Switching to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in 2023: Your Questions Answered

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) was first introduced back in October of 2020, so why are you hearing so much about it now? That’s because Universal Analytics, the previous version of Google Analytics, will stop processing new data on July 1, 2023. So, if you haven’t switched over to GA4 yet, now is the time.

While all standard Universal Analytics properties will need to be switched to GA4 before July of this year, Google recommends migrating to GA4 as early as possible to start gathering data and insights in the new platform. Otherwise, your new data won’t have any historical data to compare to, which is key for tracking trends and progress.

If you’re wary about switching to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in 2023, we’re here to help. We’ve provided answers to the most common questions about the platform so you can smoothly transition and be set up for success.

What is Google Analytics (GA4)?

Google Analytics 4 (also known as GA4) is the latest version of Google Analytics, which includes a number of new features and updates compared to the previous version, Universal Analytics.

What is the purpose of Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics’ purpose is to help businesses understand how users are interacting with their properties (website, ads, apps, etc.). The majority of marketers use Google Analytics to track website traffic and performance over time. The latest version, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), provides a range of updated tools and features to help businesses:

  • Track and analyze user behavior
  • Measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns
  • Improve user experiences
  • Make informed, data-driven decisions

Why should Google Analytics 4 matter to me?

For any business, data reporting and analysis is a key factor for success. It’s what allows you to track progress against KPIs like revenue, sales, market share, and more. Data helps tell the story of how well your business is operating, as well as where you need to improve.

One primary metric that all good marketing teams track is website traffic, and the most popular way to track website data is through Google Analytics. Over 36 million live websites use Google Analytics as a reporting tool. Google Analytics shows which pages of your website are performing the best, how long users are staying on your website, how many users are converting to paying customers, and much more. 

While Universal Analytics was a comprehensive reporting tool, Google Analytics 4 has new updates and features to improve your data analysis.

What are the new features available on Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 looks pretty different from Universal Analytics, with a new layout, buttons, and features. Some of the new features available on Google Analytics 4 include:

  • Machine learning-powered insights
  • Enhanced data collection
  • Improved cross-device tracking
  • Enhanced integration with Google Ads
  • Improved user privacy controls
  • Custom funnels and customer journeys
  • Support for Google BigQuery

Machine learning-powered insights

GA4 uses machine learning to automatically surface insights and recommendations based on your data. Google refers to these as “predictive metrics”, as they are used to predict the behavior of your users.

Enhanced data collection

GA4 has expanded use of events to allow you to collect more granular data, including data from app and web events, as well as data from connected devices. One key benefit of GA4 is the inclusion of data from mobile apps in the same property as web data, which helps to unify digital marketing metrics under one platform. 

Improved cross-device tracking

GA4 includes improved cross-device tracking capabilities, making it easier to track user interactions across different devices. This is great for understanding what interests your users across the internet.

Enhanced integration with Google Ads

GA4 also includes enhanced integration with Google Ads, allowing you to more easily track the performance of your ads and optimize your campaigns. When setting up GA4, it’s important to make sure to link your Google Ads account to take advantage of this improvement.

Improved user privacy controls

To help boost compliance with regulations targeted toward protecting the privacy of user data, GA4 includes improved user privacy controls. These include not logging individual IP addresses, processing data regionally, and introducing new regional controls for certain features.

Custom funnels and customer journeys

GA4 allows you to create custom funnels and customer journeys to better understand how users are interacting with your business. These can correspond with your sales funnel to help you share the right marketing messages with users at the right time.

Support for Google BigQuery

In contrast to previous versions, which required use of Analytics 360, GA4 includes built-in support for Google BigQuery, Google’s data warehouse platform. This allows you to easily export and analyze your data for advanced reporting. 

Is Google Analytics 4 better?

Overall, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) includes a number of updates and improvements over previous versions of Google Analytics that provide a more comprehensive, powerful, and user-friendly analytics platform.

While the purpose of Google Analytics 4 remains the same as the prior version, GA4 offers features and tracks metrics that Universal Analytics did not. These improvements can help businesses better understand and engage with their users, which is a win for everyone. 

Need help switching to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in 2023?

Although you can continue to use Universal Analytics until July 1, 2023, Google highly recommends switching to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible. Google also recommends exporting your Universal Analytics reports so that you are able to access that data after the switch. You can find the step by step process of how to switch here.

Our team at Baker Marketing Laboratory is happy to help you switch to Google Analytics 4 in 2023. As a certified Google Partner agency, we provide the expertise you need to feel comfortable during this transition. Contact us for a free consultation today!