Tracking your business’s online performance is a must-have addition to all your marketing efforts. It allows you to monitor the effectiveness of your methods and strategies to drive more traffic to your website. If you feel that your investments aren’t producing the expected results, analytics tools will help you identify the gaps and weaknesses.
For a long time, Universal Analytics was the preferred analytics tool for many marketers. Recently, however, Google announced that it’s time to say goodbye to our old friend and migrate to Google Analytics 4. GA4 shares many features with UA, but getting used to a new setup can be a challenge.
So, in today’s guide, we decided to help with that, offering a straightforward step-by-step guide on how to migrate to GA4. If you already have experience using UA, you’re two steps ahead. If not, no worries. Read on to learn how to get started with this incredible tool. But first things first:
What is GA4?
Google Analytics 4 is Google’s officially recommended analytic tool. GA4 can track app and web views in a single GA property. According to Google, the new platform has many advantages, including:
- Collecting web and app analytics
- Offering a more accurate customer journey map
- Relying on events instead of session-based data makes it easier to customize tracking
- Improving users’ privacy by eliminating third-party data-gathering methods and cookies
- Offering behavioral and conversion modeling
- Improved predictive capabilities
- Integration with media platforms
Once you migrate to GA4, you won’t have to use two different properties for tracking your app and website. GA4 allows you to bring your marketing analytics into one property with incredibly powerful data filtering and configuration features.
How to Migrate to GA4?
Are you ready to migrate from Universal Analytics to GA4? You should be because UA will be retired in the summer of 2023. So you’re better off moving out now and settling into your new analytics home as soon as possible. Here’s how:
- Launch Your GA4 property
Before you move to the new platform, you must create your GA4 property. You cannot transfer your previous data analytics from UA to GA4. So GA4 is a fresh start in every sense of the word. After creating the GA4 property, add the tracking tag to your website. Use a Google Tag Manager to manage and deploy marketing tags.
- Finish the Properties Setup
Unfortunately, you cannot take much when you migrate to Google Analytics 4. The tracking elements you used in UA cannot be imported and applied here. So it’s a good time to review your analytics goals and find the most relevant tracking items. You can create up to 25 additional user properties per Google Analytics 4 property.
- Get Data Warehouse
Google Analytics 4 is not a permanent data storage cloud. The data retention period is 14 months. So if you want to store your collected traffic and analytics data, you need a data streaming warehouse. Google itself offers BigQuery to preserve your historical data. BigQuery has the advantage of being more compatible and easy to connect with GA4. You can also use the following five tools.
- Link All Your Accounts
If you’re fascinated by GA4’s advanced cross-platform data integration and reporting capabilities, start by linking your Google Ads accounts to GA4. Go to your Google Ads account, open the setup assistant and select “linking.” The rest is easy.
Advantages of GA4
There are many ways to convince marketers to migrate to GA4. At first, leaving UA and all our data behind may not seem difficult, but GA4’s advanced integration, reporting, and analytics capabilities will make it worthwhile. Here are two reasons why to migrate from Universal Analytics to GA4:
Those with UA experience admit that custom reports didn’t really contribute to the user experience. They were hard to set up and adjust and required hours of wrestling. The bitter truth is that UA’s tech foundation was outdated. You only had three parameters to customize each event: Category, Label, and Action.
GA4 has expanded its scope to 25 parameters and makes personalization extremely easy. Monitoring and analytics are based on events in the funnel, allowing for the creation of more actionable data for your marketing teams. If you need a spreadsheet report, GA4 offers almost unlimited options.
The behavior analytics in GA4 is a serious contender compared to its alternatives. With this feature, you can measure the impact of any marketing tactic or strategy based on how viewers react to the results. Whether a blog or an ad, you’ll have a great way to ensure its effectiveness.
We all know the growing concern about users’ online privacy. Every responsible business owner and website manager should actively protect the online security of their viewers, customers, and prospects. This concern is the main reason for GA4’s anti-cooky approach.
Compared to UA, GA4 is much more secure. It no longer collects and stores IP addresses and uses a privacy mode that allows cookies for certain purposes only if users give their consent. All in all, one of the main benefits of migrating to Google Analytics 4 is that security breaches are reduced to almost zero.
Old habits die hard! Especially those that have made your business successful! UA has certainly been one of the most effective tools in recent years. Leaving it behind and moving to a new platform sounds time-consuming, stressful, and challenging. So maybe you do have every right to be mad at Google!
But remember that GA4 is pretty much the same as UA, except it’s better! In Google Analytics 4, you have more efficient tracking features, improved customization options, and greater data security. So if you wonder whether all the stress is worth it, the answer is a resounding yes!
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