5 Reasons Why You Should Set Up GA4 Right Now
Starting from July 2023, Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) will cease recording data. To continue gathering insights and tracking on your website, you need to set up Google Analytics 4 (GA4) or other analytics tools. GA4 represents a new way of data analysis, suitable for modern users who engage across various devices and platforms.
GA4 Tracks Events Instead of Pageviews
The difference between UA and GA4 in tracking data is significant. While UA uses session and pageview models, GA4 measures data based on events. UA collects and measures user interactions within specific time frames as sessions or 'hits'. Primarily, UA tracks pageviews. If you want to track clicks, downloads, or purchases, you need to set up additional event tracking and use Google Tag Manager.
In contrast, GA4 tracks all events on your website or app, providing a comprehensive view of user interactions both online and offline, without complications.
Four Types of Events in GA4
- Auto-Tracked Events: Basic events automatically tracked by GA4, such as pageviews, scroll tracking, link clicks, etc.
- Enhanced Measurement Events: Events GA4 tracks automatically with certain activated settings and configurations, such as file downloads, outbound clicks, website searches, etc.
- Recommended Events: Events suggested by GA4 for specific interactions on your website, such as e-commerce actions and app interactions. These come predefined with names and parameters.
- Custom Events: Events you can create and track based on your online business goals. You can use any names and parameters for these events, but it's recommended to follow naming conventions for simplicity.
Simplified Data Setup in GA4
Another important difference between UA and GA4 is how you organize data configuration for your assets. UA employs a hierarchical structure of account, property, and view to collect and display data. Each account can have multiple properties (like websites or apps), and each property can have multiple views (like filters or segments) for data analysis.
GA4 simplifies this structure by using only accounts and properties. Each account can have multiple properties, but each property can only have one view. Instead of using views to filter or segment data, GA4 uses data streams to collect data from different sources (such as websites or apps) under the same property. Then, you can utilize analysis modules (like reports, exploration, funnels, etc.) to analyze data from different data streams.
Different User Tracking in GA4
GA4 tracks users differently from UA. UA uses two identifiers, Client ID and User ID, to track users. GA4 uses a single identifier called Google Signals to track users across different devices and platforms. Additionally, GA4 can provide additional user information using machine learning.
More Powerful Features in GA4
Google Analytics 4 is not just another version of UA; it's more powerful with many new features. Some noteworthy points include:
- Smarter AI-driven insights and predictions.
- Deeper integration with Google Ads.
- Customer-centric measurement and customer lifecycle reporting.
UA Will Stop Working on 1st July 2023
The most urgent reason to switch to GA4 is that UA will cease operating from 1st July 2023. This means that after this date, UA won't collect new data from your website. While you can still view UA reports for some time after this date, they won't display any new data or changes.
To continue using Google Analytics and its features, you need to transition to GA4 before 1st July. It's best to do this sooner to have enough time to become familiar with GA4 and gather sufficient historical data for comparison and analysis.
Transitioning from Google Analytics to GA4
If you're ready to switch from UA to GA4, here are the steps you need to take:
- Set up a new GA4 property alongside your current UA property. This allows you to gather data on both properties simultaneously for comparison.
- Install the global tracking code (gtag.js) on your website or set up GA4 using Google Tag Manager (recommended).
- Configure your GA4 property settings according to your business needs and goals. You can use enhanced measurement to automatically track common events on your website. You can also set up custom events, parameters, and user properties to track specific user actions on your site.
- Explore the new reports and analysis modules in GA4 and understand the differences from UA. Get acquainted with Google Analytics 4 before UA stops recording data!
- Export historical data from UA if you want to preserve it for the future or for further analysis. You can use tools like Google Looker Studio or BigQuery to export and visualize your UA data.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) offers more benefits than Universal Analytics. It tracks detailed user interactions across platforms and devices using an event-based data model. GA4 provides advanced features for deeper data analysis. UA will soon be replaced by GA4. Importantly, UA will cease operations on July 1, 2023, so make the switch to GA4 now!