Are you a marketer who wants to stay on top of the game? If so, you need to know about Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the newest version of Google's web analytics platform. GA4 has a lot of new features that offer a more comprehensive view of the user journey and better insights into user behavior. How do you transfer your data from UA to GA4? Why are we making the shift from UA to GA4? Should I migrate from UA to GA4 now? In this blog post, we'll go over what you need to know about GA4 and why it's important to make the transition from Universal Analytics (UA) as soon as possible.
Why is GA4 better than UA?
- Event-Based Tracking Offers a More Comprehensive View of the User Journey.
GA4's event-based tracking is a game-changer. Unlike UA's session-based tracking, event-based tracking allows for a more complete view of the user journey. This means you can see every interaction a user has with your website or app, from clicking on a button to watching a video. Event-based tracking also enables cross-device and cross-platform tracking, providing a more accurate picture of user behavior.
- The Sunsetting of UA Makes the Transition to GA4 Necessary.
UA will officially stop collecting data on July 1st, 2023, making the transition to GA4 necessary for continued web tracking. While UA will still be available until then, transitioning to GA4 sooner rather than later is recommended to build up as big of a historical data bedrock as possible. All data in UA will be inaccessible starting January 2024, adding importance to collecting data in GA4 sooner rather than later. If you’re lucky, you already have an agency that will help you export all of your UA data. (If not, give us a call.)
- GA4 is Designed to Comply with Global Data Privacy Regulations.
A critical purpose of GA4 is to comply with global data privacy regulations, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States, both in effect as of 2018. By moving away from cookie-based tracking, GA4 provides greater protection for user data. This focus on data privacy is essential for businesses operating in the current regulatory landscape.
- The New User Interface in GA4 Allows for Greater Customization and Exploration of Data
The new user interface in GA4 is a big improvement over UA. It offers greater customization and exploration of data. All report tabs have design and content customization options, allowing users to tailor reports to their needs.
Likewise, the new Exploration feature takes UA's Custom Reports feature to the next level by allowing users to dive deeper into their data and gain new insights. GA4's improved reporting features are a big step toward better understanding your users and how they're interacting with your site or app.
What new features does GA4 have versus Universal Analytics?
Transitioning from session-based tracking to event-based tracking has changed some of the metrics found in Google Analytics. For example, “Bounce Rate” is no longer measured the same way, since that was a session-based metric. In its place, GA4 introduces new metrics, such as Engagement Rate, which measures the percentage of engaged sessions out of all sessions. (An engaged session is now defined as “a session that lasts longer than 10 seconds, has a conversion event, or has at least 2 pageviews.”) With GA4 using machine learning to fill session activity gaps, there are also new predictive metrics being introduced, including “purchase probability,” “churn probability,” and “potential revenue.” These predictive analytics offer businesses a more forward-looking view of their data, which will allow them to make better-informed decisions.
Key takeaways on the switch from GA4 to Google Analytics
- Google Analytics 4 is the future of web analytics. It offers a range of new features that provide deeper insights into user behavior, helping businesses to make better-informed decisions. By using event-based tracking, GA4 offers a more comprehensive view of the user journey, enabling businesses to see how users interact with their website or app across devices and platforms.
- GA4's focus on data privacy also makes it an essential tool for businesses operating in the current regulatory landscape. By moving away from cookie-based tracking, GA4 provides greater protection for user data, helping businesses to comply with global data privacy regulations.
- The new user interface in GA4 also offers greater customization and exploration of data. All report tabs have design and content customization options, allowing users to tailor reports to their needs. The new Exploration feature takes UA's Custom Reports feature to the next level, allowing users to dive deeper into their data and gain new insights.
- Finally, GA4's predictive analytics offer businesses a more forward-looking view of their data, enabling them to make better-informed decisions. By identifying users who are at risk of churning and those with high potential revenue, businesses can focus their marketing efforts more effectively and increase their chances of success.
What should I do if I miss the July 1, 2023 deadline to migrate UA to GA4?
If you haven't already, it's time to make the switch to GA4. With the sunset of UA fast approaching, there's no time to waste. By transitioning to GA4 sooner rather than later, you'll increase your amount of historical data and gain access to a range of new features that will help you to take your web analytics to the next level. If you haven’t switched to GA4 yet, you have until July 1st, 2023. If you haven’t switched by that date, you will effectively have a blackout period of web data collection between UA and GA4.
However, if you miss this deadline, you will still be able to create a new GA4 property at any time. Google has made it as easy as possible for you to get started with GA4, between their Goals Migration Tool, the GA4 properties they’ve automatically created for users, or their GA4 Setup Assistant tool that can be found in your UA settings.