Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for any business. Since its launch in 2005, the analytics platform has revolutionized the way companies understand their online traffic. The updated Google Analytics 4 (GA4), released in October of 2020, is a new version of its analytics software. Whereas previous updates were improvements to prior versions, GA4 is indeed radically different.  Google has changed everything from its interface to its method to track user interactions and numerous advanced features in between.

Through the large-scale use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Google is preparing for the future of shopping. And Google is allowing businesses to own their customer data and the ability to build out their data warehouse.  With the FREE BigQuery export capabilities, small businesses can more easily create a data warehouse, which they can use to analyze their data in greater detail.

Zora Digital has spent the past few months adapting to the new changes before dutifully reporting back to our loyal readers. As big fans of the AI-based updates, we’re excited to synthesize all the confusing technical language into a consolidated blog post for you. Let’s jump in!


As we’ll be outlining in more detail below, Google Analytics 4 is centered around the following key differences: 

  • Optimized Customer Lifecycle Reporting
  • New Tracking Methodology 
  • Support for Data Warehouses
  • Expanded Predictive Analytics
  • AI-Powered Customer Insights
  • Deeper Integration with Google Ads

If these confusing terms are causing your mind to draw a blank, be sure to follow along as we highlight exactly how this newest version of Google Analytics works harder for your business needs! 


There’s no denying that understanding the customer journey is imperative. After all, the secret to transforming a visitor into a customer lies in understanding their journey better. This information is especially critical considering the needs and behaviors of customers are constantly evolving. So how exactly does Google Analytics 4 help?

With new reporting structure tabs organized underneath the User Lifecycle tab, you can now access user and traffic acquisition reports, engagement pages and screens, monetization metrics, and retention overviews. These reports allow the advertiser to clearly distinguish critical stages of the customer journey from acquisition to conversion to retention and more.


Website interactions in GA4 tracking are also vastly different compared to Universal Analytics (UA). UA tracks page hits, event hits, eCommerce hits, and social interaction hits. A hit is when data sent to Analytics. Whereas Google Analytics 4 is event-based with the principle that any interaction is captured as an event.

GA4 does automatically track some events, but it is your responsibility to set-up the others. To track important online store events such as “add payment,” “add shipping info,” “add to cart,” and more – you will need to write custom code.


Now, you can export all of your raw Google Analytics data in BigQuery. All customers will now get access to this awesome FREE BigQuery export feature no matter their level of subscription. Previously, this feature was only available in Google Analytics 360 (enterprise).

Getting access to the raw data behind Google Analytics means you’ll have unlimited access to advanced reporting. Beyond that, you’ll be able to connect with other reporting/visualization platforms like Tableau or integrate with other datasets like your CRM or marketing data warehouse.


GA4 now predicts potential revenue streams through their advanced machine learning models centered around two critical predictive metrics – Churn Probability and Purchase Probability. Churn Probability indicates a user’s likelihood NOT to return to a business’s app or website in the next seven days. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Purchase Probability calculates exactly how likely a user IS to return to a business’s app or website to complete a purchase in the next seven days. These predictive revenue analytics are based on a customer’s purchase conversions active within the previous 28 days and assist the advertiser in determining which customers to focus retargeting and retention efforts.


With the help of the predictive analytics and intelligent customer insights outlined above, the latest update to Google Analytics also allows advertisers to predict top spenders and craft Google Ads campaigns tailored to specific audience segments.

GA4 also allows advertisers to track YouTube engaged-view conversion metrics alongside cross-network, Google search, and Google Display Network data. These analytics permit the advertiser to redistribute marketing spend towards optimal actions that are most relevant. Designed to comprehend better how consumers interact with your business, it no longer matters whether users are engaging with your content via website, app, phone, or desktop since all data is collected and condensed into a single report tracking multiple paths.

Although you are still unable to track website visitors by name, this deeper integration also provides more measurable information on which pages customers linger on after a transaction and how they engage with content across different devices.

GA4 also optimizes retargeting efforts by automatically taking off unqualified candidates from existing lists – without you having to perform this manually.


With developing updates to privacy standards and more users opting out of cookie consent on websites, it is becoming increasingly harder to track customer data and behavior. And yet Google Analytics 4 solves this to near entirety. GA4 is formulated for sustainability no matter whether cookies or identifier tags become extinct tools of the past. Meaning? You can cut the uncertainty and trust this measurement tool to be just as reliable in the future as it is right now. So what are you waiting for? Get started with Google Analytics 4 today!

For more news on the latest digital innovations, follow us on Instagram @zora.digital. Need help setting-up your own installation of GA4 Contact Us. Data is power. Our analytical talents fuel our pragmatic approach, ensuring that data is properly understood and used to drive business decisions.

Zora Digital is a Chicago digital marketing agency. We help modern lifestyle brands with a spirit of innovation navigate the digital landscape and create significant ROI.