Google Analytics is one of the most widely used tools used to track and analyse user activity on websites. But as of the 1st of July 2023, Universal Analytics will no longer process data, making it more difficult for you to get valuable insights into your online presence.
Data from existing Universal Analytics profiles will still be available for a period of 6 months, but no new data will be collected. Without a fully functional Google Analytics 4 account, you will be losing out on valuable up to date data.
But other than the deadline, why should you switch to GA4 sooner rather than later?
When logging into your existing Universal Analytics account, you will be greeted with a notification encouraging you to migrate your account from Universal Analytics to GA4.
By going through this profile, your Universal Analytics profile will be converted to a GA4 profile, great right!? What isn’t conveyed clearly is that whilst the existing setup of your account (current tags, goals etc.) is migrated, existing data is not.
This is predominately due to the fact that the reports available within GA4 differ significantly between Universal Analytics and GA4. By using this process, you make it more difficult to carry out seamless analysis around the period the migration took place.
As a result, it is strongly recommended that you create a brand new GA4 profile which runs alongside your existing Universal Analytics property. By taking this route, you will create an overlap of data for the period when Universal Analytics and GA4 run simultaneously, making it easier to identify trends and carry out crucial analysis during this period of time whilst avoiding gaps in your data.
GA4 makes the installation and setup process much easier than previous versions, giving more people access to the tool. However, at its core, GA4 offers increased data tracking options and customisation.
GA4 tracks almost every movement on your website (unlike Universal Analytics), including every click, scroll and so on. However, without additional customisation, it can be difficult to differentiate and analyse this data.
By implementing the new platform sooner, you’ll have more time to ensure the correct customisation for your needs and have these in place before the official switch takes place. Making sure GA4 is set up early will ensure that when the time comes, you’re collecting the right data and interpreting it in a way that makes sense to you.
Whilst the transition date is coming, don’t panic! There is still plenty of time to get your ducks in a row. When looking to implement GA4, there are a number of different routes you can take to ensure you are getting the full potential out of this new era in web analytics.
As discussed, creating a new GA4 property is not only a similar process to creating a Universal Analytics property but, in some instances, an easier one. However, it is important to remember that whilst this will allow you to start tracking within the new platform, it won’t have the necessary customisations in place to allow you to make the most of your new platform. If you’re not an expert on tracking and analytics, we would suggest you reach out to one for help.
Google has provided the option to simply migrate your Universal Analytics account into a GA4 property. Unlike self-creation, this will carry across some of the existing customisations you have set up on your current account, such as goals and events.
However, due to the differences in data processing, this process will not allow you to migrate across existing historical data. The solution for this would be to export all of the data from your existing property before making the switch. Although, it can leave gaps in your analysis when looking into data around the time of the migration.
At the forefront of every change in the digital industry are experts who have spent day and night getting to grips with the newest technology. By employing an expert to set up your new GA4 property on your behalf, you can benefit from having your current Universal Analytics property and new GA4 property running side by side.
This will allow you to ensure that you do not experience gaps in your data and will also allow you to ensure that all the required customisations are implemented from the beginning. Whilst expert implementation will come at an additional cost, it may be the better solution for those who want to use the platform for a deeper, more accurate analysis. At Reflect Digital, our CX Team is already helping big and small organisations do just this. If you’d like help, reach out for an initial conversation.
As a business owner, you may prefer to carry out the GA4 implementation yourself but are not entirely sure where to begin. Many companies offer GA4 training, providing you with in-depth knowledge of how to carry out the setup yourself.
Furthermore, the training could be expanded to cover customisations and analysis, providing you with all the tools you need to carry out future tweaks to your GA4 property and carry out analysis to its full extent. This will allow you to take full ownership of your GA4 account.
Whichever option you choose, the message is clear, GA4 is here, and we can no longer hide. Feel free to get in touch with our team if you have any questions or wish to discuss your transition to the web analytics platform of the future in more detail.
If you are recently new to using Google Analytics, there is a chance that you will already be using GA4. Since March 2023, all new properties created in Google Analytics have been created with a GA4 property (unless specifically chosen otherwise).
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean all the hard work is done. Whilst the initial setup is fairly straightforward and painless, to truly make the most of the new platform, some additional setup may be required. If you are looking to make the most out of your new web analytics tracking, get in touch with one of our team of experts today to see how we can help.