G4 Migration Deadline is Around the Corner

In just over one month, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will replace Universal Analytics (UA)—forever. Many have made the transition, even if it meant kicking and screaming doing so. If you are still in the process of making the switch, keep the limited time frame in mind. Above all, know that not only can you transition—you have to transition.

A look back…

Yes, it was one year ago when word surrounding Google’s decision to make this dramatic change began to make news. Marketers were urged to adapt to GA4 as soon as possible, if only to ensure that all of their data would still be intact once the transition was complete. Those who, for whatever reason, have not made the change have to get moving. Difficult? Definitely. Maybe knowing in advance about some challenges—as well as benefits—will help.

Pointers of what to expect in getting used to GA4

Collen Thomas and Constantine von Hoffman of MarTech presented four steps that marketers must be mindful of so that the change to GA4 might be smoother—or at least not as surprising.

  1. Status of GA4 transition. Marketers must check with their website providers vendors and find out whether or not the transition to GA4 has been made, as well as whether or not there will be a charge for this migration or built into the hosting package.

  2. Putting up with “Page Title.” Apparently, one of the frustrations faced by marketers who have made the transition is not being able to gauge data in the more standard reports. That’s because the Page Title is the default identifier—and does not provide the URL as it did in UA. Solution: In the reports section, marketers should add “Page Path,” as this provides the specific value after the domain.

  3. No more filters. One of the more legitimate complaints about GA4 is that it does not customize filters. What marketers were able to check via IP address, location, and other set filters in UA does not happen in GA4. Exclusion by domain name in GA4 is perhaps the greatest challenge in GA4, and Ms. Harris suggests that marketers should concentrate on moving over their domain filters.

  4. Two columns only. Finally, marketers are having to get used to no longer having a third column to check. In UA, work was typically performed within a view—which was different for everyone on the marketing team. There is only one view for data in GA4, which is derived from data streams, and all the viewable information is the same for each team member to work from. While this requires a lot of adjustment, it will in time be easier for marketers to see the data that’s changing and the trends that are taking shape, ultimately keeping all team members literally on the same page.

This checklist can also be a guide to marketers in the differences and purpose of why GA is set up as it is.

Four benefits that outweigh any inconveniences

Everybody will win with GA4, but for those who have doubts, here are four advantages that were not possible with UA:

  1. Easy on the marketers’ eyes: This ties in with the fourth point listed above. In a world where users are visiting site after site on a variety of devices—desktop computers, mobile phones, and tablets—the ability to track so much data on so many devices is beyond overwhelming. This problem is solved (or at least eased) with GA4, as the tracking capabilities of this new analytics system are far more advanced. Now, marketers have a better understanding of the touch points at where their customers are in the sales journey, and through what devices they are utilizing.

  2. Privacy: If nothing else, anyone who has not been happy about migrating from UA to GA4 will appreciate the upgraded and proactive privacy protections that will be in place. As Jim Pasqualone, Senior Director of Digital Growth at EGC states:

    Privacy concerns that individuals had, and businesses have—Google [GA4] is allowing us to solve them, not only in the now but predicting in the future some of the laws and regulations that might occur.

  3. Enhanced predictive analytics: UA used traditional statistical methods to provide analytics. GA4 uses machine learning to provide more accurate and predictive analytics. This is important because it can help you make better decisions about your marketing campaigns. For example, GA4 can use machine learning to predict which users are most likely to convert, so you can focus your marketing efforts on those users.
  4. Improved integration with other Google products: UA was not well integrated with other Google products. GA4 is better integrated with other Google products, such as Google Ads and Google Marketing Platform, which can make it easier to manage your marketing campaigns. For example, you can use GA4 data to create custom audiences in Google Ads, which can help you reach your target audience with more relevant ads.

So, the change may be tough, but the benefits will be great.

The time is running out. If you are having difficulty in adapting to GA4, EGC can help, so contact us—now.