Upgrade to Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the future of analytics. With Universal Analytics gradually being phased out, it’s time to get to grips with the latest default web analytics service.

What is GA4?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google Analytics and is replacing Universal Analytics (UA), the current website analytics software that we’ve all come to know and love. As of July 2023, it will also become the only version available to individuals and businesses alike.
The roll out of GA4 began in the third quarter of 2020. Since then, businesses worldwide have gradually migrated from Universal Analytics to GA4, the new default.
Our expert Data Analytics team can guide you from start to finish through the set up and migration processes of Google Analytics 4 for your business.

Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics

GA4 Diagram
Universal Analytics has allowed us to gather data about our users and how they interact with websites. However, Google wants to update their methods for collecting data to echo current advancements in technology usage. This is why GA4 was developed. It gives businesses the ability to monitor and track their active users in more depth than ever before, and enables valuable data that assists with business decisions and marketing strategies to be obtained.
One of the main differences between GA4 and UA is how the data is collected. GA4 collects data from both websites and apps. It then blends this data, allowing businesses to track user journeys across multiple devices and platforms.
It also differs in the way metrics are measured. Universal Analytics uses a measurement model that is based on “hits”, such as page views, sessions and transactions. In Google Analytics 4, these “hits” are measured as events instead, thus collecting event-based data instead of session-based. UA placed focus on “total users” in most reports, whereas GA4 focuses on active users.
There is also more focus on Data Privacy and, unlike UA, GA4 doesn’t collect IP addresses. Users can now control how their data is collected, stored and shared and they can submit a data-deletion request straight to Google. GA4 currently relies on first-party cookies to track data, but as GA4 shifts towards a cookie-less future it has adopted the use of statistical modelling and machine learning. These components form the main resource when it comes to gathering user data and accurately predicting their behaviour.
To address the concern of transferring personal data across the Atlantic, Google plans to adjust their data collection policies once the Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework comes into effect. This is an ‘agreement in principle’ created by the European Commission and the United States to replace the current Privacy Shield.
The key principles of this framework include:
  • Allowing personal data to flow freely and safely between the EU and participating U.S. companies.
  • A new set of rules placing limits on what data can be accessed by U.S intelligence authorities, restricting it to what is necessary and proportionate.
  • A Data Protection Review Court with a new two-tier system that investigates and resolves complaints by Europeans concerning access of data by U.S Intelligence authorities.
  • Establishing specific monitoring and review mechanisms.
GA4 Diagram

The End of an Era

On 1st July 2023, your Universal Analytics properties will cease to collect any new data and hits for your website. Therefore, it’s absolutely essential that you’re up and running with GA4 well in advance to avoid any disruption to your marketing operations.
Setting up GA4 and migrating your website from Universal Analytics needn’t be the chaotic task you might imagine. In fact, there’s a very clear and structured process to follow. The GA4 Setup Assistant Wizard allows you to transfer your website data into a new GA4 property. This will then run in parallel with your existing data from the Universal Analytics property.

Data Collection

Google Analytics 4 collects data from both Apps and Websites simultaneously, allowing you to monitor user journeys across multiple devices and platforms. Every user interaction (hit) is now also processed as an event, regardless of hit type (page views,social interaction, etc). This allows for more in-depth analysis.


Machine learning integration

With a cookie-less future on the horizon, GA4 will be using Machine Learning (ML) instead to gain predictive insights into user behaviour by looking at detailed patterns in user activity. It opens the doors to make strategic decisions based on this data analysis, rather than relying on reactionary decisions.


Focus on user journey

With a cross-platform data collection approach, you can benefit from a more accurate glimpse into user journeys. GA4 makes it possible to track your users’ behaviour from beginning to end, across platforms.


Creative analysis

GA4 offers the combined ability to predict user behaviour and map out various user journeys. As Digital Marketers, we can utilise this data to develop more targeted and creative marketing campaigns to capture more of your target audience.

