The new Google Analytics 4

Web analytics The new Google Analytics 4

Published on 22.06.2021 by Daniel Hünebeck, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist, Daniel Hünebeck Digital GmbH

In October 2020, Google released its latest generation of Google Analytics (GA4). It is an almost completely redesigned analytics tool with a new data instance, history and philosophy. What are the benefits of this new standard for e-commerce shops and when should you migrate to it?

Initially, the old Google Analytics version will continue to work, and Google has not yet announced a deactivation date. It will presumably still be usable for years rather than months. But you should still get to grips with the new Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible and feed data into it for the history, as it is definitely set to become the new standard over the medium term. It’s advisable to upgrade to the new GA4 now – an additional property (data instance) is created automatically for this purpose. However, the new GA4 doesn’t yet have all the functions of the current version, so complete migration is not yet recommended. The old GA will not undergo further development, whereas additional functions will gradually be added to the new version. Parallel use of the old and new versions is the best option for the time being.

What benefits does the new GA4 offer?

The old Google Analytics is based on page views and visits. In contrast, the new GA4 focuses on events and user interaction. This includes scroll activity, clicks on external links and file downloads (e.g. PDFs). All of this was available in the old version, but involved complex set-up via the Events function. There’s also a predefined set of events for every sector. For e-commerce shops, these include “view item”, “add to cart” and “begin checkout”. This means that the key events across the customer journey are automatically tracked.

Machine learning and reports

Google is definitely leading the way when it comes to using machine learning and artificial intelligence. The new GA4 is again based on intelligent algorithms that analyse user behaviour, identify anomalies independently and notify users of these anomalies (e.g. via e-mail).

There are also various e-commerce standard reports in the new GA4. It provides monetization reports, such as e-commerce purchases, in-app purchases and publisher ads. These reports contain insightful KPIs, including average basket per user, top sellers and information about which promotions were most effective and how much revenue was generated via vouchers. One new feature is scatter diagrams, which visualize key dependencies in an attractive manner. This makes anomalies easier to identify. As well as standard reports, you can also produce your own custom reports.


The new GA4 is a real step forward, with many new features and benefits, even though quite a few of these are not yet fully developed. Parallel use of the old and new GAs means that data can be gathered in the new GA4 right away, enabling you to create a history and gradually migrate to GA4 as it develops.

Daniel Hünebeck, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist, Daniel Hünebeck Digital GmbH

Freelancer, consultant, speaker and lecturer with over 17 years of experience in digital marketing and digital transformation.

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