If you’re in Google Analytics nearly every day, you’ve probably seen the alert “Universal Analytics will no longer process new data in standard properties beginning July 1, 2023. Prepare now by setting up and switching over to a Google Analytics 4 property.” From there, you probably have no idea where to start. But don’t worry, we have you covered with the basics of Google Analytics 4 and how Team ANDERSON can assist.
What is Google Analytics 4?
As defined by Google, GA4 is a new property designed for the future of measurement. It serves a multitude of functions:
- Collects both website and app data to better understand the consumer journey
- Uses events instead of session-based data
- Includes privacy controls such as cookieless measurement, and behavioral and conversion modeling
- Predictive capabilities offer guidance without complex models
- Direct integrations to media platforms help drive actions
Why Does It Matter?
The current Analytics property was built for a generation of online measurement that was meant for desktop web, independent sessions, and had more easily observable data from cookies. Due to data and privacy changes since this property was launched, those measurements are more outdated. Google Analytics 4 operates across platforms and does not rely on cookies as it uses an event-based data model to deliver a more user-centric measurement. In addition, GA4 is built specifically with privacy at its core to provide a better experience for both consumers and their users/advertisers. This update is needed in today’s landscape as more users are expecting privacy protections and controls over their data.
How Does It Affect You?
While your Universal Analytics is still good to operate with until July of 2023, integrating and getting set up with GA4 now is the best thing you can do for your business. By implementing now, you can utilize both properties (Universal and GA4) but get access to more data points to help measure success. Remember, Universal Analytics is focused on tracking different hit types (page, event, eCommerce, and social) whereas GA4 is event-based. Meaning that any and all interactions on your website or app can be captured as an event. By implementing now, you will be able to capture user data across their devices and get a better understanding of a more open-parameters event tracking system.
How to Setup GA4
Here are instructions on how to set up your GA4. These are the same whether your website has a Google Analytics tag or Google Tag Manager. Note that to use the GA4 Setup Assistance, you will need to be assigned the Editor role within the account.
- In Google Analytics, click Admin.
- In the Account column, make sure that your desired account is selected. (If you only have one Google Analytics account, it will already be selected.)
- In the Property column, select the Universal Analytics property that currently collects data for your website.
- In the Property column, click GA4 Setup Assistant. It is the first option in the Property column.
- Click Get started under I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property.
- If your site uses the gtag.js, tag, you have the option to Enable data collection using your existing tags.
- Click Create Property and once clicked it:
- Creates your new GA4 property.
- Copies the property name, website URL, timezone, and currency settings from your Universal Analytics property.
- Activates enhanced measurement in your GA4 property.
- Creates a connection between your Universal Analytics and GA4 properties. This connection makes it possible for you to use Setup Assistant in your Google Analytics 4 property to migrate configurations from your Universal Analytics property to your GA4 property.
- (If your site is tagged with gtag.js and you elected to Enable data collection using your existing tags in Step 6 above) Creates a connected site tag between your Universal Analytics and GA4 properties.
Google Analytics 4 is the future of reporting and how you will measure your marketing campaigns across websites and apps. This all seems daunting at first but Team ANDERSON is here to support you and your business if you need assistance with setting up and integrating GA4 into your website.