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The Complete Guide to GA4 Analytics in 2024

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the new standard in Google's web analytics offerings. As we progress through 2024, it is clear that it is not just a new feature from Google but also essential for anyone who wants to manage and understand their website and app data effectively.

In this blog, we are zeroing in on how GA4 is reforming SEO analysis, its advanced tracking capabilities, improved user insights, and a more integrated approach to understanding user behavior across platforms.

Stay with us, and we will uncover how it can be a pivotal asset in your SEO toolkit.

What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is Google's latest analytics tool, significantly different from its predecessor, Universal Analytics (UA). GA4 shifts to an event-driven model, primarily in how it collects and analyses data on websites and apps, offering a more nuanced view of user behavior.

GA4 primarily works in tracking user interactions across multiple platforms, which is crucial in a world where we often switch between desktop, mobile, and apps. It has been one of the main features that provides a comprehensive understanding of user engagement. 

But at the same time, GA4 prioritizes user privacy and data control, following the latest global data protection regulations.

Another key feature of GA4 is its use of machine learning and AI that offers predictive data insights and automated event tracking. 

Now that we have a basic understanding, let’s look at the features in detail.

The GA Data Model

Universal Analytics was session-based, focusing majorly on page views and sessions. It is like viewing your website traffic from a bird's-eye view, giving a broader picture of user activities.

GA4, on the other hand, is an event-based model, monitoring each user's interactions as a separate event. It is similar to having a close eye on every user action, providing a more detailed and specific understanding of user behavior.

Consent Mode and Data Modeling 

Consent Mode in GA4 prioritizes user privacy, letting users choose if they want their data tracked. Not only does this help maintain privacy, but it also helps build trust with your audience, as GA4 only collects data that users allow to be shared. 

Next, talking about data modeling, GA4 uses machine learning (ML) to estimate missing information, similar to filling in missing data pieces, ensuring you still gain insights even with partial data due to privacy preferences.

Identity Management

In UA, we used cookies to track users, but it had limitations when people used different devices.

Whereas GA4 uses a combination of User IDs and Google Signals (when users are signed into Google). It helps you track the same person as they interact with your website across different devices and over time.

By doing this, you get a more accurate count of your users. This ensures that you do not count the same person twice as they switch from phone to laptop. 

Four Pillars of Reporting in Google Analytics 4

UA's reports are structured round sessions, resources/mediums, page views, and activities that could occasionally limit deeper insights.

GA4's reporting is built on 4 pillars: User, Event, Property, and Time. 

1. User

This pillar focuses on the 'who' part of your data. It is all about understanding your audience – who they are, where they come from, and their demographics.

2. Event

Events are the core of GA4's data model. This pillar captures every user interaction with your site or app, like clicks, page views, transactions, and more.

3. Property

The property pillar is about the 'where' – it refers to your website or app from where the data is collected. Property is a report section that helps you view and manage product links, data, and privacy settings.

4. Time

This pillar deals with the 'when.' It is all about understanding the timing of user interactions – when they visit, how long they stay, and the sequence of their actions.

Enhanced Event Tracking

Event monitoring in Universal Analytics (UA) often required manual configuration and was less user-friendly, especially for complex user interactions.

However, GA4 simplifies event tracking. It can automatically track different events without requiring extra setup. These events include actions like clicks, scrolls, and video plays, to name a few. 

You can also set up custom events in GA4 to monitor specific actions important for your website.


How to set up a Google Analytics 4 property?

Sign up for Google Analytics: Log in or register for an account.

  1. To add a new property, go to the admin section and click "Create Property."

  2. Use the GA4 Setup Assistant: Locate and select the 'GA4 Setup Assistant' icon.

  3. Set Prompts to Follow: Enter property information such as the URL and name of the website.

  4. Create a Data Stream: Select 'web' for websites and enter information.

  5. Get Tracking Code: GA4 will supply you with a tracking code for your website.

  6. Tracking Code Installation: Put the code in the HTML head section of your website or use a CMS plugin.

  7. Check the Setup: Examine whether data is being captured in GA4's real-time reporting.

What is event tracking in GA4?

How does GA4 handle user-level data?

What is monetization in Google Analytics 4?

What is the difference between GA4 and Firebase Analytics?

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