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Google Analytics 4 – or GA4 – is the name of Google’s new digital analytics platform. Previously, the analytics platform was UA – or Universal Analytics – but all UA accounts will be deactivated July 1, 2023. What does this mean to you?

You need to migrate your existing UA account to a new GA4 property, or you will no longer have access to your website analytics.

What’s different about GA4?

On the surface, things look pretty similar, but the new user interface and the architecture of the platform will take some getting used to if you were regularly using UA. For instance, we like to report on website “sessions,” a number that reflects when visitors come to a website and actively engage with it. With UA, sessions were easy to find and compare. With GA4, we really have to search for sessions. Instead, GA4 gives more weight to number of users and to “events.”

While users are also a part of our reporting, we like to show users in comparison with sessions and average time spent on a website or a webpage. All of this together gives us a clearer picture of our visitors’ engagement.

The events data is interesting – so far we’ve mostly used this feature to track the number of downloads our sites with multiple resources receive. You won’t, however, receive details on what was downloaded (or clicked, watched, or other webpage actions) unless you go through and manually modify the events by placing conditions.

Some useful features with the update:

For organizations with apps, GA4 brings together website and app tracking.

The Explorations feature should allow us to create visualizations of the data we’re most interested in, in order to better understand them and create a cohesive takeaway for what’s going on with the website and its users.

More customization: along with customizing events by placing conditions, GA4 allows for creation and tracking of up to 30 conversions for each account, customization of automated tables (that you can save so you don’t have to reset them each time you’re building a report), and customization of segments, which you can also save.

With custom funnels and additional time measurements, GA4 should provide a broader view of user behavior.

We have already migrated our client accounts and our own to Google Analytics 4, and would be happy to help you with the shift if you need!

Learning the new system is going to take some time, so we’ll update our social media with interesting (or challenging) things we run into as we continue to work with it. Keep an eye out there, and let us know what you’re experiencing, too.

Alison Quinn

Creativity, strategy and sparkles: our Creative Director's Big 3. Alison is a self-professed word nerd and lover of marketing that makes you go "whoa!"