Making the Switch to Google Analytics 4

By Amber Cruickshank

They say all good things must come to an end. But what if what comes after is even better? 

That’s what Google is promising with Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the latest version of its predecessor, Universal Analytics. As of July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics will stop processing new data as it rides off into the sunset, and the new and improved GA4 will take the reigns. This upgrade is a massive shift, and as with any big shake-up, it’s important to not only understand how GA4 will be different but also to get ready for its integration into your business. If you rely on Universal Analytics, now is the time to prepare yourself, your team and your company to use GA4 going forward. 

What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

GA4 is a next-generation measurement solution designed to provide more robust and accurate tracking of user behaviour across multiple devices and platforms and integrate more easily with other Google products and services. Key Features of GA4 include:

  • Cross-device and cross-platform tracking: GA4 can track users across multiple devices and platforms, including web, mobile, and apps, making it easier to understand how users interact with your content across different devices.
  • Improved data collection and analysis: GA4 uses machine learning to automatically identify and track user interactions with your website or app, making it easier to collect and analyze data about how users are engaging with your content.
  • Enhanced privacy features: GA4 includes several new privacy features, such as the ability to automatically anonymize IP addresses and automatically delete data after a certain time.
  • More integrated with other Google products: GA4 is more deeply integrated with other Google products, such as Google Ads and Google BigQuery, making it easier to share data and insights across different teams and platforms.

How will GA4 affect you as a Dealer and your business?

First, if you created your analytics property after October 14, 2020, you might already be using GA4, so hooray for you; no action is needed (double-check with your Ad provider). If you have been using Google Analytics since before October 14, 2020, you have some work ahead of you. 

Although the big switch officially takes place on July 1, 2023, Google recommends creating a new GA4 property as soon as possible because the earlier you make the change, the more historical data and insights you will have in Google Analytics 4. Until that date, you can continue to use and collect new data through Universal Analytics. After that date, you will have six months to access previously processed data and export your historical reports. Important applications that need to be set up in GA4 include the following:

  • Google Events
  • Reports
  • Tracking

What should you do to start transitioning to GA4? 

If you are tech-savvy, Google has a handy tool to called the GA4 Setup Assistant that can help you create your new GA4 property. This tool can connect your existing Universal Analytics and GA4 properties, making it possible to migrate your information and configurations between the two platforms. However, this setup tool does not back up your historical data, so you must do that manually. 

Other things you will need to do on your own:

  • Manually port over your settings
  • Make a list of existing events
  • Create them again in GA4 
  • Decide on what reports are important and recreate them in GA4

If you are a Leadbox website and/or digital ads services customer, your GA4 has already been set up for you. 

If you have a different Ad or Website Provider, check to ensure they have a plan to transition your website from Universal Analytics to GA4. If they don’t have a plan in place for your business, call Leadbox, and we will point you in the right direction. 

Is Google Analytics 4 better than Universal Analytics? 

Simply put, yes. Although there is a little work on your end to make the switch, Google Analytics 4 will be better and more efficient than Universal Analytics. With more detailed reporting, real-time data and the ability to get more information relevant to your needs, GA4 is a level up for any business. 


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