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Should You Trust Google to Automatically Migrate Your Data to GA4?
Should You Trust Google to Automatically Migrate Your Data to GA4?
You have probably received this email from Google in the past weeks and might be wondering what this could mean. Most of the websites using Google Analytics are using Universal Analytics. Your website is most likely using this as well. In a nutshell, Google is sunsetting Universal Analytics and forcing everyone to transfer to its new version – Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
If you’re not going to set up GA4 yourself, Google will automatically do it for you.
Now the question is: should you trust Google to migrate your data automatically for you?
WHAT IS GA4?
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is Google’s new web analytics platform. Using an event-based data model, it allows businesses to track user behavior and interactions accurately. Leveraging AI and machine learning features, it can help businesses understand their users and optimize their website and apps accordingly.
Unlike its predecessor Universal Analytics, GA4 offers newer ways to collect and measure user data. This also makes it easier to track user identity across different platforms and devices. Another difference is that it has different sets of reports compared to UA.
While UA’s session-based model is more focused on website traffic and user acquisition, GA offers more insights about user engagement.
All in all, it offers a way for businesses to paint a broader picture of their users, a better way of capturing data that means more to the business, and machine learning assistance when it comes to recommendations.
Why Setting Up GA4 Yourself Is Better
It is generally better to configure GA4 yourself rather than relying on Google’s automatic creation of the property on February 28th. Here’s why:
- Customization: When you create a GA4 property yourself, you can customize it to meet the specific needs of your business. This includes setting up custom events, custom dimensions, and custom metrics to track the data that’s most relevant to your business.
- Data quality: If you allow Google to create the GA4 property automatically, it may not be set up correctly, which could result in inaccurate or incomplete data. By configuring the property yourself, you can ensure that everything is set up correctly from the start.
- Familiarity: By configuring the GA4 property yourself, you’ll have a better understanding of how it works and how to use it effectively. This will make it easier for you to get the insights you need from your data.
- Timing: Waiting for Google to create your GA4 property automatically means you’ll be behind on your data tracking and analysis. By configuring the property yourself, you can start tracking data in GA4 right away and get a head start on understanding how your users are interacting with your website or app.
Overall, configuring your GA4 property yourself is the best way to ensure that it meets the specific needs of your business and that it’s set up correctly from the start.
This will help you get the most accurate and useful insights from your data and avoid any disruptions in your data tracking and analysis.
How To Create A GA4 Property
To migrate to GA4, you need to have Editor access to the Google Analytics account you’re using.
- In Google Analytics, click on Admin (lower-left hand corner)
- In the Property column, click on GA4 Setup Assistant
- Scroll down a bit and turn this option off to prevent Google from automatically creating a GA4 property. If you do not turn this off, Google will automatically update your settings and might mess up with your configuration.
- Click on Get Started
- Click on Create and Continue
- If you have a Google Tag already available, select the appropriate tag. If not, follow the instructions to install a Google tag.
- You will then see this window where the Setup Assistant is available. Congratulations, you’ve successfully created a GA4 property!
GA4 Setup Assistant : How To Navigate The Set Up Assistant?
In this checklist, we’ll take a look at the Set Up Assistant and use the basic features you need to get started.
⇒Set-up GA4 Property With Google Tag Manager
In the Setup Assistant window, you will then see that the Data Collection section will say Not Flowing. Just because you made a GA4 property, it doesn’t mean it will automatically track your website.
After creating your GA4 Property, you will need to configure your GA4 Measurement ID to your Google Tag Manager so you can start tracking your website.
To access your measurement ID, go to Admin > Property > Data Streams (this is in the same column as the setup assistant). Click on your website and you’ll see a window with your measurement ID.
Create a new tag on Google Tag Manager and select Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration.
Copy + Paste your measurement ID and set the trigger to All Pages.
Preview your changes and make sure that your GA4 tag is firing correctly.
Save and publish your changes.
If you’re not using GTM to add your Analytics script to your website, in the Data Stream window where your measurement ID is located, scroll down to the bottom part of the screen.
Click on View Tag Instructions to get access to the script that you can manually insert after the <head> tag of every page of your website. Don’t add more than one Google tag to the page.
⇒Enhanced Measurement Tracking
In the same window of your data stream, make sure that Enhanced Measurement is turned on for your website. This will allow Google to track more interactions on your website.
⇒Activate Google Signals
Turn this on to get more data from people who allow themselves to have ads personalized according to the data they are willing to provide. In the Set Up Assistant, you will see a Property settings section.
Click on the > arrow for the Turn On Google Signals > click on Manage Google Signals
Turn these settings on.
You can now mark this task as complete.
⇒Migrate UA Conversions to GA4
In the same Property Settings, you can import your UA conversions to GA4.
It will take you to a link from Google with a tutorial on how to do this.
If the process is tedious, you can create new audiences by clicking on the Manage audiences > New Audience.
You will then see this window where you have an option to create a custom audience from scratch and also suggested audiences by Google.
We recommend using templates to make setting up audiences easier for you.
Here’s documentation from Google to help you with how to set up audiences.
Another important aspect of GA4 that you need to set up is to give the appropriate access permissions to users who will work on your account.
In the Property Settings section of the Set Up Assistant, click on Manage users > Manage Users.
You can then see a list of users and the permissions they currently have. You can then add/remove permissions from users in your account in this window.
Need More Assistance?
This guide has only tackled the basics of creating a GA4 property and configuration settings to get GA4 up and running on your website.
If you’re running an ecommerce website or you have advanced tracking in place you might need more than this.
However, if this has been set up for you by a 3rd party and you do not have the confidence to set it up yourself, Wild Solutions has experts who can do it for you.