Transitioning from UA to GA4 – What Businesses Need to Know
On 1st July 2023, Universal Analytics evolved into Google Analytics 4, allowing users to measure a wide range of data from iOS and Android apps, and the web. This guide will explore the key differences between UA and GA4, and how to migrate as smoothly as possible.
What is GA4?
GA4 has been created to help businesses better understand their audiences, user behaviour and the effectiveness of their marketing activities. Instead of relying on sessions, GA4 can recognise and measure interaction events, such as scrolls, in-site searches, video engagement, outbound clicks and file downloads.
In previous iterations of Google Analytics, measuring several metrics relied on setting up complex events, but the platform will automatically tag these events for you now, which gives you instant access to valuable data.
The key differences between UA and GA4
There are plenty of new features to explore in GA4, including:
The biggest and most notable change is that GA4 has an entirely new dashboard, which is more streamlined and features fewer reports.
The event-based data model in GA4 allows for much more detailed tracking which gives a far-reaching overview of event tracking, from form submissions and attribution to in-depth demographics.
Combining site and app data into one property, GA4 allows businesses to track interactions across numerous platforms and devices. It provides a more unified understanding of user behaviour and the whole lifecycle of an experience.
The event-driven model is able to track numerous engagement metrics such as engagement rates and time, and engaged sessions based on interactions and conversions. This makes it easier to personalise experiences based on preferences.
Combining machine learning and artificial intelligence, GA4 can deliver predictive insights that help companies identify potential segments and optimise strategies based on their audience.
GA4 provides more in-depth data control options, aligning with GDPR rules. For example, you can now handle data deletion, user-centric data controls and consent preferences much more easily.
How to ensure a seamless transition to GA4
Many businesses will have already set up GA4, but if you haven’t yet, it should be a priority. As we’ve seen, GA4 comes with several variations to the Universal Analytics we all know, so getting used to this platform whilst Universal Analytics still has historical data is vital. Here’s how to make the move as easy as possible.
Familiarise yourself with GA4
By understanding the differences between Universal Analytics and Ga4, you can get a better understanding of the transition process. Take some time to learn more about how report interfaces have changed and how to customise your own reports to easily monitor the metrics that are key to your business.
Use Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is a great complement to GA4, enabling you to install code snippets easily such as your GA4 tracking code, and providing a way to create custom event triggers. So, it’s worth getting to know GTM to make tracking set-up easier.
Don’t remove UA just yet
While UA stopped processing data in early July, you don’t want to completely remove it. Remember that it holds a lot of historic data that you may want access to later on.
Define key events and conversions
Identify the events and conversions that are critical to your business objectives and configure them in GA4 accordingly. This will ensure you continue tracking and measuring the essential metrics.
Start collecting data now
The sooner you can start collating data, the more time you’ll have to get used to the interface and develop custom reports that are tailored to your business.
Moving from Universal Analytics to GA4 gives businesses the opportunity to take advantage of a host of new features for better site management and effective digital marketing. We recommend making the switch as soon as possible to get started.
Need advice on how to get the most from GA4? Our knowledgeable team will be happy to help – don’t hesitate to get in touch with us with any queries you may have.