Impacts and benefits of using Google Analytics 4 for data-driven marketing

  • After 8 years at the forefront in terms of data collection and analysis, Google Analytics Universal has ceded its position as a reference tool to its successor: Google Analytics 4. The arrival of GA4 - initially App + Web - marks an important and necessary turning point in data collection and activation. A necessary change that responds to major changes in user behavior, in the policies of the big technological players and in the legislative framework that radically modifies the treatment of data from its collection to its activation.

    Google Analytics Universal, the end of an era ...

    If we analyze the current situation, the disappearance of Google Analytics Universal arises from a double evolution: social and technological. Today users expect a consistent and relevant experience in their interactions with brands. And furthermore, they demand that their online privacy be respected.

    The arrival of GA4 is framed within a logical evolution in the use of web analytics that comprises 3 differentiated eras:

    The era of measurement: more basic and pragmatic ("I want to measure my audience").
    The age of analytics: increased customization in data collection, static and dynamic reporting, and the advent of Firebase ("I want to estimate performance").
    The era of activation: connecting tools such as Google Ads, Optimize or Firebase Growth Features ("I want to make this data a lever for ROI").
    The appearance of GA4 is part of this third era based on a greater connection of all Google tools, the Last Database introduction of machine learning , a people-based vision and a more direct data activation. Data collection can only create value for the brand if it is collected and structured to build a single (and agile) connection point that links the entire user journey across devices and platforms: both within the web and outside and with a vision based on people, within a world that will soon be without cookies. Linking marketing and technology is an essential maturity lever that enables increasing value to data assets in an ecosystem where data quality and privacy challenges are critical.

    ... And a strategic revolution

    Gathering data with a broader view
    With GA4, data collection is designed for a wide and varied range of interests. Therefore, storage, analysis and activation serve media and cross-platform use cases, both on and off the web. For example, GA4 provides a unified view of metrics and performance by natively integrating cross-platform metrics. Finally, in order to satisfy user privacy concerns, GA4 is built to offer privacy by design based on consent rules.

    More agile data exploration
    Although GA4 naturally integrates out-of-the-box reports, it is the ability to create new reports in real time that sets it apart from its predecessor. The ability to explore data and therefore understand it, leaves room for analysis and the discovery of new knowledge.

    More integration
    While GA4 enables near real-time exploration and analysis, it is also a system that brings together data and trigger tools. It integrates with Google Ads, Data Studio and Big Query, and furthermore, more integrations with the Google suite are expected in the future, including the long-awaited YouTube integration that promises an insight into conversions coming from the platform.

    A central role for audiences
    By rethinking the audience system, Google is increasingly refocusing on activation. The audience creation system is now much more flexible: overlap between audiences, cross-platform attribution and generation of events when a user enters an audience - everything is designed for flexible and media-focused use.

    New collection frame
    The new data collection framework relies heavily on the Firebase framework. Bottom line: it's event-centric and that's a big change. But what does it mean? The GA Universal framework was built around the analytics platform, not the usage. As a result, the data was collected when the page was loaded, and we waited for a user interaction to enrich it, joining a series of events to form sessions that fell short of a static and quite arbitrary definition. In recent years, the evolution of benchmark metrics and increasing data asynchrony make this framework page illusory. In fact, the display of content is by nature a logical sequence of events with different temporality: page load event,

    And now that?

    Seize the moment! Taking the reins of GA4 now means giving yourself time to think. Does this signal add any value? Does my data structure allow me to build a datalake infrastructure? Does the nomenclature follow good practices? Is my collection exhaustive enough? Does it allow me to activate media effectively and carry out personalization campaigns ?

    All these questions, as well as an onboarding phase, must be the basis of a migration project. And to make the transition to GA4 as seamless as possible, it is best to maintain dual tracking (collect d

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