Google Analytics 4: What You Need To Know

29 Mar 2023
Albert Wood
Albert Wood
Google Analytics 4: What You Need To Know

Google Analytics 4 is replacing Universal Analytics starting July 1, 2023. All standard UA properties will stop processing data on July 1, 2023, and 360 UA properties will stop processing data on July 1, 2024. 

Its successor, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), launched in late 2020, uses a G-site code and introduces new privacy features, robust reporting, predictive intelligence, and deeper integration with other Google products, such as Google Ads.

“Google Analytics 4 is our next-generation measurement solution, and it’s replacing Universal Analytics. On July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits. If you still rely on Universal Analytics, we recommend that you prepare to use Google Analytics 4 going forward.” says Google. 

What does this mean for you?

If you have a website or app that uses Universal Analytics tags, after July 1, 2023, your UA property will no longer process new HITS, meaning that as of July 2, 2023, no further data will flow into your UA account. 

In addition to this, Google will retain your historical data in your UA property for at least six months, after which your UA property’s historical data will be deleted permanently.

Why upgrade from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4?

The new GA4 platform is built from scratch and not an upgraded modification. The UA platform will stop recording data on July 1, 2023, so the sooner you migrate to GA4, the more historical data you will have.

Unless you have opted out, as of March 2023, Google has created a GA4 property for you. It’s based on the settings in your UA property with any configurations copied over (e.g., goals, audiences, etc.) as long as they are not marked as complete. 

Google states, “We strongly recommend you manually migrate your Universal Analytics settings to GA4. If you do nothing, a new GA4 property will automatically be created for you, and your Universal Analytics configurations will be copied to the new GA4 property. Not all UA configurations have an obvious GA4 counterpart, and the automated process might not make the same choices as you would.”

What’s the difference between UA and GA4?

Google Analytics 4 is not only designed to offer additional features of Universal Analytics but also built to align with current and future reporting and privacy needs. Here are some of the differences and benefits.

  • Event-based: GA4 is event-based compared to Universal Analytics, which is session-based. In other words, the ability to track events like button clicks, video plays, and more is built-in with GA4, which requires advanced UA setups. This affirms the premise that page views aren’t the only important metric.
  • Cross-device tracking: While Universal Analytics was built around the desktop web traffic, GA4 offers businesses the visibility required into the customer journeys across websites as well as apps.
  • Machine learning: With GA4, you get insights and make predictions based on machine learning technology.
  • Privacy-friendly: Universal Analytics data is based on cookies, whereas GA4 doesn’t.

What makes Google Analytics 4 unique?

  • GA4 focuses more on user journeys and the events triggered by them.
  • Focused on user engagement, making it more intuitive for marketers and analysts to dig into user-centric reports.
  • GA4 has more powerful measurements, analyst tools, and integrations to set more targeted audiences for marketing campaigns, which means better Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS).
  • Accurate control over how personal information is collected helps comply with current and future privacy policies.
  • Simplified goals and events set up.
  • Enhanced visualizations and reporting.
  • GA4 properties allow you to send parameters with each event. 
  • No sampling is required in GA4 standard reports, which means unlimited data collection. 
  • BigQuery integration to analyze terabytes of raw data, take advantage of the insights from the platform’s machine-learning capabilities, and even stream data directly to BigQuery (without the need to run a load job).
  • Better ROI with highly insightful analytics reports to plan your campaigns better and target the relevant audience within the timeframe that matters.

The Clock Is Ticking! 

With less than four months until UA stops recording, the sooner you activate your GA4 account, the more historical data it will contain. GA4 can run parallel with UA for website traffic, and you can upgrade to GA4 now. 

However, with GA4, sales data can only be sent to either UA or GA4. This makes switching between UA and GA4 for the sales recording complex.

eCommerce GA4 Upgrade Consideration

For businesses with eCommerce tracking in Google UA, the upgrade to GA4 needs to take a structured upgrade process, as your eCommerce agency will need to implement technical changes. 

Your eCommerce agency or technical team should be able to operate UA & GA4 in parallel for website traffic data; there can only be one eCommerce data source – either UA or GA4. This means to have the year-on-year comparison of eCommerce results, the switch over the timing of the eCommerce tracking will be critical.


How ioVista Can Help 

If you are overwhelmed with this technical piece of upgrading – do not worry. ioVista can help you with your upgrade now. We’re a Google Partner and have worked closely with Google to ensure we are trained and fully prepared to assist with the scoping and implementation of GA4 migrations.

For a free scoping session with ioVista’s Analytics specialists, contact us today, or leave your details below, and we’ll be in touch.


Albert Wood
Albert Wood linkedin

Albert Wood is an accomplished eCommerce Business Analyst. As a technology futurist and sales motivator at ioVista, Albert is dedicated to transforming struggling eCommerce businesses into thriving enterprises. With a keen focus on client’s business processes, user experience (UX), and leveraging the power of digital marketing, he helps businesses optimize their online presence and drive sustainable growth. Albert’s passion is for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR), immersing himself in unforgettable experiences and exploring the limitless possibilities they offer. His enthusiasm for these emerging technologies fuels his drive to push the boundaries of innovation in eCommerce.

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