Google launched the latest iteration of their web analytics platform called Google Analytics 4, aka GA4. It brings in plenty of significant developments that help gather and maintain insights under one cohesive platform. Why is this super-interesting? GA4 offers a complete cross-channel view of the customer lifecycle and provides more information and tools to execute on these insights. The new updates also include optimisations using machine learning for the cookie-less future. The 6 most significant upgrades 1. New AI-powered insights and predictions. Machine learning-based insights have always been available on Google Analytics. However, the new and improved insights and predictions can automatically alert marketers to data trends such as increased demand for a product they sell. The new intelligence can also predict outcomes such as churn rates and potential revenues businesses could earn from each segment of customers. Here's an example, Google Analytics can now use the data from the website to identify increasing demand in certain products because of developing customer needs. Google is expected to continue improving on these smarter insights over time, making Google Analytics 4 more and more useful for every business. 2. Deeper audience integration with Google Ads. Marketers now have the ability to build and maintain audiences using visitors across the web and app, which means it can report on conversions such as YouTube views that occur in-app or on the web. For instance, a user added on a list because of a particular action taken on the web can now automatically be removed based on actions taken on the app so that they're not retargeted with ads. Businesses can now have a holistic view of their goals with the ability to see conversions from Google and non-Google services (including social media). 3. Customer lifecycle-framed reporting. The new customer-centric data approach is designed to provide marketers with a more comprehensive view of how customers are engaging with the business across devices as well as channels. The brand-new reports show specific aspects of the customer journey. With the multi-touch attribution experience businesses can, for example, see if customers first discovered their brand from an ad on mobile and later completed a purchase on the web. These types of improvements enable marketers and businesses to be savvier in targeting and focusing their advertising efforts towards high performing platforms and campaigns. There is a certain critical long-term benefit from this model as marketers can now gain a better understanding of the entire customer lifecycle from acquisition to conversion and also, retention. 4. Codeless event tracking. Increased codeless features make it easier to track and measure on-site and in-app actions in real-time such as page scroll or video play without having to add additional code. 5. New Approach to Data Google Analytics now offers a more granular set of controls that marketers can use to manage and maintain data collection and retention. With Google Analytics 4, marketers have an option on when to use customer data to optimise ads and when to limit the data for measurement purposes only. An important change is updates to consent mode and data deletion capabilities. These changes allow businesses to have additional options for consent opt-ins for analytics and ads along with the ability to delete specific information requested by users. These developments are significant in the long-term as it helps marketers adapt to a future with restricted cookies and identifiers. 6. Google Analytics in a cookie-less future. As all major browsers are moving towards a cookie-less world, Google anticipates an increase in data sparsity and will rely on machine learning algorithms to fill the data gaps. They will also have event data but might not have a user identifier associated with it. This feature isn't in place today and is expected to be rolled out in 2021. Overall, the biggest takeaway from Google Analytics 4 is that machine learning is expected to play a vital role in the overall future of analytics.
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