Clearing Confusion on GA4 - What Should You Do Right Now?


In the dynamic world of digital analytics, staying up to date with the latest tools and technologies is crucial for businesses to thrive. One such advancement is transitioning from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). If your business has not yet migrated to GA4 then now is the time as UA will stop processing data shortly. 

This article highlights what is happening and why your business needs to transition to GA4 now, and provides a step-by-step guide to help make it easy. Despite the lack of choice, we also explore the benefits that GA4 offers for organisations.

Why Transitioning to GA4 is Essential 

Universal Analytics is going away, which is why transitioning to GA4 is not merely an optional upgrade but an essential move for businesses aiming to harness the power of advanced analytics and gain deeper insights into customer behaviour. 

On July 1, 2023, the standard UA properties will stop processing data, but the previously processed data will be accessible at a minimum for the next 6 months. Putting aside the fact that transitioning to GA4 is mandatory, there are also several benefits:

Future-proofing your analytics

GA4 is designed to adapt to the evolving digital landscape. As technology advances, GA4 ensures that your business remains equipped with the latest analytical capabilities, enabling you to make data-driven decisions.

Enhanced cross-platform tracking

GA4 offers improved cross-platform tracking, providing business users with a holistic view of customer interactions across various devices and platforms. This comprehensive tracking helps to understand customer journeys better and optimize marketing strategies accordingly.

Machine learning & AI integration

GA4 leverages the power of machine learning and AI to provide valuable insights and predictive analytics. These features enable businesses to uncover hidden patterns, segment audiences effectively, and make accurate predictions for future trends.

4 Key Differences Between Universal Analytics & Google Analytics 4

Understanding the differences between UA and GA4 is crucial for businesses to grasp the unique advantages of migrating. Here are some key distinctions:

1. Data model

GA4 utilises an event-based data model compared to the session-based model in UA. It allows for a more granular analysis of user interactions and enables businesses to capture an ample range of user engagement.

2. Event tracking

Google Analytics 4 emphasises event tracking at its core, allowing businesses to track various user interactions, such as video engagement, scroll depth, file downloads, and more. The expanded event tracking enables deeper insights into user behaviour beyond pageviews and sessions.

3. Enhanced audience segmentation

GA4 offers more advanced audience segmentation capabilities, allowing businesses to create custom audiences based on specific user attributes and behaviours. This enables more precise targeting and personalised marketing campaigns.

4. Deeper integration with Google Ads

Google Analytics 4 provides enhanced integration with Google Ads, enabling businesses to seamlessly track campaign performance and gain insights into the customer journey from ad click to conversion. The enriched integration allows for better optimization of ad spend and improved ROI.

Step-by-Step Guide to Transitioning to GA4

Transitioning to GA4 may seem daunting, but a systematic approach can simplify the process. 

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you smoothly transition:

  1. Assess your current analytics setup: Understand the current data tracking, including the events, goals, and custom dimensions in UA. This analysis will help you determine the necessary adjustments in GA4.
  2. Create a new GA4 property: Set up a new GA4 property alongside your existing UA property. Not discarding the UA property ensures this data remains intact while allowing you to start collecting new data in GA4 simultaneously.
  3. Implement the GA4 tracking code: Install the GA4 tracking code on your website or app. This code will begin collecting data in your GA4 property.
  4. Configure data streams: Set up data streams to ensure data from your website and the app is collected and consolidated in GA4. Configure the necessary events and parameters to track relevant user interactions.
  5. Migrate goals and events: Identify the goals and events in UA to recreate within GA4. This step ensures that you continue tracking and measuring conversions accurately.
  6. Set up custom dimensions and metrics: Define any custom dimensions and metrics specific to your business needs in GA4. This will enable you to segment and analyze your data more effectively.
  7. Test and validate: Ensure the data is accurately collected and reported in GA4. Perform thorough testing to verify the consistency and accuracy of your tracking.

Benefits of Google Analytics 4

While businesses may not have a choice between sticking with UA or transitioning to GA4, it's essential to highlight the benefits that GA4 offers:

  • Advanced analysis and insights: GA4's machine learning capabilities and enhanced reporting provide businesses with deeper insights and actionable data to optimize marketing strategies and drive growth.
  • Customer-centric focus: GA4's user-centric approach allows businesses to understand customer behaviour across touchpoints, enabling personalized experiences and improved customer journeys.
  • Future-proofing your analytics: By transitioning to GA4, businesses stay ahead of the curve, ensuring they have access to cutting-edge analytics tools and features as technology evolves.

The transition from UA to GA4 is a critical step for businesses to unlock the full potential of advanced analytics. Despite the limited time left, the benefits of GA4 and the urgency of the transition make now the opportune moment to act. By following a step-by-step migration guide and embracing the enhanced capabilities of GA4, businesses can harness the power of data-driven insights, improve customer experiences, and drive success in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Transitioning to Google Analytics can be daunting, which is why Clue is here to help. If you’d like to discuss how we can aid you in a smooth transition, contact us online or give us a call at 9368 0777.