This article has been updated. Read the June 2023 FAQs here.
As many of you may already be aware, Google is sunsetting Universal Analytics (UA) and on 1 July 2023 it will stop recording traffic.
In its place, Google has launched Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This next-generation measurement solution uses modern, privacy-safe tracking methods and, thanks to machine learning, less data will be lost as a result of cookie developments and non-consenting users. GA4 can track more and better quality data, allowing for a more accurate insight into website traffic and user activity. Amongst other new exciting features, it also allows for measurement across multiple devices and platforms, which will help offer valuable insight into how your users convert.
We’ve put together a list of our clients’ commonly asked questions to help everyone get ready for the shift.
What is GA4?
GA4 is replacing the current version of Google Analytics, Universal Analytics (UA).
It uses modern, privacy-safe tracking methods and measures more relevant features than a product over ten years old.
How is GA4 different?
Google describe it as a future-focused and privacy-first platform as it relies less on cookies to track and record certain events and platforms. It uses machine learning to ‘fill in the gaps’ where the user does not consent to tracking, making your data more future-proof.
It also allows for measurement across multiple devices and platforms, enabling us to more accurately track a user who starts on a mobile device and converts on a desktop, for example. Having a more informed view of the customer journey also allows for better optimisation.
Unlike UA, GA4 combines data from apps and websites into the same platform, meaning all the data is in one place, making analysis more streamlined.
Why do I need to move to GA4?
Google have announced that from 1st July 2023, Universal Analytics will no longer process data.
With UA being retired, getting this new platform up to speed and integrating it with regular analysis will give us a step up and a better understanding of the nuances, differences and changes to the data.
What happens if I don’t move to GA4?
Past July 1st 2023, your existing UA property will no longer collect data and, as time continues, all this data becomes less accurate and useful.
How do I move to GA4?
In November 2020, Fountain set up initial GA4 properties for many of our clients, to start collecting basic traffic and audience metrics. This means that there will be some historical data for comparing collection and reporting to UA but this is unlikely to show any meaningful conversion data on your account.
The next steps are replicating your UA goals in GA4; we will be using time in your retainer to get this set up. We will book time with our Development Team to complete this and your Account Director will inform you when this work has been planned into your digital strategy.
What will happen to my reporting?
On the whole, we don’t envisage this changing significantly. Due to GA4 using a different measurement model (event-based over session-based) the figures will not match up as it will be comparing apples to oranges, so changes are expected. We will know more about what this will look like once your goals are set up and you are fully integrated. Historical comparisons will also be impacted, due to not being able to import previous UA data.
Will the goals be the same?
Fountain aim to review the current goals you have in UA and move the appropriate ones across to GA4. Due to the measurement model being different, these may have to be set up in a slightly different way but we will endeavour to measure the same user actions.
How do I get the information I used to see in UA?
It’s important to remember that GA4 reports data differently and therefore, the data and new metrics will reflect this. When using the new platform, keep this in mind instead of expecting it to perform exactly as UA did; there are fewer standard reports, but much more opportunity to build custom reports and create the exact data you want to see.
Fountain’s reporting will cover all of the key elements you need to know about your marketing but, if there’s anything you particularly want to see, your team at Fountain can work with you and help support you in finding this.
I have more questions!
No problem, we can’t cover everything in a single article. If you have anymore questions about GA4, just reach out to your account team and they’ll be able help. We’ll also keep this article updated with any new information to make sure no one is left in the dark. We are all on this new Analytics journey together!