Updated: Sep 29, 2023
What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
Google Analytics, a free service provided by Google, enables tracking and analysis of website and app traffic and engagement. With the introduction of GA4, a new property within Google Analytics, brings significant advancements and replaces the previous Universal Analytics. GA4 has been specifically designed to prioritise customer privacy, aligning with the growing importance of privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
GA4 sets itself apart as the most advanced property available, offering a comprehensive suite of features to address the ever-growing concerns surrounding privacy. Privacy-first tracking is at the forefront of GA4, ensuring that user data is collected and managed with the utmost care, adhering to stringent privacy regulations. One of the standout advancements in GA4 is its AI-driven predictive analytics capabilities. Powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence, GA4 provides businesses with valuable insights into user behaviour and engagement patterns. Through the application of sophisticated algorithms, GA4 empowers businesses to predict future outcomes, enabling them to make informed decisions, optimise marketing strategies, and deliver personalised user experiences.
What’s New with Google Analytics 4?
GA4 introduces several new features that make it a cutting-edge property for future measurement needs. One of the significant advancements is its ability to collect and analyse data from both websites and apps, providing a comprehensive view of the customer journey across multiple platforms. Unlike the session-based approach of its predecessor, GA4 utilises an event-based data model, enabling more granular tracking and analysis of user interactions. Privacy controls are also a key focus in GA4, with features like cookieless measurement and behavioural and conversion modelling to ensure compliance and protect user privacy. Additionally, GA4 offers predictive capabilities that provide valuable guidance without the need for complex models. Moreover, GA4 integrates directly with various media platforms, facilitating seamless actions and optimisations within your website or app. These features collectively position GA4 as a powerful and forward-looking tool for data-driven decision-making in the digital landscape.
Why is it Important to Switch to Google Analytics 4?
Until the 1st of July 2023, businesses can continue to use and collect new data from Universal Analytics as normal, however, some properties may find that they can process data for a short period after this date as the shutdown of Universal Analytics occurs. It is recommended to make the switch to GA4 as soon as possible to make sure you don’t lose any data or business continuity. After July 1st, you will only be able to access your historic data within your Universal Analytics property; you can view this data for at least 6 months, but Google is yet to confirm when the Universal Analytics properties will no longer be available. During this 6-month period, it is recommended that you export your previously processed data to ensure you can keep hold of your company’s data. Finally, when Google announces this final date after the 6-month period, you will no longer be able to see any reports or data held in Universal Analytics.
Is Your Analytics Property Affected?
Some users might already be using Google Analytics 4 without realising it. If you created your Google Analytics property after the 14th of October 2020, it is likely that your account is already set up with Google Analytics 4 and you won’t have to make any changes. However, if you have been using Google Analytics since before October 14th, 2020, your Google Analytics property is most likely to be set up on Universal Analytics and you will have to make the switch to GA4. If you are unsure of what type of Google Analytics property you are using, you can check by viewing your property’s ID. By entering your Google Analytics account and viewing ‘properties and apps’, you can see the name of your property with a code beneath it, if this code looks like UA-XXXXXXXXX-1, then it is a Universal Analytics account and if it looks like just numbers, XXXXXXXXX, it is a GA4 property.
How to Migrate Google Analytics to Google Analytics 4
Everyone who is migrating their account to GA4 will need to create a new property and then import their data from their Universal Analytics property. To do this, you will have to go into your account and click ‘Admin’, then select ‘Create Property’ and choose GA4. Google Analytics will then give you prompts on how to finish creating the new property. After this, you have to install the global site tag into your website to connect GA4 to your site. To find that Global Site Tag (gtag.js), go to Admin > Property > Tracking Info > Global Site Tag, you will then copy and paste this code into your website. To verify your tag is working, you can use Google Tag Assistant, a free Chrome extension made by Google, which will automatically detect any Google tags on your page and inform you if they are working correctly.
To maintain a complete historical record of your data, you can migrate your existing data from Universal Analytics to GA4. If you want to migrate your data to keep continuity, log into your account and go to Admin > Property > Data Migration, you can now select what data you wish to transfer to GA4 and when you want the migration to occur.
How SEO Flatrate can Help Your transition to Google Analytics 4
By making the switch to GA4, you can unleash the future of measurement for your business and gain access to the most advanced reporting and measuring tools. Google will be phasing out Universal Analytics promptly, so you want to make the switch before it is too late.
At SEO Flatrate, we are Google Partners and experts when it comes to Google Analytics properties, if you need help migrating your account, then contact us on +44 (0)1202 911141 or email email@example.com.