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The switch from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 – something you need to know about

Google Analytics is a life saver. It has helped marketers get the best out of their digital marketing campaigns and website owners track, analyze and visualize users’ behavior on their sites. The platform utilizes a tracking which is embedded in each page of the site.

Once a visitor arrives on a certain website or a web page, the tracking code is embedded in each page. This helps both site owners, marketers and other relevant teams learn about their behavior. Data pertaining to website visitor activity is then sent to Google and which is saved (and also viewed from) to Google Analytics servers.

What information does such kind of data include?

Pages viewed, time spent by visitor on each page, visitor’s location and the device used for accessing the website. No wonder it is a life saver for digital marketing teams. It helped them track behavior and make changes afterwards.

Key benefit of using Universal analytics?

A key benefit of Universal Analytics is its very own ability to track user behavior across multiple devices and multiple sessions. Meaning, that if a certain user visited a certain website first through their phone and then through their laptop, and then through a tablet, Universal Analytics tracked their activity as a sole individual user instead of multiple users using old fashioned methods.

What more does Universal Analytics offer?

Universal Analytics also offered a wide array of features, and instruments which aided site owners and digital marketing teams in analysis and understanding of website traffic. Among them are customized reports, dashboards, and goals used for tracking specific actions of users, especially completion of online purchases, filling out forms, subscriptions etc.

Despite its clear benefits, why does Google wish to migrate everyone to Google Analytics 4?

Universal Analytics is a really nice tool overall. It is robust and provides a very good platform for understanding and optimizing a website’s performance. Tracking user behavior has not only helped site owners but also digital marketing teams to improve a website, improve buyer personals, improve user experience, amplify engagement, drive conversions and vice versa.

It was last year that Google announced that they would be phasing out Universal Analytics (UA) in favor of the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) dashboard. A lot of marketers are wondering what is going on and why is this happening. However, it would be best that we read further to know more about it.

What does such a migration mean for users?

Unfortunately, universal analytics will no longer capture or process data beginning from July 1, 2023. The tech giant also has no plan at the moment to transfer all existing data from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. Yet from the kind of information received from various sources, users can still be able to see their User Analytics dashboard for reviewing past insights and traffic.

Creating a Google Analytics 4 property – is it done manually or automatically?

Last month the tech giant announced that any properties in Universal Analytics which received traffic within the last twelve months will be hence eligible for automatic creation of a property in Google Analytics 4. This indicates that no one has to worry about setting up the new dashboard in it.

However, setting up a dashboard manually in GA4 lacks the needed user friendliness and has not much of the needed level of being intuitive in comparison to the experience universal analytics provided during its tenure.

If there is an automatically generated property in Google Analytics 4, what will it include?

As per Google’s reports, the automatic creation of properties in Google analytics 4 will begin from March 2023. Not only does automatic creation of property mean the migration to GA4 dashboard is easy but also, such an update brings in the following features:

  • Creation of a GA4 property and stream for web data.
  • Copying UA property level instructors to the new property of GA4.
  • Reusing the existing site tag is now made possible.
  • Reproduction of events in Universal Analytics using GA4’s data model.
  • Recreating events and destination objectives from UA as GA4 conversions.
  • Recreating the target audience from UA in GA4 along with easy ad migration.
  • Swapping Universal Analytics conversion used in Google Ads with GA4 and its equivalent tools.
  • Pairing audiences of Universal Analytics used in Google Ads with GA4.

This indicates that while GA4’s interface and reporting are new in comparison to UA, Google automatically transfers the base integration for a seamless transition in the best possible manner. This process was announced due to the challenges users faced in the beginning when using GA4.

Should companies still create a Google Analytics account by manual means or should they wait for Google’s automatic deployment?

For months it has been suggested among digital marketing teams to make a GA4 property as soon as they can. That can help them capture data for the greatest period of time. Now that everyone knows Google will automatically make the properties for them, they now need to consider the fact whether or not it is still a good idea for them to make the property by manual means.

The advantage of setting up a GA4 property manually is that it provides a few weeks of additional data. However, it comes at the expense of working with a complex system to integrate the new property with the existing site tags, reproducing all users, events, audiences, and objectives in Google Analytics 4. Moreover, updating Google Ad settings manually here is also tough.

Companies willing to wait a few weeks to start collecting data in GA4 are doing the right thing. Experts recommend letting Google automate the setup and carry over the base settings as the initial step.

This will help companies get a much-needed smoother transition instead of beginning from scratch. Moreover, executives from a leading web design agency in Dubai are glad it also puts a limit on the steep and complex learning curve which is associated with the new interface.

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