5 Things to Keep in Mind when Transitioning to GA4.
The world of digital marketing is rapidly evolving, and keeping up with the latest analytics tools is becoming increasingly important. If you currently use Google Analytics, you may already know about the upcoming transition to Google Analytics 4, which promises to offer many new features and improvements. However, migrating to a new analytics service can be a daunting task for many brands...
Which is probably why you might not have done it yet...
In this blog post, we'll explore five essential things that every marketing leader should keep in mind when transitioning to Google Analytics 4, and how to effectively prepare for the switch.
1. Understand the Differences Between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4
One of the most important things to keep in mind when transitioning to Google Analytics 4 is that there are significant differences between this new platform and the older Universal Analytics. Marketing leaders should familiarize themselves with the key changes, including:
- A new event-based data model
- More flexible data collection options
- Advanced machine learning insights
- Integration with Google Ads and other Google marketing tools - seamlessly
The new event-based model means you need to make sure you're thinking in terms of GA4 and not your older hit based model (Universal Analytics.) This means you shouldn't be simply porting over your existing hit based model to GA4. Rather, take the time and think about the new events you want to capture and clean up your analytics a bit!
2. Take the Time to Plan Your Migration
Migrating to a new analytics service isn't something that should be done on a whim. It's important to take the time to plan out the process carefully, so you can minimize disruptions to your analytics data and ensure a smooth transition. This should include:
- Evaluating your existing analytics setup
- Setting goals for the new platform
- Designing a new measurement plan (follow the recommendations from Google here.)
- Generating a migration plan and roadmap
By investing time in pre-migration planning, you can hopefully reduce your post-migration work and avoid significant problems.
3. Update Your Website Code to GA4
Once you've planned your migration and understand what needs to happen, the next step is to update your website code to include Google Analytics 4 tracking. This may involve some changes to your existing code, depending on how your website is currently implemented.
You will likely need to re-tag events that are important to your business - including important conversions.
It's essential to ensure that your site is both collecting new data in the new GA4 format and to confirm that you are still collecting and accurately representing previously collected pre-GA4 data. Before you do this, make sure that you have fully planned out and tested your new tracking implementation across all pages and devices.
4. Prepare for Data Governance Considerations
One underrated aspect of switching your analytics to GA4 is the potential impact on data governance. This includes considerations such as data privacy compliance, and your consent management platform setup. Listed here is a brief outline of other considerations you might want to include in your data governance plan.
- Check who is allowed access to your data in GA4, and what permissions they have
- Check/Ensure your implementation includes GDPR/PIPEDA compliance
- Double-check any data privacy agreements in place with 3rd party suppliers/partners/affiliates
Transparency is important!
5. Train Your Team to Use the New Features
Finally, even after successfully migrating to Google Analytics 4, your team will need to learn how to use the new features effectively. CMOs should create or schedule training to help teams understand the new GA4 features, such as machine learning insights and cross-device tracking. A briefing on the new features and its effect on your overall online marketing efforts could also help.
Migration to Google Analytics 4 can be a crucial part of your organization's digital transformation. However, it's also important to plan carefully and consider the nuances of the new platform, including changes in event-based tracking, data governance, and new features. Understanding all of these elements can help CMOs ensure that their brand is prepared to take full advantage of the significant changes that GA4 offers. With the looming deadline for Universal Analytics users to upgrade to Google Analytics 4 fast approaching, now is the time to begin planning for your transition.