How to Prepare Your Website for Google Analytics 4
Recently, Google announced that it will replace its Universal Analytics with its new Google Analytics 4 by July 1, 2023. With this news, you might be wondering how to prepare your website(s) for the switch.
The good news is that the transition process isn’t too complicated. Here are some steps to get you started. But first, let’s discuss what Google Analytics 4 is and why it’s important.
What Is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is an upgrade to the current Universal Analytics, offering a number of new features and insights.
Compared to Universal Analytics, GA4 is more focused on user engagement and offers better insights into how users interact with websites. It also allows businesses to access Google Ads data in real time, quickly creating reports for their marketing and advertising campaigns.
It also uses event-based data instead of session-based, which means it’s better equipped to track user behavior over time.
In addition to that, GA4 introduces a few more advancements such as:
- Predictive capabilities: GA4 uses machine learning to make predictions about user behavior and guide decision-making.
- Enhanced privacy controls and data accuracy: GA4 allows you to collect more accurate data while keeping your users’ privacy protected.
- A unified platform: GA4 brings together all of Google’s products, from Ads to Search Console, into one platform.
Does Google Automatically Upgrade to Google Analytics 4?
No, Google does not automatically update your website from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. You must manually update by following the steps in the next section.
If you use a content management system (CMS)-hosted website (i.e., using WordPress, Wix, Drupal, etc.), you can also look up tutorials or documentation on how to update your website’s tracking code on your respective platform.
For WordPress, in particular, you can use the MonsterInsights plugin to easily set up Google Analytics 4.
Preparing Your Website for Google Analytics 4
Before its full implementation in July 2023, webmasters should begin the transition process to prepare their websites for Google Analytics 4. Here are the steps to take:
1. Create a Google Analytics 4 Property
The first step to preparing your website for GA4 is to create a Google Analytics 4-Property using the admin page of your current Universal Analytics account.
To do this, click on “Create Property” and select “Google Analytics 4,” then follow the steps to complete the setup.
2. Install the GA4 Tag
The next step is to install the GA4 tag on your website. This can be done by either using Google Tag Manager or manually adding it to your website’s code. However, it is recommended to use the tag manager instead to make sure the process is properly implemented.
For more information, you can refer to Google’s instructions on how to set up Google Analytics 4 tags.
3. Set Up Event Tracking
Once you have installed the GA4 tag, the next thing to set up is conversion tracking. This is important if you want to track how many people are taking certain actions on your website, such as signing up for a newsletter or purchasing a product.
You can do this by setting up event tracking, which allows you to track specific user actions and measure conversions. To set up an event, you need to create an event tag in your Google Tag Manager and then add it to the code of your website.
In GA4, there are 4 main categories of events:
- Automatically collected events: These are events that Google Analytics automatically tracks, such as page views or link clicks.
- Custom events: These are events you have created specifically for your website and business.
- Enhanced measurement events: These are custom events, like product purchases or newsletter sign-ups, that you can create to track specific user actions.
- Recommended events: These are events recommended by Google based on previous data.
Once you have successfully implemented the GA4 tag and set up the necessary conversion tracking, you are ready to start using Google Analytics 4.
What Happens If I Don’t Switch to Google Analytics 4?
If you don’t switch to Google Analytics 4 by 2023, then your website will no longer be tracked by Google Analytics.
This means that you will not be able to access the features and insights GA4 offers, such as improved privacy controls, more accurate data collection, and more enhanced insights into user behavior.
This can be risky to your business, as it can limit your ability to make better strategies, measure conversions, and understand user behavior better.
Google Analytics 4 is a powerful analytics platform that can help you make more informed decisions about your website and customer behavior. Transitioning from Universal Analytics to GA4 is quite straightforward, but requires some preparation.
By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your website is fully prepared for Google Analytics 4 and ready to take advantage of its great features.
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