What is Google Analytics 4? A Simple, Complete Guide

Written By Paul Skelton

On 15 Mar, 2023
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has created a buzz in the online world since it was first talked about in October 2020, and it's easy to see why.

This is the fourth significant release of the new Google Analytics.

This cutting-edge tool is the latest version of universal analytics (Google Analytics you probably use now) the free website tracking software that’s been a staple for tracking Google signals and data since its inception in 2005. 

With Google Analytics 4 fast becoming the go-to option for tracking website data, it’s vital to understand what it is, how it works, and how it will affect your business come July 1st, 2023.

So, whether you’re a seasoned Google Analytics pro or a newcomer to the world of web analytics, it’s time to buckle up and dive into the exciting world of GA4!

Let’s Start With A Simple Question – What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool or service that allows you to collect data and insights from web users to help website owners and marketers improve their online presence. 

By tracking website traffic and user behaviour, Google Analytics allows users to identify areas of their website that are excelling and areas that need improvement.

Through metrics such as pageviews, bounce rates, average time on site, and conversion rates, users can gain a deeper understanding of how users are interacting with their site. 

This information can be used to optimise content and design, improving the overall user experience.

In addition to providing insights into website performance, Google Analytics also offers demographic and interest data on website visitors. 

This information can be used to tailor content and marketing efforts to better reach and engage target audiences.

Overall, Google Analytics is a powerful tool for website owners and marketers looking to improve their website’s performance and drive business results. 

With its easy-to-use interface and wealth of data, Google Analytics is an essential tool for anyone looking to make data-driven decisions about their website.

In essence, Google Analytics is a tool to find out more information about your website users, and their habits and shows you ideas on how to improve the website itself.

What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)? Image displaying how Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is replacing Universal Analytics as a website analytics tool

So is this new Analytics 4 much better than the previous versions?

Like everything, technology moves on, and GA4 is no different.

Firstly, GA4 is designed to provide a more complete overview of user behaviour, tracking website interactions across multiple devices and platforms, including mobile apps which is something that it didn’t do before.  So basically web and app data in one seamless place but tracking user interaction across devices

This allows website owners to gain a better understanding of the customer journey and tailor their marketing efforts accordingly.

Another significant (and great change, in our opinion) is the introduction of event-based tracking

It allows users to track specific user actions on their website, such as button clicks or video views. This is a really cool feature as you can more easily track what people are doing on your website and use it to provide you with info on where to make changes.

Additionally, GA4 introduces more advanced machine learning capabilities (yes, we’re talking AI again!), including predictive metrics and insights. 

What this means is that users can benefit from more accurate data and forecasting. It will allow them to make better decisions about their website, marketing, online advertising and marketing strategy.

GA4 has a load of new features

While GA3 is still a powerful tool for tracking website traffic, to say the least, there is just more useful info that GA4 provides.

Is anything extra cool in GA4 or is it just hype?

A lot of people use websites across platforms nowadays, they get up in the morning, browse a website on their tablet, lunchtime they pop out for lunch and look at the same site on their mobile. 

When they return home later they decide to download the app for the company and buy some clothing – that’s how we use the internet today!

The problem with older versions of analytics is that it was impossible to track that single user across these devices for reasons such as GDPR. So if you had app data and website data trying to connect the dots on your user activity was difficult.

This is where G4 shines. 

GA4 will let you follow a user’s movements, wherever they are and on whatever device they’re on. Think of what that can do for your marketing efforts. 

The new data-driven model means that you can use a single set of web data to get a complete view of both the web and the app. So whether your users are browsing on their phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop, you can use GA4 to get a better understanding of their behaviour and optimise your website and app accordingly.

Anything else that is great about Google Analytics 4?

Yup, there certainly is!

Another great feature is that GA4 allows and uses machine learning and predicts what a user is likely to do next. This really comes into its own when you’re using Google Adwords or social media. 

For example, if you have the ability to see a user throughout the day and know that they are likely to buy your product in the evening, you can run more targeted Google ads to them when they are in the ‘buying frame of mind’. 

Also, let’s say that you sell a wide range of products to different audiences through your website, it will allow you to know that a certain segment will likely perform a certain action based on GA4’s data. It will allow you to set up sales funnels directly to that audience much easier and also better retarget marketing. 

A quick summary of some of Google Analytics’ benefits 

  1. All-in-one tracking – Say goodbye to juggling multiple tracking tools! GA4 lets you track both your website and app performance in one convenient place, so you can streamline your marketing and focus on what really matters.
  2. Enhanced event tracking – GA4 has more out-of-the-box measurements than ever before, from scrolling to outbound link clicks, so you can track user behaviour with ease. Plus, custom event creation is a breeze, so you can get the insights you need without needing to rely on your developers.
  3. Pathways to buyer journey insights – Want to understand your users’ journey from first click to final conversion? GA4 lets you visualise the buyer journey with ease, so you can optimise your website for maximum results.
  4. User-friendly custom reports – Custom Google Analytics reports just got easier! GA4’s explore feature lets you choose segments, and add dimensions, and metrics, making analysis more straightforward and flexible than ever before. 
  5. Free BigQuery exports – Say hello to raw event-level data exports for free! GA4’s integration with BigQuery makes it easy to extract valuable insights from your data without breaking the bank.
  6. Strategic review opportunity – GA4 isn’t just a new tool – it’s a chance to take a step back and review your entire tracking setup. Take the opportunity to ensure that your tracking aligns with your strategic goals, and do a bit of spring cleaning while you’re at it.

Should I upgrade my version of Google Analytics?


Google Analytics is bringing out the new GA4, like it or lump it.  

As of July 1st, 2023, the Google Analytics you know and love is officially out and GA4 is in. 

That means if you want to keep tabs on your website’s performance, it’s time to make the switch to GA4 ASAP. 

The saving grace is that they are giving us until January 1st 2024 to bring your data over to GA4, after that, it’s bye-bye historical data.

Google hasn’t said yet when the current (GA3) will stop running, however, you can bet sometime in 2024 they will stop its use.


If you use a Google Analytics account at the moment, move to GA4 now. At some point in the not-too-distant future, it will stop gathering new data and you will no longer get reporting. So if you rely on website analytics from Google, you may as well get ahead of the curve and get GA4.

This isn’t everything you need to know about the new Google Analytics 4, however, the new version will be Google’s latest best Google Analytics and it should be here for a while. It’s the future of analytics online so even if you don’t have a Google account create one today. 

If you are looking for help moving your Google Analytics property to GA4, then please get in touch.



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