How to Prepare for the Big Update
Well, we knew it would happen and it’s happening soon. Universal Analytics (UA) is getting replaced by Google Analytics 4, affectionately called GA4. It’s on the horizon with a July 1, 2023 implementation date.
On July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will no longer process data.
You’ll be able to see your Universal Analytics reports for a period of time after July 1, 2023.
However, new data will only flow into Google Analytics 4 properties.
Yes, that day marks the end of Universal Analytics, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait to start utilizing GA4 till then.
Our advice, start using their new property now.
Stressed? Don’t be.
We’re giving you a detailed guide, dare we say, your ultimate guide, to Google Analytics 4.
And because it’s so detailed, we’re starting now.
Here we go…
Why You Should Start Using GA4 Now
So, we’ve told you that you have over a year for GA4 to be the only Google Analytics in service, but we’ve also told you that you should start working with it now. Why? The new property is going to work with the data it collects and ONLY the data it collects.
Meaning it will not use UA info or have access to it on that fateful day in 2023.
Right now, you have the opportunity to allow GA4 to start gathering your data, and when GA4 takes over its solo mission, it can garner historical context and give viable answers to your marketing strategy straight off the bat.
The good news is that until July 2023, you get to double-dip your UA and your GA4, so coexistence is a luxury you have for about a year.
Why not take full advantage of all that extra data?
What’s Changing with Google Analytics 4
If you don’t know what Google Analytics is, it’s a marketing tool that provides details about your online marketing strategies. It basically tells you what’s working so you can make the best marketing decisions for your business.
In the past, UA got its intel based on sessions or the amount of time a user spends on pages. In stark contrast, GA4 will be based on users and events, offering much more information to you and your business.
Here’s what Google says about its GA4 property:
It’s durable for the future and privacy-focused
Why we like this: With a world full of technology comes a world full of data and security breaching. Having privacy-focused regulations means your customers and users stay happy knowing you’re complying with privacy laws, but you still get pertinent intel regarding them and their journey.
It uses machine learning to get you insights into customer journeys across platforms and devices
Why we like this: We MUST know what our users are doing so we can understand their journey, what works, what isn’t working, and what changes you should make to enhance the user experience.
With GA4, when users use different devices to do searches for the same thing, all the intel is collected and reported. The user’s journey is well documented and will provide valuable information about them and their actions no matter what device or how many devices they use.
Also, if you use a company’s website and its app, GA4 will know and be able to give you comprehensive data regarding user actions, rather than the current way of only providing data about each separate session the user took.
All of this information streamlines and organizes your data, helping you predict movements so you can reach your user at the right time in the sales funnel.
It has enhanced integrations with Google’s advertising platform to optimize campaign performance
Why we like this: Google has lots of services to help you run your business better; integration between all the Google platforms you use means a simplified way of using your data to optimize your ad campaigns. Real performance can be measured to help you get better website traffic and more sales or patients.
We don’t know about you, but this all sounds good to us.
Check out this stellar video from Krista Seiden, who offers a walkthrough of the GA4 property interface, its organization, and a complete overview.
Why is the GA4 Switch Necessary?
Users want privacy; your business wants information. That combo isn’t always a good fit, but Google wants to help. GA4 is created with you both in mind, letting users know they’re safe while allowing you to track them.
Using machine learning solutions, data gaps are bridged by determining the user’s identity across all platforms and devices for a more thorough report.
The reporting is also much easier to decipher with overviews on summary cards. The new interface is clean and straightforward, but you can always find more detailed analysis by clicking on the appropriate summary cards.
How Do I Set Up Google Analytics 4?
We’re hearing your collective groan; no one likes doing techie things unless you’re a techie person.
And if you’re not, don’t fret.
We’re giving you a rundown on how to find the information you need.
If you don’t have Universal Analytics
Not using UA? It’s okay. Here’s how to set up your GA4 account if you don’t have an existing UA account:
- Head over to Google Analytics and click the big blue button “Get started today.” Then go ahead and create your account, deciding what data you want Google to see.
- Click “Next” when done, and then check out the Google article Set up analytics for website and/or app to learn how to get your GA4 property going.
- When done, take a browse, familiaize yourself with the data, and find out more about your users’ interaction with your site.
If you do have Universal Analytics
If you’ve been using the uber-helpful insight that UA offers, here’s how to set up GA4:
- Go to your Google Analytics account and use Google’s GA4 Setup Assistant to help you set up your new property. To use the assistant, you can follow the detailed steps Google offers in their article Add a Google Analytics 4 property (to a site that already has Analytics). Believe us when we tell you, it’s as easy as a few clicks. Nothing to it.
- We really only have one bullet for this, but if you want even more information, check out another of Google’s articles, Make the switch to Google Analytics 4, which is a comprehensive overview of the GA4’s setup.
And, don’t worry, your UA will still be gathering data, fully functioning, and useable (until July 1, 2023), but with the new property set up, you’ll have access to both UA and GA4.
More the visual type? Check out this GA4 video tutorial and set yourself up easier.
The GA4 Reports
The reports GA4 provides are gonna be game-changers.
- Homepage: Get a summary of your website traffic, conversions, and revenue, so you know how new users are finding you, what campaigns are working best, what pages are visited most, and more
- Realtime Report: See all events that happened in the last 30 minutes and check out “View user snapshot” to learn all about a specific user (the device used, location, real-time actions, etc.)
- Life Cycle Report: Learn how a user enters the sales funnel and what they do once there
- Analysis Hub: Get access to loads of tools and techniques for monitoring users, you decide what you want to analyze by picking and choosing your variables, and you can easily uncover new intel and create reports that best make sense to you
There are dozens of reports to be created that provide the useful information you’re looking for.
The GA4 Takeaway
We said it before; we’ll say it again, setting up GA4 now offers you much more insight and will provide historical information when UA is no longer available. Not only that, but you’ll have time to learn its ins and outs, which means once UA is gone, you’ll know how to read and understand your reports so you can make educated decisions on your marketing strategies immediately.
We want your digital marketing campaign to be a smashing success.
Want targeted informational videos about Google Analytics? Find your answers here.