Overview
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What does the next generation of Google Analytics mean for website tracking and why should you already be changing to GA4?

All Google Analytics accounts recently began to display an important message: In 2023, the current system, Google Universal Analytics, is to be discontinued and replaced by Google Analytics 4, or GA4 for short.

How will this affect the tracking of your website? What advantages does GA4 offer? We have summarised the key facts about this Google update.

GA4 represents the user journey seamlessly

According to Google, a precise record of the user journey and enhanced and simplified data evaluation form the core of the new system. In contrast to previously, the user – not the session – will be the focus of the analysis. That’s the role of GA4’s cross-device data readings: Previously, Universal Analytics’ ability to evaluate activities across various applications was quite restricted. Google Analytics 4 uses a new data model capable of linking up a variety of data flows seamlessly.

 

data driven insights

The major differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 are in terms of the user experience, functionality, the structure of reports and the way data are collected. Universal Analytics’ gauging method is based on page views. GA4 measures data in the context of the events triggered when users interact with the website or app. These events can be set up individually and according to the goal of the page.

 

think ahead

Data can be collected and analysed with Universal Analytics (GA3) up to the end of 30th June 2023. Subsequently, no new data will be collected, and the property will remain available for reader access only for a further six months. Anyone who doesn’t act now will be missing important data from the 1st July 2023.

 

The Google Universal Analytics web service is to be discontinued on 1st July 2023 and replaced by Google Analytics 4, a.k.a. GA4. Early implementation guarantees a smooth switchover to the new tracking system.

 

plan of action

We advise you to set up the new Google Analytics 4 Property and complete installation as soon as possible. This ensures you have usage data in the tracking system, even when page views are no longer being processed in Analytics. An early change to GA4 allows you to analyse results from websites and apps without interruptions.

 

We take care of the system set-up and update your tracking system. You keep an overview of the data activity on your digital touchpoints.

Our SEO experts answer the most frequently-asked questions about switching systems and tracking with Google Analytics 4.

  • Is GA4 free?

    The standard version of GA4 is free. For a fee, the premium version, Analytics 360, offers additional features including sub-properties and fewer restrictions. Most customers are served very well by the free version.

  • How is GA4 implemented?

    The Google Analytics 4 tracking code can be entered directly onto the website or via a Tag Manager tool. The advantage of the Tag Manager is that the tool only has to be built into the website once and allows all subsequent codes to be integrated and managed.

  • When should we switch to GA4?

    We recommend switching to GA4 as early as possible. This ensures enough data is available for suitable tracking activities. It’s also possible to implement UA and GA4 in parallel – in the transition period too – to compile meaningful analyses.

  • Can UA data be imported into GA4?

    There is no way of migrating data from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, so we advise you to implement Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible and use it in parallel with UA. This way the data continue to be recorded in UA, and older data can be compared directly with new data from GA4.

  • Is GA4 permissible according to GDPR?

    As with the older system, the user’s consent must also be obtained when processing data in Google Analytics 4. Prior to processing data, the user must actively consent (such as by opting in via the cookie banner on the homepage).

  • What are the alternatives to GA4?

    Currently, there are several alternatives to Google Analytics 4. The main differences are in the way they work, usability and price. If we both agree Google Analytics 4 is not suitable for your website or app, we would be happy to offer alternatives – one being Matomo Analytics.

The switchover to Google Analytics 4 is the best possible moment to think about the entire tracking set-up. The implementation of a new system must be seen as a chance to take your tracking up to the next level, and to adapt it to the current and future requirements of all stakeholders.

 

Thomas Czernik
Senior SEO & Web Analytics Manager

personalized tracking

We recommend you analyse and question your existing tracking system as you transition to Google Analytics 4. Are all key figures processed? Which events and user interactions are relevant for your business? Is User Privacy observed? GA4 makes it possible to analyse data from websites and apps, and to track user-defined events. Your customised set-up is recorded within a tracking concept

 

Do you intend to implement GA4 and take your tracking capacities to the next level?