GA4: Quick guide to getting started

What is GA4 ?

Google Analytics 4 often referred to as GA4 is a web analytics service offered by Google that provides insights into the traffic and user behaviour on your ecommerce store.

It allows you to track and analyse user interactions with your website or app including page views, clicks, and conversions. It also provides detailed reports and insights based on the collected data.

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google Analytics, while Universal Google Analytics (UA) is the previous version you are probably already familiar with.

Differences between GA4 and UA

There are several key differences between the two versions:

Data collection with GA4

GA4 uses a different data collection method than UA, using a more granular approach that allows for more detailed and accurate tracking of user interactions. GA4 also supports data collection from multiple devices and channels, including web, app, and offline.

Event tracking

In GA4, event tracking is more flexible and easier to set up than in UA. GA4 automatically tracks a wide range of user interactions as events such as page views and clicks. It also allows you to define your own custom events.

Machine learning

GA4 uses machine learning to automatically identify and classify user behaviour patterns, allowing you to gain insights into user behaviour without having to set up complex segmentation or analysis.

Data retention

GA4 has a longer data retention period than UA, allowing you to retain and analyse data for longer periods of time.

Overall, GA4 provides more advanced data collection and analysis capabilities than UA, making it a more powerful tool for understanding user behaviour and optimising your website or app.

What you need to know about your current Google Analytics

GA4 will be replacing UA, here is the timeline:

  • Universal Analytics will no longer be available by July, 2023 with GA4 becoming the next generation Google Analytics tool.
  • Universal Analytics will continue to collect data until its sunset in July 2023, and data will remain accessible for at least 6 months afterwards.

Why you should transition to GA4 sooner rather than later

If you are currently using Universal Google Analytics, it is important to start planning for the transition to GA4 before the sunset date.

Reasons why you should move to GA4 today:

  • Utilise advanced features

GA4 is designed to be better than its predecessor offering users more. The sooner you can benefit from its enhanced capabilities and features the better for your business.

  • Start collecting data

If you wait until Universal Analytics is sunset, you will miss out on several months worth of the extra data that is available on GA4. That means at the end of 2023 you will only have half a year’s worth of data when you could have had more. There is also expected to be a blackout period where you won’t be able to access UA data at all.

  • Learning curve

The new features that GA4 will bring will mean that it will take some time to get to grips with how they work as well as updating your reporting and analysis processes which may in turn require more learning. Leaving it to the last minute could put pressure on your team’s resources and put you in the position of playing catch up.

Adopting GA4 now will ensure that you are able to continue tracking and analysing your website or app's performance without disruption.

How StudioForty9 can help

Worried about transitioning to GA4 and getting your head around its advanced data and features? Our performance marketing experts at StudioForty9 can help you to understand and optimise your strategy for GA4.

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