Properties and Audiences
The section user properties allows you to identify your users' different attributes to use as building blocks for your audiences.
You can build audiences in Universal Analytics, but this is generally through the settings section. In the new update, you can do this directly from the main report’s navigation bar – which signals to use audiences (as ever) are growing in importance.
With the advent of GDPR and users now having to "opt-in" to being tracked on a website, Google needed to update Analytics to help us advertisers see better in the impending data darkness.
Their solution – Machine learning to fill in the gaps!
I am yet to see this fully in action on my test accounts but I am looking forward to reviewing it when it arrives!
There is a section called analysis which is throwing up a page not found error message for me – this likely means I do not have access to this section yet. But looking at videos about it, it looks very interesting and useful.
So, after a quick review, I absolutely recommend you look to familiarise yourself with the new names to help find the most meaningful data for your business.
I hope that as the take up to the new Analytics 4.0 grows so will the features as they seem a little thin on the ground compared to Universal Analytics at this time.