Google Analytics, What’s This GA4 Message all About?

I’ve heard from a few clients recently that when they log into Google Analytics they see this announcement at the top:

Universal Analytics will no longer process new data in standard properties beginning July 1, 2023. Prepare now by setting up and switching over to a Google Analytics 4 property.

Ok maybe it isn’t really signed “Love Google <3” but they do offer a link to dismiss (ignore) the announcement, a link to Learn More and a button to take action and make the switch. Let me explain what the big deal is all about. I’ll also explain why you should take action now and not wait.  Lastly I’ll offer you advice if this is out of your comfort zone. So let’s get to it!

What is GA4? Why do I care?

The current version of Google Analytics is actually GA3, that means, in a nutshell, that GA4 is the next version of Google Analytics. A simplified definition of Google Analytics is a tool used to measure website engagement, who visits your website (demographics), visitor behavior, how the visitors find your site (acquisition), and if visitors become leads.

GA4 was built to satisfy current privacy concerns which are protected by GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act). Both GDPR and CCPA are serious and you’ll want to make sure you are compliant. No company needs fines or upset customers when you can make some simple updates to your website to keep everyone happy.

It was also built to enhance and improve the analytics experience for business owners and marketers. The biggest differentiator for GA4 is that now you can collect measurements based on events across the user experience on mobile, website, and application. This means less fragmented analytics and new ways to see how your website makes money for you. Yes, you, even your brochure website can make money for you. Ask us how.

Why Should I take Action Now? Can't I Wait?

Even though you could wait to get GA4 up and running, we recommend that you do the upgrade now so GA4 can start collecting data. After the old GA3 is shut off on July 1, 2023, you will only have access to the old data for 6 months.

Google had made only 1 vague mention of automatically helping you out back in October 2022 and since it’s not elaborated on I’m skeptical. I can’t find anything further than:

If you haven't already created a new Google Analytics 4 property before early 2023, the Setup Assistant will create one for you. This new Google Analytics 4 property will have some of the same basic features, such as goals/conversions and Google Ads links, that you have in your corresponding Universal Analytics property. You will be able to opt out of this directly in the Setup Assistant or in the notification banner that will soon appear.

This Sounds out of my Comfort Zone.

It’s not that bad tackling this yourself. If you click the button for “Let’s go” from within Google Analytics it will help guide you through the steps. There are also plenty of bloggers that have video tutorials and step-by-step written instructions to follow. If you prefer a less hands-on approach you can ask your web developer to assist. 

 

Some of you might be Google Tag Manager (GTM) users also and that needs an additional step to start using GA4. You will need to add the GA4 Measurement ID to GTM and confirm it is firing as expected. Drop us a note if you would like more information from Caffeine and we’ll be happy to elaborate on the topic. 

Let’s Go!

If you’re ready to take the next step with your app or website, whether it’s building a new website or app or getting support on needs like GA4, let us know by contacting us here!