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What to Know About Google Analytics 4

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On July 23rd, 2023, Google will move everyone into their newest version of analytics, Google Analytics 4. During this time, they’ll retire Google Analytics 3 (also known as Universal Analytics). While things will still look the same from a customer standpoint, it’s important to be aware of these changes from a business perspective to make sure all of the information you’re tracking is still being reported properly.

Here are some things you should know before it goes into place:

  1. The Difference Between GA4 and Previous Versions
  2. New Features You’ll Gain
  3. Previous Features You’ll Lose
  4. What Happens Once It’s Implemented

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The Difference Between GA4 and Previous Versions

Google is switching users over to this new, updated version to meet the increasing demand for user privacy but will still allow you to track a user’s journey across your website and apps. As Google is phasing out third-party cookies, their analytics will now emphasize first-party data.

The key difference between Google Analytics 4 and the previous version is the focus on event tracking, which refers to clicks in the current version. With GA4, events can be a page view, social interaction, or any other type of user behavior. With this new tracking system, you’ll still be able to set certain parameters to get additional information about each event.

New Features You’ll Gain

With this change, here are there key new features you’ll gain:

  • Event-Based Tracking: As previously mentioned, event tracking will now include web and app engagement to provide a more holistic view of a user’s journey.
  • Better Reporting: GA4 will borrow information from Google Data Studio which allows you to use a variety of simple templates for custom reporting dashboards.
  • Automated Insights: Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Google will be able to provide you with additional automated insights.

Previous Features You’ll Lose

As the transition happens, it’s important to beware of features you’ll no longer have access to. Some of these features include:

  • No Views: Unlike the current version, GA4 doesn’t allow you to track views. However, you’ll still be able to filter out internal traffic when monitoring a user’s journey.
  • No Recurring Email Reports: With GA4, you’ll no longer be able to set up recurring email reports. Instead, you can export reports and set up recurring alerts for your automated insights.
  • Limits On Filters and Custom Dimensions: If you’re using IP and hostname filtering, it’ll now be limited and custom dimensions will be limited to 50.

What Happens Once It’s Implemented

While you still have time to start switching any accounts you work on over to Google Analytics 4, it’s important to do this as soon as possible to make sure all of your conversions are being tracked properly and not lose vital information. Here’s what’ll happen once it’s implemented as outlined by Google:

  • On July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits.
  • After July 1, 2023, you’ll be able to access your previously processed data in your Universal Analytics property for at least six months.  Google encourages that you export any data you need to make sure that you’re able to access it in the future.
  • Google will be providing a date within the next few months for when existing Universal Analytics properties will no longer be available. After that date, you’ll no longer be able to see your Universal Analytics reports in the Analytics interface or access your Universal Analytics data via the API.

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