Google Analytics 4: Development, advantages and migration

Google Analytics 4 is the latest update of the popular online tracking system.

  • Google Analytics was born in 2005. The company with the six colorful letters took over the company Urchin. Its Tracking Monitor became Google Analytics. For years, Urchin provided the technological basis for Google Analytics.
  • From 2014, when Google acquired the app analytics developer Firebase, there were repeated rumors that it might switch to a different technological platform at some point. In 2019, the time had finally come: the first beta version of the Google Analytics App + Web Property was launched.
  • On October 14, 2020, Google Analytics went live as Google Analytics 4. All new online presences that are connected to Google Analytics from this date onwards are also connections (or properties) to Google Analytics 4.

What advantages does Google Analytics 4 offer?

Version 4 of Google Analytics is based on the Google Analytics App + Web Property launched in 2019. It offers the following advantages.

Machine learning (ML): ML enables better data analysis. Data protection: According to Google, the new version enables the processing of information without cookies or other identifiers. Modelling: Incomplete data can be closed using modelling approaches. Data control: There are optimizations in data administration. Anonymization: IP addresses are not logged or stored, which eliminates the need for anonymization. Data streams: In Google Analytics 4, five other events, i.e. scrolls, clicks, etc., on external links are measured by default in addition to page views. Visualization: New visualization options are available, such as funnels, pivot tables or scatter charts. BigQuery: There is the chance to export raw data to Google's data warehouse.

Should or must you switch to Google Analytics 4?

Google is practically forcing users to switch: in order to be able to analyze tracking data via Google in the future, you have to switch to Google Analytics 4. The old Analytics will practically be switched off from July 2023 - it will then no longer provide any data.

During the transition phase, it is worth using Google Analytics and Google Analytics 4 in parallel until the new version is fully functional. Until then, Google Analytics 4 should only be used to collect data and, of course, to get an overview of the new interface.

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