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GA4 Google Analytics Overview

Nov. 09, 2023 | Dwight Zahringer

GA4 Analytics

Embracing the Analytics Transition

The calendar has flipped past July 1st, the day Google Analytics 4 (GA4) became the new norm, yet here we are, some of us still teetering on the brink of the GA4 pool, dipping our toes in hesitantly. Maybe your GA4 setup isn’t quite there yet, or perhaps you don’t know where to start.

If GA4 still feels like a foreign land, or if you’re simply time-crunched, come aboard as I chart out the terrain of GA4, shine a spotlight on its upgrades over Universal Analytics (UA), and unveil some hidden treasure troves of resources that’ll empower you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re navigating where to start, how to fit in, or piloting a fleet at an agency for clients; we’ve got a good overview on why to start your GA4 journey.

Deciphering GA4’s “X Marks the Spot”

Understanding the ‘why’ behind GA4’s existence is like finding the first clue on a treasure map. It’s a different beast because it’s adapted to the modern voyages of web and app browsing, and it’s savvy to the winds of change in privacy, trading old-school cookies for aggregated data to keep user privacy under a tight lid.

GA4 sets sail across the web and apps with data streams and ditches the session-based old world for a shiny, event-based model. It’s a tad tricky to compare it with UA, but it’s this very shift that makes GA4 a great tool for today’s digital explorers.

GA4 Analytics

Anchoring GA4 with Precision

If your GA4 setup feels like it’s adrift, it’s time to grab the wheel. Advertisers, double-check those Google Ads links, migrate your goals and conversions, and ensure your Google Ads are targeting the right audiences.

You can even import your UA events into GA4 with the flick of a switch in the tag settings – a feature as handy as a compass. Use the GA4 Setup Assistant as your map, and don’t miss the Setup Guide for a detailed chart of the setup process, especially critical for advertisers.

SkillShop is Your Friend

Our own transition with GA4 was not so smooth until we discovered the Skillshop courses. They’ll help you understand GA4’s constellation of concepts and structures. Beginner or not, Google’s treasure chest of resources is brimming with guides to speed up your journey.

  • Skillshop: The go-to for steadying your GA4 sea legs.
  • Analytics for beginners & SMBs: Sets the course for new adventurers.
  • Analytics for marketers & analysts: Charts the depths for seasoned voyagers.
  • Mini Guides: Quick scrolls to deep dive into GA4’s coves.
  • Metrics & Reporting comparison: Your navigational aids to GA4’s metrics and reports.

The new learning hub at is like the crow’s nest, giving you the vantage point to see learning paths, videos, and more. Soon, you’ll have a help panel in GA4 – think of it as helpful advice right when you need it.

GA4’s Spyglass

GA4 is teeming with features that UA never dreamed of, like setting your business objective to bring the most relevant reports to the surface and customizing your home page for a view as unique.

  • Business Objectives: Set your sails and let GA4 show you the way with tailored reports.
  • Customized Home Page: No more one-size-fits-all; GA4’s home page adapts to your journey.
  • Analytics Intelligence: Like having an oracle on board, it uses machine learning to predict and inform.
  • Enhanced Event Measurement & Cross-device/Platform Audiences: It’s like having an all-seeing-eye, no incantations (or coding) required.

And for the more experienced Amigos….

  • User-ID, Explorations, Custom Funnel Reports, BigQuery export: These upgrades are like finding a faster current that only the most seasoned sailors know about.

Navigating Without the Need for Code

  • Even if you’re sailing solo or with a small crew, GA4 lets you conjure events without resorting to coding spells. You can create and modify events with the ease of raising your sails with the Google tag.

GA4 isn’t just about charting the known seas; it’s about discovering new ones. It allows for an armada of standard and custom events, offering a versatility that could make even the most notorious pirates envious.

You can build reports as unique as your needs and wants.

Primary Image Source: UnSplash: Myriam Jessier