My Favorite Changes in Google Analytics 4

Photo credit: The detail oriented Hakon Grimstad

Google Analytics 4 provides businesses with a fresh interface and new metrics with which to view their performance.  It’s a major change that’s been years in the making and we’re highlighting some of the new enhancements in GA4 that solve common reporting problems and provide additional insights to marketers.

The End of Bounce Rates

Bounce rate has been a core KPI for many businesses but the metric and thinking behind it was long overdue for change. The classical definition of bounce rate is how many people landed on your site but didn’t advance to another page.

It was supposed to be a barometer for both traffic and landing page quality but often reporting around it had to be filled with caveats because a high bounce rate does not always mean a poor performing page. If someone lands on your site and clicks to call or successfully fills out a form that doesn’t take them to a confirmation page, in both instances the bounce rate would be 100% even though you had conversions in each example.

Because of this brands began to use it as a directional metric that when layered with conversion rate by page was a better metric set. In GA4, bounce rate is replaced with engagement rate which takes into account actions on page and provides a measure of true engagement not based on page progression.

Events by Default

In the old version of Google Analytics, if you wanted to track events (button clicks, video plays, tab clicks) you had to add special code to the site that would fire whenever a user took an action. For sites with content areas that varied significantly between pages, implementing full event tracking was a nightmare for marketing and development teams.

The new GA4 can automatically track and standardize events eliminating the arduous work of setup under Universal Analytics. Marketers can still append custom parameters to each one if they need additional context but the days of page by page div implementation is now over.

Native Cross Domain Tracking

Another obstacle for marketers involved measuring ROI among campaigns that could include multiple domains. For instance if a client has their own careers site as well as a careers page on their main corporate site … measuring an ad click to one that resulted in a conversion on the other was difficult to implement and track.

GA4 can now track activity among multiple related domains which will help marketers truly measure their efforts among the entire brand spectrum. The days of caveating reporting to try and account for accretive conversions from other sites/campaigns are now a thing of the past.

Get Started Today

If your business has yet to migrate to GA4, you need to get that setup soon so that you don’t lose year over year data. There are a number of guides to get started as well as agencies that can implement it on your behalf.