Although creativity runs in my veins, I have a secret affection for analytics – yes, you heard that right! Delving into website traffic and social media metrics is my guilty pleasure. So, today, let’s explore the new version of Google Analytics – Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
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Introduction to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics 4 or GA4, as it’s commonly known, it’s the newest iteration of Google’s analytics platform. If you’re still using Universal Analytics, brace yourselves! By July 2023, Google will stop processing data from Universal Analytics, pushing GA4 into full effect. My recommendation? Switch over now and get comfortable with GA4’s features.
Key Changes in GA4: Users and Events
One significant shift from Universal Analytics to GA4 is the focus on users and events rather than sessions. Now, every action your website visitor takes is considered an event. This granular data gives you a more precise picture of user interaction and behavior on your site.
GA4 Dashboard: Your Data’s Snapshot
GA4’s dashboard presents a snapshot of your data, providing real-time insights. This feature is incredibly useful when launching a new product or releasing fresh content. You can monitor real-time traffic and user interaction. But GA4 doesn’t stop at real-time data; it also provides valuable information on acquisition, engagement, monetization, and retention.
Digging into Acquisition and Engagement
Acquisition and engagement are two critical areas that I advise beginners to explore first. Let’s dive into each of these.
Acquisition reveals how visitors discover your site. It uncovers the effectiveness of your SEO strategies, ads, and marketing efforts on different platforms. Checking your acquisition data can help you decide which strategies to maintain or modify.
Switching to the ‘Pages and Screens’ tab under ‘Engagement’ shows which pages and posts attract the most traffic. Experimenting with different timeframes can provide even more insights. For instance, a year-end review can highlight annual trends in traffic, helping you identify the most and least popular content. This information can guide your content creation strategies for the following year.
Exploring Paths with Explorer Tab
The ‘Explorer’ tab offers a graph-based visualization of your content and user interactions. My favorite feature here is the ‘Path Exploration. It’s enlightening to see the journey users take through your website. This feature can help you understand user behavior better and optimize your site accordingly.
To access this, navigate to the ‘Explore’ tab and choose ‘Path Exploration’. From there, select ‘Page Title’ and ‘Screen Name’ in the ‘Event Name’ dropdown. Clicking on a page title will show you the subsequent pages users clicked on from the original page.
Remember, this overview of GA4 only scratches the surface. There’s a wealth of in-depth information you can uncover. But don’t let that intimidate you! Even a basic understanding of what’s working, what content resonates with your audience, and how users navigate your website can provide valuable insights for your business growth.