The Transition to Google Analytics 4 Made Easy

Google is going to begin sunsetting Universal Analytics next year, a service used by many of our clients at Riverworks Marketing.

Sunsetting means Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits and data on July 1, 2023 (360 Universal Analytics will follow on October 1, 2023). Clients will still be able to see Universal Analytics reports for a period of time after July 1st, but new data streams will only flow into Google Analytics 4 properties from then on.

So what does this change mean for clients with Universal Analytics accounts? We highly recommend upgrading to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible, as the transition does require a manual setup and installation on your website! Please get in touch with your Riverworks Account Manager to get started.

While Universal still uses cookies, GA4 uses event-based data.

Universal Analytics was built for measuring online activity primarily from desktop computers. That meant we were looking at independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies. Many individuals don’t own computers, but frequently browse the internet from their smart devices, so this data collection method isn’t completely accurate anymore.

Google Analytics 4 is not reliant on cookies and operates across all platforms using an event-based data model. With the current relational data, think of its data like nouns (ex. users, products, accounts, etc.) Examples of event-based data are more like verbs (ex. The user took this action at this timestamp). This delivers user-centric measurement and means your Riverworks Account Manager will be better able to determine customer journey activity in real-time. Events can be established that are specific to your website’s call-to-actions, including forms, newsletter sign-ups, phone clicks, and more. 

So how can Google Analytics 4 help your business more than Universal Analytics could?

Here are our top seven ways that upgrading to a GA4 property can improve the way your business analyzes its web presence.

1. With an event-based measurement model that isn’t fragmented by platform or organized into independent sessions, you can gain a holistic, cross-platform understanding of your customers across touchpoints on websites and apps.

2. By analyzing the full impact of your marketing across the user journey, you can improve ROI. With your Analytics data, GA4 assigns attribution credit to more than just the last click, allowing you to see how your marketing activities contribute to your conversions. This analysis can be used to optimize campaigns on Google Ads, your Google Marketing Platform, and other tools.

3. Machine learning can provide predictions about the user experience and conversions, create new audiences of users, and automatically surface insights to improve marketing.

4. Analytics insights can be used to optimize your campaigns through expanded integrations with other Google products, including Google Ads.

5. Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360 integrations are available to all Google Analytics 4 customers. As a result, any Google Analytics 4 property, whether standard or 360, can be used to strengthen campaign performance with Google Marketing Platform data, such as conversions and audiences.

6. You can manage and minimize the collection of data with country-level settings on new privacy controls, while still measuring engagement and conversions with user-level data like cookies and metadata.

7. You can now customize the structure of Google Analytics 4 properties with sub and roll-up properties in Analytics 360. This ensures that organizations that work with you, like us at Riverworks Marketing, can access the data we need to best assist you.

We recommend our clients switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible. Shortly after July 1, historical data from the previous version of Google Analytics will be lost, so starting the new version early will allow you to build historical data within it while you can still access Universal Analytics’s historical data. Then, when Universal Analytics is no longer available, you will already be up and running with historical data in Google Analytics 4. Inform your Riverworks Account Manager that you would like to upgrade your Google Analytics software, and we will get the ball rolling!