The ultimate guide to GA4: What's new, migration and all you need to know

10 Jul, 2023

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From enhanced tracking capabilities to AI-powered insights, Google Analytics 4 is poised to revolutionize the way we harness and leverage data for business growth. It gathers distinct data, stores it differently, and presents it in a unique format. Unlike previous versions, migrating to Google Analytics 4 requires more than a simple click of a button. 

In this article, we will explore the exciting features of Google Analytics 4, delve into the migration process, and provide you with all the essential information you need to get the most out of this powerful tool. 


1. Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4: The key differences

When comparing Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to Universal Analytics, three main differences can change your analytics game: 

Event tracking

If Universal Analytics focuses on metrics like sessions and pageviews, GA4 is built around events and parameters. This empowers you to prioritize and define the specific "events" that hold crucial importance for your business's success. 

Moreover, in GA4, views have been eliminated, along with certain familiar yet misleading metrics like Bounce Rate. The more powerful Engagement Rate is introduced, helping you to analyze how often your users meaningfully interact with your website and mobile app.

Cross-device and cross-platform reporting

With GA4's new measurement model, you have the advantage of tracking web and mobile data together in one central location using data streams. Unlike in Universal Analytics where a separate Property was needed, GA4 enables comprehensive tracking within a single platform. This consolidation empowers you to gain a more detailed and complete understanding of how customers navigate your website. 

AI-powered predictive analytics

Rather than solely reporting past events, GA4 allows businesses to leverage predictive analytics for anticipating customer actions, revealing hidden patterns and strategically driving sales and revenue. By using GA4 machine-learning algorithms on your dataset, you can easily identify users and their actions on your website that will likely lead to purchase decisions. Currently, GA4 supports three main types of predictive metrics: Purchase probability, churn probability, and revenue prediction. 


2. Google Analytics 4: Prepare now for the challenges

GA4 offers businesses a powerful set of tools and features to gain deep insights and drive data-informed decisions. However, implementing and utilizing GA4 also presents some significant challenges. 

Transitioning from Universal Analytics to GA4 requires overcoming a learning curve, as the new version introduces significant changes in data models, reporting, and interfaces. In addition, migrating existing data and ensuring seamless tracking across platforms can be complex and require technical expertise. On top of that, limited third-party integration and adjusting to new metrics and reporting may pose further challenges, requiring a workaround or alternative solution for full integration support

Despite these challenges, the benefits of GA4 are immense. It empowers businesses to understand customer behavior, personalize experiences, optimize marketing strategy, and identify untapped opportunities.


3. How to migrate to Google Analytics 4

Migrating to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) requires a systematic approach to ensure a smooth transition. Here is a simple guideline to help you through the process:

Phase 1: Create your GA4 property and launch it

Creating your GA4 property is crucial as historical data won't be imported from Universal Analytics. To establish your GA4 account, navigate to the GA4 setup assistant found within the admin section of your Universal Analytics dashboard. Click on "Get started" to initiate the process. The setup wizard will then provide step-by-step instructions for creating your new properties and transferring your fundamental settings from Universal Analytics.

To launch a new property, you must first create it and integrate the GA4 tracking tag into your website or app using Google Tag Manager. This step should be completed before setting up your data streams.

Here is a video tutorial on how to create a GA4 property


Phase 2: Migrate the key metrics you were using in Universal Analytics

Create a list of important tracking items from Universal Analytics, such as events, goals (conversions), content groupings, custom dimensions/metrics, and audiences. Then evaluate what needs to be carried forward, what can be discarded, and identify any gaps where new tracking items are required. 

Bear in mind that the transition to GA4 introduces event-based reporting, which means not all your previous metrics will be automatically inherited. To ensure a smooth transition, it's vital to maintain a backup list of your important metrics for future reference and comparison.

Phase 3: Migrate custom metrics to GA4

The process of creating metrics and reports in GA4 is often perceived as a significant challenge, causing many marketers to hesitate when considering the switch. However, it's an integral aspect of configuring any analytics platform. You should start with events for customer actions and behaviors that are currently absent from your metrics but crucial for future tracking. 

GA4 allows users to create 500 unique event names per property. Once you reach the maximum event limit, the system will prevent you from tracking additional events and removing any unused ones. It's important to be mindful of this restriction as you plan and prioritize the events you wish to track in your analytics setup.  

Phase 4: Check your items

Ensure that all tracking items are correctly implemented and tracked as expected in the new GA4 properties. You should start evaluating eCommerce, conversions, event tracking, and other elements to verify data accuracy. It’s necessary to compare data from GA4 with your existing Universal Analytics reports to identify any discrepancies and adjust your implementation accordingly. 

Phase 5: Archive your Universal Analytics data

To effectively identify trends in the future, it is crucial to consider the export options for your historical data from Universal Analytics before it becomes inaccessible. Google provides multiple data export options for your Universal Analytics property. 

These include manually exporting individual reports in formats like CSV, TSV, Excel, Google Sheets, and PDF. You can also utilize Google Analytics Dev Tools (Query Explorer API) or the Google Analytics Spreadsheet Add-on (API) for data exports. Additionally, Google Analytics 360 customers can take advantage of the BigQuery Export feature.


4. Google Analytics 4 integration for maximum insight

With a staggering 60% market share, Google Analytics is the go-to tool for understanding your website's performance. But here's the catch: Most businesses aren't tapping into their full potential. That's where rankingCoach comes in. 

Integrating Google Analytics with rankingCoach 360 offers direct benefits to businesses. It provides you with comprehensive data insights by combining information from multiple sources, allowing you to understand your customers better, track their behavior, and evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. In short, you can gain a holistic view of your data, make informed decisions, optimize strategies, save time, and accelerate your business success. 

Get instant access to your rankingCoach 360 account HERE


5. Let rankingCoach 360 be your guide 

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the thought of migrating to GA4? Don't let fear and apprehension hold you back any longer. Introducing rankingCoach 360 - your ultimate companion for a seamless transition.

We understand the technical complexities, potential disruptions, and concerns about data integrity that come with migrating to GA4. That's why we've developed rankingCoach 360 to make the process easy and convenient for you. No more struggling through the intricacies on your own. 

With our step-by-step instructions, you'll be guided through the entire migration effortlessly. Convenience, simplicity, and expertise are at the core of rankingCoach 360. Our innovative tool takes care of the technicalities, allowing you to focus on what truly matters - driving your business forward. Leave behind the worries and embark on the path to GA4 success, knowing that rankingCoach 360 has your back at every step.

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Start now with rankingCoach 360! 


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