So, you’ve heard that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will be replacing Universal Analytics in 2023 and you are asking yourself how the two Analytics platforms differ, and how to proceed.
GTM & Simplicity
- Google Analytics 4 is meant to be a simplification of Universal Analytics, taking a variety of steps off your shoulders as a user. For example, since GA4 is now events-based, rather than page view based, you will not have to deal with code implementation, or at least your developer won’t have to. GA4 will incorporate this step of conversion tracking strategy.
- It’s simple! All you have to do is to add the gtag.js code to your website. With this quick connection, you can track multiple destinations from one tag, rather than setting up multiple tags for these destinations. However, it is important to keep in mind that GTM will still provide you with a higher level of event-based tracking, with its multiple tag capabilities.
- In terms of security for both user and advertiser, Google will stop using 3rd party cookies in 2022. The goal being to manage success for the advertiser while maintaining safety protocols for users. Consequently, the gaps in behavioral data that will surely result from this change will be filled in by predictive modeling. Overall, Google Analytics 4 is a solution for privacy compliant attribution and the move into a cookieless world.
Setup via Universal Analytics
- To create your GA4 property via Analytics, the following instructions should allow for a seamless set-up.
- In Google Analytics, click Settings Admin (lower left).
- In the Account column, make sure that your desired account is selected. (If you only have one Google Analytics account, it’s already selected.)
- In the Property column, select the Universal Analytics property that currently collects data for your website.
- In the Property column, click GA4 Setup Assistant. It is the first option in the Property column.
- Click Get started under “I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property”
- If your site uses the gtag.js, tag, you have the option to Enable data collection using your existing tags.
- Click Create Property.
- Once you click Create Property, the setup wizard
- Creates your new GA4 property.
- Copies the property name, website URL, timezone, and currency settings from your Universal Analytics property.
- Activates enhanced measurement in your GA4 property.
- Enhanced measurement lets you measure interactions with your content by enabling options (events) in the Google Analytics interface. No code changes are required. When you enable these options for a web data stream, your Google Analytics tag starts sending events right away. (Google Analytics Support)
- Creates a connection between your Universal Analytics and GA4 properties. This connection makes it possible for you to use Setup Assistant in your Google Analytics 4 property to migrate configurations from your Universal Analytics property to your GA4 property.
- (If your site is tagged with gtag.js and you elected to Enable data collection using your existing tags in Step 6 above) Creates a connected site tag between your Universal Analytics and GA4 properties.
- Once this process is complete, you will see “You have successfully connected your properties” at the top of your Google Analytics 4 Property Setup Assistant page. (Google Analytics Support)
- Make a note of your GA4 property’s name so you can find it later. If your Universal Analytics property name is “Example property (UA-xxxxxxx)”, your GA4 property name will be “Example property (xxxxxxx)”, without a “UA-” prefix, and where xxxxxxx is a new property number. Click See your GA4 property to open Setup Assistant in your new GA4 property.
- If the GA4 Setup Assistant wizard provided the option to Enable data collection using your existing tags (and you left this option selected), your new GA4 property should now be collecting data. (Step 6)
- It can take up to 30 minutes for data to begin appearing in your new GA4 property
Get Started, you’re ready to go!
For additional help with migrating to Google Analytics 4, or interest in digital advertising services, please reach out to us at Alphametic. We help businesses grow customers using Google and Facebook with SEO, digital ads, and smart content. Contact us today.
Matthew Capala is a seasoned digital marketing executive, founder/CEO of Alphametic, a Miami-based digital marketing agency, author of “The Psychology of a Website,” dynamic speaker, and entrepreneur.