Google Analytics 4 is a new and improved analytics product from Google, which will take over as the latest version of google analytics. June 2023 will be the final month that the previous version, Universal Analytics, collects data. If your business uses google analytics for its website, set up GA4 as early as possible to avoid losing your data. Augurian is an agency that can help you unlock GA4 with implementation, migration, integration, customization, and support services.
Switching Over to GA4
GA4 is the latest iteration of Google’s analytics platform. It brings a fresh way to view and store data and new ways to explore that information. As a result, it has far more flexibility than its predecessor – but marketers will have to start from scratch when it comes to setting it up and learning how to use it.
Four key differences between Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics (UA):
- GA4 has more data flexibility. There are clear improvements in the data model over the previous 20+-year-old UA data model.
- GA4 has an updated UX. Google Analytics’ new interface brings the new data model to life.
- GA4s reports are more versatile than UA.
- Metrics in GA4 are generally more accurate than in UA. Due to significant updates in data definitions and data continuity.
Marketers need to know: The change from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 is much more than an easy move to a 2.0 version. The way GA4 collects and stores data is fundamentally different. Until now, UA has stored data by separating it into several different categories – and for the most part, UA has only been able to use the data in these categories with other data in the same category. But, in GA4, all data is stored in a single category called an event, a difference that changes the game in flexibility.
Are you looking for a Google Analytics Partner to help you sail through the sunset? Call today!
When Will Universal Analytics Sunset?
Google announced that Universal Analytics will stop collecting data on July 1st, 2023. And the data they have collected may only be available for up to 6 months. This means that to have year-over-year data to reflect on, you must set up your GA4 property with events by July 1st, 2022.
Google will also delete your historical data stored in UA approximately six months after this date. So to avoid losing your historical data, you will also want to back that up as soon as possible. If you need help, call a Google Analytics 4 agency to get this task off your hands.
When To Migrate to Google Analytics 4
The best time to migrate to Google Analytics 4 is right NOW! If your site uses Google Analytics, you need to make a decision about your company’s plan as quickly as possible. Work needs to begin happening immediately. Year-over-year analysis within GA4 isn’t possible until 365 days after you begin to track conversions and events – in that system. Delaying now could mean losing valuable historical data later.
GA4 integration is much more than simply checking-the-box to continue answering familiar questions.
And since GA4 data only exists in GA4, you’ll need to figure out if and how to bridge historical UA data to have reports that consider data before 2022. Digital marketing teams with reports connected to Universal analytics will also need to recreate them based on GA4 data – but, they can’t do that until the system is up and running. Start discussing your GA4 migration with Augurian ASAP.
Google Analytics 4 Services
Because of the difference between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics, you might be seeking experts to help maximize your time and resources. Here is how Google Analytics 4 experts can help you.
Google Analytics 4 implementation includes the basic setup such as adjusting initial settings, tracking goals, building audiences, and configuring alerts. We think of implementation as putting GA4 into production. Because of new metrics, dimensions, and differences in settings between UA and GA4, partnering with a Google Analytics 4 agency for implementation makes sense in many cases.
Call us to start your Google Analytics 4 implementation.
A Google Analytics 4 migration is the act of moving away from Universal analytics, or some other digital analytics tool, to GA4. For migrations, we want to ensure we can answer the same questions that we used to in the past. Since the systems have different definitions for similar metrics, working with a GA4 partner on this project is a wise idea to guarantee that you meet all stakeholders’ needs. This process may or may not include trying to bridge the data collected in Universal Analytics and GA4.
Google Analytics 4 migrations can also happen when a company changes its website, UI, or CMS. Augurian supports our partners with strategic website migrations and organic search services to ensure we retain as much organic search traffic as possible. In that process, questions and implementation around GA4 are standard.
Call us to begin discussing your migration, today.
Google Analytics 4 integration is about enabling GA4’s interactions with the other systems, processes, and publishers you are already using. For example, you may want to ensure that Google Analytics data is available in Google Ads. Or you may desire to integrate offline data from your point of sale system or CRM into your google analytics account for better customer revenue and LTV data insights.
Or you can leverage GA4’s native integration with BigQuery to further integrate that into your conversion rate optimizations or marketing automation plans. You can potentially integrate all of the following and more into your GA4 analysis and operations: Salesforce, Hubspot, BigQuery, Microsoft Dynamics, Marketo, Pardot, Zapier, Google Ads, and Facebook.
Custom tracking plans build upon integrations and implementations to maximize their impact. With Google Analytics 4 customization, we ask what the specific needs of your team and organization are to tailor your setup to your unique needs. Websites and their strategies are different for every organization, so customization ensures that you are leveraging the tool in the best way to justify results.
