Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Explained

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Explained

You've probably heard about the upcoming change from Universal Analytics to GA4, the latest version of Google Analytics. We're here to answer your questions and explain what's looking good about Google Analytics 4.

What is GA4?

Analytics collects and analyzes data from website and app use, such as customer actions and other events. Google's previous Analytics version, Universal Analytics (UA), worked well but had some limitations. With Google Analytics 4 (GA4), Google has kept what worked in UA and reimagined the possibilities of data collection and analysis to bring you the best of the old and new. GA4 includes improved capabilities and brand-new features we're excited to share with you.

Why Do I Need to Update My Analytics?

Google will discontinue Universal Analytics on July 1, 2023, after which it will no longer collect new data. After July 1, 2023, you'll be able to access your previously collected data in UA for a limited amount of time. Still, you won't be able to collect any new data from your website. We recommend migrating to GA4 early to avoid losing access to crucial website data and to take advantage of the latest features and benefits.

Advantages of GA4

Customizable Interface & Reports

A past shortcoming of Universal Analytics was a lack of customization options. Google now allows users to customize the interface for GA4, letting you get to the data you need more quickly. GA4 also gives you more control over customized data reporting. You can use GA4's report builder to choose what data you want to see, add visualization charts, and create report templates and summary cards.

New Events-Based Data Reporting

GA4 introduces a brand-new data model based on "events." Events allow you to collect data on actions users take on your website, with options to customize reports based on what events you're most interested in. For example, a user loading a page, clicking a link, or making a purchase would each be considered an event. GA4 collects data on some events automatically, but you can also define your own custom events to get the data you need.

Detailed Real-Time Data

GA4 also gives you access to much better real-time data than before. With real-time data, you can see information about people currently on your website or using it in the last 30 minutes. You can even look into what individuals are doing on your website at a given moment in time to understand user behavior better.

Automatic Tracking

In another step up from Universal Analytics, GA4 has a new feature called "Enhanced Measurement." When enabled, GA4 will automatically track user actions like scrolling, viewing videos, and interacting with forms without the need for additional setup.

Better Data Exporting

With GA4, you'll be able to export more data with more details. That's because GA4, as a whole, gives you more in-depth information, so you'll end up with a lot more meaningful data to share and download. You can also link GA4 with BigQuery for even more exporting capabilities.

What Should I Do Next?

You can continue to use and collect data from Universal Analytics until July 1, 2023. After that, UA will stop collecting data, but you'll still be able to access data you've previously collected for at least six months from July 1, 2023. This is a great window to export all the historical reports you want to keep from UA, so you don't lose them. At a future date to be determined, you will no longer be able to access Universal Analytics or view reports from it.

However, you don't have to wait until UA goes away to start using GA4. We recommend moving to GA4 well in advance of the deadline to give you plenty of time to get used to the new interface and reporting. If you have a Wix website, you can continue using Universal Analytics and GA4 simultaneously until the cutoff date on July 1, 2023.

How to Upgrade to GA4

If you own or manage a Wix website, you can follow this guide to create your GA4 property and add it to your site. If you need help migrating to GA4, give CIS Agency a call! GA4 upgrades are included at no extra cost with some website plans or offered for a one-time upgrade fee. We'll help you access the best data with GA4's latest features.

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