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Everything you need to know about migrating to GA4

Do you have questions about migrating from Google Analytics 3 or Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4? You’re not the only ones.

The new version of the web analytics tool is very different from the one that marketers and site owners rely on today. Although GA4 offers some exciting new features, it can still be a little daunting to make the switch after so many years of using the previous version of GA, Universal Analytics.

Here are some of the biggest questions I get about migrating from UA to GA4.

How long should a Google Analytics 4 migration take?

It depends. One of the most important factors is the number of properties you own.

Let’s say you have a domain or site with less than 25,000 events per month. In most cases, the migration will not be too complex. It might take a few weeks to make sure everything is set up correctly in a new Google Tag Manager markup container and all custom implementations are triggering correctly.

What if you had something a bit more complex? Maybe you’re an e-commerce business with a transactional site, an iOS app, and an Android app. These are three different properties and essentially three different technologies for collecting data. You may want to schedule overtime so that apps can be tested and go through a development process.

Of course, complexity matters too. Depending on which features you need to tag and how many of them, this may impact the timing of migration.

It’s not enough to just involve your web or app developers. You need someone who understands your analytics and measurement strategy and understands your requirements, so you know you’re getting all the data you need.

Can we still use Google Tag Manager to implement a migration to Google Analytics 4?

Absolutely. In fact, I strongly recommend it.

It’s still your way to implement code on your site without having to go through a whole version of web development. Additionally, GTM is available on apps as well as websites. I highly recommend all my clients to take advantage of this tool to configure GA4 quickly.

People using Google Analytics 360 must migrate to the new version in 2022. But I only use the free version of Google Analytics. Do we need to update it now?

You don’t have to, but I strongly recommend that you do. If you’re not a 360 user, Google may not be forcing you to upgrade to Google Analytics 4 at this time. However, Universal Analytics support will end July 1, 2023. So when new features are unveiled, you will miss out.

Google Analytics 4 is the future. You should get on board as early as possible.

We use a dual implementation of Google Analytics — we get web data from GA4 and UA. How long do we need to continue collecting UA data?

A dual configuration (using both the GA4 and UA properties to track activity on your site) is a great idea. You can see if the new version measures performance accurately, using your old UA property as a benchmark.

You can cut the cord on UA once Google Analytics 4 becomes your source of truth. That means…

  • GA4 provides all the metrics you need for reporting and analysis.
  • That the data is clean, accurate and reliable.
  • You have a database that can be used as a benchmark for future performance. (How much data? It depends. Some companies may need a full year to account for seasonality. Others, however, may only need a quarter or two.)

Once GA4 becomes the source of truth, then you can cut the cord.

Do you have a question about Google Analytics 4 or digital analytics in general?

Get in touch, I can help you design and execute a conversion tracking strategy.

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