You may or may not be aware of the fact that on July 1, 2023, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will replace the current version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics or UA). To avoid any loss to historical data, you will need to ensure that your data is migrated carefully, accurately, and in time of the deadline.
The following information will outline everything you need to know about GA4 migration and why it is crucial for your organisation and for achieving success with your marketing, your customers, and your overall business.
You’ll be glad to get the conversation started now at your company and that you begin learning all about GA4 when the time comes to make the switch and you’re already a couple of steps ahead. Here’s all you need to know about making the transition and how to best prepare so that you can have a smooth migration process and continue to run a smooth and successful business.
Why Migrating to GA4 Should be A Priority?
If you want to succeed in business then you must have great analytics and proper event tracking. It’s no secret that it’s a vital component to accomplishing more and increasing sales and conversions. There are many benefits you’re likely to get from using Google Analytics Universal today such as greater customer insights and details about your competitors so that you can make wiser and more informed decisions.
Migrating to GA4 should be a top priority because it’s going to take analytics and what insights you can gain from it to a whole new level. This will keep your business moving forward in the right direction and allow you to achieve a variety of goals you have in mind for the New Year. You can better understand how your customers interact with your website and web pages and find out the primary channel customers use to find your website.
What you don’t want to do is be caught off guard and not be ready for the switch. You’ll not only need to learn the new system yourself but will also need to teach and train your teams on how to use it. It should be a top priority now because no matter what it’s coming, you’ll need to know how to use the system and reporting interface so you can continue to make wise decisions and increase conversions and sales.
What is the difference between GA Universal and GA4?
There are several differences between GA Universal and GA4 to be aware of. It all began with Google Analytics Classic until the upgrade to universal analytics over nine years ago. In the case of UA, the tool uses an enhanced measurement model based on sessions and pageviews. Google Analytics 4 is very different from being focused on page views.
One of the main differences will be that GA4 will use a brand-new type of measurement that’s based on events. What it’s going to help you do is measure the lived experience instead of a proxy. You’ll gain a complete and full picture of user behaviour and their entire journey through and around your website. It’ll eliminate blind spots and you won’t have to play guessing games about how they’re using your site.
There will be an improved data model available that will give you more reliable data and straightforward reporting. With the new reporting interface, you can perform advanced analysis and create specific funnels based on any event you choose. You can also get better at predicting the future with metrics that allow for purchase probability, churn probability, and revenue probability.
How GA4 Works Differently from Standard Universal Analytics Properties?
One benefit is that you can see all traffic sources tracked in one place, including what a user is doing through a mobile app, your website, or software. There is a new interface you’ll need to get comfortable using and GA4 also uses new Google Tags. To properly store your data, you will need a new Google Analytics property.
People these days are using the Internet in new and different ways. Surfers are on multiple devices and websites are now dynamic. There are also new data collection laws in place that will make individual targeting and tracking a thing of the past. It’s clear that a new and improved method of measuring user behaviour is needed. Consumer mindsets and attitudes are shifting and there are plenty of advancements in marketing technology to account for.
You may be wondering why you need GA4 and what differences you can count on from the system. For starters, GA4 users’ engagement tracking is much more aligned with contemporary browsing behaviour. You’ll also find that cross-domain tracking setup is much easier with it. GA4 provides access to extensive and far more custom dimensions and custom metrics. All of these enhancements mean that you can make more informed business decisions and reach your goals more quickly.
GA4 is conceptually a different platform and more than simply a new UI. GA4 is an event-based model that’s flexible and contains cross-platform reporting opportunities and machine learning insight discovery.
It not only enables digital businesses to understand the complex, multi-platform journeys of their customers but does so while also remaining compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
Universal Analytics properties
A data model that is session-based
Reporting is cross-device and cross-platform limited
Automation is limited
10M hits/m per property
Sampling over 500K sessions
BigQuery integration isn’t available
No advanced analysis UI availability
Integrations include Ads, Search Console, and Optimize, to name a few
Google Analytics 4 properties
An event-based data model that’s flexible
Full cross-device and cross-platform reporting
Will improve and simplify insight discovery through machine learning
Data collection is free and unlimited
Standard reports – no sampling (10M events in advanced view)
Advanced analysis UI
Integrations include Ads, BigQuery, Search Console, and Google 360 products
Why Google Is Making the Push to GA4
Google understands that the customer is at the heart of your business. You want to know and work hard to find out how they interact with your business. You’ll gain a better idea of the whole lifecycle from first impression to sale more precisely. It’s a shift away from the old platform-centric measurement to instead track via a User ID. The entire purpose is to help you get more accurate customer segments and data which will result in less wasted spending and improved marketing data.
