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Google Analytics 4: What Marketers Need To Know

Posted on November 12, 2020 by Jeff Pollard

Last month, Google released a powerful new version of its popular website analytics tool, Google Analytics. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 15 years, surely you’re familiar with the ubiquitous tool formerly known as Urchin. As we all know, the web is a much different place than it was in 2005; marketers are looking for more detailed and sophisticated insights, and privacy concerns are now more important than ever.

So what’s new in Google Analytics 4? Here are 4 features that we think are most important to digital marketers.

Better Integration With Google Ads

One of the most powerful new features is the ability to build and organize visitor audiences. This provides the ability to better track a user from their acquisition through an ad campaign, track them on your website, and even across into a mobile app or even external sites like YouTube. The new integration also includes the ability to automatically remove users from audiences after a purchase so they don’t continue to be retargeted with ads. Best of all, all of this cross-device and cross-medium tracking is done without the need for third-party cookies. With the world becoming increasingly focused on privacy, Google Analytics will continue to be able to provide marketers with valuable customer insights even with limited use of cookies.

Codeless Event Tracking

Tracking specific user behavior within a page has always been somewhat of a struggle. Google Analytics 4 improves upon this with the promise of codeless event tracking. Now marketers will be able to more easily track user behavior on their website, which includes things like if a visitor watches a video or how far down a page a visitor scrolls..all without any additional development or tracking add-ons. We haven’t had a chance to try out this new feature, but it sounds like it might be able to replace some functions that we currently rely on HotJar for.

Smarter Insights With Machine Learning

Google Analytics 4 provides more valuable customer insights by utilizing Google’s “advanced machine learning models.” Google has been pretty tight-lipped about exactly what that means, but the end result is that the new reporting will alert you if it detects trends that could significantly affect your business and provide more meaningful data to help you make better business decisions. Even more interestingly, Google claims that as time goes on, the new Analytics will be able to provide predictive metrics to help you make changes such as changing targeting or messaging for a particular audience. As far as we’re concerned, any time our tools can provide more useful data, we think that’s a big win.

Customer-Centric Data Visualization

All reports in the new Google Analytics are now focused around the customer lifecycle, from the acquisition of a customer all the way through conversion and even afterward. This is done in an effort to give marketers the clearest picture possible of how customers are interacting with their website and apps. The new Analytics also gives a more comprehensive view of your customer’s journey even when part of that journey may be through a mobile app. With a renewed focus on exploring and understanding customer engagement, the new Analytics delivers more valuable insights and more granular data about customers.

So how can you begin using Google Analytics 4? If you’re using the previous version of Google Analytics, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got the latest tracking code installed on your website or Google Tag Manager. You can do this by visiting your Google Analytics account and going into the Admin section and copying your site’s tracking code. Any new Analytics properties created will use the new Analytics release by default.


We’re very excited about all of the new features in Google Analytics 4, to say the least. We think that any time marketers can gain more useful insights about their audiences is a win for smart advertising and for consumers as well. Want help installing Google Analytics or understanding what your website’s Analytics is trying to tell you? Contact us for a free consultation.

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About the author:

Jeff Pollard

Partner, Director of Technology

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Jeff is one of Torx's founding partners and serves as the agency's Director of Technology. He built his first website back in 1996 and has never looked back. Jeff wears many hats at Torx: front-end designer and developer, server administrator, and resident Apple enthusiast.