Adventures in Machine Learning

Mastering SQL: The Essential Skillset for Data Analytics Professionals

The use of Google Analytics has become a fundamental part of any business that wishes to understand its online presence. Google Analytics allows companies to track website traffic, monitor behavior, and measure conversions, among other things.

Recently, Google launched an upgraded version of the Analytics platform, known as Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which features improved data collection capabilities and more comprehensive reporting. One of the significant additions to this version is the introduction of SQL, a highly efficient programming language.

In this article, we will explore the transition from Universal Analytics to GA4, the importance of incorporating SQL in GA4, and what SQL is and its advantages.

Transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4

In 2019, Google launched GA4, which marks the transition from Universal Analytics (UA) to a new litany of Google Analytics. GA4 is the future of Google Analytics, and while Google will continue to support UA, they recommend that businesses transition to GA4.

One of the significant differences between the two versions is their data models. UA revolved around sessions, while GA4 centers around events, granting businesses significantly more in-depth information on user behavior to make informed decisions.

GA4 also features integrated machine learning, which enables it to process larger quantities of raw, unstructured data from mobile apps, websites and include additional data streams, providing companies a more comprehensive view of their user interactions.

Importance of

SQL in Google Analytics 4

As companies collect vast amounts of data, they often struggle with how to make sense of it all. This is where SQL (Structured Query Language) comes into play.

SQL is a standard programming language used to interact with databases. GA4’s introduction of SQL means that large quantities of data will be more accessible and more insightful–promoting data-driven decision-making in the company.

SQL offers faster processing of data compared to traditional methods and is more scalable, allowing companies to handle large data sets with ease. Moreover, it enables businesses to integrate their GA4 data into other platforms, such as Data Studio and BigQuery.

Data Studio is a Google product designed for data visualization, while BigQuery is a cloud-based data warehouse that enables businesses to process vast amounts of data. SQL facilitates the use of these tools, enabling businesses to generate more powerful insights that inform their decisions.

What is SQL? Simply put, SQL (Structured Query Language) is a standard programming language used to interact with databases.

SQL was developed in the 1970s and has since become a standard in the fields of database management and data analysis. SQL allows users to manage and manipulate vast quantities of data in an organized and structured manner.

Advantages of using SQL

The use of SQL has several advantages over traditional methods of database management and data analysis. The first advantage is speed.

SQL is designed to handle queries at lightning-fast speeds, which can be critical when dealing with large data sets. Moreover, SQL offers a more efficient way of storing and retrieving data that reduces query processing time.

The second advantage of SQL is scalability. SQL is designed to work with vast amounts of data, making it exceptionally scalable.

Traditional database methods often struggle to handle large data sets, resulting in slower processing times and increased cost. Third, SQL facilitates integration with data analysis tools such as Data Studio and BigQuery.

SQL queries from GA4 can easily be imported into these tools, enabling businesses to generate powerful insights that can inform decision-making.


Google Analytics 4 represents an evolution of the analytics platform, providing businesses with a more comprehensive view of user behavior and automated insights. The introduction of SQL allows a company to process large quantities of data faster and consequently make better-informed decisions.

SQL also offers scalability, making it an ideal solution for businesses that handle vast amounts of data. With integration into data analysis tools such as Data Studio and BigQuery, SQL has become an essential tool for businesses that want to turn their data into insights and eventually leverage data-driven decision-making for growth.

What is Google Analytics 4? Google Analytics is a web analytics service that allows businesses to track user behavior on their websites or mobile apps.

The latest version of this service, Google Analytics 4, released in 2019, features an event-based measurement model that helps companies understand user behavior more Google Analytics 4 and its features

Google Analytics 4 is the future of Google Analytics. It boasts several new features, including cross-platform tracking, more advanced data analytics, machine learning capabilities, and improved data privacy measures.

Google Analytics 4 uses an event-based measurement model in which the focus is on tracking events rather than sessions, which was the primary analytics model in Universal Analytics. Event-based measurement provides businesses with data on how users interact with content across websites and mobile applications.

These events could be anything from clicking on a menu icon, playing a video, or submitting a form. This type of measurement gives businesses a better insight into user behavior across platforms, making it easier to optimize content for better user engagement.

Differences between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics

One of the most significant differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics is their approach to data privacy. GA4’s event-based measurement model does not rely on cookies to track user behavior.

Instead, it associates events with a unique user ID. The collection of user data is privacy-oriented, which allows businesses to obtain valuable information while still maintaining user privacy.

Another difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics is that Google Analytics 4 offers cross-platform tracking. With Universal Analytics, businesses could only track user behavior on each platform separately.

In contrast, GA4’s cross-platform tracking capability allows businesses to track user behavior across various devices and platforms, providing a more comprehensive view of user interactions.

SQL in Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 offers a range of data analysis tools, including SQL (Structured Query Language). SQL allows businesses to manage and manipulate large data sets efficiently, making it easier to generate insights that inform decision-making.

To take full advantage of SQL, businesses can link GA4 with BigQuery.

Linking Google Analytics 4 with BigQuery

Connecting GA4 with BigQuery requires access to the GA4 admin panel. Once logged in, the next step is to update your property settings.

In the admin panel, click on the Data Streams tab, locate your data stream, and then select the More Tagging Settings option. From there, enable the BigQuery Tagging option.

