Last Month, Google announced that we would be saying goodbye to Google Analytics 3 (Universal Analytics) on July 1st, 2023. Taking its place is Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Released back in October 2020, with powerful new features, GA4 is the future of google analytics.

In this post we’ll explain what this means for your business, give you an overview of GA4 and give you a step-by-step guide to installing GA4 on your website so you are ready for the sunsetting of Universal Analytics.

The End Of Universal Analytics But Only The Beginning of Google Analytics 4

While Universal Analytics is still operating, we’d recommend you still use it alongside GA4 since it won’t affect your website speed and you continue to use the valuable data to make important marketing decisions. If you have not installed GA4, now is the time. 

Whilst Universal Analytics will still be operating for another year, the earlier you start feeding data from your website the better. It is likely that while you may be able to access your data from Universal Analytics for the first few months after its sunsetting, eventually Universal Analytics will sunset entirely and you won’t be able to look back at valuable data.

Unfortunately your data from Universal Analytics won’t be transferable to GA4 so it will be like starting from scratch. Thankfully, Google has given us enough time to prepare.

The 3 Main Differences Of Google Analytics 4

While the purpose of GA4 might remain the same to that of Universal Analytics, everything that goes behind reporting user actions is different. From privacy to new metrics, everything in GA4 is different and there’s some must-know features.

1. User Interface

You’ll find you will have to get used to a different reporting interface as some metrics have been removed, renamed or placed elsewhere. While change is not always welcome, Google’s continued effort to help businesses means we will be seeing a lot of updates that will help you report your website’s analytics easier. GA4 already allows you to build customised reports which will help you automate reports much easier than before.

Google Analytics Events User Interface

Google Analytics Events User Interface

2. User tracking and privacy.

GA4 is different in that it operates across platforms using an event-based data model for measurement so it does not rely on cookies. While there may be new data to familiarise yourself with, you can take your data analysis to the next level through new types of events and activities. 

Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 has now taken a step further on user privacy features to ensure your business complies with data tracking laws such as GDPR and PECR. This will help decrease the chance of your business breaching international privacy laws. Staying compliant isn’t always easy but GA4 makes it a little bit easier.

3. Event conversions are the new goals.

If you used goals to measure events on your site you’ll find this feature has now been renamed to ‘Event Conversions’. While it is not exactly the same feature, it is similar to Facebook Event Conversions in that you get to tag specific events on your website as conversions for reporting. Thankfully, Google Analytics 4 will allow you to tag up 30 types of conversions on your site. So you’ll be sure to have all the information you need. It’s important to note that like Facebook Event Conversions you will have to manually tag each event as a conversion.

Read Google’s guide on setting up event conversions.

Google Analytics Events User Interface

Google Analytics Events User Interface

New Features to come to Google Analytics 4.

Just like we saw new features come to Universal Analytics over the years we can expect the same for GA4. So keep an eye on your inbox as we’ll be sure to keep you updated with any new features to come to Google Analytics 4. In related news, check out how recent facebook updates may affect your business’ advertising efforts.

Gerald and Rose is a digital marketing and website development agency based in Surry Hills, Sydney. G&R as we call ourselves was formed when the founders continued to have bad experiences with other providers.

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