UA Dies, GA4 is Born
Introduced in 2012, Universal Analytics (UA) is a version of Google Analytics (GA) that set a new standard for how user data is collected and organised. Now, with UA due to be sunsetted in July, everyone will need to set up and familiarise themselves with its replacement – GA4.
Here, we provide a brief overview of GA4 and detail the tasks you’ll need to undertake to get your analytics set up and ready to go.
Will this affect me?
If you’re already using GA4, you’ve nothing to worry about – only those using UA will be affected. As a rule, if you created your property before October 14, 2020, you’re likely using a Universal Analytics property. If you created your property after that date, you’re likely using a Google Analytics 4 property already, and no action is required. Still not sure? Get in touch and we’ll check for you.
What’s going to happen?
Until 1st July, you can continue to use and collect new data in your UA properties. After this date, you’ll be able to access your previously processed data for at least six months. During this time, we recommend that you export your historical reports. While you may not need them right now, you don’t want to get down the line and realise there’s something you needed to check or compare, only to discover you no longer have access.
If you haven’t already created a new Google Analytics 4 property before early 2023, the Setup Assistant will create one for you. Google claims: “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”. Unfortunately, we’ve found that this isn’t the case – all goals have to be set up again from scratch, taking several hours per account.
Why is GA4 necessary?
Primarily, GA4 was developed as a response to the lack of data (resulting from the increase in user privacy) being pulled through to reporting platforms. AI is now used to fill in the blanks that privacy settings now create.
What’s more, with a heightened focus on user experience (UX) in recent years, Google’s algorithms have changed to help websites that provide a good user experience get to the top of the SERPs. GA4 reports on metrics that better reflect this evolution, such as engaged sessions, engagement rate, engaged sessions per user, and engagement time.
Finally, with the user purchase funnel becoming less and less linear, GA4 has improved cross-device and cross-platform reporting. Learn more about what GA4 represents for SEO, and check out our favourite features.
What are my next steps?
If you’re a retained client of The Bigger Boat, you can sit back and relax – we’ve already set up GA4 for you. If you’re a non-retained client, a member of our team will be in touch shortly to quote the GA4 set up work you’ll require.
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Written by Andy McCaul
Co-founder and digital marketing guru Andy ensures all projects are shipshape, and that we generate the best return on investment for clients.