Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is on the move. The present platform as we know it, Universal Analytics (UA), will stop collecting data and the time for the transition to GA4 is approaching.
Before we begin, if you’re unfamiliar with Google Analytics 4, its features, and what it brings to life, we recommend reading our in-depth guide on GA4 before continuing, or follow this set-by-step guide created by Wise Pirates.
Google Analytics 4: The change is on the move
Now that we are all on an equal footing, it’s time to understand what really changes with the arrival of GA4.
UA data not compatible with GA4
When transitioning to GA4, new properties must be set up. The structure of UA data is not compatible with GA4 and the data collection method and metrics have changed, so UA data cannot be imported. To preserve historical data, it must be exported and visualized using a different application.
A richer data set
The data model of Google Analytics has evolved from Google Firebase SDK, enabling GA4 to effectively track and present information on users across various devices with ease.
See You Later, third-party
GA4 focuses on first-party cookies and will not track third-party cookies due to privacy concerns. Google is removing third-party cookies from Analytics and Chrome, affecting data tracking and collection for both Google and advertisers.
New metrics in town
A few metrics have also changed in GA4, for example, the traditional metric “bounce rate” has been replaced by “engagement rate”, which is a percentage of sessions that last longer than 10 seconds, have a conversion event, or have at least two page views or screen views.
The true impact of Google Analytics 4
If you’re wondering: Will we need to move to GA4? Will it affect my business? How can I set it up? Keep reading this article, we’ll help you understand this switch. We’ll also guide you through the pros and cons, and give you some tips.
Will it be mandatory to proceed with the transition to GA4?
If you plan to stick with Universal Analytics for now, maybe you should start considering activating GA4 on your website so you can start collecting data. Turning on GA4 gives you a head start with months of data instead of starting from scratch when the switch to GA4 becomes mandatory in July 2023.
Will it affect my business?
Yes, it is important to realize that there will be some businesses that will certainly be affected by this change, such as:
- Paid advertising business: GA4 is necessary for tracking the success and profitability of both Google Ads and social ads. It helps you determine the KPIs to monitor. Without GA4, you risk putting your business in the red and wasting time and resources.
- eCommerce business: For online merchants, GA4 is crucial in determining the performance of pages, products, and services. It helps identify areas that need improvement and guides the reallocation of efforts on the eCommerce website.
- Lead generation and data-centric data-centric business: If you are collecting user data via email, mobile devices, or otherwise, for internal processing or sale of this data, with a view to creating conversions, GA4 will be necessary to track user actions on your website.
How to set up GA4?
If you want to set up a new GA4 account from scratch it’s simple and you only need to either set up a new Google Analytics account or a new GA4 property on an existing account.
Plus, you can also find all the details and intel on how to compare all the metrics, making sure you fully understand the swift from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, and what should have in mind with this new GA4. Google has a detailed article for that.
One thing is certain: GA4 is arriving. Just make sure you’re ready for it.