Google Analytics has long been used by businesses globally as an incredibly helpful service which provides the tools necessary to track and report on website traffic. The data allows businesses better understand their customers, and they are therefore able to use the insights to take new actions and grow. With a wide variety of statistics available it has become an essential service to assess business and marketing performance. Furthermore, when integrated with Google Search Console, it allows you to monitor Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) performance.
Now there is an even better version available - Google Analytics 4.
Launched in October 2020, Google Analytics 4 was designed with business’ key objectives in mind - things like generating leads, customer engagement and driving sales. With several advantages over the current version of Google Analytics (which is called Universal Analytics, or UA), Google Analytics 4 offers the following:
Intelligence to unearth insights about the customer journey across different platforms and different devices.
Enhanced, streamlined integrations with Google’s advertizing platforms to optimize the performance of your marketing campaigns.
Data collection is based around events, putting a larger focus on user interactions.
A greater focus on privacy, both for your business and your users.
Durability to take all your business analytics into the future.
Google has just recently announced that UA will be made inactive from 1 July 2023, so all websites need to transition to Google Analytics 4. Because Google Analytics 4 is a new way of measuring website data, it does not integrate with Universal Analytics. Therefore, historic website performance for your business will not be available.
What Do I Need to Do?
Now that Google has announced Universal Analytics will become obsolete, it is time to switch to Google Analytics 4. July 2023 is not that far away, so don’t put this project on the back burner. The web experts at Web Force 5 recommend that you make this transition prior to the end of June 2022 so year on year data will be visible in Google Analytics 4 before UA becomes inactive the following year. The team can also assess your Content Management System (CMS) to make sure it supports Google Analytics 4, and provide helpful advice if needed.
The Steps to Set Up Google Analytics 4
If you are already using Google Analytics, you are able to set up your new Google Analytics 4 property alongside your existing Universal Analytics property. You’ll need the ‘Editor Role’ on the Google Analytics account (if you created the account, you will automatically have this).
There is a Google Analytics 4 Setup Assistant wizard which will guide you through:
In Google Analytics, click ‘Admin’.
In the ‘Account’ column, ensure the correct account is selected (if you have more than one account).
In the ‘Property’ column, choose the property that is currently collecting your data.
In the same column, click ‘GA4 Setup Assistant’.
Click ‘Get Started’. If your website uses the gtag.js tag, or your CMS already supports it, then you can use your existing tags. If your CMS doesn’t support this tag, then you will need to add the tag yourself.
Click ‘Create Property’.
The setup wizard will create your new Google Analytics 4 property, copy your property name, website URL, time zone and currency details from the Universal Analytics property. There will be a connection established between your current UA and the new property, so you are able to migrate configurations across.
If your business is new to Google Analytics, create an account and then once you have an account you can add your first property to the account, following the steps listed above.
One important thing to keep in mind is that any of your business’ Google Analytics goals that have been previously setup will need to be recreated as events in Google Analytics 4. Goals or conversions represent a completed activity that contributes to the success of your business. For example, a purchase, a website sign-up, submitting a contact form or clicking on a phone number. So, allow some time to do this and also test it to make sure it performs optimally for you. Closely analyze how you are currently using Google Analytics and maximize the potential of migrating to the new service.
Some of Google Analytics 4’s reporting capabilities will need to be set up manually. In UA, events were used for tracking actions within a web page, while in Google Analytics 4 events send all sorts of data to your reports, including clicks, impressions, purchases, page views, file downloads, video viewings and many more. It’s important to review and consider what tracking items are important to you.
You will have access to your Universal Analytics for at least 6 months after it stops collecting data on 1 July 2023, so you will be able to export your historical reports during this period of time. Once Google fully sunset UA you won’t be able to see your historic UA reports.
If you need some assistance to ensure your business has a seamless transition to Google Analytics 4, contact the web experts at Web Force 5 for a free, no obligation chat. A specialist consultant will discuss with you how their friendly, professional support will guide you through the entire process. Quick! Get moving on implementing this invaluable service for your business now. Call us today.