5 Reasons to Upgrade to GA4 Now Or Risk Losing Your Valuable Data
Google announced that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will replace Universal Analytics (UA)–the Analytics property you are familiar with–in July 2023. All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023.
Google has not yet announced when existing Universal Analytics properties will no longer be available, but we know that there will be a time when you won’t be able to access your UA reports and data.
WTM Digital is advising all of its client partners to implement GA4 now. Here are five reasons why you should upgrade to GA4 today to avoid losing valuable data.
1. You Won’t Have Historic Data
New GA4 properties will only collect data from the time of creation. There is no option to import historical data from Universal Analytics (UA) properties. So, to have more data at your disposal, we recommend implementing GA4 immediately, especially if you are an ecommerce business that relies on Q4 revenue.
As previously mentioned, Google will stop processing UA data in July 2023. If you don’t have GA4 installed yet, this means that you won’t be able to compare year over year data in GA4.
Your marketing teams and agency partners rely on this data to measure performance and inform strategy. Waiting to upgrade to GA4 could force your marketing teams to use data that is unreliable.
2. Setup and Configuration Takes Time
Setup and configuration can be very involved. Your website’s platform or payment gateway may require additional configurations and scripts in order to send data to GA4.
You’ll also need to complete an audit of your current UA properties to determine which data, Events and Conversions need to be sent to GA4. This could require a new strategy for naming Events and Conversions in GA4 since data is processed and labeled differently than UA.
You’ll also need time to evaluate and compare data from GA4 against UA for accuracy. Data processing in GA4 is much slower than UA. Oftentimes, this means waiting a full 24 hours to review if data is collecting correctly. It will require patience to evaluate and modify the data coming in to ensure it is being recorded correctly.
Additionally, this will give you time to become familiar with Google Tag Manager (GTM). While it is not required, you will find that it is much easier to implement tags and add events with GTM.
Overall, you will have a much better experience with GA4 if you are comfortable with GTM.
3. GA4 Has Different Metrics and Reports than UA
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a new kind of property with different reports and metrics than what you’re used to seeing in UA. There is a learning curve with GA4 that requires users to spend a significant time in the reports.
The biggest difference is that GA4 uses an ‘event’ based model to interpret user data, which is different from UA’s session based model.
Running UA and GA4 in parallel allows you to learn the differences between GA4 and discover any discrepancies that may exist among key performance indicators (KPIs).
4. GA4 is Built for Privacy
Data privacy was one of the core reasons that Google created GA4, and why Google is being aggressive with its adoption. Privacy laws are becoming a top priority, and they aren’t going away.
UA was built on a model that doesn’t support cookie-less tracking. UA’s model leaves gaps of data missing from your Analytics reports, making the data unreliable. Unreliable data only leads to poor marketing and business decisions.
GA4’s platform was built to be versatile where the future is still unknown with tracking capabilities around privacy laws.
Additionally, GA4 uses AI and Machine Learning to fill in the gaps of missing data to help marketers make more informed decisions.
5. Make Data-Driven Decisions
GA4’s event-based model, data-driven attribution model and cross-device tracking capabilities will allow you to understand the full impact of your marketing efforts across the customer journey.
GA4’s expanded integrations with other Google tools, such as Google Ads, will make it easier for you to optimize your marketing campaigns.
GA4 reports are fully customizable, so you can create reports that include data that is important for your business. After learning of what is all available and becoming more comfortable with GA4, you’ll be able to modify the reports to make better business decisions. Custom reports will be critical for your success.
Upgrade to GA4 with WTM Digital
We are recommending that clients implement GA4 now to run in parallel with Universal Analytics, especially if they want historic data from the 2022 holiday shopping season in GA4. We also want to ensure that your data is migrated correctly to avoid data loss when GA4 replaces Universal Analytics.
It can take weeks or months for GA4 to become your source of truth, so you don’t want to wait until July to migrate.
WTM can install and set up GA4 on your behalf. We can also review revenue and event tracking and audit your GA4 settings if you have already installed GA4. Reach out to your account manager for more information on our services and pricing.
Not a WTM client? Contact us today to learn more about upgrading to GA4 and other digital marketing services.