You may have seen that Google is replacing Google Analytics (GA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in July 2023.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be updating all clients that are on a maintenance plan, setting up the new GA4 property and adding the tracking code on your website(s). A few common questions have cropped up concerning the migration from the third generation of Google Analytics, Universal Analytics (UA) and we’ve detailed them below.
A few key differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 are listed here:
- Google Analytics 4 has a different tracking code and a different template tag in GTM. You cannot simply “migrate” or “upgrade” a property from Universal Analytics to GA4; rather you must create a separate property altogether. This also applies to advertising audiences (they will need to be recreated in GA4, too).
- The admin and reporting interfaces are different, so a learning curve is to be expected. Therefore, the sooner you begin checking out the GA4 interface, the better.
- GA4 is meant to combine web and app into one property for better cross-device analysis. This is why GA4 was being called “App + Web” properties before Google finalised the new name.
- The measurement model in GA4 is based on events and parameters instead of sessions and pageviews. This should allow for better pathing analysis and more opportunities for combining metrics and dimensions into reports.
- On a similar note, basic event tracking is much simpler. GA4 includes a number of common events—like scroll tracking and link tracking—that you can enable out of the box.
- GA4 allows for up to 30 conversions. Universal Analytics only allows 20 in the standard version, and it’s worth noting that Universal Analytics calls them “Goals” (instead of “Conversions,” as in GA4). Same concept, though.
Will there be any data loss from the old GA to GA4?
No. The recommendation is to not remove Universal Analytics but dual-tag with both Universal and GA4.
By dual-tagging your website you will continue to enjoy all the benefits of Universal Analytics while beginning to collect data in your Google Analytics 4 properties. So the sooner we add GA4 to your account the better but you won’t be losing anything.
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.
Here’s a link to the GA4 Introduction article at Google, lots of detail here for those that are interested.
Any questions about the update or to find out how you can use the Google Analytics data to improve your website.