Technology

Google Analytics is changing – get ready for GA4 NOW

- June 1, 2023 3 MIN READ
Google Analytics phone app

Universal Analytics, which launched in 2005, is ready for sunset. That moment is approaching quickly, which means the sooner you adopt Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the better. However, before you transition, there are several things to consider, explains Nick Brogden, founder of Earned Media.

The shift from UA to GA4 is because the latter will provide broader insights into engagement and user behaviour. It also introduces new features, such as event tracking.

However, UA and GA4 rely on different data models, so you can’t directly transfer data between them. It’s a manual task.

The shift from UA to GA4

It’s always hard to say goodbye to a familiar friend, and although it is frustrating as it’s so different, GA4 has so many advantages.

GA4 will capture every click, scroll and action a user makes as an ‘event’, making tracking behaviour across platforms and devices much more accessible. It can also predict behaviour and make more intelligent recommendations based on data.

“Proper event and conversion planning is essential to migrate from UA to GA4. GA4 has a new measuring method, and old UA event and conversion triggers may no longer work. Mapping these out while UA is still active will help in creating the transition to GA4 smoothly,” said Andy Jones, Multimediax.

Google Analytics countdown timer for GA4

From July 1 2023, Google Universal Analytics will no longer track data – transition now to avoid losing data.

 

Switching to the new system as soon as possible is highly recommended to ensure you get all the essential tracking information. In addition, by transitioning early, you’ll have time to familiarise yourself with the updated features before it’s your only option.

What changes can you expect to see between the two?

Familiarity is the most significant difference. It will take some time to learn the new tools in GA4, and there are some functionality and feature differences. GA4 is user-centric, changing how you identify user trends and patterns.

Additionally, UA offers more robust attribution modelling as compared to GA4. However, GA4 provides a broader range of custom reports, which may take some time to learn and navigate. There may also be some differences in which custom reports are available, which may impact workflows.

UA has been in use for almost two decades, meaning a raft of third-party platforms and tools are integrated. Unfortunately, it will take some time for GA4 to offer the same.

Prepare for the switch

There are a range of benefits to GA4, from privacy-first, cookie-free experiences to cross-device and event-based tracking.

As the switch approaches, the best plan of attack is to familiarise yourself with the new features GA4 offers. The quicker you know how to effectively utilise the tools, the more effective your marketing campaigns will be.

Event tracking is vital in GA4, so event tracking across your app and website is also essential to capture data useful for your campaigns. Additionally, you must enable cross-domain tracking if you operate across multiple domains. This will give you a comprehensive view of engagement across platforms and domains.

Start migrating your data ahead of the switch – retaining your historical data is a sure way to guarantee a slick transition.

Migrate early for a smooth changeover

The key to a successful transition is getting to know GA4 and migrating your data before the 1st of July, when UA will stop tracking.

You will need to train yourself and your team on the new interface and determine whether the third-party platforms and tools you currently use will be compatible with GA4. There are plenty of YouTube videos that can help you with this.

It might sound daunting, but GA4 will provide you with a more detailed look at user behaviour, which means data-driven decisions to help you drive your business forward and stay ten steps ahead of the competition.

Just remember it seems hard now, but with all the new features available, you will have access to more data that will, in turn, improve your marketing campaigns.

It’s just a case of getting to know these features and learning how best to utilise them ahead of the switch. As with everything, the better you are prepared, the more successful you will be.


This article was first published on Kochie’s Business Builders, read the original here.

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