Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google Analytics. It will replace its predecessor, Universal Analytics (UA).
Google announced that Universal Analytics will stop processing new hits starting from July 1, 2023, which means that Universal Analytics will stop collecting data on that date. All users who want to continue to use Google Analytics will have to use Google Analytics 4 starting from July 1st, 2023. We recommend you set up Google Analytics 4 on your website prior to that date so you can start collecting data and becoming familiar with GA4 sooner rather than later.
GA4 comes with new advanced features. Some features have also been removed. Here are four features you should know about in the new GA4.
1. Outbound link clicks are automatically tracked
Outbound links are URLs to external websites. For example, if you include hyperlink social media icons in your website footer to your Facebook page or Instagram account, these hyperlinks are called outbound or external links because they’re linked to external sites. Tracking outbound links help you see the number of users clicking on external links such as links to your Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook account or external blog posts. This helps you gain insight into the type of content your website visitors are interested in.
2. Site search is automatically tracked
If you have a search engine on your website, you can track site search with GA4. You can see which search terms website visitors are looking for on your website. Previously in UA, site search functionality had to be configured. With GA4, site search is automatically set up. Seeing which search terms your website visitors are looking for helps you understand the content, products, or services your target audience is interested in. You can use the insights to better understand your clientele and use the content for marketing purposes, such as SEO or Google Ads.
3. Video engagements such as video progress and video complete are automatically tracked
If you embed YouTube videos on your website, GA4 will track video engagement metrics, such as video progress or video completion rate. Previously with UA, you’d have to set up video engagement tracking via Google Tag Manager, then integrate Google Tag Manager with UA. Now with GA4, video engagement is automatically tracked in GA4’s default mode. Neat!
Tracking video engagement is important for understanding the impact of your videos. Are your clients watching the videos on your website? Are there any differences in website behaviours between those who watch your videos and those who don’t? Are website visitors who watch your videos on your website more likely to make a purchase? This is all important information that you can derive from your video engagement data.
4. Scroll depth is a default metric in Google Analytics 4
Scroll depth is defined as how far down a user scrolls on a webpage. Scroll depth measures how far down a user scrolls on a webpage. Units for this measurement can be in pixels or percentages. For example, you can track the number of users who scroll down 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% on your web pages. Scroll depth helps you gain insights into users’ engagement and their interest in your content.
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Written by Ray Wang.