Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the newest version of Google Analytics, available for those Universal Analytics accounts using the gtag.js website tracking tag, websites that implement manual tagging, or apps using the Firebase SDK. It’s also the default interface for all new properties in Google Analytics.
What’s new in GA4
The GA4 interface has more options in the left-hand navigation, while the Home dashboard will look familiar to the previous Analytics experience. Dig in a little more, and you’ll find that the overview dashboards have been consolidated from several separate reports to show reports in widgets. You can also set a comparison at the global level, which persists across the dashboards as you click through them.
Long-time users of Analytics will find they’ll need to take some time to explore the new setup and find reports that they may have found quickly before. Gone are the tabs for Audience, Behavior, and Conversions. While GA4 retains the Acquisition menu, you’ll now also find Engagement, Monetization, and Retention. Each of these tabs give a roll-up overview dashboard.
Inspired by ML and BI
The whole thing looks more like a modern business intelligence tool than previous iterations of Analytics. It’s hard to tell whether Analytics is providing more value or less data with the changes, but there’s something to be said for the novelty.
The new interface and new reports are powered by machine learning tools that can integrate data from YouTube, in-app purchases, Google Ads, and website traffic. These connections will improve audience lists, predict customer churn, notify site owners of surging product popularity, among other valuable actions.
Set it up now, get analyzing later
It’s fairly easy to set up the new GA4, although for me the help documentation wasn’t in line with the names or options available in my admin tools. Whereas the help page directs you to choose the property and “Click Upgrade to GA4,” I still had to make a new property, where I was able to choose the option for the Apps + Web beta.
True to GA form, even if you’re excited about getting the new insights right now, you’ll have to contain your excitement. All Google Analytics data is updated around midnight Pacific time, so if you set up your GA4 data streams today, you will need to come back and check for your data tomorrow.