That’s right, the time has finally come. We can no longer ignore the giant banner that’s been casting a shadow over our insights. It’s time to upgrade to GA4.
Well maybe, but possibly not for much longer. Unless you've already upgraded, you’re probably using Universal Analytics. If you’re not sure you can check in your web builder. If you see a number starting with ‘UA’ you’ll need to migrate. As of July 1, 2023, Google Analytics will no longer process data for standard Universal Analytics properties as they move towards the next generation of analytics - GA4.
GA4 (Google Analytics 4) is Google’s newest system for recording analytics. Where Universal Analytics mostly tracked page views, GA4 takes an ‘events based’ approach. What this means for you is that with GA4 installed you’ll have a better understanding of how your clients are interacting with your website.
Among other upgrades, your GA4 can generate more reports compared to Universal Analytics. In addition to acquisition you will now be able to examine your visitors’ retention, monetization, and engagement. Coupled with machine learning and AI to extrapolate data, your GA4 reports are going to give you more insight into how you can optimize your website than you could have ever imagined!
Yes, any data you collected through Universal Analytics will still be available for at least 6 months following July 1. However, your GA4 will not integrate with that existing data, meaning you will only see insights in your GA4 dashboard starting as of the date you installed it. Your Universal Analytics will remain in your dashboard as a separate property you can view any time you like.
If you’ve been using Google Analytics and have not already upgraded, your website will be operating using a Universal Analytics Measurement ID. To continue to collect analytics for your website all you need to do is change this to your new GA4 Measurement ID. So let’s do it!
Open Google Analytics. If you see a setup wizard on the top of the page you can click through to get started. Otherwise open up your navigational panel on the right, navigate down to Admin, and click on GA4 Setup Assistant.
Now you should see a window prompting you to create a new GA4 property. Click this option to create your new property. If you’re using Google Tag Manager you might see an alert that you need to update your Measurement ID. Don’t worry, we’re going to take care of that next.
To connect your new property to your website using a Google tag open up the Admin tab in your navigation panel again and select ‘Data Streams’
Click on your property to bring up the details for that stream and your Measurement ID tag.
This tag will need to replace your current Universal ID tag. If you’ve built your own website you can find information online about where your integrations are located, or if you’re on a Focal Business Plan you can just send the new measurement tag to us and we’ll make sure everything’s all updated for you!
And that’s it (or at least that’s it for now)!
Once your GA$ is set up there are lots of ways for you to customize the data that you collect, but that’s another blog post altogether. If you have any questions about Google Analytics, feel free to reach out!