What is GA4 and How Do I Switch?

By

Robyn Oglesby

|

April 7, 2022

What is GA4 and How Do I Switch?

GA4 is designed to provide predictive insights and deeper integration with Google Ads.

If you use Google Analytics on a regular basis to monitor your website’s traffic, then you have no doubt seen the warning at the top of the screen that reads: Universal Analytics will no longer process new data in standard properties beginning July 1, 2023. Prepare now by setting up and switching over to a Google Analytics 4 property. But, what does this mean and how do you switch? This article will dive into GA4, the differences between it and GA3, and how you can make the switch.

What is GA4?

Google Analytics 4, or GA4, was released publicly in October 2020 as the ‘next generation of analytics’ from Google. As of March 2022, Google announced that it will be sunsetting the current analytics system (GA3 or Universal Analytics) in favor of GA4 in July of 2023. GA4 was previously known as App + Web and, according to Google’s support article, the new property has several advantages over GA3:

  • Privacy-focused and durable for the future
  • Intelligent, using machine learning to unearth insights about the customer journey across platforms and devices
  • Enhanced, seamless integrations with Google's advertising platforms to optimize campaign performance and drive greater marketing ROI

Even thought Universal Analytics is being replaced by GA4, you will still be able to see your reports for a period of time after July 1, 2023. New data, however, will only flow into GA4.

How do I switch to GA4?

The first thing to do is to make sure you are an editor on your Google Analytics account. Once you’ve established that, you should identify what Google Analytics property you currently have.

Identify Your Google Analytics Property

  1. In the top left corner of Google Analytics, click the down arrow to open property selector.
  2. Look at the number that is listed below the property name. If it started with “UA,” you are currently on GA3 and will need to make the switch to GA4.

If you are brand new to Google Analytics and are just getting started, your account will automatically be GA4. If you have GA3, then you need to follow the steps below to migrate over to GA4.

Basic Instructions on How to Setup GA4 if you already have UA (full instructions can be found here)

  1. In Google Analytics, click Admin (lower left).
  2. In the Account column, make sure that your desired account is selected. (If you only have one Google Analytics account, it will already be selected.)
  3. In the Property column, select the Universal Analytics property that currently collects data for your website.
  4. In the Property column, click GA4 Setup Assistant. It is the first option in the Property column.
  5. Click Get started under I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property.
  6. If your site uses the gtag.js, tag, you have the option to Enable data collection using your existing tags.
  7. Click Create Property.

Should I switch to GA4 now?

The quick answer is, “Yes.” The sooner you make the switch to GA4, the sooner you have to track metrics and refer back to historical data. In just a short time (approximately 14 months), the option of whether or not to make the switch will not be available. So, you should do it now while you have options and can get everything in place before July 2023.

Want to learn more about analytics and what they do for your company? Read our blog What is data analytics and how does it help my business?

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