Your website will stop collecting data on July 1, 2023. Everyone must move over to GA4 according to Google. Have you migrated yet?
If not, you can try it yourself by downloading our free DIY Migration Checklist.
Now, let's get into what analytics is and why we would highly recommend you familiarize yourself with the power of data.
What's the big deal about GA4 anyway?
Analytics: The Superpower You Never Saw Coming
Let's say you have your website that was built in 2015. The developer most likely would have added the Google Analytics tag to your website. With this tag, it tracks the 'hits' on your site and what actions people are taking on your site. Maybe requested a quote or downloaded your e-book. If your Universal Analytics account is set up correctly, you can see a report of these in the analytics interface.
Now as a business owner or someone with a vested interest in your company, it would be valuable to know:
- What channels are bringing the most traffic?
- Which campaigns have brought you the most revenue?
- Which channel brought in the most revenue?
- What ads are performing well and what ads aren't?
- What keywords is your website showing up for but receiving no clicks?
- Where are users coming from?
- Which step in your marketing funnel has a significant drop in users?
What if I told you that you can have answers to all that and more with analytics. Yes, it's that powerful! And that's only scratching the surface!
Watch: Exploring Reports in GA4
Let's do another example. Let's say you run Facebook Ads, do a bi-weekly email newsletter and post on social media daily. You could make assumptions on which channel brought you the last five sales and let's say you assume that Facebook Ads drove those sales. You continue to dump money into Zuckerberg's lap thinking this is good for my business. But do you have the data to back up that assumption?
Maybe you get a nudge from your analytics fairy godmother (hello, that's me!) and you decide to log into your analytics account. From there, you navigate and see that Facebook Ads brought in the most traffic but it was actually your email newsletter that brought in the most revenue. Side note: there may possibly have been some credit from the awareness that Facebook Ads generated, but we'll leave that to another blog post.
However, this revelation has caused you to re-think where you allocate your marketing dollars and make business decisions based on real evidence! Now that's a whole lot smarter than basing your decisions on assumptions if you ask us.
But What About This Whole Universal Analytics Sunset Business?
Now we have a better grasp on what analytics is, it's time to get into Google's latest announcement. Did you receive this email?
In simpler terms, Universal Analytics will stop working in just over seven months. Google is forcing everyone to move over to their new, Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Six months after that date, Universal Analytics will delete all historical data.
I know that change can be scary, but trust us when we say that once you're comfortable in GA4 you will NEVER want to go back to Universal Analytics.
The problem with Universal Analytics was that it was hit based. It could determine whether the user was returning or not but it couldn't track behavior of users very well. Attributing credit to the credit source as well as visualizing the complete user journey was a nightmare. Luckily, Google recognized the need for a better solution which is why they are forcing this transition.
Google Analytics 4 is powerful for a number of reasons but the one I want to talk about specifically is Google Signals. This is part of the Enhanced Measurement features that are available to all GA4 users. Enhanced privacy and security is a growing concern for everyone using the Internet. People want to know that their data is safe and can opt out of tracking if they wish. This is a huge win for consumers but makes advertising a bit trickier.
Google being one of the biggest ad platforms out there, saw the need for privacy as well as providing a solution to advertisers that still allowed them to accurately target their audience. That brings us to Google Signals.
Google Signals uses machine learning to analyze user behavior on your website to see patterns that users complete on your site. This allows them to bridge the gaps when a user opts out of tracking so you as the data analyzer can still take meaningful insights from the data. This is called Behavior Modelling in GA4. Want to read more about Behavior Modelling? Check out this recap from Analytics Boosters.
Okay, So I have to Move to GA4, Where Do I Start?
Lucky for you, we have a DIY Migration Checklist ready to download here. It's free!
However, it is important to really think about how you want to set up your analytics account and what makes sense for you business. Google makes the migration sound like a one-click and done type of deal. I hate to break it to you but it's typically a bit more complex.
Google Analytics 4 is something that takes time and dedication to master. Oh, also patience. There are a TON of resources online that can guide you and help you become an analytics ninja. However, many of you may not have the time to dedicate as you have businesses to run and quotas to fill!
That's why we took the time to become GA4 Experts ourselves with a GA4 Master, Jeff Sauer and his team at Data Driven U.
Here is what we learned as the roadmap to transition from UA to GA4:
Check out your existing account. Make sure the tracking is correct and nothing is out of the ordinary. Validate that the data is clean so when you migrate over you have something to compare it to.
Find a data warehousing solution so you can connect your Universal Analytics data and backup all your historical data. GA4 has a native connection to BigQuery so you just have to enable this for your GA4 data however Universal Analytics does not.
Google Tag Manager ➝
You will need to convert all your tags to GA4 tags as well as create new tags in order to set up GA4 like you had in Universal Analytics.
Migration Plan ➝
Is your analytics is exactly how you want it? Create 1:1 parity in Google Analytics 4 by mapping out what it's important to you and creating the equivalent in Google Analytics 4. Or, your analytics is a mess and you need a clean slate to collect meaningful data to get actionable insights. Either way, you need a plan to how you will migrate your data and make Google Analytics work to your benefit.
Install + Set Up + Configure➝
Complete your transition from Universal to Google Analytics 4. Set up custom events, dimensions and goals to harness the power of Google Analytics 4 to derive insights that are meaningful to your business. Maybe this means understanding where users are falling off your site or seeing what pages drive the most traffic and optimizing your other pages to be similar to those. Google is also releasing updates almost every two weeks. We make sure your set up is using the most relevant, up to date features so you can make the most of your data.
Watch: How to Migrate from UA4 to GA4
Ready to get set up right the first time?
Get our GA4 experts to handle the transition for you and beat the rush. Lock in our 2022 pricing package at $6000. Pricing will increase in 2023 due to demand. We will even throw in a one free month of support.
Feeling overwhelmed? Let's take a look and assess where you're at and figure out a direction together.