As of 01 July 2023, Universal Analytics will no longer exist - so now is the time to look at Google Analytics 4 to the new system. Until the end of 2023, users will still have the option of transferring their historical data from Universal Analytics to export. However, importing this data into Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is not possible, so the Data backed up and prepared in time should be. In this article we will show you how to switch to GA4 without any problems.
Get an overview of your tracking habits
First of all, it is advisable to take a close look at your previous tracking habits. What has been most important to you so far, and what is likely to be important to you in the future? Google Analytics 4 brings some new features, moreover, existing ones were replaced or modified.
In the case of Google Analytics 4, data is collected predominantly on the basis of the User engagements. Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 is moving towards event tracking. It is therefore a good idea to realign your tracking. Think about which data you want to track and evaluate and which values and key figures you need for this.
How to successfully set up Google Analytics 4
The first thing you need to do is to create a Google Analytics 4 Property create. Assuming you already have a Google Analytics account, you have three options to do this:
- You upgrade your current Universal Analytics property to GA4.
- You create a new GA4 property in your current account.
- You create a new Google Analytics account with a new GA4 property.
If you already have a well-functioning Universal Analytics implementation, the easiest way to do this is to upgrade to Google Analytics 4. Here's how to upgrade your old Universal Analytics property retain and thereby preserve all collected data. If you are currently using a complex and extensive Universal Analytics implementation, a new GA4 property is a better solution.
When upgrading to GA4, the original property remains and supports future functionality. The configurations are easier to migrate to Analytics. This allows you to get familiar with Google Analytics 4 now, while still using your old property.
Work with the Set-up Assistant
The setup wizard allows you to perform some basic settings in Google Analytics 4, including:
- Exclude internal access
- Exclude references
- Perform cross-domain tracking
- Create conversions
- Use Google Signals for cross-device tracking: Here you can get more detailed information about users who are logged into their Google account and agree to personalized advertising.
- Link Property with Google Ads
- Link property to BigQuery (the Google data warehouse)
With the Google Tag Manager you can then integrate your new GA4 property on your website.
Data streams in Google Analytics 4
As users interact with your website beyond simple page views, there are more detailed data collection options in GA4. You have the option to set up data streams and display six standard events directly, namely:
- PageviewsThis happens every time a visitor accesses a new page.
- Scrolls: GA4 logs a scroll event when someone scrolls down at least 90 % of the page.
- Link clicksIf users click on external links that lead from this domain to another, the event is logged as a click on an external link.
- Search queries on the websiteHere, the terms that visitors search for directly on the page are logged.
- Video engagement: If a YouTube video is embedded on the page, the playback is captured.
- Download: For example, from files such as whitepapers, etc.
Events as a basis for the target definition
To define 4 goals in Google Analytics, the data streams described above serve as a basis. Based on these events, you can define which of these events should be marked as a conversion. For example, targets such as "scroll", "click" or "file_download" are suitable.
After you have defined the targets as Conversion marked, Google Analytics 4 logs them and you can Analyze your goal achievement in a report. As you know it from Universal Analytics, the achievement of a goal is only recorded when this has been activated. You can create a maximum of 30 targets per property.
Getting familiar with the new user interface
The new user interface of Google Analytics 4 offers more features than Universal Analytics, but at the same time it is more complex. On the home page, your important reports and machine learning analytics are at your fingertips. You have the option to look at what users are doing on your website in real time. Under "Acquisition" you can find out how visitors find your site in the first place. Engagement tells you how people are interacting with the content on your site.
Under "Monetization" - if you have integrated an eCommerce - you can view the revenue of your site. Retention" gives you insights into user retention. Find out how your audience is made up technically and demographically under "Users". Events" will show you what interactions are happening with your page content and what goals are being achieved as a result. Analytics lets you configure detailed reports.
In less than a year, there will only be Google Analytics 4 for tracking your website. It therefore makes sense to start setting it up now. This will give you the opportunity to use your old and your new system in parallel for some time and to familiarize yourself with the new features of GA4 at your leisure.
You will need some time to familiarize yourself with the many new possibilities. This is because the switch to Google Analytics 4 is a big change that will numerous new possibilities brings with it. We are happy to support you in this.