If you’ve noticed the shiny new countdown clock that has appeared at the top of your screen every time you login into your Google Analytics account, you’re already aware Universal Analytics is going to be replaced with Google Analytics 4 in 2023.
If you haven’t got around to doing more than just clicking the dismiss button, it is probably time to move this up your priorities list. July 2023 might seem a way off, but it will be here before you know it, so we’ve put together a rundown of what you need to know, and the actions you need to take.
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 is the next evolution of Google Analytics, and it’s going to take over Universal in Summer 2023.
Do I have to use GA4?
Running any kind of tracking is never compulsory but it’s always advisable if you’re spending any kind of resource on your website. If you’re using Universal at the moment and you want to carry on receiving data after July 2023, then yes, you’ll have to use GA4 unless you want to change your analytics provider.
Is GA4 Free?
Yes. Like loads of Google’s products, you can use GA4 for free. But, you might need to factor in any time cost if you need a developer or data science agency to help you get everything up and running.
What’s the difference between GA4 and Universal?
There are lots of differences between Universal and GA4 but it depends what you’re using your Analytics for at the moment as to which differences are more important to you.
For a deep dive into the some of the most important changes between the two systems, check out our blog post What Do I Need To Know About Google Analytics 4? here.
Is GA4 easy to use?
We’ve had a few clients using GA4 for a while now, and whilst it’s certainly not difficult to pick up, the user interface is very different to Universal.
As for the actual implementation, there are plenty of tutorials out there but as with Universal, it’s always recommended that someone who knows their way around code sets everything up.
If you’ve got a good handle on Looker Data Studio, this is probably the best way to visualize your report once you’ve got everything set up. For a step-by-step handbook, check out our Handy Vuzo Guide to Viewing Looker Report Data In GA4 here.
Why should I switch over before the deadline?
There will inevitably be a difference in the data that GA4 is reporting, so ideally you want to start comparing that data with whatever sources you are currently using for your reporting. This will give you the chance to make sure it is as accurate as possible, and also see where there may be potential differences. The data won’t exactly match, but by comparing for as long a period as possible, you can get a sense check of what is being reported.
In an ideal world, you want to be comparing this for as long as possible, but if you have not already got your GA4 set up, then you need to act now. If you are using Universal Analytics, that data feed will disappear when it is switched off in July.