Google Analytics 4 is perfectly suited to meet your measuring requirements now and in the future. They have just stated that they will begin blocking Universal Analytics, therefore they advise you to migrate to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible. On July 1, 2023, all standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits. On October 1, 2023, 360 Universal Analytics properties will cease processing new hits. Finish setting up your Google Analytics 4 property today to take advantage of measurement continuity, automated insights about the customer path, and simple activation to boost marketing ROI.
There are numerous differences between the current version of Google Analytics (UA) that you are most likely using and the new version of Google Analytics (GA4), and not all of the capabilities of UA are present in GA4. Furthermore, Google is pressuring us to update right away. The free version of Google UA will no longer collect data as of July 1, 2023. That means you must handle your analytics plan as soon as possible to guarantee that your new GA4 property is tracking correctly and can give you with accurate year-over-year statistics as of that date.
Step-1: create your GA4 property and launch it: – It is critical to create and launch new GA4 properties as soon as possible. Because properties will not be importing past data from UA, your GA4 property will only begin tracking traffic data from the moment it is created and forward. So, the sooner you build it, the sooner data will appear in the GA4 property. You must do the following in order to launch the new property:
- Make a new GA4 property.
- Insert the new GA4 tracking tag into your website.
This is easiest to do if you use Google Tag Manager. Check the new property over the next several days to ensure that traffic data is populating in the property.
Step-2: Make a list of your key items: – Specific tracking elements (e.g., goals, events) are not inherited by new analytics properties from any other properties (including UA properties).The following is a list of the most frequently used tracking items in Google Analytics. You may have extra ones to add, but here are some usual ones to include:
- Event Objectives (Conversions)
- Groupings of Content
- Dimensions/Metrics to Order
- Exclusions from Referrals
- Audiences for Product Link Connections
After you’ve made your list, consider what you need to maintain, what you can get rid of, and where holes may exist where you might want to create new tracking items, such as new events, new goals, and so on.
Step-3: Begin migrating individual items to GA4: – Once you’ve compiled a list of items to reproduce in GA4, the hard work begins! Here are the most typical components for setup, as well as some advice for each:
- Events: The configuration of events in GA4 is identical to that of UA, however you may need to redo the tagging for GA4 goals. Some events, such as scroll depth, that you may have manually set up in the past are now automatically added for you in GA4. So, first, look at the events under Configure in the menu to see which automated objectives are tracking in your GA4 property. There’s no need to duplicate events that Google has already established!
- Goals (conversions): – Goals in GA4 have been called “Conversions,” and all goals are event-based. When converting your existing UA goals to GA4, I recommend beginning with event-based objectives because they are more similar to the original goal set up in UA. Begin with destination-based goals and engagement goals after you’ve set up the events in GA4 and designated them as conversions.
- Custom dimensions: – Setting up custom dimensions and metrics, like UA, is a two-step procedure that requires configuration in both the interface and the code. Your existing UA custom dimensions and metrics tags should work correctly in GA4, but you will still need to configure them in the GA4 property interface.
- Referral exclusions: – Referral exclusions are still available in GA4, but they’ve been renamed and relocated a few tiers down from the top admin navigation levels. To add referral exclusions, navigate to Data Streams, then your site data stream (your URL), and finally More Tagging Settings in the Additional Settings section of your GA4 property admin menu.
- Product link extensions: – You’ll need to reconnect the links between your Google products and your new GA4 property. It’s important to note that you can connect your Google properties to numerous GA properties, so you don’t have to remove your existing UA product connections to join GA4. Product Links are now shown at the top of the property admin menu. Connect your new GA4 property to each of the Google products you use, such as Google Ads.
Step-4: Check your items: – After you’ve launched your tracking items in the new GA4 properties, double-check that they’re tracking correctly. Ecommerce, conversions, event tracking, and other metrics should be evaluated to ensure they are tracking as expected in the new properties. If not, troubleshoot the problem and resolve it as quickly as possible.
Step-5: Set a date for transitioning to GA4 as your sole source of truth: – Many departments rely on Google Analytics for reporting, therefore it’s critical that the business agrees on when the new GA4 property will become the “single source of truth” for data and reporting. In best practise , you should probably wait until you have year-over-year data in your GA4 property before switching your single source of truth to GA4. This is because the metrics and tracking in GA4 are completely different than they are in UA, so you cannot accurately compare UA data from one year to GA4 data from another.
Step-6: Archive your UA data: – To add insult to injury, Google has decided that, in addition to forcing us all to transition to GA4, they will also destroy all of our prior UA data effective January 1, 2024. While you have a little more time to preserve this data, you should plan on doing so in case you need to refer to it in the future. Determine what data you require on a regular basis first. For example, I frequently utilise the source/medium report. Then consider the time intervals at which you obtain this data. Typically, I access data on a monthly basis, such as June 1-30. You’ll want to archive your data in a way that corresponds to these data usage practises.
This was a step by step guide to migrate to Google Analytics. GA4 is aiming to get us all closer to true ROI and cross-device reporting. The sooner you begin your migration, the more data you will have available, and hence the smaller your risks of data loss. Migration is not a one-day task, since it takes extensive planning. You should develop a clear strategy as well as a precise plan. Break things down into manageable steps and work through them in order.