Setting up GA4

With Editor permissions in your current Google Analytics account, you can follow the steps outlined below to create your new property.
Admin > Select desired account > GA4 Setup Assistant > Create a new Google Analytics 4 property > Create property
Once this is done, you will have the beginning of your new GA4 property. The property name, URL, currency settings and time zone will have been copied over from your existing UA property. It’s important to note that your new GA4 property will not copy over any historical data, and will only collect new data going forward. To view your historical data, you’ll need to refer back to the original Universal Analytics property.
This may sound like a chore, so we’re here to guide you through the process. Our Data Analytics team can smoothly get your new Google Analytics 4 property set up.

Book a Consultation

We're here to ensure that your operations are taking advantage of Google Analytics 4 ahead of time! Our dedicated Data Analytics team are ready to assist you in switching over from Universal Analytics to GA4.

  • 1
    Getting set upWhether you're looking to migrate from UA to GA4 or start afresh with a new Google Analytics account, we'll get you up and running.
  • 2
    Take the GA4 tourOur team will guide you through all the new features of GA4 and show you the ropes, so that you can navigate your new account smoothly.
  • 3
    Experience the future of Data AnalyticsDiscover GA4 in all its glory and explore all of your new possibilities! Start building bespoke complex reports and delve deeper into user behaviour.

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Google Analytics 4 FAQs

Why should I upgrade to GA4?

Google Analytics 4 is replacing Universal Analytics in July 2023. Therefore, it’s vital that the migration from UA to GA4 is completed by then. GA4 also uses Machine Learning (ML) to accurately predict user behaviour by looking at detailed patterns in user activity, offering opportunity for more flexible and comprehensive analysis.

What is a Google Analytics 4 property?

A Google Analytics 4 property is no different to a property on Universal Analytics. A property on GA4 can be a website, blog, mobile application or device that’s set up under a Google Analytics account. You can have multiple properties under one account, and each will have its own unique tracking code.

How do I set up GA4 in Google Tag Manager (GTM)?

GA4 has 2 tag types: GA4 Configuration and GA4 Event. Within GTM, you can follow the steps below.

GA4 Configuration tag
Tags > New > Tag Configuration > Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration > Enter your “G” ID.
GA4 Event tag
Tags > New > Tag Configuration > Google Analytics: GA4 Event
Then select the Configuration tag you created earlier and specify the name of the event for the Event Name.
> Click Triggering and select the appropriate events that would cause the tag to fire.
> Save and click submit

You should assign a GA4 Configuration tag trigger earlier than the GA4 Event tag trigger, to ensure it fires first when it runs. Include the Configuration tag on every page that you wish to collect data for.

For further information on how to set up GA4 in GTM, you can read this detailed article by Google.

How to create events in GA4

In GA4 you can create events using either Google Tag Manager or your GA4 dashboard.

To set up events in your dashboard, follow these steps below:

  • Navigate to ‘All Events’ and click on ‘Create Event’.
  • In the new window that appears, click ‘Create’.
  • Give your ‘Event’ a name and add your Parameter from the list.
  • Next, select your operator and input your value (last word in your destination URL).
  • Click ‘Create’.
  • View your events under ‘Custom Events’.
How to create contact form events for GA4

To create a contact form event, begin by following the same steps as mentioned above in “How to create events in GA4”. Once an event has been created, head over to ‘Conversions’ under the Events menu. Select ‘New Conversion Event’ and enter the name of the event you created (and selected) earlier, then click ‘Save’.

How to connect GA4 to Google Search Console

Connecting to Google Search Console allows you to view this data in your GA4 reports. You can connect the two either from Google Analytics 4 or from Google Search Console itself. Please note that you must have Editor permissions in your GA4 property in order to set this up.

To connect from GA4, follow these steps below:

Head over to ‘Admin’ > Click on ‘Search Console Links’ > Click ‘Link’ in the top right corner.
You then need to select the Google Search Property you wish to link by clicking on ‘Choose Accounts’.
Choose the property you want to link and click ‘Confirm’.
You’ll then be prompted to select a web stream. Click ‘Select’ and then choose the stream.
Finally, you can review your selections and click ‘Submit’.

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