Google Announces the New Google Analytics
Read Time: 4 Minutes

Google Announces the New Google Analytics

15 Oct, 2020 Read Time: 4 Minutes
Published by
Nick Comber
Analytics & Google Marketing Platform Trainer
Inspire Inform Ignite

This week Google announced the arrival of GA4, the latest shiniest version of Google Analytics. So what's new and why should you be using it?

Google Analytics 4 (formerly Google Analytics App+Web) allows marketers and app product managers to understand their users, site data, and acquisition tracks for apps (tracked through Firebase) and web properties in just one Google Analytics web property.

Google announced this week that GA4 is now the default experience for new properties and is where they are investing in future improvements. Whilst the product develops, organisations are being advised to create a new Google Analytics 4 property alongside existing properties. This will ensure you can gather data and benefit from the latest innovations to this new product as they become available while keeping your existing GA implementation intact.

What is Firebase?

Google Analytics for Firebase is a free app reporting and marketing solution.

Do I need both GA4 and Firebase to track my app in a GA4 Property?

In short, yes - for now. When you create a GA4 Property, you need to select a data stream. A data stream is the source of data from an app or website and the Firebase SDK provides the app data stream.

Something important to note here though is that if you select an Android or iOS app as your data stream, you will be asked to register your app and a new Firebase project will be provisioned. So, if you already have an existing Firebase implementation on your app, be sure to link Google Analytics to Firebase through the Firebase platform instead! I’d hate for you to end up with a temporary loss in reporting in the original Firebase project. For more, see the Google Help Centre article.

Are GA4 properties free?

Yes, despite having some 360 features (such as Analysis Hub, which is like the “Advanced Analysis” feature), GA4 Properties are free. Although, Google are currently in beta with an Analytics 360 version of GA4 that will offer SLAs and advanced integrations with tools like BigQuery.

What are the benefits?

Previously it was not possible to measure your website analytics data and app data in the one property that includes app metrics and app-appropriate reporting that enables you to do cross-platform user-centric analysis. As mentioned above, they also have a great advanced analysis & visualisation feature called Analysis.

What does the Analysis reporting feature enable you to do? It supports the three types available in Advanced Analysis (Funnel, Segment Overlap and Exploration) plus two more;

  • User explorer which allows you to group Users by common attributes and then drill down into individual, anonymous User behavioural data.
  • Path analysis which shows your users' journeys in a tree graph

Who is it relevant for?

Large and small organisations alike. From companies who have a single app to organisations with a website and multiple versions of an app (iOS and Android).

See an example account set up below:

Requirement: I have a single mobile app on Android and iOS that I’d like to track using GA4’s functionality, even though I don’t have a website yet.

Solution: Track app interactions using Firebase and create a Google Analytics link from within your Firebase project to generate a GA4 property against it.

1 Google Analytics account
1 GA4 property
1 data stream for Android (connected via Firebase)
1 data stream for iOS (connected via Firebase)

Requirement: I have an ecommerce website that also has a native app on iOS and Android - customers can browse and purchase products on website or in app, and I’d like to track both in the same place and report on cross-device performance

Solution: As before, you’ll need to track your app interactions with Firebase and create a link to Google Analytics. But you’ll also need to track your website into the same property - this is achieved by creating a website Data Stream within GA4, and then deploying GA4 Configuration and GA4 Event tracking code across your website. Note that this is different to Universal Analytics (analytics.js) so you’ll need to re-tag your website.

1 Google Analytics account
1 GA4 property
1 data stream for Android (connected via Firebase)
1 data stream for iOS (connected via Firebase)
1 data stream for web (connected with Configuration + Event tracking code)

Requirement: I work for a large organisation - we have six apps (iOS + Android) across several verticals, each with a corresponding website. We’d like to track each vertical independently with cross-device reporting

Solution: To achieve this, each of your six apps should be contained in their own Firebase projects. You can then create a separate GA4 property for each that can all be held in one organisational level Google Analytics account. These six properties will each have their own Measurement ID, which you need to apply to the GA4 tracking code individually and as appropriate for each corresponding website.

1 Google Analytics account
6 GA4 properties
1 data stream for Android per property (connected via Firebase)
1 data stream for iOS per property (connected via Firebase)
1 data stream for web per property (connected with Configuration + Event tracking code)

How do I get started on GA4?

While it is possible (and easy) to create a GA4 Property in Google Analytics, it’s a much more involved process to add an existing Firebase project to it afterwards so our recommendation for best practice is to create the GA4 Property from within a Firebase project. 

To get web data, you need to create a new data stream which requires a new tag to be placed on each page of your website. This functionality is already built into Google Tag Manager, so it’s as easy as adding the new tag and triggering it to fire on All Pages. This is all you need to do to collect the standard parameters; however if you want to also collect Events data you’ll need to create new GA4 Events tags, to fire using your existing GTM triggers.

Do get in touch if you would like to work with a Premium Google Partner such as Jellyfish on this project or to arrange GA4 training for your team! If you're looking for more help with Google Analytics then you can also check out our wider range of Analytics & Optimisation courses.


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