GA4- making the switch

Have you made the move to GA4? July 2023 is the deadline…

News Have you made the move to GA4? July 2023 is the deadline…

Back in 2020, Google Analytics 4 was introduced. With an aim to support businesses in navigating complex user journeys. All whilst ensuring prioritising the privacy of the user. 

GA4 is the 4th version of globally used, Google Analytics. The major free website software used by millions enables you to understand how customers use your website.

But on the 1st of July 2023, GA4 will become the only option for analytics. With this change nearing closer, we urge every business using Universal Analytics to set up a GA4 account and begin tracking…


Universal Analytics


Many business owners are familiar with Google Analytics, and the valuable insights it provides. Before the release of GA4, the previous and standard version of Analytics was Universal Analytics. Released back in 2012, UA catered to a very digital world than what we see today.

Universal Analytics focused on website analytics and provided businesses insight into website performance and user actions. Whilst UA provided a whole host of data for measuring website performance, it had its limitations in terms of tracking user bahviour across multiple platforms. Therefore meaning businesses were unable to track customer journeys across, for example, their website and their app.

Additionally, UA doesn’t offer advanced machine learning, unlike the new GA4 version. This machine learning helps businesses identify trends and insights which may have previously gone unnoticed.

Nevertheless, Universal Analytics proved a useful tool for its time and technology. But in recent years, its limitations have been highlighted furthermore. GA4 offers more comprehensive analytics capabilities that help businesses make more informed decisions about their digital presence.


Introducing GA4…


Back in 2020, Google Analytics 4 was introduced. With an aim to support businesses in navigating complex user journeys. All while ensuring prioritising the privacy of the user. 

The latest version of Google Analytics, GA4 remains a free service that allows you to track users, engagements, and conversions on your website and app. It allows businesses to measure and analyse data in an effective and in-depth way.

Whilst GA4 still allows you to view much of the same information that was available on UA, the newer version of GA prioritises the privacy of the user. The recent implementation of GDPR laws has undoubtedly influenced the choice to move to a more private way of tracking people online. Important to note, GA4 will not store IP addresses, unlike its predecessor. Increased control over data is important in today’s world, where users want more control over their data and expect more privacy from businesses. 

Flexibility is a core focus of the tracking software. With multiple ways of tailoring the data and reports to suit your business needs. Plus, the ability to track data across channels and AI predictive analytics.


Why should you make the move?


GA4 has been designed to prioritise your business’s objectives. Whether this is to drive sales, generate leads, or complete app installs.

The main reason for moving to GA4 now is that it will eventually be phased out. Universal Analytics will stop processing new hits on the 1st of July, this year. Not only is it therefore beneficial to begin tracking now to build up your historical data, but you can begin taking advantage of the new features GA4 offers.


When will UA stop tracking?


Google has stated that all Universal Analytics properties will stop processing any new hits from the 1st of July 2023. However, new Universal Analytics 360 properties will be allowed an extra 12 months of processing new hits, until 1st July 2024.

Once UA stops tracking, you’ll be able to access your previous data in Universal Analytics for at least six months. However, it’s important to set up your GA4 as soon as possible in order to begin building your historical data because UA stops processing traffic.


Key features of GA4


  • Track customers across platforms and between touchpoints

A big USP of GA4 is the fact you can track user’s behaviour across both web and app platforms. Therefore giving you insight into how users interact with you across touch points. Do they complete different ‘conversions’ on a particular platform? Do they prefer a particular touchpoint at a certain time of the day? This feature gives businesses the opportunity to better understand their customer’s journey. Then make more informed decisions about how to optimise their digital presence.


  • Advanced machine learning

GA4 uses advanced machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and insights from your data. These are used to provide ‘predictive insights’ regarding user behaviour, and even conversions. Highlighting specific segments of users, and metrics which are most relevant to those segments. Aiding businesses to make data-driven decisions quickly.


  • Detailed acquisition and attribution

With GA4, you can analyse how your collective activities impact your customer’s journey, and how people access and interact with your platforms. This data can also be exported to other Google tools to optimise campaign performance, such as Google products and Google ads.


  • Privacy

With the introduction of privacy controls, you are able to manage and minimise the collection of user data with GA4. Ensuring your business remains compliant with rules and regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA.


  • Bespoke reporting

GA4 has a streamlined reporting interface that now makes it easier to find the analytics you need. The customisable dashboard allows you to configure reports yourself. Selecting the metrics that are most important and relevant to your business.


Making the switch…


GA4 offers a powerful range of analytics capabilities. These have the ability to help businesses understand their customers across multiple touchpoints. Insights and data have the potential to improve then and optimise your business’s digital presence.

Now is the time to switch over to GA4, to begin collecting historical data whilst taking advantage of the new features that this version of Google Analytics offers. With its advanced machine learning, enhanced data controls, and cross-platform tracking, GA4 is the future of Google Analytics.


Need support with setting up GA4 


Are you a current client of SO? If so, and you’d like support in setting up your GA4 property, drop us a message…

Take a look at our previous work. Explore our team and agency. Learn from our latest insights. Get in touch to begin your journey with us!