GA4 is coming.

17 April 2023
Read time: 4 mins

Written by:
Lewis Moran.

The transition from Universal Analytics to GA4 is a highly debated subject in the marketing industry at the moment. We’ve all been using Universal Analytics for as long as we can remember so to now have to completely change the way it’s done can seem daunting. But no matter whether you like or dislike the new analytics, we all have to switch over to GA4 by 1 July 2023 at the latest if we want to continue to collect data about how our visitors use our website.

You may remember a few years ago on the day when GDPR deadline day, every company who you had ever previously given consent to receive their marketing emails were requesting you to re-subscribe. If you didn’t, you missed out. The switch to GA4 is a bit like that.

If you rely on data to make decisions about your business, you’ll want to make the switch. From 1st July 2023, Universal Analytics will stop processing any new data. What that means is that if you don’t have a GA4 account set up, you won’t be able to collect any new data about how your users interact with your business after that point.

Personally, I would recommend you don’t wait to switch over to GA4. Do it as soon as you can. Even if you don’t plan on using it right away, set up a GA4 property and run it in parallel with Universal Analytics so you can get used to its new features. 

What’s different about Universal Analytics and GA4?

There are lots of differences between Universal Analytics and GA4. 

Probably the biggest difference is the shift to event-based tracking, rather than pageview. In UA, tracking is based around pageviews, which record each time a user loaded a page on your website. GA4 uses event-based tracking, allowing you to better track specific actions that users take on your website or app. 

Using event-based tracking rather than pageview tracking, in GA4 you can track specific actions that users take on your website or app, such as button clicks, video views, and form fills. This gives you a better understanding of how users interact with you and allows you to make better, data-driven decisions.

GA4 has more advanced tracking capabilities too. Its machine learning technology analyses user behaviour and provides a better understanding of how visitors navigate your website across multiple devices, which is important as the same user may switch between mobile and desktop.

Compared to UA, GA4 also offers much-improved data privacy. Just one example of this is how you can now decide how long you want to store users' data before it’s automatically deleted. This ensures compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.

Why should you switch to GA4?

If you rely on making data-informed decisions, you’ll want to make the switch. From 1st July 2023, Universal Analytics will stop processing new data. What that means is that if you don’t have a GA4 account set up, you won’t be able to collect any data about how your users interact with your business.

Unlike Universal Analytics, Google Analytics 4 allows you to measure traffic and engagement across both websites and apps. This means that with GA installed you’ll have a better understanding of your user journey across multiple devices.

Is it worth upgrading to GA4?

From 1st July 2023, Universal Analytics will stop processing or collecting new data so yes. If data is important to you then changing over is a must.  You'll still be able to see your Universal Analytics reports for a period of time after July 1, 2023. However, new data will only flow into Google Analytics 4 property.

We would recommend you make the switch over to GA4 as soon as you can. Even if you don’t plan on using it right away, set up a GA4 property and run it in parallel with Universal Analytics.

Will I still be able to access my Universal Analytics data? 

Yes, although it hasn’t been confirmed exactly how long, Google has said that you will still be able to access your historical data for at least six months after 1 July 2023. In this period, it’s recommended that you export your data. There are several ways to export data from your Universal Analytics property. More guidance on how to export this data will be provided after July. 

Key takeaways:

  1. GA4 provides better tracking of users' behaviour across different devices including websites, mobile apps, and even offline events.
  2. GA4 is focused on event-based interactions, rather than page views
  3. GA4 has more robust data privacy features than UA to improve its compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR and CCPA

If you have any other questions about Google Analytics 4 or need support to set up your profile then feel free to get in touch.


Written by:
Lewis Moran.

Share this article:

Read more from us on:

Related articles.

Send us a message.

hello@gelstudios.co.uk

01793 677150

Unit 2, 3 Lancaster Place,
South Marston Park, Swindon, SN3 4UQ