How To Transition From Google’s Universal Analytics To Google Analytics 4

On March 16, 2022, Google announced that July 1, 2023, will be the end of life for Universal Analytics, with Google strongly recommending the switch to Google Analytics 4. So what does this mean for businesses like yours? How do you prepare to make the switch?

Since 2005, marketers and business owners have been using Google’s Universal Analytics (GA3) to analyze user behavior on their websites and see what’s working. But all good things must come to an end. 

On March 16, 2022, Google announced that July 1, 2023, will be the end of life for Universal Analytics, with Google strongly recommending the switch to Google Analytics 4.

So what does this mean for businesses like yours? How do you prepare to make the switch?

Create a Google Analytics 4 Account

On July 1, 2023, the only Google Analytics platform that will track data will be Google Analytics 4, so if you want to compare year-over-year data in July, you’ll need to have Google Analytics 4 set up in July of 2022. 

Since this blog was released in July 2022, that means every day that you miss creating a Google Analytics 4 account is another day you’ll be missing in your year-over-year comparisons, so the sooner you create the account and implement it, the better!

Here’s how you can set up a Google Analytics 4 account:

Step 1: Go to analytics.google.com

Step 2: Your Universal Analytics account should appear. On the bottom-left side of the screen, click the gear icon.

Step 3: A table with three columns should appear. At the top of the middle column, click the blue button containing “Create Property.”

Step 4: Add the Property name and click “Next.”

Step 5: Choose Business Options to tailor to your business and hit “Create.”

Step 6: On the screen that appears, under “Choose a Platform,” select, “Web.”

Step 7: A window with “Set up Data Stream” will appear. Under “Website URL,” add your website’s URL, and under “Stream Name,” add the name of your website.

And that’s it! You’ve created a Google Analytics 4 account. Now it’s time to implement Google Analytics 4 on your website.

How to Implement Your Google Analytics 4 Account On Your Website

The method in which you install Google Analytics 4 on your website depends greatly on what platform you’re working with and how you want it implemented.

Implementing directly: If you’re looking to add it directly into the code of your website, copy the global site tag provided in the “Web Stream Details” and add it to the <head> section of your HTML. The code should look something like this:

<!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics -->

<script async src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=G-HHLM60CVYE"></script>

<script>

  window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];

  function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}

  gtag('js', new Date());

  gtag('config', 'G-XXXXXXXXXX');

</script>

Implementing via Google Tag Manager: The most common way would be through Google Tag Manager. Here’s how to install your Google Analytics 4 tag through Google Tag Manager.

Step 1: Go to tagmanager.google.com

Step 2: If you haven’t already, set up and install a Google Tag Manager account, using this guide from Google.

Step 3: In your Google Tag Manager account, create a new tag by clicking, “New Tag” in the upper left on the “Overview” dashboard. 

Step 4: Double-click the name in the upper left-hand corner of the window that appears and name the tag “GA4 Tag.”

Step 5: Click the “Tag Configuration” Window and in the menu that appears select, “Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration.”

Step 6: Copy the Measurement ID from your “Web Stream Details,” in your Google Analytics 4 account. (should look like this: G-XXXX1234XXX) Paste the Measurement ID into the “Measurement ID” area in your new GA4 tag in Google Tag Manager.

Step 7: Click the “Triggering” window in your “GA4 Tag,” and under choose a trigger, select, “All Pages.”

Step 8: Click, “Save,” in the top right corner to save the tag, then click “Submit,” in the top right corner of the tag manager dashboard.

Your Google Analytics 4 tag should be set up in 48 hours or less!

Implementing via CMS (Shopify, WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Drupal, etc.) If you’re using a CMS such as Squarespace, Shopify, Wix, WordPress, Drupal, or Google, here’s Google’s resource page that will guide you through each process. 

Having trouble? We’ve implemented and analyzed Google Analytics 4 for numerous clients in a variety of industries. Contact us now for a free, no-obligation consultation!

Set Up Conversion Tracking In Google Analytics 4

Now that you have Google Analytics 4 set up on your site, setting up conversion tracking in Google Analytics 4 will allow you to measure what truly matters on your website, whether that be lead generation, eCommerce sales, or goals centered around engagement.

As a business owner or marketing director, this is where you’ll want to contact a website developer, as there are several types of conversions you’ll want to set up. Several of them require advanced knowledge of tag implementation.

As an agency, we work every day in setting up these conversions in several different website setups. We’d be happy to grab a cup of coffee with you and discuss how we can help with your Google Analytics implementation and other marketing needs!

Get In Touch

Begin Parallel Reporting Between Universal Analytics and GA4

After you’ve completed the setup of Google Analytics 4, spend the next quarter analyzing and comparing the data across the two platforms. You should immediately notice differences. For instance:

Google Analytics 4 replaces bounce rate with engagement rate: 

- Bounce rates measure the percentage of visits to the page with no interactions on that page. 

- Engagement rates measure the percentage of visits that lasted longer than 10 seconds, had a conversion event, or had at least 2 pageviews.

Your engagement rate should roughly be the opposite of your bounce rate, so if your bounce rate is 45%, your engagement rate should be 55%.

The “Landing Page Report” is now replaced with the “Session_Start” event.

Those who use Universal Analytics are probably accustomed to checking the “Landing Pages Report” to see what pages users land on before converting. The report has been replaced by an event called “Session_Start.” 

You can still build the landing page report by creating a custom report in the “Explore,” tool.

Every conversion event counts in Google Analytics 4.

In Universal Analytics, a conversion would only be counted once per session, whereas with Google Analytics 4, every conversion event is counted, no matter if it’s the same session or not. 

Several other metrics will be slightly different. Even the term, “Users,” means something slightly different in Google Analytics 4. Pro Tip: Spend at least a quarter comparing the two reports to ensure that you understand how your analytics and reporting will be different when Universal Analytics is finally sunsetted.

Transition Completely to Google Analytics 4

Once you’ve spent a quarter parallel reporting and comparing the data from the two platforms, you’re ready to move your dashboards and reporting tools over to Google Analytics 4 and complete the transition. 

If you do all of this by July 1, 2023, when the end of Universal Analytics arrives, you’ll minimize the impact on your business’s analytics and reporting. Be ready to analyze your data, gain new insights into what’s working for your business, and use the ideas you learn from those insights to grow and thrive!

Have any questions? Need any help setting up your Google Analytics 4 account?

Contact Us

 

Writer: Michael Kline
Editor: SK Vaughn

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