Making the Switch from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4
To better understand the complex, multi-platform journeys of today’s customers, businesses must navigate new challenges – all while prioritizing user privacy.
Google Analytics has been a game-changer for businesses of all sizes by providing invaluable insights into customer behaviour, engagement and conversion rates.
Namely, Google Analytics allows you to track all forms of online traffic. Having a clear understanding of where your website traffic comes from is crucial to running a successful online business.
In order to track the effects of your strategies, you need to identify the different traffic sources and how much traffic your website receives. Finding out how people find your website is the cornerstone of an effective online growth strategy.
Google Analytics 4 is the next big thing in Google Analytics and it’s coming with numerous changes and features. Now that Google is updating Google Analytics from Universal Analytics to a new, upgraded version, Google Analytics 4, on July 1, 2023 all standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data. If you haven’t prepared for Google Analytics 4 yet, now is the perfect time to start.
Migrate to Google Analytics 4: What Is It, and Why Should You Do It?
Google Analytics GA4 is the newest version of Google’s popular web analytics tool, providing website owners and marketers with valuable insights into user behaviour on websites and mobile apps. Unlike its predecessor, Universal Analytics, GA4 utilises a more flexible data model that allows for accurate tracking across multiple devices and platforms.
Moreover, it features predictive analytics, enhanced data visualisation, and deeper integration with Google Ads and other marketing tools from Google. With GA4, website owners gain a better insight into their audience and can make data-driven decisions to increase user engagement and conversions.
Migrating to Google Analytics 4 is essential for businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition. This new platform provides a range of features not available with Universal Analytics, such as enhanced tracking capabilities, deeper integrations with other Google products and more robust data analytics. Furthermore, GA4 allows improved privacy controls, guaranteeing businesses adhere to data privacy regulations.
Google Analytics 4 Technical Details
The technical process of migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4 requires creating a new property in Google Analytics and configuring data streams to monitor your website or app. These streams send user interaction data directly into the GA4 property, where it can be analysed and generated into reports.
Setting Up Data Streams in GA4 involves two primary methods: using Google Tag Manager or adding the GA4 tracking code directly onto your website or app. Google Tag Manager is a free tool provided by Google that simplifies managing tracking tags on websites and applications. With this free tool, setting up GA4 data streams doesn’t require modifying existing code on your website or app.
If you would prefer to embed GA4 tracking code directly on your website or app, these are the necessary steps:
- First, create a new GA4 property in the Google Analytics interface.
- Next, copy the GA4 tracking code snippet from the property settings page.
- Finally, paste the tracking code snippet into the header of each page on your website or app.
Once the GA4 tracking code is installed on your website or app, you can use Google’s data migration tool to transfer your existing Universal Analytics data into GA4. This tool automatically maps Universal Analytics fields to their corresponding fields in GA4, providing a smooth transition and minimising any risk of data loss.
It’s essential to note that GA4 is designed with a better user-friendliness and efficiency in mind than Universal Analytics; however, there are distinct features between the two platforms. For instance, GA4 utilises an event-based data model which permits more flexible tracking of user interactions – meaning you must adjust your tracking strategy when migrating to GA4 to take advantage of its new capabilities.
Migrate Universal Analytics to GA4: Simplified
Migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4 may seem complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Then most important thing is to create a new GA4 property and set up data streams for tracking your website or app. Once done, use Google’s data migration tool to transfer any existing Universal Analytics data to GA4.
It is essential to note that GA4 is designed to be more user-friendly; it is not a direct replacement for Universal Analytics. Significant differences exist between the two platforms, such as changes to tracking code and data model, so businesses should plan to invest time and resources into migration to guarantee an effortless transition.
GA4 Migration Timeline
The GA4 Migration timeline is recommended for website owners and marketers to migrate from the previous version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) to the latest version, GA4. Google has recommended a timeline of at least 12 months for the migration process. Universal Analytics will cease to operate on July 1st 2023. While there’s time to prepare, getting familiar with the new GA4 as soon as possible is more than welcomed.
Here’s a simplified breakdown of the recommended timeline:
- Start planning for migration: As soon as possible
- Set up a GA4 property alongside your existing Universal Analytics property: Immediately
- Begin data collection in GA4: As soon as possible
- Create a measurement plan: Within three months of starting data collection
- Compare data in Universal Analytics and GA4: Ongoing
- Complete full migration: Within 12 months of starting data collection.
