Google has announced that Universal Analytics will be officially replaced on July 1st, 2023. GA4, the latest version of Google’s analytics platform and the eventual replacement for Universal Analytics has been available since October 2020 but has not been widely adopted. This new analytics platform is largely focused on visitor engagement and event tracking.
When Should You Start with GA4?
The short answer is now.
Your new GA4 property needs time to gather data, and none of your Universal Analytics data will be imported into your new accounts.. Analytics accounts will only have data starting from when it’s set up. The longer you delay your GA4 implementation, the less data you’ll have. GA4 can run alongside your Universal Analytics account so both accounts can collect data as you go.
How Will You Access Your Historical Analytics Data?
GA4 does not currently import historical UA data so we recommend that you consider how your historical data will be accessed once Universal Analytics is no longer available. Your data is only good if it’s accessible. If your Universal Analytics data is stored in one property and your GA4 is in another, you’ll need to export and manipulate your data to make it functional. GA4 offers the ability to export to Big Query. Some organizations may be capable of doing this, others may need help.
How will GA4 be different from Universal Analytics?
Where do we start…? Google can give you an extensive explanation here: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/11986666?hl=en#zippy=%2Cin-this-article
The important takeaway is if you’re using the standard Google Analytics dashboard and reporting, you’ll have an adjustment to make. GA4 will have great data, but Google won’t be providing the same tools you’ve become accustomed to for viewing that data. You’ll need to use a solution like DataStudio to build your own analytics reports, or use a company or tool that will export, normalize and integrate your data to ensure a seamless view of your analytics. sMedia can help integrate your new GA4 data with your historic Universal Analytics data using our Performance Dashboard, or our attribution suite, Datasherpa.
How to be successful in your migration to GA4
Ensure your current Universal Analytics account is tracking the right things, set up with the right conversion events, and using the right currency. Not sure where to start? We can help, our analytics audits start at $99 and provide a comprehensive to-do list for clean-up of your analytics & website. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Do You Have To Change?
GA4 is going to be the analytics platform of the future, whether we like it or not. The platform was designed for codeless event tracking and predictive analytics so you can make better decisions about your marketing and advertising even as we move away from cookies. It is a new platform, full of change, and it will take some getting used to. Getting started today means that you’ll be pulling out insights and be that much further ahead next year when everyone else tackles the transition.
Ready to tackle your own GA4 set up? Visit our Head of Product’s blog for a step by step DIY implementation.
Need help with your GA4 set up? Worried about losing your historical analytics?
We’ve got you covered. sMedia clients will automatically be converted to GA4 prior to the change and have access to historical data through the Performance Dashboard and our multi-model attribution platform, DataSherpa.
sMedia is a member of the Automotive Standards Council for GA4. As such we are committed to ensuring that our products and services meet the standards for the automotive industry as set out by the council. Learn more about the Automotive Standards Council for GA4.