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GA4 – Final Countdown

What You Need To Plan For Before The 1st of July 2023

What Is It?

On the 1st of July 2023, Universal Analytics will be made redundant, being replaced by Google Analytics 4. GA4 brings a new user interface and data measurement approach. It collects both website and app data to better understand the customer journey. One of its main features is that it uses modelling instead of relying on cookies, along with more default privacy measures, anomaly alerts and predictive capabilities. We have all been preparing for the last two years for this transition and with the deadline approaching this July, there is even more pressure to ensure a smooth and complete migration to GA4.


Why Is It Important?

Data from Universal Analytics reports will be available for a short period of time after the 1st of July 2023, but new data will flow only into GA4 properties. Since GA4 relies on data modelling, having enough data to train the model is important. The sooner the GA4 property is set up and collecting data, the more insights will be available. Year on year comparisons will also be easier. Historical data from Universal Analytics will only be available for 6 months after July so its’ critical to ensure there is a data storage strategy in place for Universal Analytics to avoid any data loss. This transition can be especially challenging for any ecommerce websites, since the ecommerce data layer for GA4 is different to the previous Universal Analytics.


What Does This Mean For Marketers?

Marketers must adapt to the new UI and data terminologies that might differ from Universal Analytics. Training is essential to understand how to navigate within the new platform and understand how to interpret new data definitions. GA4 will also have to be adjusted to current reporting needs. Comparing historical data from Universal Analytics against GA4 will also be a challenge since the two do not share the exact same data structure.


What Is Tug’s Take?

At Tug, we believe that a complete GA4 setup is essential before the 1st of July 2023.

Although it’s expected that most marketers would have moved to a GA4 property by now and run Universal Analytics in parallel, a full transition should be top priority.

UA will automatically transfer UA properties over to GA4 unless opting out by 28 Feb…this is not a preferred option (even not recommended by Google), as it is recommended that users have a defined and managed migration process to ensure the best historical data and highest quality setup.

Creating a GA4 property is not a complicated first step but ensuring that all tracking, measurement KPIs, UI settings, platform integrations and insights are pulled into reports, is where more time should be invested. 

Reporting will also play a big part in the way that data comparisons between the two properties will be attempted, therefore recognising new measurement concepts is important. Auditing existing reports and their current GA data sources should now be replaced and translated to the GA4 data schema, which will also play a big role in this transition. A Universal Analytics data storage plan should be in place to avoid the risk of data loss. At Tug, we have been helping clients migrate their GA UA data and storing into the cloud.

A holistic plan should be in place before the deadline  this July. The GA4 strategy should consist of a plan to ensure that all data is being accurately collected via tracking and reflecting micro and macro objectives, reports have been migrated, data from Universal Analytics has been stored and can be used in the future, and that all users have a good understanding of how to use the GA4 UI and acquire insights.

We think that this transition will bring a great opportunity to revisit measurement objectives and enhance the collection of data strategies for more sophisticated insights through a less cookie reliant model.  Tug has already helped a number of clients transition to GA4 successfully, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch, we will be happy to help and accommodate any of your GA4 needs.

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