Google will complete the transition from its longstanding Universal Analytics (UA) offering on July 1, 2023 with those properties ceasing to collect further data on website and app visitors. To ensure your business continues to have access to this valuable information, the switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) or a comparable software is imperative. We’ve compiled a helpful checklist below for new and existing GA4 accounts to ensure you’re collecting the insights essential for your business.
Transitioning to GA4
A Google Analytics 4 property can be created by visiting analytics.google.com. If you’ve yet to add any analytics software to your website, this webpage will walk you through the process of basic setup and recommend GA4 by default. If you have a functioning Universal Analytics property, it’s likely Google has already created a basic GA4 property for you by this point in its transitional process. If not, Google Analytics does offer a rather friendly GA4 Setup Assistant within its Admin section to assist in migrating your website from UA to GA4.
Getting More from GA4
Assuming your website has a Google Analytics 4 property actively collecting data, there are likely additional steps you can take to collect additional insights and leverage this enhanced data.
- Platform Integrations: as UA sunsets on July 1, ensure that any platforms leveraging your UA website analytics (such as Google Ads or Google Merchant Center) are connected to your new GA4 property so they can continue to access any required audience and/or conversion data.
- Google Signals: this setting assists your GA property in collecting and associating information from users across their usage of multiple devices (e.g. laptops and mobile devices.) This provides a more comprehensive picture of visitors’ behaviors, which often occur over the course of multiple touch points with your website and from more than one device. This setting can be found within the Admin > Property > Data Settings > Data Collection.
- Enhanced Measurement: measures additional types of interactions and content on your website not captured by GA’s default measurement. The addition of Enhanced Measurement was a noticeable improvement with GA4, allowing businesses to easily measure interactions such as page scrolling depth, video engagement, and file downloads without requiring additional development involvement.
- Internal Traffic: if you’re familiar with UA’s property structure, you’ll likely notice GA4 does not feature the “views” for respective properties that were a core element of Universal Analytics. Most businesses utilized these for filtering out types of traffic, such as internal site traffic from staff. This functionality still exists within GA4 though can now be set by visiting Admin > Data Streams > Configure Tag Settings (for Google Tag users), and Define Internal Traffic accessible via the Show All dropdown.
- Audiences: the ability to create and leverage specific segments of your site’s visitors also received an upgrade in GA4. Audiences are helpful for better understanding behaviors of specific groups of users (such as those arriving from a particular source or visiting a specific section of your site) and tailoring remarketing campaigns to keep them engaged. Viewing and creating audiences can be found in the Admin section under Property settings. Begin creating your preferred audiences within GA4 as soon as possible to begin capturing this important data since audiences do not populate retroactively.
- Conversions: ensure you’ve migrated any important conversions from UA so you can continue to capture these important actions on your site and measure ROI from your marketing efforts. GA4 measures some events by default though does not automatically include them as conversions. Among the events not typically captured by default settings are form submissions and clicks to call so you’ll want to bring these into GA4 as soon as possible.
Your UA Data
On July 1, Universal Analytics properties will cease capturing data. Google has stated UA users will be able to access historical data of these properties for at least an additional six months. If this data is needed for benchmarking or other reporting purposes, Google encourages exporting this information. Directly in their dashboard, UA properties allow the export of most data points via pdf or spreadsheet. Depending on your needs and amount of data, you may want to also leverage other Google products such as Looker Studio or BigQuery to aid in processing historical information.
Google’s Universal Analytics properties will cease capturing data soon. Ensure your business has migrated to Google Analytics 4 (or a comparable platform) to continue measuring important data from your website’s visitors. From there, review the aforementioned recommendations to enhance your data collection with more comprehensive and actionable insights.