Setting Up Google Analytics 4
Do you use Google Analytics to measure your business impact online? If you haven’t heard, Universal Analytics’ end of life is near. Google has started its transition to Analytics 4 (GA4). Many businesses rely on their analytics platforms to make important decisions, and changes, even for the better, can cause stress and uncertainty. Is Google Universal Analytics (UA) going away? How long will Universal Analytics be supported? How do you upgrade your Google Analytics? If the thought of setting up Google Analytics 4 is making your head spin, take a deep breath, because we’re here to help.
Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics
According to Google, if you started using your Google Analytics after October 14, 2020, you are probably already using GA4 and you don’t need to do anything else. If you created your property before, you are likely using Universal Analytics. If you are setting up an account for the first time, you will still have the option to use UA, but don’t get too comfortable because change is coming.
With a name like “universal,” you would think there wouldn’t be anywhere left to go, but Google began touting the update in 2020, the transition began, and users started setting up Google Analytics 4. You can continue to use Universal Analytics until July 1, 2023, and after that you can access the UA data for approximately six months after.
Change can be hard, but with change comes new opportunities. The slow transition allows users to use both properties, collecting historical data before UA goes away, and provides time to export essential historical reports. Google Analytics 4 benefits promise more sophisticated information to help you make better marketing choices. When comparing GA4 vs. Universal Analytics, one big advantage is that you can use GA4 for an app, a website, or both.
Setting up Google Analytics 4 will offer a significant change in data structure and collection logic, focusing on what Google describes as an “event” model that processes each user interaction as an independent event, instead of a session model where interactions are grouped within a given time frame. Setting up Google Analytics 4 offers cross-platform and deeper analysis, including funnel analysis to help you explore how site visitors turn into buyers and then repeat customers. With recent increased privacy for consumers on the web, GA4 uses advanced machine learning to link a user identity with behavior across devices. Google also tried to simplify its reporting interface to make it easier to identify trends and abnormalities.
How to Set Up GA4 from UA
Don’t let GA4’s enhanced features intimidate you. Google Analytics 4 conversion from UA only takes a few simple clicks.
- Log into your analytics account.
- Under “Admin,” click on the gear icon in the left of the bottom navigation.
- Make sure the account and property you want to update are selected.
- Click on “GA4 Setup Assistant” under the “Property” column.
- In the Setup Wizard, select “Get Started.” It’s a large blue button.
- Click “Create Property” – another blue button!
And you’re done! GA4’s event tracking will start automatically, but you will need to add additional coding for any forms or third-party elements included on your site. If you are already using Google Site Tag, data collection with your existing tags will be automatic as well. If not, you will also have to enable Google Analytics 4 Tag. You may also want to customize certain functions like how long your data is retained or if you want to exclude internal web traffic in your analytics.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool, giving you better insight into your website traffic and how your visitors behave once they are there. With better information comes better decision making. Setting up Google Analytics 4 gives you more flexibility in data collection and analysis and balances the desire for information with privacy concerns.
At Paradigm, we understand that your website is your number one marketing tool and website metrics offer a wealth of information about your site’s visitors and the effectiveness of your strategy. While setting up Google Analytics 4 may be simple, you may need help to get the most out of it. Our Google Analytics training services can guide you in finding the metrics that matter most to your business, give you a comprehensive understanding of how to discover, save, and analyze your website metrics, and set yourself up for marketing success. Please contact us today.