What Are Website Owners Doing to Prepare for GA4?

Google’s Universal Analytics platform has been the data tracking backbone for website owners and marketing professionals alike since its release in 2012. While this is not the first iteration of GA software, it is likely the most utilized and accessible version in the history of the platform.
As Universal Analytics approaches its 10-year mark, Google has announced extensive updates and improvements to the platform, in the form of Google Analytics 4. Although these updates are designed to improve the overall user experience of Google Analytics, there can be a bit of a learning curve for users unfamiliar with the software.

Why the Update?

At some point, even highly sophisticated software can become a product of its time. Google officially announced GA4 in October of 2020, with the promise of predictive insights, deeper integration with Google Ads, and cross-device measurement capabilities. Additionally, this update addresses changes in how website data is gathered and interpreted, making it more effective at addressing website owner’s needs.
What You Need to Do Now

So, where do you start? To ensure you have as much historical data as possible within the GA4 platform, it is recommended that you install GA4 as soon as possible. Google has scheduled Universal Analytics to stop collecting data on July 1st, 2023, making GA4 the only active Google Analytics platform from then on out. While there will be a 6 month window allowing you to access archived data from Universal Analytics, performing cross analysis between the two data sets will be exceptionally difficult with both analytics platforms focusing on different sets of data. Your business can avoid many future headaches by taking care of this now!
To update to GA4, simply log-in to your current GA account, head to the ‘Property’ column, and select ‘GA4 Setup Assistant’ at the top of the column. From there, you will click “Get Started” under “I want to Create a New Google Analytics 4 Property”. Once you select “create property”, the set-up assistant will automatically transfer the property name, website URL, timezone, and currensy settings currently selected in your Universal Analytics account. The set-up assistant will also create a connection between your UA and GA4 properties, allowing you to seamlessly transfer all of the configurations currently selected for your UA property.
For sites tagged with gtag.js, you can elect to enable data collection using the same tags in GA4, with a connected site tag between your UA and GA4 properties. To help you best understand this process, Google has published an article explaining how to create a GA4 property, a preparing for GA4 migration document, and a comprehensive 12-step to-do list.

We know what you’re thinking…
‘Won’t this update just be a hassle?’
‘Haven’t I dedicated enough time learning Universal Analytics?’
‘What will this update even do for my site?’

As inconvenient as this update may seem, getting ahead of GA4 now is a great way to ensure your business is prepared to compete in a new and improved digital marketing landscape. Updates like these help not only improve things like user friendliness, but also build out your data analysis capabilities – ultimately leading to improved insights on your website’s performance. The GA4 update will help both boost the software’s capabilities, and future-proof Google Analytics for years to come.
InterActive Circle has helped businesses with website development, digital marketing efforts, SEO campaigns, and PPC campaigns for over 15 years. Our team of web developers, digital strategists, and content developers work to improve your website, drive traffic from your target customers, and interpret site performance through several Google Analytics tools. We are well-versed in using GA4 software and can help you make strategic marketing decisions based on detailed interpretations of Google Analytics data. Discover what the InterActive Circle team can do for you! Complete a complimentary website analysis today!

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