With the rollout of Google Analytics 4, marketing analytics has never been more exciting. After the official announcement that G4 will replace UA, there has been an endless discourse in the marketing analytics space. After all, part of the new release is that UA will altogether stop processing any new hits from July 2023 and you will need to start transitioning to G4. If you’re reluctant to change, then this might not sound like good news.
But understand that the newly designed functionality of G4 offers superior analytics in a world without cookies. Data still shows that there are over 20,420,320 live sites that use Google’s UA. What does this mean? Well, GA3 would be available and functional for sites that haven’t transitioned to GA4. But it will become the main requirement for new site installations to utilize Google Analytics 4.
Sooner or later, the wise course of action would be to transition from UA to G4. Contrary to a naïve misconception, you won’t lose data by transitioning from UA to GA4. You also don’t have to get stuck in technicalities for moving your conversion data flow into a different platform when migrating.
Let’s touch on the fundamental upgrades in G4 and the steps to transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4:
Migrating from UA to GA4: New Terminologies
It refers to the entire collection of optimal parameters and events you need to process eCommerce data collection.
It is additional metadata that clarifies the context of an event.
It is a unique action that occurs and ties together with a user in an app or on a website.
What to Expect in Google Analytics 4?
GA4 features tools such as Predictive Audiences that automatically identify and build up a user base and generate results based on interests. Let’s look at the top new features you should be using in Google Analytics 4:
New Audience Building and Predictive Modeling
One of the hallmark features of G4 is ML-based predictive modeling tools that allow you to anticipate the future actions of customers. In line with new predictive metrics, there is now “Purchase Probability.” As the title suggests, it predicts the probability of prospects who visit your site or mobile app would make a purchase within a week.
Technically, “Churn Probability” predicts the likelihood of active users visiting and leaving the site or app in the upcoming seven days. The idea is to utilize these unique metrics to drive business growth, hit the most number of purchases, and retain users who may not return to your site or mobile app.
Last-click attribution is old news and involves many inconsistencies and gaps in customer journey tracking. But data-driven attribution is changing the game for good. Now you can analyze and track the full impact of marketing throughout the customer journey.
You can also assign a credit in a customer journey using analytics information. It will help you better understand how your marketing complements and affects your conversions. What’s more is that you can export the analysis from the Google Marketing Platform and Google Ads tools to further optimize your campaigns.
Tracking of Mobile App Activity
One of the highlights of G4 is that it allows users to track their app and web activity seamlessly. This helps you see the customer journey in a unified and centralized view. As more and more consumers move to mobile apps, GA4 is perfect to cut out blind spots in app activity and traffic. It will also make your entire marketing data more accurate. With more attribution accuracy, you’re bound to cut back on spending expenses and maintain more precise customer segments.
Bid Farewell to Cookies
When it comes to conventional style web tracking, every user gets a cookie to track the user and their performed actions on a website. But the truth is that cookies are on their way out, and ad blockers are already becoming common.
Typically, users used to get measured through platform and device that often leads to data loss when they back and forth switch devices. But in GA4, you can measure users by their distinct Google signals and user IDs. This ensures data is measurable and trackable and improves overall data accuracy. Google Analytics 4 has made it easier to understand and view the customer journey.
What You Need to Know about Transitioning from UA to GA4
To start the transition from UA to GA4, you’ll first need to:
1) Log into your business Google Analytics account
2) Go to the main Admin panel
3) Click on “Create a new Property”
You can use the built-in setup assistant in G4 to upgrade or create a new property. Remember, there is no loss of data when you upgrade to a current property. But if you’re not 100% sure about the new user interface of G4, create a new and custom property to access your valuable data from the existing GA3 property.
Once you start utilizing the GA4 setup assistant, you’ll notice “Get Started” on the page, and you need to click on it. It will ensure your existing UA data gets migrated to GA4. It will also ensure your GA3 settings get copied into GA4. Most importantly, it will ensure fine-tuned measurements get turned on automatically.
Ensure this box is checked to ensure Gtag.js events are updated and converted automatically in GA4. It cuts out the need to update your code. As soon as you click on “Create Property,” you’ll see GA4 set up assistant. And when you click on “See your GA4 property, you’ll get prompted to new options positioned on the left.
At this stage, it is crucial to review all the elements before you move forward. One of the most vital actions is to begin feeding data from a dedicated site to the new GA4 property, and it all starts with installing a tag. At this point, the feed will show up as “Stream” in the GA4.
When you create a new property through the setup assistant, it will automatically create one and send a notice about the new ID and measurement ID. You’ll need to best utilize an assistant to enhance measurements. Fortunately, improved measurements will turn on automatically to measure site events, like outbound clicks, scrolls, page views, downloads, video engagement, and site search.
Take All the Right Steps
When you migrate from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, you have to take all the right sequential and strategic steps. Here’s a quick break down:
1. Create a new G4 property
Start the process by creating a new and dedicated G4 property in your Google Analytics account, which will come with a new tracking code to monitor your website.
2. Update the Site with a New Tracking Code
After creating a new G4 property, update your site with a tracking code. All you need to do is replace the current Universal Analytics tracking code with the Google Analytics 4 tracking code.
3. Set Up Dedicated Data Streams
GA4 utilizes data streams to gather data from multiple sources, like a mobile app, website, and other digital platforms. Make sure to set up a dedicated data stream for every source you want to monitor.
4. Configure Conversions and Events
When it comes to Google Analytics 4, conversions and events are tracked relatively differently than in Universal Analytics. Make sure to set up a new conversion and event while tracking in GA4.
5. Set Up Custom Metrics and Dimensions
G4 has made it possible to create custom metrics and dimensions to monitor additional data about users and their interactions on a website.
6. Review Reports
After setting up a new G4 property and getting a new tracking code, review reports to make sure all elements are being tracked properly.
In hindsight, transitioning from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 can be complex, but is completely worth the effort to improve insights and tracking.
Transitioning to G4
So, should you move on from UA to the new G4? Yes. In fact, once you transition to G4, you can tap into new possibilities and leverage new capabilities that will help you better understand your customers and business. In terms of the user interface, Google Analytics 4 is a major adjustment. But after a short time, you’ll figure out its mechanics and realize how powerful it is for businesses.
When you decide to transition, make sure to create a new G4 property so that you can begin populating data immediately. After that, you can use this data to experiment with data analysis templates and come to understand that G4 is capable of functions that ordinarily would’ve been possible.