Everything small businesses need to know about GA4

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

By Paul Morris, below, Managing Director, Superb Digital

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is Google’s latest analytics tool, designed to provide small businesses with deeper insights into data gathered from their websites and apps. As of July 2023, GA4 replaced Google’s Universal Analytics property,   offering several key enhancements that make it easier to use and customise.

Understanding Google’s ‘next-gen’ analytics property is crucial for small businesses seeking to optimise their online presence and make better informed decisions. Here, we explore the key features of GA4 and its potential impact on future trends.

  1. Greater Insights:

GA4 uses machine learning algorithms to provide rich insights into user behaviour and trends. By analysing data, companies can identify key patterns, take proactive measures, and predict future  trends. This enhanced understanding empowers small businesses to make data-driven decisions and improve their digital strategies.

  1. Flexible Data Modelling:

One significant improvement in GA4 is the ability to design custom dimensions and metrics. With up to 25 parameters per event, businesses can create personalised data models that align with their specific requirements. This flexibility enables a more comprehensive analysis of user behaviour and unlocks new opportunities for audience customisation, as discussed below.

  1. Customisation of Audiences:

By leveraging user behaviour and demographics, small businesses can create custom audiences using GA4. This feature allows them to target specific groups with personalised messaging, remarketing campaigns and promotions. Furthermore, businesses can modify and archive the data used for audience segmentation, ensuring ongoing optimisation and relevance.

  1. Enhanced Tracking:

GA4 enables precise tracking of each interaction on a website or app as an event. This level of granularity provides businesses with valuable insights into user journeys and interactions, allowing for better optimisation and performance tracking. By understanding how users engage with their digital assets, businesses can identify areas for improvement and refine their online strategies accordingly.

  1. Tracking Across Multiple Devices:

One of the most notable advancements in GA4 is its ability to track users across different devices. By combining data from User IDs, Google Signals, and Cookies, GA4 offers a comprehensive overview of a customer’s journey, from the initial touchpoint to the final conversion. This cross-device tracking capability enables businesses to analyse user interactions across multiple channels and devices, gaining a holistic understanding of customer behaviour.

  1. Better Campaign Monitoring:

With close integration with Google Ads, GA4 provides accurate data on campaign performance and user behaviour. By utilising the Advertising section in GA4’s user interface, businesses can optimise their campaigns effectively. This integration allows for a seamless connection between advertising efforts and analytics insights, enabling small businesses to refine their advertising strategies for better results.

  1. Improved Privacy:

GA4 addresses privacy concerns by offering better privacy controls. A notable feature is Consent Mode, which allows users to determine how their data is shared with Google and other third parties. This transparency and control over data sharing contribute to building trust with customers and aligning with privacy regulations.

  1. Search Capability:

GA4 introduces a search bar feature that allows businesses to access and analyse vast amounts of customer data effortlessly. By simplifying the search process, businesses can quickly find the information they need, enabling efficient data-driven decision-making.

How can GA4 be used to determine future trends?

GA4’s machine learning capabilities enable quick and accurate analysis of historical data to identify trends and patterns that may indicate future customer behaviour. This insight can be used for evidence-based forecasting and strategic planning. However, it’s important to note that GA4 analysis should be complemented by considering other factors such as consumer behaviour, market conditions, and competitive pressures. These external variables can influence future performance and should be taken into account when making business decisions.

Conclusion

GA4 represents a significant advancement in Google’s analytics software and offers small businesses powerful tools to understand and optimise their digital presence. With its enhanced insights, flexible customisation options, improved tracking capabilities, and better privacy controls, GA4 provides a comprehensive platform for data-driven decision-making.

Moreover, GA4’s potential impact extends beyond immediate optimisations. By harnessing the power of machine learning and advanced analytics, small businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviours. This knowledge can be instrumental in identifying emerging trends, predicting future market shifts, and staying ahead of the competition.

By leveraging GA4 effectively, small businesses can gain a competitive edge, refine their digital strategies, and deliver personalised experiences to their target audiences. While GA4 may not be perfect yet, its potential impact on the success of small businesses in almost every industry makes it an essential tool to embrace and integrate into their operations.

GA4 represents a significant leap forward in analytics technology for small businesses. Its enhanced capabilities for data analysis, customisation, and tracking provide invaluable insights that can shape marketing strategies, drive customer engagement, and unlock new growth opportunities. By capitalising on GA4’s range of features and integrating them into the decision-making process, small businesses can harness the power of data to thrive in an increasingly competitive digital landscape.

Paul Morris is  Managing Director of Bristol based digital marketing agency, Superb Digital. He has over 20 years experience in the field and you can connect with him on LinkedIn.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024