If you want to improve how you collect user data, Google Analytics 4 can help. Here is why you should convert from Google Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
With nearly 2 billion websites on the internet, you should ensure that yours has the best chance of getting visitors. Using web analytics tools such as Google Analytics can be a big help.
If you’re a user of Google Analytics, realize that some big changes are coming this year. Google Analytics 4 is now available, and users of Google Universal Analytics face an end-of-life deadline of July 23, 2023 for this service.
When the end-of-life date is reached, Google will stop gathering Universal Analytics data. To continue to be able to gather useful data on your site traffic, your ad campaigns, and your other data key to understanding how your business’s success can continue, you must transition to the new version before then.
If you use Google Analytics, it’s best to make the transition sooner rather than later. Here are the differences between the two, and why GA4 offers your business a massive advantage.
1. How is GA4 different, and what are its advantages?
Google Analytics is a web analytics platform that allows users to monitor and analyze website traffic. Google’s platform allows website owners to track many metrics, including the number of site visitors, bounce rate, sessions, traffic sources, and more.
Connecting Google Analytics to a web domain can be invaluable for website owners who are serious about digital marketing and are working to get more visitors and make their experience on you site more valuable.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is an updated version of Google Analytics that’s now the default version. The original Google Analytics is now known as Google Universal Analytics (UA).
GA4 offers many advantages over UA, including the following:
More interface customizability
The interface provides multiple customization options, such as customizing the left-hand navigation bar and creating custom dashboards that align with your strategy. GA4 also offers Explorations, which are highly customizable and intended to help make data fit an organization’s specific reporting needs. Additionally, you can enhance detailed reports to make them more relevant to your business by modifying standard reports to show the information you need.
More control over custom reports
With GA4, you can create detailed and comprehensive custom reports that are tailored to your specific needs. You can use Free Form Exploration, Funnel Exploration, and Path Exploration to customize your report.
Using Free Form Exploration, you can choose from a variety of dimensions and metrics to create a report that shows exactly what you need. For example, you can add segments such as City or Country to get more granular data about user behavior in different locations. You can also add metrics such as Sessions or Pageviews to measure the performance of your website in different areas.
Funnel Exploration allows you to create reports that show the path users take when they interact with your website. This is useful for understanding how users navigate through your site and where they may be dropping off along the way.
Path Exploration lets you see how users interact with different pages on your website. This is helpful for understanding which pages are performing well and which ones could use some improvement.
More reporting detail
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) provides more detailed reporting than its predecessor Universal Analytics (UA). With GA4, you can customize detail reports to make them more relevant to your business. For example, you can use the “Realtime” report to track campaign performance and sift through an array of metrics in real-time. You can also create custom reports that allow you to analyze your data more effectively and in detail using intuitive visualizations. Additionally, the “Events Report” allows you to get a detailed report for a logged event by clicking on its name in the events table.
Overall, GA4 provides much more comprehensive reporting than UA, allowing marketers to gain deeper insights into their data and make better informed decisions about their campaigns.
Improved access to real-time data
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) provides improved access to real-time data by offering more comprehensive and granular controls for data collection and usage. GA4 allows businesses to measure user engagement across websites and apps, as well as track Flash, video, and social networking sites. This makes it easier to understand customer journeys in real-time, enabling businesses to make better decisions based on the most up-to-date information.
GA4 also offers enhanced machine-learning techniques that help fill in the missing data gaps. This means that businesses can gain a more complete understanding of their customer’s behavior, allowing them to deliver personalized experiences that are tailored to individual users. Additionally, GA4 allows businesses to create a single-user view across all devices and platforms, making it easier to track user interactions with their products or services.
Automatic tracking of website actions
GA4 uses enhanced machine learning techniques to fill in the missing data gap, creating a single-user view across websites and apps. This allows businesses to gain insights into customer behavior and make more informed decisions about their marketing strategies. GA4 also provides granular controls for data collection and usage, enabling users to customize their analytics experience. With GA4, businesses can measure traffic and engagement across multiple platforms, track Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications, as well as measure advertising ROI.
Easier exporting of data
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google Analytics, and it provides a variety of options for exporting data. Here are some of the most popular methods for exporting GA4 data:
- Reports and Explorer exports in the web: From the left menu, select Reports. In the top right of a report, click . Select Download file. Select Download PDF or Download CSV.
- GA4 Analytics Data API: You can use the GA4 Analytics Data API to export data from your GA4 property into other systems or databases.
- GA4 BigQuery Export: This method allows you to export your GA4 data to a free instance of BigQuery (BigQuery Sandbox). You can also use ELT (Extract, Load, Transform) to replicate your GA4 data into your own data warehouse.
