By now it is likely you will have heard about the migration to Google Analytics 4. All standard Universal Analytics properties are due to stop processing in July 2023, meaning businesses have just under a year to prepare for the move to GA4. As this migration has been promoted as an upgrade you may be unaware of how it will affect your business, however upgrade may be an over-generalisation in this case. Google Analytics 4 may have the same technical basis as UA, however it is a different tool with a different data model.
Because of these new features and changes, GA4 is posing many questions for Google Analytics users:
- What will happen to my existing data?
- Will I be able to use this tool easily?
- When should I move from UA to GA4?
- Will my existing tools work with GA4?
If you are asking yourself any of these questions, or more, about Google Analytics 4 we are here to help. Keep reading to find out all you need to know.
Historic data safeguarding
Historic data is one of the key areas to consider with the move from UA to GA4. Google Analytics is not retroactive, which means any existing data you have will not transfer to GA4. You will only be able to start collecting data once you have implemented the code.
As the two tools use different data collection methods it isn’t possible to import your historic data across to GA4. It is important to maintain historic data as this provides you with insights into the progression of your site over a prolonged period. This data can help you better understand how customers are interacting with your site and influence any future changes you make.
In preparation for the move to Google Analytics 4 it is important to consider how you are going to make the most out of your existing data. At Logic Digital we have migrated all our clients over to GA4 a year in advance to ensure that once UA is turned down, they will have a year’s worth of data to utilise.
Prepare for the rumoured phasing out of analytical tools
GA4 includes new analytical tools, along with the existing ones we are used to from UA. GA4 will be changing where existing tools will be, however they will still be available for use. It is rumoured that some UA tools will be getting phased out ahead of the final GA4 migration date. This rumoured early phasing out of tools is only for UA, you will still be able to access these tools on GA4. It is suggested that phasing out tools in Universal Analytics before UA stops processing data will help move users across to GA4 ahead of July 1st.
Ensure your existing tools work on GA4
When using Google Analytics, you want up to date data on your campaigns and any site changes you make. With the migration to GA4 it is important to ensure that your existing tools work on this new platform. To make sure that you get the most out of GA4 it is important that you implement the tracking code correctly by using the Real-Time tracking tool within google analytics. Using Real-Time allows you to monitor activity as it happens on your site. GA4 allows you to get the most accurate Real-Time data for your site.
Find out more about Real-Time and Google Analytics 4.
Migrate your goals
Goals are at the centre of Google Analytics for most businesses. When making the move to GA4 it is important to migrate your goals to save you time and effort. Using Google’s goal migration tool you can automatically replicate most event and destination goals from your UA property in GA4. This is a relatively simple process and can be done internally using the goals migration tool, however we recommend consulting an expert to ensure you get the best results when migrating your goals to GA4.
As GA4 uses a different method to identify goals set up with google tag manager it is important that you make the correct changes to your goals when importing them from UA. To help users with this process Google has created a list of preferred event titles and names. Using GA4’s recommended events titles will help you get the most details in your reports and benefit from future features and integrations.
Allow yourself time to adapt to the new UI system
Google Analytics 4 may have been promoted as an upgrade to UA, however GA4 has introduced new features to the User Interface. These UI changes may knock you off guard to begin with, however they have been implemented to create a more flexible user experience. Like with all upgrades there will be changes that take some getting used too, however the GA4 UI can be easily navigated with the use of some simple Google guides:
- [GA4] How to navigate analytics
- [UA-GA4] Comparing metrics: Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics
Making the move to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible is important for building the necessary historic data before Universal Analytics stops processing new hits. If you are having trouble adjusting to GA4 and would like some expert support migrating to the new Google Analytics property, contact us today on 0115 969 9922 or email us at email@example.com.
At Logic Digital, we’re always looking for ways to support small businesses to grow and achieve success. Want to see how we can work together? Get in touch with our team.