SEMA News—December 2021


Google Analytics 4

With the Kinks Out, It’s Ripe for a Test Drive

By Joe Dysart

While many businesses took a wait-and-see approach when Google released a major upgrade to its analytics software last fall—Google Analytics 4—now is a good time to begin experimenting with the latest version. The free software offers businesses a powerful way to analyze and improve on how visitors are interacting with their websites. It has been put through its paces since its release, and any kinks with the code appear to have been worked out.


The time is right to test drive the new—and powerful—Google Analytics 4.

The new Google Analytics 4 also represents a significant leap forward for businesses looking to understand and capitalize on how visitors are interacting with their web properties.

Google Analytics 4 “is the future of Google Analytics,” said Stephen Roda, analytics manager for Ivestis Digital (, a digital marketing services provider. “It is a major update to Google Analytics and one that indicates a substantial change in how users are interacting and engaging with your brand across devices, platforms, content types and the various stages of the customer journey.”

Ryan Chase agreed. He is a senior analytics consultant for Blast Analytics & Marketing (, a digital marketing services provider.

“Flexibility, greatly improved scalability and modern business intelligence features make Google Analytics 4 a robust platform for deriving insights into user behavior and your business,” he said.

Understandably, brows often furrow when news breaks that a “must-have” upgrade to a popular software is released. Too often, such news is accompanied by a painful learning curve, numerous missteps, and lost time and money. With this update, however, Google has made it very easy to try Google Analytics 4 by enabling users to run the newest version of the software even as they continue to run the version they’re currently using.

Essentially, running the two versions in parallel takes little more than installing a snippet of code on your website to enable Google Analytics 4 to track behavior there, and the new snippet of code will not wreak havoc with the current code you already have there being used by your previous version of Google Analytics.

Ivestis Digital’s Roda said that running the two versions of the program in parallel will ensure that you’ll be able to run your day-to-day business with the earlier version of Analytics while you try the new features in Google Analytics 4.

“If you set up Google Analytics 4 now, you’ll have historical data at least back to now when the time comes to fully transition to Google Analytics 4,” said Joseph Stucker, SEM/SEO specialist for Altos Agency (, a digital marketing services provider.

Indeed, one of the drawbacks of switching to Google Analytics 4 without activating it months in advance is that you will not be able to migrate the data you’ve acquired using the previous version of the software. Instead, you’ll need to build a new history on your customers’ behaviors beginning the day you activate Google Analytics 4 for use on your web properties.

Probably one of the best reasons to migrate to the newest version is that Google Analytics 4 enables you to track what your customers are doing whether they’re interacting on your website or they’re shopping in your mobile app. That new focus—tracking what customers are doing on your digital property rather than tracking what customer devices are doing on your digital property—represents a major change for the software.

For example, with Google Analytics 4, you’ll know when a customer makes a purchase he or she has been considering and whether the purchase is made with a smartphone, a desktop computer or on a tablet. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll be able to update the way your advertising targets that customer moving forward, so instead of advertising the same product they’ve already purchased, for example, you can target them with accessories for that product or items that complement that product.

Another benefit to moving to Google Analytics 4 is the new software’s ability to track every single interaction your customer makes on your digital property more precisely. Those interactions (or “events,” as Google Analytics 4 characterizes them) are strung together to offer you an analysis of the entire “customer journey” a visitor engages in at your digital properties. That kind of insight will enable you to better determine what facets of your website or mobile app are working best for selling and what needs improvement.

Granted, such “journey tracking” is possible with the previous version of the software, but Google Analytics 4 enables you to track all of the events without requiring you to tweak the software or set additional tags to tracking specific events as often.

For example, with the previous version of the software, users were forced to tweak the program to monitor how a customer scrolls through your website using a mobile app. With Google Analytics 4, that customization is no longer required; it comes standard.

Moreover, businesses using the previous version of the software also needed to embed certain tweaks to monitor which videos customers are viewing on their websites or mobile apps. With Google Analytics 4, that tracking ability on a customer-by-
customer basis is already baked in.

Yet another new benefit Google Analytics 4 brings to your business is the ability to import data generated by other business programs into the software. That is an extremely powerful new capability, enabling your business to get a richer appreciation of how customers and visitors are interacting with your business using data that is simply beyond the sensors of the older version of the software.


With Google Analytics 4, you’ll know when a customer makes a purchase he or she has been considering and whether the purchase is made with a smartphone, a desktop computer or on a tablet. Photo courtesy: IB Photography/

Still another major reason to give Google Analytics 4 a serious look is the software’s new artificial intelligence, which Google said will enable you to keep monitoring customers after third-party cookie tracking is phased out of the Google Chrome browser in 2022.

Other specific new features that Google Analytics 4 offers to your business include:

Surging Sales Reports: Google Analytics 4 can be easily programmed to detect a sudden surge in sales for specific products or services that your business offers, enabling you to be much more nimble to take advantage of such spikes.

Anticipated-Churn-Rate Reports: The new software can also be used detect which customers you’ll most likely be losing in the near future, enabling you to be more nimble in making changes that may help you retain those customers.

Customer Segment Reports: Google Analytics 4 is also designed to sniff out specific customer segments that show the most promise for revenue gains in coming months. Such reports offer your sales and marketing staff the ability to proactively custom tailor offers to those warm leads.

Analysis Hub Reports: This section of Google Analytics 4 enables you to create custom reports on customer journeys, interactions and the like. It also stores all the customized reports you’ve created in Google Analytics 4.

Home Reports: This report enables you to monitor the total number of users to your digital properties, any conversions you’ve made with those visitors, and any revenue generated by those interactions. It’s similar to reports that previous versions of the software have offered.

QRJoe Dysart is an internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan.


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