It’s important to note that the timeline can vary depending on the size and complexity of your website and business. It’s also important to prioritise the most critical data to be migrated first. Website owners and marketers should work closely with their development and analytics teams to ensure a smooth and efficient migration process.
Google Analytics 4: Best Practices
In addition to the technical steps involved in migrating to GA4, businesses should follow several best practices to ensure a smooth transition. These include:
- Conducting an audit of your existing Universal Analytics implementation to identify areas for improvement.
- Developing a customised migration plan that takes into account your unique business needs. Ensuring that your website or app is configured to track the data essential to your business goals.
- Providing training to your team to ensure they are familiar with the new GA4 interface and reporting capabilities.
By following these best practices and dedicating time and resources to the migration process, businesses can guarantee a smooth transition to GA4 and make the most of all its capabilities.
Additionally, hiring the services of a digital marketing agency that’s keeping up with the latest trends is an excellent opportunity to modernise your digital presence and learn more about how to use Google Analytics 4 for your business.
Google Analytics Agency: Why Work With One?
Migrating to Google Analytics 4 can be complex, especially for businesses with large and complex data sets. The cease of operation date, July 1st 2023, leaves you with just a few months to get familiar with GA4.
Working with an experienced digital growth agency makes the transition smooth and efficient. Furthermore, they offer businesses the expertise and support necessary to transfer their data onto GA4 and maximise its potential benefits on the new platform.
Hiring an agency for Google Analytics 4 can offer businesses several advantages. First, these experts specialise in analytics and can help companies to make the most of this tool. Agencies assist in setting up accounts correctly, configuring goals and events, and offering valuable insights into user behaviour.
Second, agencies possess extensive expertise working with multiple clients and can bring their knowledge and best practices to each engagement. As a result, businesses gain insights into what has worked well in other industries, how to analyse data efficiently, and how to utilise GA4 effectively to meet specific business objectives.
Third, agencies can offer ongoing support and maintenance for GA4. They monitor data quality, troubleshoot issues, and make recommendations based on the latest Google updates. This guarantees that businesses receive accurate and pertinent data from their GA4 account.
Summed up, an agency can help companies to:
- Analyse their current data and identify areas for improvement.
- Develop a customised migration plan that meets their unique needs
- Set up and configure GA4 to ensure accurate tracking and reporting
- Provide ongoing support and maintenance to ensure the platform is performing at its best
In addition to migration assistance, a digital growth agency can offer businesses ongoing analytics and reporting services. This includes analysing user behaviour, recognising trends, and making data-driven recommendations for improving website and app performance. By working with an agency, businesses gain a deeper insight into their customers and make data-driven decisions that ultimately benefit their bottom line.
Google Analytics 4 Checklist
Before we conclude, here is a simplified GA 4 Checklist. As we explained, Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google’s web analytics tool. It comes with a range of new features and improvements that allow website owners and marketers to gain deeper insights into their website traffic and user behaviour.
However, you must take several steps to ensure you get the most out of Google Analytics 4. Here’s a quick checklist to help you get started:
- Set up a new Google Analytics 4 property for your website.
- Ensure your website has been updated with the latest Google Analytics 4 tracking code.
- Create a measurement plan to define your goals, KPIs and events.
- Implement custom dimensions and metrics to track user behaviour and engagement.
- Configure data streams to collect data from different sources and platforms.
- Set up conversion tracking to measure the performance of your campaigns.
- Enable enhanced measurement features to get more detailed insights into your user behaviour.
- Customise your data reporting and visualisation to suit your needs.
- Test your set-up thoroughly to ensure all data is accurately tracked and reported.
- Regularly review and optimise your Google Analytics 4 set-up to improve the quality of your data and insights.
By following this checklist, you can be sure you’re getting the most out of Google Analytics 4 and making informed decisions based on accurate and relevant data.
Migrating to Google Analytics 4 is essential for businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve and make data-driven decisions. While the migration process can be complex, and the timeframe to July 1st is a bit tight, working with a professional digital growth agency can help ensure a smooth transition and maximise the benefits of the new platform. In addition, by migrating to GA4, businesses can gain a complete view of their customer journey, identify areas for improvement, and ultimately drive better business outcomes.
Grofuse is a digital growth agency partnered with Google and offers Google Analytics 4 migration services for companies of all sizes. We have a team of certified Google Analytics experts knowledgeable in the tool’s technical and strategic aspects. In addition, they have experience working with various industries and can provide customised solutions that meet the specific needs of each business. Contact us today and inquire about the best solutions to migrate to GA4!