GA4, What’s all the fuss about?
Well, the fuss exists for good reason, and it’s probably going to continue through 2023 and into 2024. For those not aware, Google Analytics 4 (or “GA4”) is the new version of Google Analytics. It’s existed since 2020 in some form or another, has matured a lot through late 2022 into 2023, and will officially replace Universal Analytics (UA) or Google Analytics 3 (GA3).
When Does GA4 Take Over?
The rollout will take effect beginning July 2023, requiring most of you to start using Google Analytics 4 for measurement of your website traffic. If you’re a Wikimotive client (or if you had the foresight), you may have set up a GA4 over a year ago…and you should have. Why? So that, come July, you’ll have year-over-year data (as you’re likely accustomed to with UA and/or GA3). If you, or your service provider failed to do this, you should do so immediately. While it’s too late to protect your YOY data, you can have some trending to look at before GA4 takes over in full.
Differences in GA4
To find some of the same information, you may need to create custom reports. You may need to dig into data and the information stored in analytics in ways that you’re not used to; for example, the way that conversions are measured. In UA/GA3, we’re used to ‘goal completions’, which come from events that fire on your website or in various website tools. Fundamentally, it won’t be all that dissimilar in GA4, but there are many vendors who are working on rejigged, updated events that will fire through the website, through chat tools, digital retailing, etc. And those events are going to be different than the ones that you had in UA/GA3, therefore…they’re going to need to be read differently, and tagged differently when you’re looking at conversions.
Ultimately, it’s no different than when goals came into popular use with GA33, it took a while for people to figure out which events are consistent and to ask for new events of their vendors.
Don’t forget to be a little bit patient with your vendors (Wikimotive included) as we’re all doing our best to adjust to the new terrain. Be demanding, ask questions, and make sure that they’re on top of things. Just give them a minute to get their arms around what this looks like, so that they can give you the best reporting into the future.
- Google’s transition from UA/GA3 to GA4 will take place between July and October of 2023.
- Unless you set up your GA4 back in 2022, you won’t have accurate year-over-year measurement of your website traffic once the transition takes place.
- Regardless, expect changes in reporting. Brace yourself for the inevitable learning curve, ask questions, and most importantly – be patient. It’s not our first rodeo, and it won’t be our last.