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Google Analytics 4 – Is GA4 the future?

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Frank Duszynski 11/01/21

On 10/14/2020, Google Analytics 4 was launched and therefore represents the current status when opening a new Analytics account. However, the old properties, such as the “App+Web Property” can still be used, which raises the following question: When should the upgrade, or switch, take place? Spoiler Alert: we recommend to set up and test GA4 in parallel already now to be able to collect as much data as possible.



Google and especially Google Analytics, as well as our beloved cookies, have never been particularly good friends in terms of data protection. The GDPR and the further tightening of cookie regulations are not exactly deepening the friendship. So the goal is to be able to track user behavior completely without cookies in the future. However, the idea of being able to do without cookies seems unimaginable today. But what disruptive approach that changes the business world has not done so in the past? 


What is new?

Anyone who once used Google Analytics 360 could benefit from BigQuery and machine learning. With Google Analytics 4, anyone can now use artificial intelligence (AI) to anticipate user behavior and complete customer journeys if data is missing. This principle is specified in more detail under the term modeling. In short, sessions and devices are no longer simply measured. The focus is now on the respective customer journey, which is tracked and, if necessary, completed using AI and statistical heuristics (modeling)

The biggest advantage that can be derived from this, besides the improved data protection, is the possibility to anticipate user behavior and to react by means of live data and trends. If you know the likelihood of a churn, purchase or other pre-specified event, you can counteract this and thus improve the success of your marketing measures. Also, in the future, it will be easier for non-professionals to define specific goals or conversions themselves, such as scrolls, website visits, video engagement, file downloads, or clicks. Below you can find more advantages that Google Analytics 4 brings with it.


Advantages of Google Analytics 4:

  • Machine Learning: Data analysis using machine learning algorithms
  • Modeling: missing data are completed via modeling approaches
  • Data Control: better administration of data (collection, storage, deletion and sharing of data)
  • Privacy: no cookies or “identifiers” according to Google ex works 
  • Anonymization of data: IP addresses of users are anonymized by default
  • Data Stream: Pageview and 5 other standard events can be measured in as a conversion at the click of a mouse. In addition, further individual targets can be defined.
  • Visualization: Funnel visualizations, pivot tables and scatter plots give you many new visualization


Differences from Universal Analytics:

Compared to Universal Analytics (UA), Google Analytics 4 (GA4) offers slimmed-down functions. This applies in particular to the e-commerce area (e.g. links such as AdSense, Search Console and data import). We suspect that improvements are still being made in this area in order to be able to be active in a targeted manner. Therefore, until the features are built out, we recommend continuing to use the familiar structures and testing the new properties until a change makes sense for everyone. Other important differences are as follows:

  • The focus is on user behavior instead of sessions and devices
  • Structure: no more data views and filters, but extensive filtering options directly in the reports
  • Analysis: more extensive and complex
  • Standardization: Standard interactions (such as conversions, clicks or scrolls) do not have to be set up individually, but can be measured with one click
  • Individual goals can be created as an event and then also activated and measured as a goal


Should I upgrade to Google Analytics 4?

We still have a few years to deal with the issue in detail. But the fact is that we already have to deal with it intensively. When you change, the historical data will be lost, which is why we recommend that you set up the new setup in parallel. This way you also ensure comparability of the data from the past.



Conclusion: Google Analytics 4 is the new standard, displacing Universal Analytics. The promise is good and we are convinced that AI and machine learning will usher in the future. In the future, it will be possible to track conversions even more reliably and across platforms while maintaining data protection. Even if this sounds too good to be true – that’s the way the cookie crumbles!s!

Frank Duszynski
Frank Duszynski Director Digital Marketing

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