Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is ready to help marketers gain profound insights into web performance metrics. However, before delving into the new analytics dashboard, there are a few GA4 setup steps to complete. Explore this FAQ to ensure a seamless transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4.
What Is Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and How Does it Differ from Universal Analytics (UA)?
Google Analytics 4, the latest analytics interface from Google, empowers business owners to monitor user interactions with digital assets, such as websites and applications. Distinguishing itself from Universal Analytics, GA4 introduces a new dashboard layout, metrics, predictive insights, cross-platform tracking, and more. By leveraging this advanced version of analytics, business owners can derive more valuable takeaways from their data and enhance the experience for prospects and customers.
When Does Universal Analytics Convert to Google Analytics 4?
July 1, 2023.
How Do I Set Up Google Analytics 4?
Luckily, Google has provided a setup assistant, which will take you through the process and ensure you check off everything on your list when connecting settings from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 and adding anything new. Use these instructions to get started.
We highly recommend using Google Tag Manager to set up and manage your GA4 property. Using Google Tag Manager also makes it easier to set up custom events when the time comes around. Use these instructions to get started with Google Tag Manager.
Why Use Google Analytics 4?
While some companies are turning away from Google Analytics amidst the transition to GA4, there appear to be plenty of benefits for sticking with it.
- Customer Journey Tracking. GA4’s new engagement metrics make it easier to track a customer’s journey on your website.
- Predictive Insights. This is especially relevant for e-commerce companies. Predictive analytics show purchase probability, revenue prediction and churn probability.
- Cross-Platform Tracking. GA4 allows you to track data from your website and your app in one property, giving more insight into the customer journey from start to finish.
Will Universal Analytics Data Be Deleted?
After July 1, 2023, you will have around six months before your Universal Analytics data is deleted. Have no fear, there are ways to export your data before you lose it. Carry on to our next question and answer for more.
How Do I Export My Universal Analytics Data?
To keep your UA data forever, you will need to export it. Keeping your data is important for historical and reporting purposes. There are a few different ways to export your UA data from your analytics property.
- Export Individual Reports. You have the flexibility to export data into formats like CSV files, Excel spreadsheets, Google Sheets or even PDFs. We recommend opting for Excel or Google Sheets as they allow for data manipulation and easy conversion to a PDF file.
- Share a Report. Instead of exporting a file, you can share it with relevant individuals who handle data frequently. Google sets a limit of 400 scheduled emailed reports per user view. To share a report follow these steps:
- Select “Share,” located across from the report title.
- Enter the email address in the “From” field,
- Enter the list of email addresses in the “To” field, specifying the recipients
- Add a subject line, select the desired attachment format
- Click “Send.”
- In the “Advanced Options” section, you can adjust the frequency of sending the reports, allowing you to send emails for specific time periods. The selected frequency also determines the data included in the report. For example, selecting “daily” will provide data from the previous day.
- Use Google Tools. The last option for exporting UA data is to use the Google Analytics Reporting API. For those that are Google Analytics 360 customers, you can employ BigQuery to export data, offering an additional option for managing your UA data effectively.
What Data Should I Export from My Universal Analytics Instance?
For organizations that have had UA for decades, it does not make sense to export the entirety of the data as this can be overwhelming and take some time. If you have been tracking your website data on something like a marketing dashboard, you probably have plenty of historical data. Exporting data one year at a time is best practice. So, start with 2023, then work backward until it makes sense to stop exporting. Data from when you first started your business and using UA might not be as valuable as recent data. Export data such as website sessions, bounce rate, users, acquisition, pages per session, page views and demographics. Some of this data will not be available in GA4 and will help give you a basis for comparison from UA to GA4 data.
How Long Will Universal Analytics Data Be Available?
July 1, 2023, is when GA4 will become the primary tracking platform for your website. Universal Analytics data will be available for at least six months after July 1st, so you will have some time to export any data you need. Universal Analytics will continue to collect new data properties for a brief time while it is formalizing the shutdown. However, do not rely on this period to continue using Universal Analytics. The more data you collect from GA4 now, the more information you will have for performance benchmarks and reporting purposes.
What is the Difference Between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics?
What Are Key Metric Differences in Google Analytics 4 Compared to Universal Analytics?
While some UA metrics translate to GA4, they are not 1:1 and some do not exist in GA4. Here is a comparison of key metrics in UA and what they are/will be in GA4.
|Google Analytics 4
|Total Unique Users
|Event: first_open or first_visit
|Not Engaged Sessions
Where Can I Find Helpful Resources or Tutorials for GA4?
There are plenty of resources available to assist with setting up GA4, configuring events and addressing all your requirements. Here are a few of our favorite resources directly from Google, which will prove immensely helpful:
- YouTube Tutorials from Google Analytics
- Google Support on GA4 Topics
- List of Automatically Collected Events in GA4
- List of Recommended Events to Setup in GA4
We hope these answers to some of the most asked questions about GA4 make you more confident in the transition. Should you require further clarification regarding GA4 or seek assistance in optimizing your website performance, contact us today or request a free marketing consultation.