Well-curated, thoughtfully analyzed data is one of your organization’s most powerful tools to drive decision making, improve customer experience, increase efficiency and gain the competitive edge. But if you’re not taking steps to preserve that data, be warned: It is at risk.
Last year, Google made it official: Your current Google Analytics will stop collecting data and all “Universal Analytics” users should migrate to GA4. The term “migrate” is a bit misleading because data is not moving from one location to another. Rather, old data will cease being collected, and new data begins collection the moment GA4 is installed on your website. And this change is happening in less than 100 days.
If you have a Google Analytics account, you have probably received an alert about migrations to GA4. Let’s explore what that means and what you can expect — and, above all, how to maintain measurement of your website engagement and marketing performance.
What you need to know
First and foremost, GA4 is a new tracking platform built from scratch. The current version of Google Analytics was first built nearly 20 years ago for a very different kind of internet. As the web progressed and technology improved, Google Analytics turned into a Frankenstein’s monster of different features and capabilities piled onto an increasingly outdated infrastructure.
GA4 was built to meet the needs of the present and future, and, because of this, your old data is not migrated into the new platform. With its new tracking code, GA4 has built-in data privacy measures that Universal Analytics does not, so there may be data about users and their behaviors that organizations can’t receive anymore.
With GA4, we can expect:
- A different way to measure users and sessions
- A completely different interface and user experience that is rooted in analysis
- Better user identification without cookies while still maintaining anonymity
- Flexibility to measure interactions beyond a rigid pageview structure
- AI & machine learning integration
- A different perspective on engagement and follow-up visits
- Active, ongoing development for new features, visuals and capabilities
- The ability to export data to other platforms, data visualization tools or data warehouses
- The ability to import data from other platforms and even offline data from your in-store sales, inventory, or sales team
- The ability to measure users who are seamlessly using both web and app versions of your product
Clearly, there are numerous reasons to be excited about GA4. The imperative is two-fold: Safeguard the data you have now and prepare to embrace the data of the future.
What you need to do
First, if you haven’t set up a GA4 data stream in your Google Analytics, it should be done right away. Google has several messages that convey the ease of this process, but I find that misleading: Data is fragile, and the upgrade process requires updating website code. An automated migration is likely to cause some breakage or gaps in your data set. If this is a concern for you, Moore is here to help. As Moore’s Senior Director of Data and Intelligence I deploy a holistic approach – from data integrity audits and comprehensive tracking implementations to in-depth trainings. And with each migration I’ve performed over the past year, I identify specific needs of a client and balance that with the capabilities of GA4. This approach, when handling data sets of any size, results in a fully customized migration – setting clients up for success based on their specific needs and goals.
It’s also important to take a moment to ensure your current analytics setup is meeting your needs. Moore performs data integrity audits to get a baseline of your data’s trustworthiness, comprehensiveness and clarity so we know exactly what to bring forward in GA4.
Remember that time is of the essence. On July 1, Google’s standard “Universal Analytics” will stop processing data. That’s less than 100 days away. Act now to ensure a seamless transition to GA4, and if you need help along the way, email me at [email protected].