Earlier this month, Google sent emails to Google Analytics customers explaining it will start moving them over to the latest version, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), next month – unless they make the switch themselves.
This means, if you haven’t yet moved over to GA4, time is running out before Google will do it for you. The problem with this is Google will automatically configure your new Analytics account with the most basic settings, so it’s important to get your GA4 account properly set up – how your business needs it.
The email sent out to Google Analytics customers last week warns that Google will start migrating accounts still using the old Universal Analytics system over to Google Analytics 4 in March.
It specifies that it will automatically configure basic settings for any migrations. However, it recommends customers migrate themselves – before the automated switch – to make sure Google Analytics 4 is set up to meet their needs. It also raises the issue of losing more historical data if you rely on Google to automatically configure your new GA4 account.
The email in question was sent with this subject line: “We’ll soon configure Google Analytics 4 for you”.
“Universal Analytics standard properties will stop processing data on July 1, 2023. To maximize historical data and to ensure that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) meets your specific needs, we recommend you make the switch to Google Analytics 4 now. This will give you the opportunity to customize the setup including using the latest site tag.
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.
For Universal Analytics customers whose websites are tagged with gtag.js or analytics.js (including through tag management systems like Google Tag Manager), we will create a connected site tag that will reuse existing tags when possible to send traffic to the new GA4 property. If you do not wish to have a GA4 property created and configured based on your Universal Analytics property and existing tags, you may opt-out.”
Google says you can opt out of the automatic migration but keep in mind that Universal Analytics will stop processing data on 1 July 2023.
Either way, Universal Analytics customers need to move over to Google Analytics 4 and – as we’ve explained before – the sooner you do this, the more historical data you’ll retain.
The email itself explains: “To maximize historical data and to ensure that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) meets your specific needs, we recommend you make the switch to Google Analytics 4 now”. Relying on Google to complete the migration for you will leave a lot of gaps in your data and you’ll also miss out on the full reporting potential of GA4.
Unfortunately, waiting any longer to migrate over to Google Analytics 4 will only make the switch more disruptive. The big issue with switching over is that your Universal Analytics data isn’t carried over to GA4, largely because the new version of Analytics moves away from Google’s previous user tracking methods.
As the web moves away from cookies, Google is switching towards AI-powered behavioural modelling and other non-invasive methods to capture data.
This means a lot of your Universal Analytics data simply isn’t compatible with Google Analytics 4. By switching over to GA4 as soon as possible, you give yourself more time to collect data in the new system and make better use of its predictive analytics capabilities.
This is crucial for minimising the gaps in data as you make the move over to the latest version of Analytics.
Google Analytics 4 also brings a lot of new reporting capabilities to the table but you need to set the system up correctly to collect the data that really matters to you. Again, time is your friend here and the sooner you start setting up Google Analytics 4, the more time you’ll have to make sure everything is working how it should.
Waiting to make the switch will only increase the volume of data you miss out on and hamper your analytics for longer once you move over. It will take months to build up a reasonable dataset that even begins to make the most out of Google Analytics 4.
If you don’t have the resources (or time) to set up Google Analytics 4, we can help you make the switch. We provide a complete migration service that sets the system up to meet your needs and minimises data loss.
Essentially, this involves creating a new GA4 property for you and running it alongside your existing Universal Analytics (GA3) property.
The process includes:
If you need help moving over to Google Analytics 4 our Data Analytics migration service will make the switch for you without disrupting your current analytics system. Call us on 02392 830 281 to speak to our search marketing team or send us your details for more information.
With more than 6 years’ experience specialising in SEO, Adam has in-depth knowledge of user experience and how to increase a website’s visibility and traffic from search. His motto is “You can bring all the traffic in the world to the website, but if it isn’t good enough to convert then it’s wasted traffic”.
Adam joined Vertical Leap in 2015 as an SEO specialist. By analysing call to actions, navigation features and text content (to name a few of the tasks), Adam is adept at getting a firm grasp on a website’s main goals; generating audits on how a website should be changed to improve its sales/leads. The world of SEO and user experience is always changing, and Adam makes sure to research everything so that he can keep on top of this ever-changing industry and deliver the best results for his clients.
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