Once Upon a Time: A GA4 Fairytale

by Kristina Homenuck

I hear this question a lot, “I have GA (or Adobe or IBM), why do I need GA4?” The simple answer is that GA4 sort of turns analytics on its head – it easily captures data and houses it in a safe private place. It casts magic ‘spells’ upon it.  But what does that mean? Well, let me tell you a fairytale. 

Once upon a time, about 15 years ago, Google Analytics was created based on Urchin code. As you know, much has changed since then. For example, how users interact with websites, how they use different platforms, and of course, all the privacy concerns currently being raised. All of this meant Google needed to step up its game and create an analytics tool that is not only up-to-date, but future proof as well, so it can stand up another 15 years (hopefully more) to the changing environment.

The magic of GA4 is that you can see how a user interacts with your brand using different platforms, like app and web. This works even better if you encourage users to login to your website consistently. Do you want to save money by targeting a user only on the platform where he is better responding to your marketing campaigns? I do! And, with GA4, Google grants you your first wish.

But there is even more magic, and more wishes granted. You are probably spending a fair amount of money on analytics, but when something goes wrong, how long does it take for an analyst to notice when there is an anomaly in the data? How long does it take the analyst to notice that something is going right and help somebody on the team to do their jobs even better? Sometimes, the analyst doesn’t even notice the anomaly because it’s hidden in the bushy forest of all the data collected. In GA4 the magic fairy (let’s call her Machine Learning) will move her magic wand and highlight those anomalies as soon as next date data is available. After that, the analyst (and I hope you have a good one or are yourself a good one) will get deep into the waters and try to find the reason for that anomaly. Save time – save money – save analyst’s mental health. Second wish granted!

And the magic machine learning fairy doesn’t stop there.  She can predict the future! Machine learning can tell you things like which users are most likely to churn, which users are likely to make a purchase, or even better, how much revenue you can expect to receive from a user in the next 28 days! How’s that for magic? You can plan a bit better, market a bit better, and just be wowed with all these futuristics opportunities!

If that is not enough, there is more. Have you ever wondered what is the common passage through your wonderfully laid out website? GA4 magic will reveal you 8 steps that happened after the page or event of your choosing. How about 8 pages before that page or event? Do you want to know what the common flow is to your checkout page? What about the common flow to the point where a user needs to call the support team or use the chat? Easy with GA4! Use a Path analysis and learn the ins and outs of your users’ navigation – those darkest paths to conversion.

This magic gives you ways to confirm (or disprove) your longest held assumptions on how your users convert. You will be surprised how many users get lost on the way out while trying to figure out how to avoid the traps that you put before the ‘convert’ button. 

So many wishes granted!

And there’s still more. I haven’t even mentioned the magic of BigQuery or what you can do with audiences. But that is a tale for another day. For now, I’ll end the way all great fairy tales do: 

And they all lived happily ever after.

Kristina Homenuck

Intermediate Analyst

Kristina is a web analyst who is passionate about actionable data. As part of the Napkyn Analytics team, she shares her extensive GA360 experience and enthusiasm for analytics with the clients.

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