If you have been on your Google Analytics Universal Analytics account recently, you may have noticed a new blue banner across the top of the screen. This banner shares the news that Universal Analytics will no longer process new data come July 2023 and introduces the new GA4 property.
Since GA4 was announced back in October 2020, there have been a lot of discussions online about what it means for the future of website data collection and analysis.
Benefits of GA4
There have been mixed emotions regarding Google’s new reporting interface, so below we are delving into the most frequently mentioned benefits of GA4.
Better UX data
In recent years, Google has really stepped up their game to improve the user experience across its search engine. This focal shift is also very noticeable within the new GA4 user interface with GA removing data measurements that are dissected through devices or platforms such as sessions.
There is now a huge emphasis on users and how they interact with the website itself. All user interactions are now recorded through events rather than goals which we saw in Universal Analytics.
Improved user engagement analysis
Google’s focus on UX is clear in GA4 with the new reporting area that focuses solely on user engagement. Engagement is now recorded through many pre-created actions including events, conversions, and pages users have visited.
There are a number of new and useful engagement metrics to better understand how users are interacting with your website available with GA4. Combined with the pre-configured events, it will be a lot easier to identify whether your content is engaging and if users are properly navigating through to conversion pages.
Simplified goals/event tracking
A new addition that has come with GA4 is the pre-creation of certain actions and events. Key actions such as clicks, scroll depth, file downloads, and transactions no longer require manual setup before they can be tracked. Form submissions and e-commerce goals may not be automatically implemented, however, the process to set these up is now much easier and straightforward.
Identifying your most popular website actions and understanding the valuable metrics has been made incredibly simple.
Keeping an eye on your ROI (return-on-investment) has become even easier with this new GA4 data collection. Monitoring key actions and conversions occurring on your site are important metrics to continuously review. With the new Engagement and Monetisation reports in GA4, identifying your most popular website actions and understanding the valuable metrics has been made incredibly simple.
Can I transfer my data from Universal Analytics to GA4?
Many have been asking themselves what the best method would be to migrate all of their existing data across to GA4. Unfortunately, data migration isn’t currently available and is not likely to be a feature announced in the coming months.
The main reason behind the inability to migrate data is the difference in schema and dimension definitions/calculations. If you have set up a GA4 property already, you may have noticed that a number of the key metrics aren’t included or their definitions have changed slightly. For example, Bounce Rate is no longer a metric GA4 will report on, this has changed to Engagement rate which has a slightly different meaning.
What can I do to prepare?
If you’re only using Universal Analytics, we would strongly recommend setting up GA4 via the setup assistant that can be found within the Admin tab in Google Analytics. Even though the full migration does not come into play until 1 July 2023, it is strongly advised that you create a GA4 property this year.
Google themselves are encouraging people to export their historical reports between now and July 2023. This is to ensure important and valuable data is retained.
If you’re looking to expand your knowledge on what GA4 is and how to properly utilise its interface, then get in touch with our expert team to book a Google Analytics training course.