iStock 1408304009 1 How can GA4 help you to understand your customers?

As of July this year, the baton was passed from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, marking the end of an era for marketers and SEO professionals worldwide. Although this change was necessary, to an extent, it has left many businesses scratching their heads with regards to best utilisation of the property. That said, understanding the potential of this tool is essential for those hoping to effectively reach their target markets.

As far as understanding your customers is concerned, GA4 exists as a versatile companion. Not only does the property enable you to analyse user journeys across multiple devices, websites and apps, but it is capable of generating accurate predictive metrics and behaviour models.

Below, I’ll explore the ways in which GA4 can help you to understand your customers.

Following User Journeys

It goes without saying that user journeys provide businesses with valuable insights; understanding how prospective customers are interacting with your site, page or app allows you to analyse what is working, and what isn’t. Moreover, it allows businesses to see where traffic is coming from, and the route to an event or conversion.

As useful as this is, however, it is not brand new. Where GA4 does surpass its predecessor, is in its cross-device tracking capabilities. Whereas previous iterations of Google Analytics tracked data on a device by device basis, GA4 uses first-party cookies to monitor individual users, across devices.


Thanks to the introduction of ‘User IDs’, GA4 is able to log user journeys, across devices and apps. In Google’s own words:

“The User-ID feature lets you associate your own identifiers with individual users so you can connect their behaviour across different sessions and on various devices and platforms. Analytics interprets each user ID as a separate user, which provides you with more accurate user counts and a more holistic story about a user’s relationship with your business.”

Once configured, User-ID can be used to build comparisons, explore activity timelines and even create remarketing audiences based on User-ID data.

Path Exploration

In addition to the introduction of cross-device User-ID data, GA4 boasts an innovative ‘Path Exploration’ feature, allowing specific user interactions and events to be monitored. Those familiar with the Behaviour Flow report section within Universal Analytics will certainly recognise the concept, though GA4’s capabilities are much greater.

For example, you can now see which event or page visit occurred first, as well as the subsequent actions of the user from there onwards. What’s more, it is now possible to conduct a path analysis from a start or end point.

GA4’s Path Exploration report is useful for a multitude of reasons. Not only does it allow businesses to identify and rectify site issues, but it also sheds light on high value user activity. By identifying visits that ended with a conversion of some sort, GA4 allows you to work backwards, highlighting those pages that were included in the same session.

Behavioural Modelling

One of the main differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics is the introduction of machine learning and AI capabilities. As GDPR legislation tightens and we bid goodbye to third-party cookies, artificial intelligence is set to play a crucial role in audience analysis. This is where behavioural modelling comes in.

Following the introduction of ‘consent mode’, GA4’s behavioural modelling is able to generate predictive data for user’s that wish to remain entirely anonymous. Should an individual decline consent, GA4 draws from relevant pre-existing data to build a hypothetical model of the declining user’s data.

Rather than leaving gaps in site data and reports, GA4 is capable of blending observed data with behaviour models, providing a far more complete overview of user journeys and site interactions.

Creating And Editing Audiences

Lastly, GA4 provides site and app owners with complete control over ‘audiences’. Put simply, a GA4 audience is a collection of users who have followed similar behavioural patterns or fall within the same descriptive data category, such as age, gender or demographic. Once identified, audience members are automatically reevaluated to ensure that they still meet the required criteria.

As touched upon briefly above, audiences can also be created using predictive metrics. By analysing existing data sets, GA4 is able to calculate which users are most likely to make a purchase within a given timeframe and which are likely to churn.

Audiences of any kind can be used to inform remarketing campaigns and advertising products such as Google Ads, ensuring that your efforts are best placed.

Getting The Most From GA4

As is the case with any analytics property, proper configuration is essential. Utilised effectively, GA4 enables site and app owners to follow user journeys, generate predictive audiences and model behaviour. Without the correct implementation, however, these insights are rendered useless.

At Superb Digital, we’ve helped many a business better their understanding of their customers within GA4. This data is then used to build watertight SEO campaigns with huge ROI for our clients.

Book a call today to see how we can help maximise GA4 to help your business grow.