Announced in October 2020, GA4 is primed to officially replace UA on July 1, 2023, which means UA will stop processing site visitor activity on that day. Since this announcement, Google has given digital marketing agencies and brands almost three years to prepare their team and business to make the critical switch. Migrating sooner rather than later will help you get acquainted with new capabilities, prevent data loss, and ensure that integrations are reconfigured.
In today’s blog post, we decided to help make migrating to GA4 easier. If you already have experience using UA, you’re two steps ahead. And, if you don’t have experience, we are here to help guide you.
Are you ready for the new Google Analytics 4? Let’s dive in to find out what GA4 is all about—and why you need to learn how to migrate to Google Analytics 4.
What is New in Google Analytics 4
GA4 is designed to give B2B marketers a richer, more accurate picture of their customers journey to purchase? across devices and channels. Some of the latest features of GA4 include the following:
- Cross-device measurement: GA4 can link together multiple devices used by the same person to give you a complete view of their behavior.
- Offline data: GA4 can track offline conversions, such as phone calls or in-store purchases, and attribute them to your online marketing campaigns. This is incredibly helpful for complex B2B account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns.
- Enhanced customer journey reporting: GA4’s new funnel reports show how customers move through the various stages of your marketing funnel.
If your team uses Universal Analytics (UA), you can migrate your tracking code to GA4. However, GA4 offers a different data model than UA, so it’s essential to understand the differences between the two platforms before migrating and to be careful during the migration process. For more on that, check out our blog, GA4 Has Landed. Then explore the Next Generation of Google Analytics.
Migrate in Phases: Steps for Migrating to Google Analytics 4
Are you constantly seeing prompts to migrate to the new Google Analytics? With just eleven months to go, it’s becoming even more crucial to start the migration soon.
While migrating to the new Google Analytics does not necessarily mean losing current data collection and reporting capabilities, you need to prepare for a different way to view, analyze, and leverage data generated by event-based measurement.
This is why we recommend a phased approach — migrating to GA4 in stages to ensure that the platform is appropriately set up for your needs. It’s best to set up a GA4 property as soon as possible and use it simultaneously with your current UA so you can see and learn the differences before upgrading custom reports and dashboards to the new Analytics. So let’s dive deeper into those steps at a high level.
Phase 1: Create a new GA4 property for standard tracking – GA4 is a fresh start in every sense of the word, so before you move to the new platform, you must create a new GA4 property. You can do this using the Upgrade Assistant or by clicking on the Create New Property button in the admin menu.
Remember that if you use Google Tag Manager, you can create a new GA4 Configuration tag on all pages. In contrast, if you’re coding, you’ll need to add the GA4 tag to your website’s pages. Once these are completed, you can see core data in the GA4 property.
Phase 2: Track events and other KPI-related metrics – In line with GA4’s move to event-based tracking, you’ll be able to configure data collection based on relevant events that indicate user behaviors and interactions. For example, in the new GA4, you will see that the Event Category is now called Event Name. Moreover, you will be able to define the data parameters under Action and Label, allowing you to track all relevant data. In addition, any goals that you previously defined as destination goals will need to be added as events to ensure they are measured.
Phase 3: Set up tracking for eCommerce and additional custom tracking – For eCommerce sites, this is one of the most crucial steps of the migration process that can be done on GA4 to ensure accurate revenue measurement. We recommend working with developers, like our InteractOne team of experts, to help your team implement your website’s appropriate eCommerce tracking codes.
Phase 4: Post-migration audit and adjustments – Once your migration is complete, conducting a full implementation audit is crucial to identify gaps and errors and adjust as needed. This includes debugging, ensuring that all tracked data are funneled to the correct events, and reviewing your GA settings for the new GA4 property. Finally, ensure all KPIs are reflected as goals, and relevant events are marked as conversions.
Get ahead of event-based tracking and build a full view of the customer journey across devices and platforms.
Things to Keep in Mind
One of the most important things to remember when using GA4 is that it’s a very new platform. As such, there are bound to be some bugs and limitations. Google is actively working to address these issues, but it’s essential to be aware of them before you make the switch.
Another thing to keep in mind is that GA4 doesn’t yet have all of UA’s features. Some of the most notable features that are missing from GA4 include the following:
- Custom dimensions
- Custom metrics
- Content groups
- Attribution modeling
If any of the above features are important to your tracking, you should run both UA and GA4 simultaneously until you make the final switch.
Bringing it all together
Old habits die hard, especially those that have made your business successful. UA has undoubtedly been one of the most effective tools in recent years. Leaving it behind and moving to a new platform can sound time-consuming, stressful, and challenging. But remember that GA4 is pretty much the same as UA, except it’s better. In Google Analytics 4, you have more efficient tracking features, improved customization options, and greater data security. So if you wonder whether all the stress is worth it, the answer is a resounding yes.
Want to get ahead of the GA4 curve and get your migration started? Book a chat with one of our team members today. Our team of experts has extensive experience configuring and optimizing GA4, as well as a variety of other tracking systems. As a result, we can help you maximize the effectiveness of your tracking ecosystem so that you know precisely how effective your marketing dollars are.