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Google Analytics 4: Are You Ready for Change?

You might be asking, what’s the big deal about Google Analytics 4? Well, on July 1, 2023, Google is moving on from Universal Analytics. Although you’ll be able to view your existing analytics reports for some time after the switch, new data won’t be recorded. After July 1, all new data will be flowing to Google Analytics 4. New properties are automatically converted to GA4, and Universal Analytics will be deprecated on July 1, 2023 but you will need to make updates to your tracked content to prevent any gaps in your data tracking.

If you rely on the data for your business reporting, you’re going to want to learn as much as you can about this new analytics service.

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What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

You may recognize GA4 functionality - it existed as a beta testing option within Universal Analytics as an "App + Web" platform. Essentially, this updated version of Google Analytics provides “an analytics service that enables you to measure traffic and engagement across your websites and apps” (Google).

While this may sound the same as the functionality provided by Universal Analytics, the major difference is that GA4 collects website and mobile app data with a single property whereas with Universal Analytics, website and mobile apps had separate properties. In layman's terms, Universal Analytics was created to track activity on desktop web browsers, and primarily measured that based on cookies. But the world has changed, and reporting has struggled to accurately represent browsing that took place on mobile devices, in apps, and without cookies enabled. Using a single property, GA4 will make reporting much more accurate.

In order to use the new Google Analytics, you’ll want someone from your company - usually a data analyst, data scientist, marketing ops manager, growth marketing manager, or SEO lead - to set up a Google Analytics 4 property for your website and/or app. To do so, they'll need to be given an Editor or Administrator role on the company Google Analytics account.

Here are 3 steps from Google on how to get started:

  1. If you already have a Universal Analytics property, add a Google Analytics 4 property to your existing setup. When you click GA4 Setup Assistant, you create a Google Analytics 4 property that collects data alongside your existing Universal Analytics property. Your Universal Analytics property is left unchanged and continues to collect data—you can always access it via the property selector or Admin screen.

  2. If you use a website builder platform that requires you to provide a "UA-" ID (i.e., won't accept a "G-" ID), you can still use Google Analytics 4. You'll need to paste the global site tag (gtag.js) snippet manually into your website builder's/CMS's custom HTML field. Select your website builder from this table for platform-specific instructions.

  3. Use the Setup Assistant in the new Google Analytics 4 property to complete property configuration.

Although this transition may seem daunting, the good news is you have a year to prepare. We hope this blog will help you take first steps in getting ready for the big change. Need a hand with a GA4 transition - and perhaps your broader marketing efforts while you’re at it? Wheels Up Collective is a full-service marketing agency, and we’re ready to help.

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