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Google Analytics 4 (GA4) introduced a variety of changes compared to Universal Analytics, including differences in user interface, features, and reporting. When it comes to user and traffic acquisition, GA4 has restructured the way data is organized and presented. Here’s what you need to know:

1. User Acquisition:

In GA4, representation of the number of individuals who have initiated at first time on your website. The key metrics and reports pertaining to user acquisition include:

  • User: An individual who has initiated at least one session during the date range.
  • New Users: First-time users during the selected period.
  • Source: Where your traffic originates for the First-time users, like search engines, social networks, or other referring websites referenced like first user source:
  • Medium: The category of the medium originates the first-time users, e.g., “organic” for organic search traffic, “referral” for referral traffic, “none” for direct traffic, etc. referenced like first user medium.

2. Traffic Acquisition:

This refers to how you acquire your site’s traffic. Here’s how you can understand and analyze it in GA4:

  • Channel Grouping: The groupings of your traffic sources. In GA4, they’re more flexible and customizable than Universal Analytics.
  • Source/Medium: A combination of the traffic’s source and the medium. For example, “google/organic” or “facebook/cpc.”
  • Referrers: The specific websites that are sending you traffic.
  • UTM Parameters: These remain a vital tool in GA4 for tracking specific campaigns. They let you manually tag URL links with specific campaign parameters, which then reflect in GA4 to give detailed insights about the effectiveness and performance of your campaigns.
  • Events: Unlike Universal Analytics where pageviews were the main focus, GA4 is more event-centric. This means even user interactions, like link clicks or video views, are seen as events, which gives a more granular view of user behavior and their acquisition journey.
  • Other Important Features & Points in Google Analytics 4:

Life Cycle Reports: GA4 is structured around the customer life cycle. The ‘Acquisition’ phase in the Life Cycle reports will give you a detailed view of where your users are coming from.

User-centric model: GA4 focuses more on user engagement and the user journey, giving a better understanding of user interactions over multiple sessions and a longer period.

Enhanced Attribution Modeling: GA4 introduces data-driven attribution modeling (for eligible accounts) which uses machine learning to determine how much credit to assign to different touchpoints in the customer journey.

Cross-platform tracking: GA4 makes it easier to track users across different devices and platforms. This gives a more comprehensive view of user acquisition.

To get the most out of GA4’s user and traffic acquisition reports, it’s essential to ensure proper setup and configuration of your properties and to familiarize yourself with the new interface and reporting structure. Over time, GA4 will offer more features and improvements, so staying updated with changes and enhancements will also be crucial.

Key Takeways

You can view user acquisition details under the “Acquisition” report in GA4. Remember that is first user source, medium that will be reported, even if today comes from Facebook, but the first user source is Google Ads, the reported user will be Google Ads

You can view traffic acquisition details under the “Acquisition” report in GA4. In opposition to User Acquisition the source reported will be, so, in the example will be Facebook, not Google Ads.

Don’t forget to use the Advertisement menu on GA4 to analyze and understand your campaigns performance and compare data-driven models to last click model.

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