The next step is to create a BigQuery project and link it to your GA4 data stream. Go to the BigQuery console and create a new project.

In the project settings, click on the Linked Resources tab and select your GA4 data stream. Once linked, new tables will appear in the BigQuery console, allowing you to run SQL queries against your GA4 data.

Basic SQL queries in BigQuery

Once the GA4 data stream is connected, businesses can use SQL queries to extract data and generate insights. Basic SQL queries in GA4 typically involve event data and user behavior.

An example of a basic SQL query in GA4 would be to select the total number of events for a particular event type in a given time frame. The SQL query for this would look something like this:

“`SELECT COUNT(*) as EventCount FROM `your-project-id.analytics_your-ga4-property-id.events_20210101`, UNNEST(event_dim) as event WHERE = “your-event-name”“`

This query would count all instances of a specific event type that occurred on January 1, 2021, in your GA4 property.

Another example of a basic SQL query in GA4 would be to analyze user behavior. SQL can help businesses understand how users move through their digital ecosystem, providing valuable insights into user engagement and potential pain points.

An example query for this would be:

“`SELECT COUNT(*) as TotalSessions, as Country FROM `your-project-id.analytics_your-ga4-property-id.sessions_20210101`, UNNEST(event_dim) as event WHERE = “session_start” GROUP BY Country“`

This query would count the total number of user sessions that occurred on January 1, 2021, and group them by country based on geo_info data, providing a deeper understanding of global user behavior.


The event-based measurement model of GA4 represents an evolution of the traditional analytics model. It enables businesses to track user behavior across platforms, providing a more comprehensive view of user interactions.

Google Analytics 4 allows businesses to take advantage of SQL, allowing them to generate more powerful insights that inform decision-making. With a better understanding of how users interact with their digital ecosystem, businesses can tailor their content and optimize user engagement.

Time to Learn SQL!

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a powerful programming language that revolutionized the way businesses handle data analysis and management. It’s an essential skill for anyone interested in working with databases in fields such as sales analytics, marketing analytics, financial analysis, and HR analytics.

Importance of learning SQL in modern-day work

In the age of Big Data, SQL skills are in high demand. Most organizations are collecting vast amounts of data, and being able to work with that data is critical.

Learning SQL and having a firm understanding of its basics is essential for anyone working in sales, marketing, finance, or HR analytics. It allows you to manipulate and analyze data effectively, providing the insights needed to make data-driven decisions.

Sales Analytics: In sales, SQL can help analyze customer behavior, sales patterns, and product performance, enabling businesses to identify areas for improvement. This information can be used to fine-tune sales strategies, resulting in more sales and better customer engagement.

Marketing Analytics: In marketing, SQL can help track important metrics such as website traffic, analyze user behavior, and measure campaign effectiveness. This information can be used to optimize content and improve engagement, ultimately leading to increased revenue.

Financial Analysis: In finance, SQL can help visualize revenue data, analyze transaction trends, and identify areas where the financial performance of a business can be improved. This information can be used to improve financial forecasting, inform investment strategies, and allocate resources more effectively.

HR Analytics: In HR, SQL can help analyze employee data, such as evaluation scores, compensation, and hiring data, to identify trends and improve HR processes.

Courses and resources for learning SQL

Several online courses and resources can teach you how to write SQL queries. Starting with an SQL basics course and then advancing to more comprehensive courses would be a wise approach.

– SQL Basics course: This course assumes no prior knowledge of SQL, providing a solid foundation in SQL programming. The course covers how to create and modify tables, perform basic CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations, and write simple SELECT statements.

– SQL Reporting learning track: This course is designed for students who have a basic knowledge of SQL and want to advance their skills. The course covers advanced topics such as subqueries, joins, and aggregations.

Students learn how to create reports and visualizations to present their data effectively. Other resources include:

– Codecademy: This website offers several SQL courses, starting with beginners and building up to advanced queries.

The courses offer interactive coding tutorials and quizzes to test your knowledge. – Udemy: This platform offers several SQL courses, including beginner and advanced courses.

The courses provide video lectures, quizzes, and exercises to help you master SQL. – Coursera: This e-learning platform offers several SQL courses from top universities.

The courses cover topics such as database management, data analysis, and data visualization.


Learning SQL is becoming increasingly critical for professionals working with data analytics in various industries. It enables businesses to manipulate data effectively, providing a deeper understanding of user behavior and trends critical for making data-driven decisions.

The best way to learn SQL is by enrolling in an online course or using one of the many available resources online. As we continue to move towards data-driven decision-making, SQL skills will become a must-have skillset for individuals and for businesses looking to make informed decisions.

In conclusion, learning SQL is becoming increasingly crucial in different industries as it enables professionals to manipulate data effectively. Sales analytics, marketing analytics, financial analysis, and HR analytics require a solid foundation in SQL programming to extract valuable insights from regular and big data sources reliably.

There are several resources, including SQL basics courses, SQL reporting learning tracks, Codecademy, Udemy, Coursera, and online tutorials with practical examples, to broaden an individual’s knowledge. With the demand for data-driven decision-making, possessing SQL skills will provide professionals with a competitive edge in their industry.

Surpass your competition by mastering SQL and leveraging its full potential to making informed decisions.

Popular Posts