Making the switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has been on every digital marketer’s mind since Google announced its sunset date for Universal Analytics. A few people have asked us if GA4 is even worth setting up right now, or if they can afford to keep putting it off.
Universal Analytics will stop collecting data on July 1st, 2023, and GA4 is taking over as Google’s new website analytics and reporting tool. GA4 offers more features and ease of use than its predecessor, so we think it’s absolutely worth setting up sooner rather than later.
Below, check out the new GA4 features that’ll make your life easier – and learn how you can start preparing for your Google Analytics 4 migration.
The Coolest New Things About GA4
If you’ve used Universal Analytics from the start like we have, you’re probably dreading having to adjust to a new platform. But now that we’re using GA4, we can’t imagine going back! Here are a couple of things we love about this new platform:
Clearer Conversion Paths
Universal Analytics focuses on multiple data elements, leaving you to piece everything together to figure out a user’s journey – which, let’s face it, can get a little tedious. We have to pore through acquisition, landing page sessions, session times, new users, conversions, etc., and essentially assume what the user’s journey is.
While all of these elements are important to data analysis, manually piecing everything together leaves a lot of room for interpretation and can lead to data gaps.
GA4 hones in on the user's journey, ending at the last click on your website. It provides a detailed overview of how each user came to your website and what they did, so you can see conversion paths and access relevant information easier.
Customization Made Easy
Universal Analytics isn’t exactly user-friendly. GA4 lets you customize to your heart’s content in a more streamlined, intuitive interface. With GA4, you can:
- Build custom campaign funnels to uncover a user's journey to conversion or exit.
- Create custom event tags to track a user's specific interactions with website elements like video views, downloads, etc.
- Customize graphs, charts, and behavior paths to view and display precisely what you want to see.
What Else Is Changing?
Aside from the features we mentioned above, there are a lot of things that set GA4 apart from Universal Analytics. Here are a few key changes to keep in mind:
- Website interactions are now called "events," which likely isn't a jarring change if you're already familiar with Google Tag Manager.
- Certain data points, like pageviews, are still available in GA4 but are no longer considered events.
- GA4 makes some events, including scroll, video engagement, and file down, available automatically. However, you'll have to build additional metrics using Google Tag Manager.
- While you can build Tag Manager events in GA4, knowing how Google Tag Manager works will be essential to creating the platform you want.
- The standard categories used in Universal Analytics have changed to Explore, Reports, Advertising, and Configure.
Start Prepping for Your Google Analytics 4 Migration
Google is sunsetting Universal Analytics at the end of June 2023, so it’s time to start preparing for the move to GA4. Luckily, setting GA4 up is pretty easy if you already use Google Analytics – and even easier if you have a Google Tag Manager account (hint, hint).
The most time-consuming part of the process during our migration was customizing GA4 to display what we wanted. Because of this, we suggest setting your GA4 dashboard up at the beginning of 2023. That way, you can run it alongside Universal Analytics until you've finished setting it up the way you want, and you won’t lose any data in the meantime. An added benefit of making the switch early: you can immediately start gathering valuable data on the GA4 tool.
Ultimately, GA4 makes gathering website analytics and reporting easier than ever – once you get used to the changes. If you'd like to discuss your marketing goals or need help setting up your Google Analytics 4 migration, schedule a time to chat with us today.