For anyone who relies on Google Analytics to track user activity on a website or mobile app, you are no doubt aware of the arrival of Google Analytics 4. What may be less obvious is what impact this arrival will really have and what you need to do to be ready.
First, a bit of background…
GA4 is the fourth (hence the 4!) version of the popular web analytics platform. It takes over from the outgoing third generation, Universal Analytics. GA4 has already been available to use for a couple of years, whilst Google has been developing it, but the transition will become complete on 1st July 2023 when Universal Analytics is finally sunsetted, i.e., retired.
On this date, Universal Analytics will stop collecting any data and GA4 will become your sole option for Google Analytics tracking.
GA4 is a step-change in the way your data is constructed and how it can be reported. It offers new and improved features for tracking user behavior and measuring website performance. But it will require preparation!
Improved User-centric Tracking
Enhanced Cross-platform Capabilities
More Accurate Data Collection
Advanced Machine Learning Capabilities
Automatic Event Tracking
The good news is that, for those who haven’t already made the jump to GA4, Google is now in the process of automatically creating GA4 properties for you so that your tracking should continue. If you use a standard, out-of-the box Google Analytics setup – gtag code on your site and standard reporting - this will get you up and running with the basic data. In fact, you may find some nice extra data being captured, such as file downloads.
However, if you have already embraced the additional possibilities of Google Analytics, there is likely some additional work you will need to consider to fully migrate and make the seamless transition in July. In particular, if any of the following apply…:
… read on!
On the 1st July 2023, Universal Analytics will stop collecting any data and GA4 will become your sole option for Google Analytics tracking."
Books will be written on what can be done to configure you GA4 platform, but at a high level*, we’d recommend the following steps to get started:
You may find that some of the classic reports that you are used to using in Universal Analytics are not pre-packaged for you in the ‘Reports’ screens in GA4. If so, head to the ‘Explore’ section in the main menu to recreate your key reports by combining the relevant dimensions and metrics.
Whilst you will get more user interaction tracking out-of-the-box, there are still plenty of interactions/events that are not automatically captured. For those, you may require some additional configuration to ensure that you get the most information possible from your tracking. Things to consider include:
GA4 provides more restricted standard reporting than Universal Analytics and so puts a greater emphasis on users constructing their own reports to meet their requirements. These reports, combining metrics, dimensions, filters, date ranges etc. can be built in a number of ways, including:
Google’s current roadmap is to delete your old Universal Analytics after it has been sunsetted for six months, i.e., at the end of 2023. It is therefore vital to plan how you want to back that data up before that deadline, for example, manually exporting key reports to spreadsheets, using data feeds in Google Sheets, or other data platforms like Big Query.
At Moore-Wilson, we offer a range of one-off projects and/or ongoing assistance to help our clients make the migration to GA4. We offer detailed and hands-on assistance to deliver a smooth, complete transition and to ensure you get the most from the data that you now have available to you."
At Moore-Wilson, we offer a range of one-off projects and/or ongoing assistance to help our clients make the migration to GA4. We offer detailed and hands-on assistance to deliver a smooth, complete transition and to ensure you get the most from the data that you now have available to you.
What’s more, with our Digital Insights Retainer, we can complete and manage your analytics set up, build a dynamic and interactive website report, and provide data-driven monthly insights and strategic recommendations to help maximise the return on your digital activities.
Please contact us today to hear more about how we can help.
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