Upgrading Google Analytics to GA4: What You Need to Know

Charts and analytical data on the tablet screen with a cup of coffee on a wooden vintage tableIn October 2020, Google began the rollout of the newest version of their analytics platform.

Known as GA4, this new iteration of Google Analytics was created with the intention of making it easier for business owners and marketers to track both mobile and web properties in one place. It’s also solution that enables cookieless tracking, which is becoming the standard given new privacy regulations in the online data tracking world.

This newest version of Google Analytics offers new features, updates to the user interface, and provides a completely new way to view and analyze data, with a stronger focus being placed on event tracking.

Its rollout has also left business owners and marketing teams wondering exactly how their data, website performance tracking, and strategy development will be impacted – and when.

Here, we’ll go over a few of the key things you need to know about GA4 if you’re looking to stay ahead of the game when it comes to tracking your website’s statistics with Google Analytics.

What is GA4?

GA4, or Google Analytics 4, is the newest iteration of the Google Analytics platform, one of the most widely used website analytics platforms on the web.

If you’ve been paying close attention to Analytics over the past couple of years, you may have noticed that Google released an “App + Web Properties” version of Analytics back in 2019. It turns out this was actually a beta version of the GA4 platform, which officially launched in October 2020.

GA4 is essentially an overhaul of the Analytics platform. It includes new features (including more tracking options than previous versions of Google Analytics), a redesigned interface, and an updated way to view and organize website data. It also enables tracking without the use of cookies, which is becoming the new standard in the world of online data collection given new privacy regulations.

Though it is an iteration on past versions of Google Analytics, GA4 is a big change to the Analytics platform. The interface has changed significantly, and the new version will take some getting used to, even for those most familiar with Analytics.

It’s important to note that while GA4 is now available, it is not yet ready to be a complete replacement for the existing Google Analytics platform. There are still many features being rolled out, and many bugs that need to be addressed before GA4 becomes the Analytics version you rely on.

When Should I Upgrade to GA4?

The short answer to this question is: as soon as possible.

Even though GA4 is not ready to replace Universal Analytics, it’s important to upgrade to the new platform for a few reasons (which we’ll delve into below).

When you upgrade, you’ll want to run GA4 in tandem with your existing Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) account. This will enable you to gather data in both versions, and switch between the two when necessary.

When the time is right, it will be essential to invest in the advanced implementation of GA4.  The basic, out-of-the-box implementation does not give us adequate information for actionable strategies and planning.

Why Should I Upgrade to GA4 Now?

Given that GA4 is rolling out but not yet ready to replace the previous version of Google Analytics that most users are familiar with, many people are wondering why they should upgrade to GA4 now.

Upgrading to GA4 as soon as possible is important for a few reasons.

Firstly, GA4 will ultimately become the primary, supported version of Google Analytics. It’s important to be upgraded when that shift does happen, as the previous iterations of Google Analytics will eventually become obsolete.

Secondly, you’ll want to be at least somewhat familiar with the new interface when that transition does take place.

Additionally, you’ll want your website’s information and statistics to have been tracking in GA4 for as long as possible when the official switch happens. Your existing analytics history will not transfer over to GA4, so it’s important to begin tracking soon in order to ensure a smooth transition to the new platform with at least some historical statistics intact.

Again, down the road when the time is right, investing in the more advanced implementation of GA4 will be key as the bare minimum set up won’t be sufficient when it comes to making strategic plans and marketing decisions based on website performance data.

Have Questions About GA4?

Wondering what this switch to GA4 will mean for your business? Hoping to ensure that this transition to a new version of Analytics goes smoothly? Get in touch with us today!

We’ll talk to you about what you need to do to be prepared for the transition to GA4, and let you in on the insight we’ve gained as we’ve been exploring GA4 for ourselves. This platform is new to everyone, but we’d be happy to share what we’ve learned so far.

Interested in learning more about monitoring your site’s performance with Google Analytics?

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