Google Analytics 4 Agency Support is the service of providing expert perspective and strategy as you need it, based on your company’s distinct timelines. As details, definitions, and plans change, fine-tuning your Google Analytics 4 metamorphosis will require gradual progress.
What’s New in Google Analytics 4, Anyway?
Correctly, since this tool is different, most organizations are choosing to take a green field approach and ask, “what should this be?” instead of “how do I recreate what I had?” Here are some updates to get excited about the possibilities of this new analytics tool.
- Updated Data Model: How it collects and stores data is different.
- Predictive Modeling: Predictive models are more useful in GA4.
- Data Exploration: Exploring and using data is a better experience.
- Data Protection: Data isn’t easy for bad actors to manipulate.
A New Data Model
A data model is a fundamental way the data is gathered and stored. The way that the data model has changed in GA4 is profound. UA’s data model has been the same for over 20+ years. So when Google revealed GA4’s data model, it was pretty groundbreaking. Without getting into the details, we need to mention two critical updates.
First, the event-based data model is now standardized. Now all data interactions are events, whereas before, they used to have many buckets. This change is where we can find all of GA4’s flexibility.
Second, the reworked data model now has time functionality. As in, we can now track how long it may take a user to convert from the time they may have clicked a button. This update presents new opportunities in customer journey tracking and site optimization.
Predictive modeling has always been something that Google has pushed. Now more than ever, predictive modeling is Google’s answer to a more data-restrictive environment. This modeling is a huge deal. It means you can now use GA to build audiences you can port over to Google Ads – and then use as models to optimize new users to convert.
Currently, there is a drawback to this: The minimum requirements to use it. As of this writing, Google requires at least 1,000 positive conversions (users that do convert) and 1,000 negative conversions (users that don’t convert) within a 7-day window, for about 4-weeks straight.
So while this will serve a large company, those companies that don’t have that volume will be unable to utilize this. But there is light in the tunnel with this restriction. Once Google can optimize its models after some time, we assume that it may be able to reduce the minimum required amount of positive and negative conversions.
Custom reporting options called Explorations which you can bring into your main reporting pages to understand your site’s performance quickly. Explorations like this can help you think about your data differently and design new ways to improve it.
While there have been custom reports in UA, they are nothing like the “custom reports” (now explorations) in GA4. For example, even if you brought the data into Data Studio, you previously could not compare time- and session-scoped data in UA.
Not only is this possible in GA4, but it is also highly suggested that you use it. Within this, the reports are downright more usable than the custom reports in UA, which they emphasize in the user interaction flow charts. These charts are highly useful in determining how visitors flow through a website and to which pages. Data Studio only matches Data Exploration in GA4. And even that is a well-matched fight.
Are you tired of having 2 or 3-week periods of complete data loss – or dealing with massive spikes in traffic from bots? GA4’s data protection aims to make that a thing of the past. Too good to be true? Think again.
In UA, it would be effortless for bots to send false hits to your analytics, making analysis more difficult and time-consuming. Now, the way that the bots send the false hits is no longer available to them, and there is also a function called anomaly detection.
You need to set up anomaly detection manually – but once you do, it will most likely never need to be changed again. So then, once set up, if there is a significant increase or decrease in whatever you want to track, it is much easier to catch when something has gone wrong.
A Google Analytics Agency to Help You Migrate to GA4
Most companies do not have the internal resources to tackle the GA4 migration alone. Working with a GA4 partner can help you save time and reduce the risk of reporting disruptions.
Augurian is a trusted digital marketing agency with expertise in GA4. If you want confidence in GA4, reach out today. We will make sure you’re headed in the right direction. Or explore our analytics services to learn more.
More GA4 FAQs
Is Google Analytics 4 Ready To Be Used?
Yes, it is ready to use right now – and you should be using it as early as you can. Still, Google is still making updates, so changes are still expected.
How Does GA4 Report On Users?
This version of analytics reports on users a little differently from UA. In GA4, a user’s activity is identified in three different days. A manual User ID can now be used to gather and attach a user’s data back to them in a much more usable way than before. If users are signed into their Google account and have consented, those signal can be tied to them, too. Otherwise, a randomly generated Device ID is stored in a cookie on the user browser and delivered with their analytics hits.
Can You Merge Google Analytics Data in GA4?
Yes, but it won’t live in GA4. However, there are tutorials for integrating the data via BigQuery.
Can you integrate CallRail tracking in GA4?
Not yet. Call rail understands this is an issue, but at this time, there isn’t clear documentation or a process for integrating CallRail.
How Can Augurian HELP With Your Google Analytics 4 Migration?
Augurian is a digital marketing agency and trusted google analytics partner for many different businesses. We can help you understand how GA4 can give you a deeper understanding of how your website is working for you.
Our digital analytics team can deploy the new google analytics to your website, customize your goals, integrate your tools , and even migrate your older analytics data in for historical context. Start today!