Getting Ready to Migrate to GA4

Getting Ready to Migrate to GA4 image

It is essential that businesses use relevant and up-to-date software to understand the complex journeys of their customers and how their marketing campaigns are doing.    

So far, the most popular choice to track and analyse website traffic, user behaviour, and other vital metrics was Universal Analytics. In October 2020, Google launched its newest version, called Google Analytics 4 (GA4), to help tackle changing measurement standards.  

Recently, Google announced that it will sunset the previous iteration of Analytics in favour of GA4 on July 1st, 2023.   

Here, we discuss what GA4 entails, how it differs from Universal Analytics, and what marketers should be aware of before switching to this new platform.   

What is GA4? 

GA4 is Google Analytics’ next generation. It focuses on combining data from both websites, mobile and apps. According to Google, it brings together everything done well in Universal Analytics, in addition to adding brand-new powerful features. These features will take advantage of opportunities regarding big data and machine learning.  

Currently, any new Google Analytics accounts created will be GA4. This can help to reduce the reliance on cookies used to record and measure events, especially across platforms and devices. Instead, machine learning is used to fill in the gaps if a specific user has not given consent to marketers to use their data for tracking purposes. This ensures that GA4 can withstand most industry changes and prevent any gaps in tracking data. GA4 has also been designed with scalability in mind, alongside tracking the entire user journey rather than just specific user interactions on certain platforms or devices.  

How is it different from Universal Analytics? 

A major difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics is that GA4 is built using an entirely new structure. Universal Analytics was built around sessions and based its measurements on desktop devices and data from cookies. However, this method of measurement is quickly becoming out of date. Instead, G4A is built around events, such as page views, form submissions, clicks, or even custom events. Meaning that it can operate across platforms and does not exclusively rely on cookies to deliver measurements.  

This change in structure has a lot of implications. For starters, GA4 can help gather much more information in comparison to Universal Analytics. It can also give marketers more insights into what users are doing on desktop websites, mobile and apps. This allows marketers to gain a more complete picture of user behaviour and therefore helps businesses optimise their digital marketing strategies.  

GA4 also offers more robust privacy controls, to give a better user experience to people. Most importantly, G4A will not store any IP addresses, in order to meet users’ increasing expectations regarding privacy protections and control over their personal data. This ensures businesses are complying with data protection and privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).  

Below are another few ways GA4 can help support marketers and businesses:  

Improve data model 

While Universal Analytics collected data through tags on each website page, GA4 uses event-based tracking, which tracks user interactions – otherwise called events – as it happens. For example, if you have a website with a search feature, GA4 can track actual searches as they occur, no matter which page the user is currently on. This event-based tracking allows marketers to track interactions that happen outside the webpage, such as in-app purchases, giving a more accurate and complete picture of user behaviours.  

Activate insights 

Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 uses probabilistic matching. This uses statistical analysis to match large data sets from different sources. For instance, if a business is running a campaign on both Facebook and Google Ads, GA4 can then match up data from the two campaigns to give an overall view of how they are currently performing.  

Why should you make the change?  

The primary reason is that GA4 offers a bunch of new and improved features to provide better in-depth insight into user behaviours. This is a result of its machine learning-powered analysis tool called “Enhanced Measurement.” As such, businesses can use this to gain a better understanding of key user interactions and make better-informed decisions on how to improve the user experience of their website. This makes GA4 more flexible, powerful, and accurate in the long run. So, if you are somebody who is serious about measuring and analysing data, then it is best you start moving to G4A right now. 

As stated above, Google plans to discontinue Universal Analytics in July 2023, which means it will stop collecting data on new sessions very soon. So, if companies are still using Universal Analytics after that date, they will not only miss out on new features and updates but also might experience difficulty in troubleshooting issues that may arise. If you move your tracking now, this means you will have around a year’s worth of historical data in your new platform. You also will not have to experience a blackout period when you transition, as you can keep using both platforms before transitioning fully.  


Overall, it is still highly recommended that businesses start moving their accounts from Universal Analytics to GA4 before July 2023. This is to take advantage of GA4’s new and improved features, such as better privacy and security protections, enhanced and accurate measurements, powerful insights, and also to avoid losing any technical support if issues come up. Using GA4 will no doubt help to better support your business and improve your digital strategy moving forward.  

If you have any questions, be sure to contact MediaGroup Worldwide! With over 20 years of experience working with various companies and industries, we can advise you on all things related to marketing measurement and analytics. Get in touch with us now at:   

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