Google Analytics (GA) is a powerful tool that allows website owners and managers to track and analyze their website’s performance. However, with the recent release of GA4, it’s important to understand the changes and how to transition your data from the old version (Universal Analytics) to the new one.

In this blog post, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of setting up GA4 and migrating your data, so you can continue to track and analyze your website’s performance effectively.

How to Switch from Universal Analytics to GA4

Step 1: Create a GA4 Property

The first step in transitioning to GA4 is to create a GA4 property in your Google Analytics account. To do this, log in to your GA account and click on the “Admin” button in the lower left corner of the interface. From there, select “Create Property” from the menu.

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Step 2: Set Up Data Streams

Once you have created your GA4 property, you’ll need to set up data streams. These will allow you to collect data from your website, mobile app, or other digital assets. To do this, go to the “Data Streams” section of the GA4 property and click on “Add Stream”.

Step 3: Install the GA4 Tracking Code

After clicking “Add Stream”:

  1. Select the type of stream you want to add (website or app) and enter the appropriate information
  2. Once you’ve added a stream, you’ll be provided with a tracking code specific to that stream
  3. Copy the tracking code and paste it into the head of your website or app’s code
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It’s important to note that the instructions for installing the GA4 tracking code can vary depending on the platform you are using. Google provides detailed instructions for installing the GA4 tracking code on various platforms on its developer documentation. So, it’s recommended to follow the instructions provided by Google for your specific platform.

Step 4: Collect Data in GA4

Once your data streams are set up and the tracking code is installed, you can begin collecting data in GA4. You can view this data by going to the “Reports” section of your GA4 property.

Step 5: Use the GA4 Measurement Protocol

In order to transition your data from Universal Analytics to GA4, you’ll need to use the GA4 Measurement Protocol. This protocol allows you to send data from your website or mobile app to GA4 using the same tracking code as Universal Analytics.

Step 6: Update Custom Reports and Dashboards

Finally, you’ll need to update any custom reports or dashboards you have created in Universal Analytics to work with the data collected in GA4. This may involve creating new segments, custom dimensions, and metrics in GA4 to match the data you were previously collecting in Universal Analytics.

Step 7: Test and Compare Data

Make sure to test the implementation and compare data from both GA and GA4 for a period of time to ensure the data are accurate and complete.

It’s important to note that depending on the complexity of your analytics implementation, this process can be complicated and may require some technical expertise. It’s recommend to work with a developer or an analytics expert to ensure a smooth transition.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can help website owners and managers track and analyze their website’s performance. With the recent release of GA4, it’s important to understand the changes and how to transition your data from the old version (Universal Analytics) to the new one. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can ensure a smooth transition and continue to track and analyze your website’s performance effectively.

Why Switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

Google has announced that they will sunset (discontinue) Universal Analytics on July 1st 2023 which means that it will no longer collect new data from your website after that date so you’ll want to make the switch before then.

Google Analytics 4 also offers a number of new features and capabilities that can help website owners and managers gain a more holistic view of their website’s performance and better understand their user’s journey. Some of the key benefits of GA4 include:

  1. User-centric metrics: GA4 allows you to track metrics based on individual users, rather than just sessions, which can provide a more accurate picture of your website’s performance.
  2. Integrated with other Google products: GA4 can be integrated with other Google products such as Google Ads and BigQuery, allowing you to gain a more comprehensive view of your website’s performance.
  3. Automated insights: GA4 uses machine learning to automatically surface insights about your website’s performance, making it easier to identify trends and patterns.
  4. Flexibility in event tracking: GA4 allows you to collect data from any digital asset, whether it’s a website or mobile app, providing more flexibility in tracking events.
  5. Built-in privacy controls: GA4 includes built-in privacy controls that allow you to automatically anonymize IP addresses and automatically delete user-level data after a certain period of time.
  6. Enhanced reporting options: GA4 provides more reporting options, including a new “Explorer” report that allows you to interact with your data in real-time and create custom segments.

In summary, transitioning to Google Analytics 4 is critical for website owners and managers to ensure that they are able to track and analyze their website’s performance after July 2023. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this blog post, you can ensure a smooth transition and take advantage of the new features and capabilities provided by GA4.

If you have any questions about this transition or are interested in any further help from our Brisbane web design team please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

To your success,
Jackson