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Get Ready for the Switch to GA4 – A Step-by-Step Guide For Business Owners

As of July 1st, 2023, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will replace Universal Analytics.

In this blog, we’ll help you to understand the changes, walk you through the benefits of early adoption, and explain how you can prepare for the switch.

What is GA4?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the newest version of Google’s powerful analytics platform. 

It represents a fundamental shift in the way data is collected, processed, and analysed. Compared to Universal Analytics (UA), it enables more accurate and reliable insights into user behaviour on websites and applications by leveraging new technologies like Machine Learning (ML) to better understand customer engagement.

Why is Google Changing to GA4?

The main reason for the change is to enable marketers to track campaigns from start to finish, with a unified view across platforms, including web, Android, and iOS devices. The goal of GA4 is to provide organisations with powerful yet easy-to-use tools for measuring the performance of their marketing efforts while providing actionable insights that will help them optimise their return on investment (ROI).

In short, GA4 will give you greater control over how you measure success – ultimately leading to increased profits.

Checklist of 8 Things to Consider when Transitioning to GA4

  1. Comprehensive Data Set: Make sure that all data sets are comprehensive and up-to-date. This will ensure your GA4 transition goes as smoothly as possible. 
  2. Testing Environment: Setting up a testing environment, either on a staging server or using a test view in Google Analytics, is important for validating the accuracy of your implementation before you go live with GA4. 
  3. Multiple Property Types: You can link multiple property types from one Google Analytics 4 property to get more insights from one source—including other Google products like Search Console, YouTube, and AdWords. 
  4. Event Stream Processing: With GA4, you'll need to process event streams – a set of events sent to Google Analytics from various places (webpages, mobile apps, etc.). This is important for getting accurate and comprehensive data. 
  5. Measurement Protocol: GA4 also uses a measurement protocol which allows you to send data directly to Google Analytics without having any code on the page. This can track user activity across multiple domains and measure user interactions with emails or other external sources. 
  6. User Privacy Settings: It's important to review your user privacy settings when transitioning to GA4, as this will determine how much information is shared and collected about users on your website or app. 
  7. Goal Configuration and Tracking: You need to configure goals correctly and track the right metrics and events for your business.
  8. Data Analysis: Once you've set up GA4 and its features, it's time to start analysing your data. This will help you understand user behaviour and decide which areas need improvement or optimisation. 

Benefits of Switching to GA4 Early

Adopting GA4 early will give you a valuable head start in preparing your team to understand the changes, so you can begin to capitalise on the new features and benefits, including:

  • Upgraded user experience with improved reporting capabilities
  • Straightforward transitioning process for a seamless move
  • Access to previously unavailable insights
  • Greater visibility into all of your digital channels

GA4 is constantly evolving and making improvements with the latest features and updates. By transitioning early, you can stay ahead of the curve by ensuring your analytics platform is always up to date with the most current tools available to maximise its potential.

Uncovering Insights with Advanced Features of GA4

By leveraging the power of GA4's advanced analytics capabilities, you can unlock new levels of understanding about your customers and develop more effective strategies to drive results.

The update offers enhanced features like machine learning, event-based reporting, cross-device analysis, audience insights and more, so you can track customer engagement and analyse user trends with granular precision. This will help you better plan your marketing efforts, target the right audience, and optimise campaigns for maximum effectiveness.

For example, GA4 lets businesses compare how different types of customers interact with their websites so they can tailor content for better engagement. It also offers a detailed analysis of which channels are most effective in driving conversions and can be used to measure the success of campaigns over time.

Why Understanding GA4 is Crucial for your Business

Although GA4 has many benefits, some businesses may be hesitant to transition due to the perceived complexity. It can seem daunting to switch from something you’re already familiar with and comfortable using, especially when it comes to updating tracking codes across multiple platforms.

However, once the transition has been made and set up correctly, most people come to appreciate the new features and benefits. GA4 is designed for online and offline scenarios and can be used across all devices and platforms, making it an essential tool for any business wanting to get ahead of competitors.

Whether you’re a small business or a global enterprise, GA4 can help you extract valuable insights from your data and use it to make better decisions. By leveraging the new capabilities, your business will gain an unprecedented level of understanding into your customers' behaviour which you can use to help better shape your marketing strategy.

Overall, GA4 promises to be a useful and forward-thinking tool, providing businesses with the insights and control they need to be successful in the digital age. 

FWD Motion is a forward-thinking creative agency with a team of highly experienced web development and SEO experts. If you’re interested in improving your SEO strategy, get in touch for a chat about how we can help drive your company and your website forward.

Author: Helen Culyer