Do I need to switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

You may have noticed a new addition to the admin section under Property in Google Analytics – ‘GA4 Setup Assistant’. What exactly is it, and do you need to switch?

You are reading: Do I need to switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed a new addition to the admin section under Property in Google Analytics – ‘GA4 Setup Assistant’. Upon clicking, you’ll be greeted with the following:

So what exactly is GA4, and should you make the switch?

For the majority of people, the short answer is no. At least, not completely. But, if you are a massive global brand with both a website and an app, you should probably get this on your roadmap sooner rather than later.

Effectively, GA4 is an expansion and rebranding of the App + Web property available with Universal Analytics. However, the ‘join the future of Analytics’ may scare some into thinking that they need to make these changes immediately. Don’t panic. It’s unlikely that the existing version of Google Analytics is going away any time soon.

That being said, there is no harm in taking a look around, because trust me, it’s very different to the interface we’ve become accustomed to.

The good news is that you can run the GA4 property alongside your Universal Analytics without fully migrating. This will give you time to familiarise yourself with the new layout, reports, and way in which conversions are set up and tracked.

How to create a GA4 property

The wizard does make it nice and easy to set up the property itself, as it copies across basic configuration from Universal Analytics, such as property name, URL, time zone and currency. It’s worth noting that you need to be using the gtag.js tag (the latest version), rather than analytics.js to begin collecting data.

Once you’ve successfully connected, you’ll see this:

Upon which, you’ll be encouraged to configure the property, which you do simply by clicking on the relevant stream under the ‘Data Streams’ menu. You can check which interactions and content is being automatically measured, configure your tags, modify and set up events (note that a lot of these will be automated), enable cross-domain tracking, and filter out internal traffic.

Now click on the ‘Real-time’ report in the menu to check that data is being pulled in.

And for now, that’s about it. Wait for data to be collected, and then begin checking out the new reporting features – the custom reports are insane (more on that coming soon)!

Want to find out more about GA4? I highly recommend this excellent post and guide by Benjamin Mangold at lovesdata.com. It’s honestly awesome. Go check it out.

If you feel brave and want to begin tackling the full upgrade now, take a look at the amazing step-by-step guides from Himanshu Sharma over at Optimize Smart.

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