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8 Tips to Help You Switch to Google Analytics 4

Suppose you track your website's traffic on Google Analytics. In that case, you may have seen this pop-up asking you to upgrade to Google Analytics 4.

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the newest version of Google's analytics tool, and it's very different from the Universal Analytics most people know. So it can be a bit daunting to think about upgrading. But there are some compelling reasons to do so.  

In this article, we'll look at what GA4 has to offer, why you should consider making the switch, and some tips to get things started.  

What is new in GA4?

Google Analytics regularly updates its features to give users the best possible experience. The latest update, Google Analytics 4, brings a lot of new features and improvements. Here's a look at some of the most exciting new additions:

Integrated web and mobile reporting

The best thing about Google Analytics 4 is that it gives you combined mobile and web data in a single Analytics property. With Universal Analytics, you would have to look at both channels separately in different properties, but GA4 allows for more robust cross-device and cross-platform tracking. The result is a clearer picture of how users interact with your website or app, leading ultimately to better marketing and product design decisions.

Keep Track of Events Without Codes  

GA4 offers automatic event tracking for some user activities, like page views, scrolls, outbound clicks, site searches, video interactions, and file downloads. You don't need to add code or set up event tracking in Google Tag Manager. Just ensure that "Enhanced measurement" is activated in your GA4 interface.  

Get AI Artificial Intelligence Insights and Predictions  

Thanks to machine learning, Google Analytics 4 properties can extract meaning from data and identify trends that otherwise go undetected. Technology like this can help you predict consumer market trends, such as increased demand for a particular product or service. With this data, businesses can make more informed decisions about where to focus their marketing efforts. Thereby recognizing customer needs earlier and tailoring marketing efforts accordingly.

How to Upgrade to GA4  

Upgrading your Universal Analytics property to the latest version is relatively simple. Here are the steps you'll need to take:  

  1. Suppose you're using Universal Analytics and want to add a GA4 property. In that case, Google has a handy Setup Assistant that makes the process quick and easy. To access it, go to your Admin page, then select GA4 Setup Assistant from the middle Property column.  
  1. The option to create a new GA4 property or connect with an existing GA4 property will appear upon launching the setup assistant. Since we're assuming you don't have a GA4 property yet, go ahead and click 'Get Started' under the option to create a new one.  
  1. After your selection, a dialog box will launch, detailing some critical points to keep in mind regarding the GA4 upgrade. The prompt will ask to install new tags for your GA4 property on this screen. Select the option to install new tags and click the "Create Property" button.  

And that's all there is to it! You can now use the new GA4 property alongside your Universal Analytics property.  

Tips to Help Get You Started With GA4

Now that you have your Google Analytics 4 property set up let's see how you can use it to supplant your Universal Analytics system.

Tip #1 Analyze the Way You Use Universal Analytics  

As you prepare to switch to GA4, take stock of what data you are currently collecting and how your organization uses that data. Begin by listing out the metrics tracked in UA. Next, reach out to various business units to see how they utilize these metrics, paying particular attention to those areas where metrics play a role in key performance indicators. You can use a work management platform like Monday or Wrike to help teams and individuals organize their UA activity.  

Tip #2 Make a Note of the Enhancements You've Made  

Take inventory of any customizations or enhancements carried out on your UA installation. Although you may not be able to replicate them exactly, understanding the use cases will be crucial for recreating similar results.  

Tip #3 Transfer Your UA Goal Metrics Over to GA4  

Once you've identified which metrics to track, figure out the best way in GA4. Sometimes, it might just be changing the language or labels. For example, if you're tracking sign-ups in UA, you would designate your sign-up statistics as Conversions in GA4. But in other cases, you may need to create something new or add custom functionality.  

Tip #4 Compare GA4 Goals to Your Current UA Marketing Goals  

Please wait a month for your new GA4 system to collect and measure data and compare it to your UA results. Given the significant differences between the two systems regarding data collection, metrics measurement, and ROI (Return on Investment) calculation, it might not be possible to compare them one-to-one. However, by charting the differences, you could better comprehend them, determine if they can be explained, and pinpoint potential tracking problems.  

Tip #5 Continue Customizing Your GA4 Property  

There is no denying that GA4 offers more business reporting, automated reports, and dashboard creation options than its predecessor. However, you will still need to work to analyze and customize every dashboard and report to make sure it accurately reflects your data. Dashboard customization is a critical step that should not be rushed.  

Trusting your data is an absolute must; you will see variances in the numbers as you transition to GA4. You must replicate business reporting requirements to ensure your metrics provide accurate and helpful information.  

Tip #6 Analyze More Than Just Your Website's Analytics  

With GA4's new features, you can uncover hidden patterns and trends, gain a deeper understanding of your customers and even go beyond your website data. For instance, say you want to execute an email marketing promotion campaign but can't invest in expensive email marketing analytics tools. Now, we all know that email marketing is a powerful tool, as the statistics prove time and time again. However, running an email marketing campaign without understanding the analytics behind it is pointless.  

Fortunately, GA4 comes to the rescue here. GA4 lets you track the most vital email marketing metric of all: conversions. You can see which specific emails are converting readers and which aren't.  

And GA4's data-digging features don't end here.  

In addition to email marketing, GA4 tracks other vital aspects of your marketing mix, such as social media and ads. It also tracks QR code conversions, allowing you to track offline traffic from your physical marketing materials. The pandemic brought QR codes into the limelight as a necessary tool for contactless interactions. And with most QR code generators now offering tracking options that sync with GA4, you no longer have to invest in separate solutions to track their impact.  

Tip #7 Plan Ahead  

GA4 offers more advanced features, which means there will be a learning curve and potential bumps during the switchover. So, before you switch, check that you have allocated enough resources and time for migrating your data and getting used to the new system. A successful shift will require technical skills, alignment, and collaboration between your team members.  

Don't let these potential challenges deter you, though. The benefits of GA4 far outweigh any potential roadblocks you may encounter during the transition. And with proper resource planning paired with a willingness to learn, you'll be able to make the most out of GA4 and its advanced features.

Tip #8 Don't Hesitate to Ask for Help  

After reading about all the changes to Google Analytics, you may feel uncertain about making the switch. After all, migrating your processes to a whole new system and coming to grips with all the new features while avoiding setup mistakes is no easy feat. But don't worry; Google offers several helpful resources to assist you.  

Alternatively, you can hire a digital marketing agency to take care of it. They have specialists who will work with you to tailor your account and goal strategy to your needs.  

But make sure to do your due diligence and gather referrals before making a decision. An excellent way to ensure you're with the right agency is to create an exhaustive questionnaire for them to fill out, just like how marketing agencies use onboarding questionnaires for new clients. This questionnaire will give you an idea of their competency and how they can best serve your business.  

Make a Move to GA4  

As the internet becomes essential to businesses, website analytics are becoming an increasingly more important tool for understanding your audience. Future trends in leadership also suggest a move towards data-driven decision-making, and GA4 can provide the necessary insights to make those decisions. So, futureproof your analytics game and make the switch to GA4 now.

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