Google Analytics 4 will soon be the only low-cost analytics option as the end dates of Universal Analytics and Analytics 360 loom in the future. While GA4 isn’t the only analytics platform available, higher licensing fees and other requirements push it out of the realm of possibility for many current Universal Analytics and 360 users. However, it’s important to keep in mind that analytics are table stakes when it comes to optimizing digital experiences for your users. As digital consultants, BlastX helps its clients make platform decisions that best fit their budget and strategy—yet the reality is that GA4 will be the platform that many businesses will use to replace UA. As such, we’d like to share some tips, tricks, ins, and outs that can help you now and ensure you have a successful Google Analytics 4 migration well in advance of the UA and 360 sunset dates.

Similar Vein, But Not the Same

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It may be tempting to view a system migration as an upgrade or assume that a newer product is inherently better than what it’s replacing, but this isn’t the case with GA4. The transition from UA/360 to GA4 will not be 1 to 1, and despite being a newer platform, GA4 will not come feature complete. Future updates and improvements will eventually reach users, but we don’t have a timeline indicating when new features will arrive. It’s best to establish comfortability with the current version of GA4 rather than waiting for updates that may receive delays even after UA and 360 move to the Google Graveyard.

Know What You Need to Reestablish

GA4 migration is the perfect opportunity to evaluate and revise your measurement strategy to help you meet your business goals.

The transition from UA and 360 to GA4 might not take place under preferable circumstances, but it’s also an opportunity. The migration is the perfect opportunity to evaluate and revise your measurement strategy and ensure you measure what will help you meet your business goals without bloat, excess, or fluff. More isn’t always better, and not everything you tracked before should carry over to GA4. Know what events, dimensions, and metrics you must have, and which ones can come as you get more comfortable with changes. There’s no sense in making the transition harder by starting out overwhelmed by volume, so start with the essentials and build from there.

Not the Same Foundation, Not the Same Support

GA4, UA, and 360 technically fit under the same umbrella, but effectively using each platform is markedly different. The basic implementation approach, reporting methodology and capabilities will be the same in GA4. It’s hard to forget old habits, but expecting Google Analytics 4 to perform and operate like older platforms will cause frustration. The best way to move forward with a new system is to accept the differences and unique aspects. However, don’t take shortcuts. GA4 offers some transition “helpers”, but these mechanics will only produce basic surface-level data. Even built-in “Enhanced Measurement” features aren’t poised to deliver meaningful insights in and of themselves. It’s up to you to make the new systems work for your needs rather than relying on unfamiliar pre-built structures.

Learn and Grow or Wait and Struggle

While the circumstances aren’t ideal, it’s better to learn and plan now while there’s still some overlapping time.

Many users are somewhat dreading the day when GA4 becomes necessary and are dragging their feet to make the change. While the circumstances are unpreferable, and GA4 isn’t exactly ready for its new position, it’s better to learn and plan now while there’s still some overlapping time. Delaying preparations only ensures struggles in the future, especially since nothing comes laid out in GA4. If you want to maximize GA4, it will take a custom strategy and implementation, but you’re not in it alone. Lean on knowledgeable resources to make understanding and optimization a smooth journey rather than a bumpy, expensive ride.

The GA4 Series

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The future holds change, but it’s not all doom and gloom. UA is ending in 2023, which gives you plenty of time to strategize. Change creates uncertainty, but there’s a path through the fog. This series will explore different areas and uses for GA4 in light of UA/360 ending in the not-so-distant future. We’ll cover strategic considerations, built-in features, customizable features, best practices for implementation, and how to secure insights from reports.

Work with BlastX

Data is a foundational element required to create amazing digital experiences for your users. Making the transition often requires knowledge and resources beyond what an analytics person or team can manage. That’s where BlastX can help. We’re a digital consultancy with the experience, personnel, and acumen to help you in every facet of digital experience optimization. There’s no reason your business can’t weather this Google Analytics storm in style and emerge with a more powerful and meaningful tomorrow. Get in touch with us today to learn more.