For those of us in the digital analytics the last year or so have been focused on the newest version of Google Analytics: Google Analytics 4. To be candid, GA4 has been a pain. The launch felt rushed, the transition seems pushy, expectations misaligned, and bugs with no documentation at every turn.
I was an early adopter. And like many, I am working extra hard to getting over that first bitter experience. To be fair, they are fixing these bugs and bringing GA4 up to par with GA3 at a very slow but non-stop pace.
Now that some time have passed and things have somewhat settled… I still feel bitter to work with GA4 😊 However, I am getting past my first impressions.
That being said, I do notice a very big point that may make all this bitterness worth it. Conversations in social media across industries are now including mobile app tracking much more. Whereas before there was an understanding the mobile apps and browser-based analytics implementations where in different worlds, now there are hopeful signs that there are ways we can incorporate browser and apps into one ecosystem.
This is big. Enterprise-organization-restructuring big. I get the sense corporation will start bridging teams that deal with web and mobile closer together. Events in app with the same structure as web? Excellent.
I still think the current GA4 is a pain, but it has much more potential than GA3. The new schema will make integrations with other tools is easier. Implementations, while more cumbersome to document, are likely to be better suited to export to any relational database. This, in turn, will open the door for people to start applying algorithms to GA data much easier. These areas are what I think will differentiate these two versions in the long run.
On thing is for sure, GA4 is not an upgrade to GA3, it is a complete different tool. This is one of the points I wish they would have communicated better, or set expectations for it. There is so much confusion and frustration today.
I am looking forward to reading this post in 10 years from now, see how things have evolve.