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Embracing Google Analytics 4: A Must for Marketers Running Google Ads

Updated: May 23, 2023

In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, understanding user behaviour and making data-driven decisions are paramount. Google Analytics has long been a trusted tool for marketers, but a significant change is on the horizon. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is set to replace Universal Analytics (UA) as the go-to measurement solution. In this article, we'll explore the benefits of GA4 for marketers who run Google Ads and have Google Analytics accounts. We'll also delve into Google's transition guidelines and provide essential tips for a smooth migration.

GA4 offers marketers running Google Ads a range of powerful advantages:

  • Enhanced Cross-Platform Tracking: GA4 allows you to track user interactions across websites, mobile apps, and other platforms, providing a comprehensive understanding of user journeys. This invaluable feature helps optimise advertising campaigns and drive better results.

  • Advanced Analysis and Insights: GA4's machine learning-powered insights, predictive analytics, and audience discovery capabilities enable marketers to uncover valuable insights. This facilitates targeted ad campaigns, refined audience segmentation, and personalised messaging.

  • Deeper Integration with Google Ads: By integrating GA4 with Google Ads, marketers gain access to more comprehensive conversion tracking, enabling better attribution analysis and campaign optimisation.

Understanding the Transition Timeline: Google has provided a clear timeline for the transition from UA to GA4. It's important to be aware of these key milestones:

  • Automatic Creation of GA4 Properties: Starting in March 2023, Google will automatically create GA4 properties for Universal Analytics users unless they choose to opt out. The new GA4 properties will be based on the settings of the existing Universal Analytics properties.

  • Copying Configurations: If you have both a GA4 property and a connected Universal Analytics property, Google will copy over any configurations from Universal Analytics that you haven't marked as complete in GA4.

  • Continued Use of Universal Analytics: Until 1st July 2023, you can continue to collect new data and use Universal Analytics properties. However, note that data processing will gradually wind down during this period.

  • Access to Historical Data: After 1st July 2023, you'll still be able to access previously processed data in your Universal Analytics property for at least six months. It's crucial to export your historical reports during this time to retain access to valuable data.

  • Future Access Limitations: In the near future, Google will announce a specific date when existing Universal Analytics properties will no longer be available. Following this date, Universal Analytics reports will no longer be visible in the Analytics interface, and Universal Analytics data retrieval via the API will be unavailable.

Essential Tips for a Smooth Migration: To ensure a seamless transition from UA to GA4, follow these key tips:

  • Assess and Plan: Evaluate your current analytics implementation, define your tracking requirements, and create a migration plan with clear timelines, resource allocation, and communication strategies.

  • Understand Your Property Type: Determine if you're using a Universal Analytics property (created before 14th October 2020) or a GA4 property (created after 14th October 2020). This knowledge will inform your migration strategy.

  • Take Advantage of Automatic Creation: If you're a Universal Analytics user, consider allowing Google to automatically create a GA4 property for you based on your existing settings. This can expedite the migration process.

  • Review and Customise Configurations: Ensure that your GA4 property is properly configured by reviewing and customising settings, goals, audiences, and other configurations copied from Universal Analytics.

  • Stay Updated and Seek Support: Regularly check for updates and resources provided by Google to stay informed about the latest developments and migration best practices. Reach out to Google support or consult with experts if you encounter challenges during the migration process.

For marketers running Google Ads and relying on Google Analytics, the transition to Google Analytics 4 is imminent. Embracing GA4 empowers marketers with advanced cross-platform tracking, insightful analysis, and better integration with Google Ads. By understanding the migration timeline and following essential tips, marketers can ensure a smooth transition, unlocking the full potential of GA4 for data-driven decision-making and campaign optimisation.

For a free audit of your Google Analytics 4 implementation, please contact us.

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