Google’s promise with GA4 is that it’ll bring an adjustment to more granular data, which will give users more insights and greater control over customers’ privacy. Another important point is that the industry is making a major shift away from cookies toward embracing first-party data across platforms, which Google recognises and wants to respond to.
Reasons to Migrate to GA4 Now
There are some important reasons why you should consider migrating to GA4 right now instead of waiting. While you can delay and delay as much as you want, you eventually will need to switch over to GA4 anyway. Keep in mind that it’s forward-facing only and you won’t be able to import your previous data. What this means is that you should start collecting data now so you can perform a year-over-year analysis.
Another important reason to migrate now is that you can begin to enjoy the benefits of having better data now. It’s a great way to increase your website’s effectiveness since you can make more informed decisions based on enhanced customer reports.
It’s also beneficial in that you can consider it a soft launch period. You can take your time this way and get more comfortable with the changes instead of being pushed or rushed into it. You can take this opportunity to make certain your goals are being tracked correctly and everything is set up the way you want it to be. GA4 is already considered the standard for analytics at this point, so why not start reaping the benefits of the new system now?
Google Analytics 4 Migration: Your Guide to Getting Started
Although necessary to migrate to GA4, it does come with some risks and concerns. There are some potential risks to be aware of as you get started. For example, GA4 documentation isn’t yet thorough and the analytics migration process can be complex. There are also some missing features that will come later and you’ll find that report data between the two options won’t sync up perfectly after you transition to GA4.
The recommendation is to install GA4 and run it parallel with GA Universal. You must be careful when transitioning your data because you don’t want to lose it. Run the systems side-by-side so that you can gain new data collection models while also having access to historical data. It’ll be beneficial for you when you have to use it next year and can look back and see established baselines.
Next Steps & How We Can Help
You will only have access to previously processed and historical data for six months after the universal analytics sunset date. We don’t want you to have to go at this alone and don’t think it’s a good idea that you do either. Our advice is to take the leap and add a GA4 property now, but you shouldn’t rely on it entirely.
If you’re feeling worried about migrating and the implementation process or are unsure of where to start or what to do next then look no further. The good news is that here at Emerge Digital, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you migrate to GA4 successfully. We offer data-driven marketing solutions that are personalised, reliable, and effective.
Book your free session today to talk with our digital strategists. Otherwise, please fill out the form on our website to receive a free quote for our services. Select what services you are interested in below and we’ll contact you as soon as possible.
Why wait any longer when you know the change is inevitable and that you’ll need to be prepared to know how to use it? Are you ready to migrate to GA4 and make more informed decisions so you can grow your business? Then chat or call us now for details and support.
We’re happy to answer any questions you have about the upgrade, and look forward to working with you!
Basic MigrationThe basic migration package is suitable for basic websites that have a valid Universal Analytics configuration.
We will create a Google Analytics 4 property
We will create a data stream(s)
Turn on and enable data collection
Activate advanced measurement
Provide a demonstration session (1 hour)
Advanced MigrationThis option is designed for enterprise or large websites that have a valid Universal Analytics configuration.
Everything Included in Basic Migration
Apply e-commerce measurement
Add in recommended events, custom events and custom parameters
Will link to Google Ads and enable conversion events
Provide a demonstration session (1 hour)
GA4 ImplementationThis package is for any website that doesn’t have a valid Universal Analytics configuration.
Stage 1: Prepare – outline and solidify all project requirements
Stage 2: Discover – establish business goals and context
Stage 3: Design – create a tailored solution architecture just for your business
Stage 4: Implement – carefully and accurately execute the tailored design
Stage 5: Launch – will go live and transfer the knowledge
Emerge Digital is a full-service digital marketing expertise company. Through tech, digital media works to transparently reach people—not personas. We listen to you and learn all the ins and outs of your business or organisation and fully understand all the moving pieces before suggesting any solutions. This is all in combination with effective communication, extensive and expert design, and technology smarts that will unlock your growth potential.
Furthermore, we can enhance your customer experience that you deliver to your customers through personalised messaging that sends out the right message at the right time to the right people. Everything we do is driven by data, which takes out the guesswork.
You’ll be glad to know that we specialise in Google Analytics Audits and Maturity Projects. What this means is that we can benchmark your digital data maturity and provide a roadmap to transform your internal data practice to meet Google’s requirements and propel your business forward in a positive direction.