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Google Wants Businesses Moving to GA4 From March

Google has told some businesses that it wants them to make the switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) as soon as possible… or it will do it for them.

If you’re still using Universal Analytics (UA), this is important information. UA will stop processing data on July 1, and to make sure that you don’t lose any key historical data, it would be wise to make the switch to GA4 as soon as possible.

While Google will do it for you, the setup won’t be customised to your needs and could mean that your tracking and analysis aren’t as accurate as required.

Google, via Search Engine Land

“For any customer who does not set up a GA4 property with basic settings, starting in March, we will configure one with a few basic settings consistent with the existing Universal Analytics property; this includes certain conversion events, Google Ads links, and existing website tags.”

A fast-approaching deadline…

GA4 is Google’s new website measurement tool and replaces Universal Analytics. Basically, if you have an active website, then you’ll have to migrate to GA4 before that July deadline.

GA4 has better analytics capabilities than the version it’s replacing, so this nudge could help reluctant or time-poor businesses to take the leap and set up their account. And you never know; it could even let you make some useful data discoveries that help you in the long run.

Although automatical configuration is available

All standard UA properties that received traffic within the last 12 months are eligible to be automatically configured to GA4. It’s easy to migrate – in fact, you don’t even have to do anything. However, as we’ve discussed, if you have more complex needs or value your historical data, starting the migration process before the July 1 deadline is best.

GA4 background

GA4 shares similarities to the old UA but has some tweaks to bring it into the modern world.

Google Analytics Help

“GA4 is a new property designed for the future of measurement:

●     Collects both website and app data to better understand the customer journey.

●     Uses event-based data instead of session-based.

●     Includes privacy controls such as cookieless measurement, and behavioural and conversion modeling.

●     Predictive capabilities offer guidance without complex models.

●     Direct integrations to media platforms help drive actions on your website or app.”

In terms of automatic migration, it will have:

  • The same industry category, reporting time zone and currency. It will also have the same property name, but with “-GA4” at the end and it will have a new web data stream configured.
  • The same UA property-level users with equivalent permissions.
  • If your website is tagged with the Google Tag, the automatically created GA4 property will use a connected site tag. If your website has an analytics.js tag, your GA4 property will receive data via a connected site tag.
  • A different appearance from your UA data – and if you have custom events set up, your GA4 property will automatically have them.
  • The same UA event and destination goals.
  • The same audiences.
  • The same Google Ad links, as long as they’re eligible.
  • The same conversions and goals.
  • Paired UA audiences with GA4 equivalents.

Started, but not finished, your setup? Do this

If you’ve started to create a GA4 property but haven’t completed the setup, then your property is eligible to have additional settings configured automatically. To make sure that happens, complete the following steps:

  1. Connect your GA4 property to your UA property. To do this, go to Admin > Property > GA4 Setup Assistant. Then go to I want to connect to an existing Google Analytics 4 property section and click the one that maps to your UA property.
  2. Click connect properties.

If you want to opt out, you can do so as long as you have access to an Editor role on UA.

  1. In Google Analytics, click Admin.
  2. In the Property section, click GA4 Setup Assistant.
  3. At the bottom of the page, turn off Automatically set up a basic Google Analytics 4 property toggle.

Next steps

As mentioned previously, your automatically configured GA4 property only contains basic features. To set up additional features, go here. You might also want to compare key metrics from your UA property to your GA4 property and make sure they align.

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