- Google Sheets: You can export your GA4 data directly into Google Sheets using the Reports tab and selecting the date range of interest before clicking “Export”.
These are just some of the many upgraded features of GA4. Needless to say, GA4 offers a lot to users and goes beyond the functionality of UA.
GA4 collects event-based data from both websites and apps, allowing businesses to measure traffic and engagement across multiple platforms. It also uses enhanced machine learning techniques to fill in the missing data gap, helping to create a single user view of customer behavior. Additionally, GA4 tracks user data with consent and uses artificial intelligence to model predictive consumer behavior. This helps businesses gain valuable insights into customer journeys, enabling them to make more informed decisions about their marketing strategies.
2. I Like & Know UA. Why Should I Convert? What Happens If I Don’t Convert?
In July 2023, Google will retire Universal Analytics, the older version of Google Analytics. The change is coming, so it’s better to embrace the new version now.
Getting started with GA4 earlier will allow you to get accustomed to the new dashboard. It can allow you to start accessing new features and collecting data and metrics earlier on.
3. What Happens to My UA Data After 7/23?
After July 2023, data from UA won’t be imported into GA4. However, you’ll be able to access data that has previously been processed in UA for a minimum of 6 months after moving to GA4.
If you want to hold on to historical Google Analytics data, then you should export your UA data before it goes away.
4. Can I Merge UA Data With GA4 Data?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to merge data from both UA and GA4. Because they use different data models, the data can’t be carried over.
Because of this, you should migrate to GA4 as soon as you can. This way, you can start collecting new data.
5. How Will Reporting Be Better?
There are several ways that reporting will improve in GA4. Here are some of the reporting benefits of GA4:
- Enhanced overviews and clearer data visualization
- More flexibility with events and Google Analytics conversion criteria
- A stronger focus on engagement metrics and the user journey
- Better real-time reporting
While there are many more features that GA4 offers, the enhanced focus on conversions, engagement, and the user journey is a big deal. As a result, it’s well worth making the switch.
You Need to Convert From Google Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4
Universal Analytics will stop processing data on July 1, 2023. If tracking your website performance with direct data is important to your business, you need to make the switch before then. It’s another task on the docket (we can get it done for you, however), but you’ll thank yourself later this summer.
Better insights into customer behavior – With GA4, you get access to more advanced analysis tools that give you a more holistic view of your customer’s journey across devices and platforms. This enables you to understand your audience better, and tailor your marketing strategies more effectively.
- Improved data tracking and privacy controls – GA4 uses machine learning to fill in the gaps in your data, making tracking and measurement more reliable. Additionally, it offers more user-friendly privacy controls, helping you comply with data regulations.
- Enhanced integration with Google Ads – GA4 makes it easier to track conversions from Google Ads campaigns and provides more data on user interactions with your ads.
- Future-proofing – As Google phases out support for UA, converting to GA4 ensures that you stay up-to-date with the latest offerings from Google Analytics, and avoids potential issues with outdated technology.
- Overall, converting to GA4 is a logical step for businesses who want to get the most out of their data, and stay ahead of the curve in terms of digital marketing.
Here’s how to set up Google Analytics 4:
- Go to the Google Analytics homepage and click Sign in to Analytics.
- Sign in with the Google account you want to use for GA4 setup.
- Once you’re signed in, click Admin in the lower left corner of the page and select Data Streams from the Property column on the right side of the page.
- Click Create Stream and select Web + App from the options that appear on your screen.
- Enter a name for your data stream and provide additional information such as URL, time zone, industry category, etc., as prompted by Google Analytics 4 setup wizard.
- Once you’ve completed all steps, click Create Stream at the bottom of your screen to finish setting up GA4 for your website or app!
To have the best experience tracking website data, plan to convert from Google Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 immediately. Making the switch now will allow you to start collecting data and get used to the GA4 enhancements and improvements before July 2023, when your current analytics will go dark.
Need help making the switch to Google Analytics 4? Our Google Analytics 4 Conversion and Optimization product handles all the key steps needed to maximize your success, including:
- Ensure the use of a flexible and powerful Google Tag Manager (GTM) container and integrate your existing UA property and a newly created GA4 property into that container
- Transition existing goals, endpoints, and conversions for tracking into GA4 and ensure optimal tracking of this user behavior
- Connect and optimize the integration with other Google services like Google Ads and Business Profile Manager
- Optimize insights into site users and visitors
- And more.
We’re here to help you and make the conversion to GA4 as pain-free as possible and ensure that you are ready for the next generation of the internet.