Charles started off by explaining how GA 4 is really the first fully new platform from Google in 15 years (the original urchin.js, apparently, still works!). The platform is not yet ready to replace a Universal Analytics (“GA 3”) implementation, but it is moving in that direction!
Some of the highlights of the demo:
- The new Analysis hub that provides more flexibility when it comes to doing custom analysis, such as fully customizable and retroactive custom funnels
- The much-improved “time” capabilities in GA 4—actually being able to look at “elapsed time” between steps in conversion funnels, and “time” being much more robustly calculated (in-page time and foreground-only time) than it is Universal Analytics
- Dramatically improved pathing capabilities (forward and backward pathing as a native feature, for instance, with rich interactivity)
- Improved conversions—the ability to archive them to free up slots, as well as much more flexibility as to what actually constitutes a conversion
- Richer audience definition capabilities, as well as the ability to create events around when a user joins an event…which can then be set as a conversion (Mind. Blown?)
- Free BigQuery integration that streams data into BigQuery within seconds and provides the data in an easier-to-work-with event-based structure
- The ability to attribute conversions to events…and to do so with a range of heuristic attribution models (eventually)
- Improved debugging abilities
- And more!
Charles described how any site that is currently running Universal Analytics can go ahead and set up GA 4 to run in parallel in just 10-15 minutes of work and then get to start experiencing the new platform for their own site.
And, of course, to just explore the interface with another site’s data, the Google Analytics 4 demo account is always an option.
To check out the entire session, including a lively Q&A, we’ve got the video of the event:
Charles recommended several resources for learning more about the platform (and the first one we just tacked on the first one because…obviously):
If you’re interested in attending a future meetup, check out our upcoming events page!