This is Not a Drill: The Transition to GA4 has arrived. Are you ready?

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Strategy and Marketing Lead
May 31, 2023

If you are an analytics nerd like we are here at Integrity, you probably know that the transition from Universal Analytics to GA4 as the main Google Analytics platform has arrived. As of July 1, 2023, UA will stop collecting data, and you’ll have six months of remaining access before, poof, that intel is gone. 

As we have been elbow-deep in transitioning our clients to Google’s new version, our team has been uncovering some must-knows for those arming themselves for the new frontier of analytics management. 

Here is what Google is promising with the Google Analytics 4 transition: 

  1. Enhanced Cross-Platform Tracking: With GA4, you can track user interactions across various devices and platforms, including web, mobile apps, and even offline events. This comprehensive view enables a deeper understanding of user behavior and engagement.
  2. Machine Learning Capabilities: GA4 leverages advanced machine learning algorithms to provide actionable insights, predictive analytics, and automated insights. These features help businesses optimize their marketing efforts and improve user experiences.
  3. Privacy-Centric Approach: GA4 is designed with privacy in mind, offering features like data minimization and consent mode. These ensure compliance with privacy regulations and help build trust with users.

How is GA4 different from Google Analytics? No more cookies! 

As privacy regulation has changed, so has the use of cookies to track data. GA4 will rely less on third-party cookies, which are often blocked or restricted by web browsers. GA4 will try to leverage data points, such as client IDs and user IDs, to identify and track users across sessions and devices.

Consent Mode

As users have become more protective of their data and demand more protection from surveillance capitalism, GA4 is a shift to respond to increased regulation in the sector. 

GA4 introduces the concept of "Consent Mode," which allows businesses to adjust data collection and measurement based on user consent preferences. The goal is to ensure compliance with privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Planning Your Transition Strategy

To make sure you don’t lose any ground during the transition. Here are some suggestions for preparing yourself for the migration

  1. Back up your Data: GA4 is a blank slate. This means if you want access to your data from Google Analytics, you will have to export and use a different platform to do the visualization
  2. Prepare your Data: Before migrating to GA4, assess your existing data structure, clean up any inconsistencies, and plan the data you want to track in the new property. Consider mapping your existing events and goals to the new event-driven model of GA4. 
  3. Property Setup: Create a new GA4 property alongside your existing Google Analytics property. This allows you to run both in parallel and compare data during the transition period.
  4. Integration with Existing Systems: Ensure that GA4 is integrated with your website, mobile apps, and other relevant platforms. Update your tags and tracking codes to ensure accurate data collection.

Key Features and Changes in GA4

GA4 introduced several notable features and changes that attempt to enhance your analytics capabilities.

  1. Event-Driven Data Model: GA4 focuses on tracking user events, providing a more flexible and granular approach to data collection. Events represent user interactions such as page views, clicks, purchases, and custom actions.
  2. Enhanced Audience Segmentation: GA4 allows for more advanced audience segmentation, enabling you to create precise user cohorts and target specific segments for personalized marketing campaigns.
  3. Predictive Insights: With GA4's machine learning capabilities, you can gain predictive insights into user behavior, such as churn probability and revenue forecasting. This empowers you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your marketing strategies.

If all of this feels a little overwhelming, or you know this is something you should be doing but don’t know where to begin. Let Integrity’s digital marketing team help you

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