All users who are currently using Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) or are planning to download it, have you heard about Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 is now available to all. But it is hanging around the block forever as the deadline to migrate data is coming closer.
Migrating to GA4 is not optional; it is required. While there is still time to complete the official transfer, you should begin moving today – especially if you are a current user with previous data.
In this blog post, we will help you migrate your data on Google Analytics 4. Let’s get started!
What is Google Analytics 4?
Today e-commerce businesses have to check their online performance owing to the highly competitive market. Google Analytics has become extremely important in such times. Google Analytics helps these businesses track, monitor, measure and analyze their overall performance.
Previously known as “App+Web,” Google has developed Google Analytics to give you valuable insights into digital marketing and helps you make data-informed decisions.
Formerly, there have been three other versions of Google Analytics. However, the fourth version of Google Analytics has become known as GA4.
Although both GA4 and UA utilize the same tracking code, the way they accumulate data and process is extremely distinct.
After incorporating Urchin in 2005, Google has substantially improved GA. However, GA4 remains the most comprehensive and user-friendly upgrade yet.
Deadline for Data Transfer
Google announced that UA will no longer collect new data as of July 1, 2023, this year. Those who are using Google 360 will have three additional months in their bag. For them, UA will last until October 1, 2023.
Even though both UA and GA 360 will no longer collect and process data, users can access their past data for at least six months after these two stop functioning.
Unfortunately, the option to migrate data from UA to GA4 is unavailable. This means that any file you wish to save needs to be downloaded.
Saving past data on google analytics
Google has given its users the ability to save their past data. To fulfill this, they are required to do the following:
- Install GA4: Users should start installing GA4 now, even if they don’t plan to migrate until 2023. This will allow time for GA to save historical data.
- UA users: They do not have this ease of GA4. They must save and export each file through CVS, TVS, Excel, Google Sheets or PDFs.
- Google 360: Those using Google 360 will have to export their data to BigQuery.
- Google Analytics Reporting API: Another possible option that Google provides its users is to export their data through Google Analytics Reporting API.
Google Analytics or Universal Analytics
The fundamental basis on which UA and GA4 differ from each other are as follows:
- The way data needs to be collected
- What the data shows
- The way data is being gathered
GA4 differs from UA in that it generates a single-user, cross-platform journey from data tied to the same User ID across web domains, apps and devices.
This User ID enables tracking with unified data points, providing better insights into how visitors use multiple properties throughout buyer journeys.
Difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics
Analytics Intelligence learns from your data and provides insights using artificial intelligence/machine learning and account-defined parameters. The Insights Dashboard, on the other hand, offers two types of insights:
Automated Insights identifies issues or trends and instantly notifies you through Insights Dashboard.
The user determines Custom Insights. These are available on the same Insights Dashboard or can be seen through emails.
UA groups and scopes data at the hit level (page views, transactions, etc.), but GA4 employs an events-based interaction paradigm in which everything is an event. This events-based paradigm enables better cross-platform analysis, pathing analysis and other capabilities.
As you can see, any contact with your website or app is classified as an event in GA4.
In GA4, four sorts of events can be divided into two categories: (1) those that are automatically created and (2) those that require specific implementation.
Automatically Collected Events
These events are collected by default when using Google Tag Manager (GTM), the global site tag (gtag.js), or the Firebase SDK. The complete schedule of events can be seen here.
Enhanced Measurement Events
These events collect additional data or insights on how people interact with your website or app and the actions they take. For a Page View event, you can obtain extra information such as the page’s title, screen resolution, scroll percentage or referrer.
Because these events are automatically collected, no additional implementation is required.
Events Which Require Implementation:
With these events, users can understand how user-friendly the app is. Through reporting, you can accumulate information about any doubt you have. It makes the reporting extremely useful.
Custom events are designed and created by the user. Since these events are designed specifically for business purposes, the reporting is also not standard. You will have to create customized reports. One thing which users need to keep in mind is that they do not create a custom event that already exists.
Data sources, including apps and websites, feed into a data stream. There exist three forms of Data Streams. GA4 allows its users to have a maximum of 50 data streams. Out of these 50, 30 can be from the app.
Audiences permit its user to categorize other users within different groups. You can do that for those who are relevant to the business. You can categorize your audience in any manner you want. You can decide the Metric for classification.
GA4: Benefits and Drawbacks
GA4 incorporates everything you need. Be it audience-based conversion or event-based classification, it provides you with the best features not available to the customers within the previous editions. This section will examine the benefits and drawbacks of switching to GA4.
PROS of Switching to GA4
While switching to GA4 can feel like a hassle, there are distinct benefits to switching:
We have already discussed how GA4 learns from the database and can conduct a thorough analysis of your business. This permits users to solve any problem that might head their way.
Handling your business with a single user ID can provide you with reporting and insights on all platforms. Moreover, as you do not have to build a unified platform, it will help you save time, money and resources.
Given that GA4 provides cross-platform tracking, users using a single ID can get insights into their businesses across all platforms.
Automatic Privacy Controls
Because GA4 does not collect or store IP addresses, IPs are automatically anonymized. However, although the IP addresses are anonymized, GA4 can give data connected with a specific IP address, such as geography, while keeping the IP address anonymous. There is always the possibility of downsides with anything new, especially in the beginning.
Cons of Switching to GA4
It’s Relatively New
Because GA4 is still in its early stages, there may be bugs, missing features, and version changes. Growing pains are to be expected, so you must be patient and prepared for setbacks.
Historical Data Loss
On July 1, 2023, Google will stop data collection (October 1 for 360 users). You cannot transfer data from UA/360 to GA4. You must manually export historical data if you wish to capture it before GA4 deployment; otherwise, you will lose it.
GA4 and UA have a lot of differences. So there will be a learning curve. It will be extremely beneficial if you start working with GA4, along with UA, immediately.
Complex e-commerce Implementations
One major drawback of GA4 is that setting up goals and conversions is not that easy a task. It largely depends upon how complex your business is, which will determine whether setting up goals will be easy or not. Sometimes GA4 requires Google Tag Manager (GTA), for which you may need a developer.
Let's Get Started With GA4
In this blog post, we have discussed how GA4 helps you gain insights into your businesses. With GA4, you can improve your digital marketing. So what are you waiting for? Let’s immediately get started with Google Analytics 4 and start collecting data.