What SMB’s Need to Know About Google Analytics 4

Businesses of all sizes rely on the power of Google Analytics to understand their customers and offer them better experiences. When it comes to small and medium-sized businesses, leveraging the power of Google Analytics to stretch your B2B marketing dollars further becomes more important. Insights gained from digital tools remain critical as more and more businesses conduct commerce online or in some portion of the digital realm. 

Google Analytics 4 (GA4), previously called App+Web, replaces the former property type “Universal Analytics”. Rolled out in October of 2020, GA4 brings intelligent analytics, better tracking, and detailed reports for you to enhance your website – and this new and improved platform is still free of cost. Using machine learning and designed with privacy in mind, GA4 allows B2B marketers to gain helpful insights into customers across devices and platforms. Better yet – the new analytics tool was built to stay reliable even while new restrictions on cookies and identifiers become more commonplace. 

The main difference between GA4 and previous iterations of Google Analytics is that GA4 supports reporting on websites and applications, whereas the old Google Analytics can only track website analytics. However, there are a few other important differences to be aware of, even if you’re not a digital marketing expert.

Let’s take a moment to focus on some key benefits of GA4 and explain how they might apply to your everyday life as a business owner doing your own B2B marketing.

            1. Cross-Platform Tracking

Users spend time using different platforms, and with the old version of Google Analytics, it took a manual process to track both kinds of traffic, sapping away valuable time and resources. With GA4, you can view the results of your marketing efforts across all platforms in one place. You can see the performance of individual platforms and decide which platforms you need to concentrate your efforts. For example, when someone views your site using two different devices, GA4 will recognize just one view, not two. B2B marketers using GA4 can view the complete customer journey from acquisition to retention – and across all platforms. This is a powerful step forward in offering a clearer picture of your audience’s behavior and purchasing patterns.

2. Important Predictive Metrics

With machine learning technology, GA4 helps B2B marketers make better proactive decisions that have the potential to vastly improve retargeting campaigns. As of this writing, metrics included in GA4 include:

  • Purchase probability: the probability of a 28-day active user to purchase in the next seven days
  • Churn probability: the chance of a 7-day active user becoming inactive within the next seven days
  • Revenue prediction: expected revenue in the next 28 days from 28-day active users

With these new metrics, you can create different audiences such as users likely to purchase in the next seven days, or users who might spend more than $300 in one shopping session. You can then target these users on Google Ads or on social media, or create custom funnels for audiences based on behaviors and needs. 

3. Track User Interaction without Code

Expanded codeless features make it easier for marketers to track and measure on-site and in-app events, such as a page scroll or video play, without having to add code or set up event tracking in Google Tag Manager. Typically referred to as an ‘event’, this is a user interaction with your site or app that you specify and collect data about. Older versions of Google Analytics event tracking required more processing and data was typically not available until the next day. With GA4, events like scroll time, downloads, and video playtime are tracked in real-time with no coding needed. Users are also allowed to track up to 300 events for one property. This real-time information is exactly what modern SMBs need out of their B2B digital marketing and analytics platforms.

4. Better Integration with Google Ads

With GA4’s integration with Google Ads, you can create customized audiences to reach defined customers. By analyzing how your customers react to your marketing efforts, you’ll be able to tailor your campaigns to increase purchases and boost ROI on B2B marketing spending. When your target users complete a purchase in an app or on the web, GA4 will automatically remove them from those lists and cease targeting them with specific ads. Eliminating a small task like this might seem trivial, but for time-strapped business owners, this can be a blessing and will likely prevent any possible escape from a sales funnel.

5. Analytics Without Cookies

As third-party cookies are phased out in favor of more user privacy, Google plans to implement machine learning to fill in gaps where data was previously available. GA4 has been intelligently designed to work better with less specific user data, using AI technology to fill in potential gaps. Mixed sets of data will likely become the norm, with various gaps being intelligently filled by machine learning. This kind of future-proofing for your business is important when cookie restrictions make it more and more impossible to glean customer insights.

Should you make the switch to GA4?

In our humble opinion, there’s no reason not to switch to GA4 sometime soon. This platform represents the future of web analytics with its intelligent data tracking and improved controls and integrations. It may seem overwhelming to make the switch, but it’s important to start gathering data for future use as soon as possible. GA4 can only collect data from the date it is initially set up, not prior to that time. Plus, we think GA4 offers a better product and a more intuitive experience for business owners that must focus their efforts on things other than digital marketing. 

For now, you can use both Google’s Universal Analytics and GA4, but your best bet is to get used to using GA4 at this point. The good news is that setting up a GA4 property on your website or app is relatively easy, taking perhaps 10 minutes maximum to register and complete the process. New feature developments will be focused on GA4, so you might as well migrate to the new platform.

If you need assistance making the switch to GA4, or have questions about how Google Analytics can improve your B2B marketing efforts, please contact us today!