Did you make the switch from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)? Although many marketers are dreading the transition (who loves migrating all their data?), this transition is inevitable as Google Analytics won’t be supported by Google and will stop processing data any day now.
To help you get the most out of this new analytics platform, Matthew Clyde from Ideas Collide has put together this short guide on 4 of the best migration practices you should know to make a comfortable switch.
Step 1: Understand the Differences Between UA and GA4
Before you begin the migration process, it’s important to understand the differences between Universal Analytics and GA4.
GA4 is more focused on providing a comprehensive and integrated analytics experience, with features like cross-device measurement, machine learning models, and enhanced data privacy and security. In contrast, Universal Analytics is more basic, with a focus on tracking user behavior through a tracking code placed on your website.
The switch is being made because GA4 is more well-adapted to today’s world of data privacy laws and marketing concerns, and is able to better track users across their entire buying journey, not just what they’re doing on your website.
Step 2: Examine/Audit Your Universal Analytics Account
Before you make the switch to GA4, it’s important to examine and audit your Universal Analytics account. You need to have a good understanding of what data you’ve collected, what events and metrics you’ve been tracking, and what you want to retain. Even if you’re relatively sure your data will be migrated, document things you don’t want to lose anyway, just in case there’s a mistake.
Pay special attention to things GA4 won’t have the capacity to track in the same way — keep files for your records, and consider how you want to track these things in the future. You may decide to use a roughly equivalent GA4 feature, or opt for a different analytics system.
You can also use this opportunity to clean up your Universal Analytics account and ensure that it’s in good shape before you make the switch.
Step 3: Create and Configure Your GA4 Account
Once you have a good understanding of your Universal Analytics account, you can start the process of creating and configuring your GA4 account. This process is straightforward and can be done through the Google Analytics 4 setup wizard, which is located in the admin section of your existing Universal Analytics dashboard.
Make sure to take the time to properly configure your GA4 account, as this will help ensure that your analytics data is accurate and useful.
Step 4: Take Note of The Events You Were Using In Universal Analytics
One of the most important things to keep in mind when migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4 is to take note of the events you were using in Universal Analytics.
In GA4, events are a fundamental part of the analytics process, and they provide a way to track user interactions with your website. Before you make the switch to GA4, make sure to take note of the events you were using in Universal Analytics. While many of them should hopefully migrate over, there’s a chance some might slip through, and you might need to recreate them in GA4.
You should also use this opportunity to browse the new events GA4 offers. They may provide better or more comprehensive insight than the events you were tracking in Universal Analytics.
Migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4 can be a big undertaking, but with the right approach and best practices in mind, you can make the transition smoothly and ensure that your analytics data is accurate and useful.
Whether you’re a seasoned analytics pro or a newcomer to the world of analytics, following these best migration practices will help you get the most out of GA4.