Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool offered by Google that allows website and app owners to know and analyze traffic from their platforms. This online solution collects data about user visits and interactions on a website or app and presents this information in detailed, easy-to-understand reports. Google Analytics is widely used in the world of digital marketing to measure the performance of marketing campaigns through web analytics and to better understand the behavior of users and customers.
The purpose of Google Analytics is to provide information about who the visitors to a web page or application are, how they arrived on the platform (for example, through a search engine, a link on another website, an advertising campaign), what they do when they are on the platform (the pages they visit, the time they spend, the actions they take) and whether they complete desired actions (such as making a purchase or subscribing to a newsletter).
Google Analytics offers a wide range of features and capabilities that allow digital marketers to gain detailed insight into traffic and user behavior on their websites or apps.
The use of Google Analytics in a digital marketing strategy presents numerous benefits. Among them are:
To use Google Analytics, you need to create a Google Analytics account and set up a property for the website or app you want to analyze. Next, you need to install the Google Analytics tracking code on all pages of the website or in the app. Once the tracking code is in place, Google Analytics will start collecting data about visits and interactions on the website or app.
Google Analytics presents the collected data in a series of reports accessible from the account dashboard. These reports can be customized to show the most relevant information for each user, and alerts can be configured to receive notifications about important changes in traffic or user behavior.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of this popular web analytics tool released in October 2020. GA4, also known as "App + Web" during its beta phase, represents a significant shift in the way Google collects and analyzes user data. Compared to previous versions of Google Analytics, GA4 focuses more on event tracking and less on user sessions.
In previous versions of Google Analytics, user tracking was mostly session-based, i.e. every time a user visited a website, Google Analytics recorded a new "session" and all actions taken during that session were grouped together.
In GA4, tracking is event-driven. This means that each action taken by a user on a website is recorded as an individual event. This change allows for more detailed and customizable tracking of user behavior.
Other notable differences of GA4 include:
Google has announced that GA4 is the future of Google Analytics, and website and app owners are advised to start using GA4 alongside their current version of Google Analytics. To do this, you can set up a GA4 property next to the existing property in your Google Analytics account and start collecting data in both properties.
Migrating to GA4 may require some initial effort to set up event tracking and customize reports, but in the long run, it offers a more complete and accurate view of user behavior, which can help improve digital marketing strategy.