A Quick Guide To Google Analytics 4

By Brendan Pescatore

As we approach July, Google’s 2023 deadline for phasing out Universal Analytics (UA) looms large. For most sites, this means a collection of visitation data will cease, essentially forcing a migration to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). 

What’s New in Google Analytics 4?

GA4 utilizes an entirely different data model, moving from hit-based events to user-focused conversion metrics. This development by Google is a response to the eventual phasing out of 3rd party cookies, to which marketers must adapt in an increasingly privacy-centric world. 

GA4 comes with a number of improved integrations and features previously unavailable in its free version. The enhancements we’re most looking forward to are: 

  • BigQuery, which allows users to transfer and store site data in a warehousefree of cost (this feature will be particularly handy once UA stops collecting data). 
  • Google Optimize, Google’s rebuilt A/B testing engine designed to increase functionality (ex. audience targeting, which was previously only offered in GA360). 
  • Search Ads 360, which integrates multiple search engines into Analytics. 
  • Attribution, where the default model in GA4 is Data Driven, assigning fractional credit, which had previously only been available in GA360. Additionally, attribution settings will no longer be point-in-time forward and can be adjusted retroactively. 

Why Should I Migrate to GA4?

Google’s dominant market share ensures that most of its customers will adopt their newest offerings. The advantages of native connectors and all that the G-suite provides, in most cases, outweigh any inconvenience of migration (which Google has made fairly seamless). For those who would rather switch providers, there are alternatives in the marketplace such as Motomo, Fathom and Plausible. 

When Should I Switch?

Marketers should aim to enable GA4 before July 2022 to start gathering a full year’s worth of data for any year-over-year comparisons once Universal Analytics shuts off in July 2023. There’s no harm in running in tandem with UA, giving your business adequate time to familiarize itself with adjustments Google has made to prepare for the future. 

If your company has any questions about the pending migration or how to better leverage GA for your brand, don’t hesitate to reach out using the form below.