If you are a website owner or administrator, or run an online business, you have probably been notified that starting July 1st, Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) will move over to Google Analytics 4 – or GA4.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is none-other than the latest version of Google’s web analytics platform that offers incredible new features and capabilities to power up your business conversions and measure user behavior and interactions.
If you are still using a Universal Analytics property, you might be wondering if you need to do anything to switch to GA4 or if you can keep using your existing setup.
In this blog post, we will help you navigate this big change by exploring the pros and cons of both doing nothing (the setup will automatically migrate) and setting up GA4 from scratch, and how to decide if you should do it yourself or hire a developer.
This article should help you figure out if you need to take action, but if you are not sure, we would love to help. Schedule a free consultation now!
Google Analytics 4 (GA4): what is new?
Google Analytics 4 – or GA4 – is the new and improved version of Universal Analytics, a powerful web analytics service offered by Google, that provides detailed insights and statistics about website traffic and user behavior.
If you are a website owner and administrator, you might have taken advantage of it to track and analyze various metrics (such as audience segmentation, website traffic analysis, traffic sources, conversions, and user behaviors) which are extremely useful when it comes to making more informed decisions and optimizing your online presence.
The good news is that Google Analytics 4 takes all of this and elevates it to help you fully unleash your online business potential. With GA4, you now have the ability to track both your website and app within a single account, offering you a convenient and comprehensive view of user interactions across different digital platforms.
But there is even more to it. GA4 comes packed with a range of new reporting features that offer you more detailed insights into how people engage with your website. This way, you will be able to improve the user experience and boost your engagement with just a couple of clicks!
All of this is made possible by a whole new data architecture, that will revolutionize the way data is stored, analyzed, and processed. In just a few words, we are about to witness a true revolution in the way we measure website traffic usage and uncover a whole new range of potentialities for our business!
Google Analytics 4: when to set up a new GA4 property
Google Analytics 4 purports to bring about a new revolution in the way we use and store data, but what should you do to take full advantage of it?
There are two options: you can do nothing and continue using your Universal Analytics property as usual (starting from July 1st, 2023, Google Analytics will automatically migrate your data for you), or set up a new GA4 property from scratch.
Both solutions are valid and the choice depends on your specific needs and the current setup of your GA profile. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of both!
Option 1: doing nothing
The first option is to simply ignore GA4 and continue using your Universal Analytics property as usual (considering that UA will stop processing data starting from July 1, 2023). This might seem like the easiest and cheapest option, but it also has some drawbacks.
Here are some pros and cons of doing nothing:
- You don’t have to spend time or money on setting up a new property or learning how to use GA4.
- You can keep using your familiar reports and metrics without any changes.
- Last, you can still import your conversion data into Google Ads and use it for bidding and remarketing.
- You will miss out on the new features and benefits of GA4, such as enhanced measurement, cross-platform tracking, predictive analytics, and more.
- Another considerable drawback is that you might not be able to take advantage of the new recommended events and parameters that GA4 offers for measuring conversions more accurately and comprehensively.
- You will eventually have to migrate to GA4 anyway, as Universal Analytics will stop processing data on July 1, 2023 (July 1, 2024, for Analytics 360 properties).
Option 2: set up a GA4 account from scratch
The second option is to set up a new GA4 property from scratch and start collecting data alongside your Universal Analytics property.
This way, you can benefit from the new features of GA4 while still having access to your historical data in Universal Analytics.
Here are some pros of setting up GA4 from scratch:
- You can customize your GA4 property according to your specific needs and goals, such as defining your own events, parameters, conversions, audiences, etc.
- You can leverage the new conversion tracking capabilities of GA4, such as engaged-view conversions, ad network conversions, custom conversions, etc.
- Last but not least, you can use the new reports and insights that GA4 provides, such as the Analysis hub, DebugView, Life Cycle reports, and so on.
How do I know if I should set up GA4 from scratch?
As we have just seen, the decision to set up GA4 from scratch depends on several factors, such as your business objectives, your current analytics setup, your technical skills, your budget, etc.
Here are some questions to help you decide:
- Do you have clear and measurable goals for your website or app that you want to track as conversions?
- Are you willing to use the new features and capabilities of GA4 to improve your measurement and optimization strategies?
- Do you have a complex or customized analytics setup that requires a lot of configuration or customization in GA4?
- Do you have enough time and resources to invest in setting up a new property and learning?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you might want to consider setting up your new GA4 account from scratch!
If you still have any doubts, or you just need some extra guidance to set up your new Google Analytics 4 account, we are here to help you!