Embracing the move to Google Analytics 4 starts now
You might have heard that Google Analytics 4 is being rolled out to all users later this year, but do you know when and how to make the switch? At m360, we’re currently transitioning our clients to GA4 to make sure their website tracking continues seamlessly after the switch.
What is GA4?Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of the popular website analysis platform, which will become the default for all users from July 1st. While you won’t be forced to use the new version before this date, the earlier you make the change, the more time you’ll have to get to grips with new features and make the most of GA4.
When will Universal Analytics stop working?Universal Analytics will stop processing data on 1st July 2023. Data tracked using old versions of the platform can’t be imported into Google Analytics 4, so you need to start using GA4 now to make sure you don’t lose any important insights.
For the time being, you’ll still be able to access Universal Analytics to view historical data. However, Google has stated that UA accounts will become unavailable sometime in the future.
What are the benefits of GA4?While there may be an initial teething period, you’ll soon be able to enjoy all the benefits of Google Analytics 4, including:
- Cross-platform functionality, allowing you to analyse multiple data streams from one place
- Data modelling backed by machine learning to fill in the gaps left by blocked cookies
- Powerful exploration reports, which were previously only available to paid users
- Improved funnel analysis and reporting for easy segmentation
- Enhanced event measuring out of the box, so you can track downloads, video interactions and more without setting up tags
- Customisable attribution modelling for a clearer understanding of channel performance
How to migrate from UA to GA4?First of all, check if your Google Analytics needs updating, as you may already be using Google Analytics 4 if you set it up after October 14 2020. If you need to update, log in to your UA account, click on ‘Admin’ and select ‘GA4 Setup Assistant’ in the ‘Property’ column to start the migration process. You can find more detailed steps on Google support.
Don’t try to use data from both Universal Analytics and GA4 for the same period while both are available. The method of quantifying activity varies between the two versions, so the data won’t match.
Important things to bear in mind when moving to GA4To make sure the transition from the old to the new Google Analytics is as smooth as possible, there are a few important things to consider.
GA4 training – Any members of staff who regularly use Google Analytics as part of their role will have to be brought up to speed with the differences between GA4 and UA.
Current settings – Your current settings can’t be carried over to GA4, so you’ll need to recreate any custom dashboards and automated reports. It’s easiest to do this while you can still access Universal Analytics.
Tracking and tagging – Make sure your tracking and tagging for events, goals and custom dimensions is compatible with GA4 so you don’t miss out on its more sophisticated tracking options and insights.
Save old data – Data tracked in Universal Analytics can’t be migrated to GA4, and eventually won’t be accessible anymore. Remember to export any reports or data that you might need before the switch.
GA4 data retention – Free GA4 accounts will only retain data from the last 14 months, while paid accounts can view 50 months’ worth of data. It’s important to regularly export data from GA4 so you don’t lose it in the future.