Google Analytics 4, or GA4, is Google’s latest analytics property. It is very different from Universal Analytics or 360 and pulls different reports than those you have grown accustomed to over the years, so get ready; it’s a big one – GA4 comes with some great features and benefits but will require a bit of learning, and we want you to be prepared.
With Universal Analytics on its way to retirement beginning in July of 2023 and UA 360 retiring in October 2023, and Google announcing it will be deleting all historical UA data on or about January 1, 2024. It’s time for you to save your data and move over to GA4. Times-a-changin’, so let’s get into it.
Like GA Universal, But Better… But Harder. But Better.
Google Analytics 4 has the flexibility to measure many different kinds of data from multiple devices and platforms, delivering a strong analytics experience and data streams designed for your future. GA4 collects website and app data to help marketers better understand their customer journey and uses event-based data (interactions between users and your website) rather than session-based data (where people come from and how long they stay).
Privacy controls like cookieless data measurement, behavioral, and conversion modeling are also part of GA4. This all allows businesses to see unified user journeys across their websites and apps, use Google’s machine learning technology to the surface and predict new insights, and, most importantly, it’s built to keep up with a changing ecosystem.
We say it’s ‘harder’ because it involves a lot more setup at the beginning and quite a bit of manual data carryover. In addition to set-up, the way you use GA4 will be quite different and is something that will require some learning and getting used to.
GA4 Is Meant To Measure Trends – Just Like GA Universal
Universal Analytics was really built for desktop use. We don’t blame it since that made sense at the time, but it’s now time to get with the times.
Universal Analytics measured trending from independent sessions and observable data from cookies, but now with today’s more strict privacy rules and cookie elimination, that is just no longer feasible. Enter GA4’s cross-platform measurement. It does not rely on cookies and uses event-based data modeling, so you’ve got a more modern solution for user-centric trend measurement and across multiple platforms – equally.
GA4 Is Built Around Privacy
Google Analytics 4 heavily focuses on privacy. It makes granular controls available to help your business meet its ever-changing needs and helps Analytics users with more comprehensive controls for data collection. Unlike Universal, GA4 will no longer store IP addresses. Web users have come to demand and expect data privacy, and the GA4 solution has made this possible without compromising the usefulness and quality of the information collected.
With the GA4 Release, Time Is Of The Essence.
Directly from Google: “All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023, and 360 Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on October 1, 2023. After that, you can access your previously processed data in Universal Analytics for at least six months.” We encourage you not to wait. Google’s Help Center Resources provide guidance on how to make the move over to Google Analytics 4, while saving and transferring as much data as you can before Universal Analytics stops processing new hits.
Start the process of moving to GA4
We realize this is a LOT of effort to make the switch, and as always, we are here to help you get this done! So, if it seems daunting, and you’re in need of assistance from seasoned pros - rest assured, we’ve got you.
CommonPlaces can help you get started, so give us a shout!