GA4 is here and it's dressed to impress. Why you need to move over now?


4 min read

Words by Wonderful Digital

The digital landscape in which we work and play is ever-evolving and with it comes the pressure to expand our audience reach, heighten engagement, enhance the user experience and streamline the customer journey. Yeah, that sounds like a lot when you say it like that.


Conquering all of this is dependent on the data we collect and how we use it and Google Analytics 3 (Universal Analytics or UA) has been at the forefront of mining that data for us. However the devices, apps, and platforms we use as well as user behaviour itself has advanced significantly since the launch of UA and an update has been eagerly anticipated.


Thanks for the Memories


When the original GA launched, we were either chained to our desktop computers or sipping caramel frappuccinos at Starbucks while tapping away on our laptops. Now we access data on pretty much everything that has a screen on it and GA isn’t as geared for that as we need it to be.

Enter Google Analytics 4. Among other insanely helpful tools this update is designed to integrate web and app analytics to track the customer journey across our most loved platforms – something we simply can’t do without moving forward, let’s face it.

GA4 brings good news to data privacy too. While we currently have the option of blocking data tracking pixels and software, GA4 raises the bar on privacy. The update is privacy-protective by design and packs a punch with more machine learning than ever before, making it future-proof for a cookieless world.


Benefits at a Glance


As you’d expect, GA4 has seen the way we use the current UA and responded with a myriad of improvements. From better ways to track cross platform user activity through to automating actions such as clicks and scrolls. Google’s Support Page canvases all the benefits and staying updated is key to getting under the hood of it all. For now, let’s look at a few key benefits right here:


Enhancing the User Journey

Google Analytics 4 intuitively responds to our multi-device and platform love affair.

It allows users to deploy a single set of metrics and dimensions to look at both web and app data and deliver reports depending on customer journey stages of your choosing.


Better User Engagement

G4A is specifically geared to maximise AI functionality to predict customer behaviours and actions. Customising the platform to your business needs is also a strong suit as GA4 serves up features such as audiences reports for user definitions.


Events are the New Goals

Goals have been replaced with events. Actually, almost everything you do is an event in GA4. The days of manually setting up certain events and actions are behind us as GA4 sees the automation of key tasks including clicks, scroll behaviour, transactions and file downloads. Form submissions may not be automated but are far easier to complete than ever.


Maximising AI Insights and Predictive Metrics

GA4 allows you to know your audience and make data-centric decisions like never before with new predictive metrics. Use predictive behaviours to create certain audience types, improve website performance and up the ante on retargeting campaigns.

Put that donut down and get ready now

While it is possible to run the current GA version and GA4 simultaneously until you ultimately migrate here are a few ways to prepare for the transition.

  • GA4 won’t support retroactive data so export and safeguard your historical reports before the deadline of July 1, 2023. Seriously.
  • Design a team who can focus on ‘all things GA4’. This team will ease the transition across your broader teams when the time comes.
  • Put Google’s demo GA4 accounts to work. It's in-built dummy data will let you analyse and run mock scenarios.
  • If you haven't already, set up Google Tag Manager. This will greatly ease the migration process.
  • Ensure your campaigns and user journey goals align to GA4’s newly defined metrics. Do this by mapping out your ideal framework in a Word or Excel document.
  • Get to know the new version by creating a separate data stream while you continue to access UA.
  • Plan your phased approach with set milestones throughout the journey. Designate a team to test and monitor websites and campaigns during this time.
  • Stay up to date with Google’s Support Page for the latest on features and migration tips.

Until the sun sets on UA we need to utilise the time wisely to test and transition to GA4. Becoming as familiar as possible with the update is the best way to prepare for the final move. Clearly, the benefits outweigh the transition requirements and once you’ve safely landed in the GA4 universe you may look back and wonder how you ever got by without it.