• John Walker

It’s Time to Upgrade to Google Analytics 4: Here’s what you need to know



Who likes software upgrades? Not me. But if you rely on Google Analytics to track marketing performance, this one's important for your marketing team to understand and act on.


It's time to activate the new generation of Google Analytics- Google Analytics 4- and start learning how to use it.


Background

The version of Google analytics that you’re currently using is called Universal Analytics. And on July 1, 2023, that edition of Google Analytics will stop collecting data. After that, upgrading to GA4 will be mandatory.


The reason Google is making this change (the short answer), is that the current version of Analytics was rigidly designed years ago for tracking data on websites and now data needs to be tracked flexibly across many differently platforms like apps and point of sale systems in addition to websites.


Why update now?

The recommendation is to install GA4 in parallel with Universal Analytics so that the new platform can begin ingesting data over the next year. Doing this now will prevent a gap in historical reporting data. It will also give your team time to get used to the new interface which is quite different than the current one.


How do you update to GA 4?

Within the Admin area of Universal Analytics is a GA 4 Set Up Assistant. This wizard walks you through the process which involves adding new tracking code to your site and configuring some settings.


FAQs

· After July 1, 2023, can you access data in Universal Analytics? Yes, but only for six additional months.

· Will Universal Analytics keep working after July 1, 2023. No. It will not ingest any new data after that date.

· Can I migrate my historical data from Universal Analytics to GA 4? No you can’t. The formats are too different to allow that.

· Is this a good thing or just another software upgrade pain in the @#*? This is going to involve a learning curve because the interface is so different but I believe that this is a necessary step to improve the ability of marketing teams to track performance data in an increasingly complicated digital marketing environment.


This post was written by John Walker, Principal at J. Walker Marketing, a marketing consultancy. Contact John directly to discuss your marketing challenges.