Transition from old to new
At the moment, Google Analytics 4 still works alongside the older Universal Analytics. This means that you can use both new and old versions. Unfortunately, the new version is so different that the (old) data from Universal cannot be transferred. With Google Analytics 4, you start collecting data all over again.
So for now it is useful to run both versions. GA4 does not have historical data yet, so you have to make the comparison with Universal Analytics. The data cannot be collected retroactively. The sooner you are collecting data via GA4, the better.
From July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics will stop collecting new data. By then you have to collect all the new data through Google Analytics 4. The old data will be available for some time via Universal Analytics, but it is not certain how long this will remain available. Google has indicated that it will be available for at least another 6 months. It is therefore smart to switch to GA4 as soon as possible, and to make use of this transition period.
The new features
Google Analytics 4 has designed a brand new “property” for a new way of measuring. For example, it no longer focuses on separate sessions and page views, but completely on events such as events, scrolls or transactions.
- Big Data combined with Machine Learning gives Google Analytics 4 the possibility to make predictions on your current and new target group(s). There is also an update in terms of privacy:
- For example, IPs are no longer stored if they come from a European domain or server.
- IPs are only used for a city level GEO location and will be deleted.
- All GA4 data that is collected within the EU is also stored in the EU.
- More control over what you do and do not want to collect in order to respond to local regulations.
The overview of functions described by Google itself:
- Collects both website and app data to better understand the customer journey.
- Uses data based on events rather than sessions.
- Includes privacy options such as measurement without cookies and behavioral and conversion modeling.
- Predictive capabilities provide guidance without complex models.
- Direct integrations with media platforms drive actions on your website or app.
Switch to Google Analytics 4
Do you really have to switch to GA4, is a question we’ve had before and the answer is: yes. If you want to collect analytical data, of course there are also competitors who offer the same service as Google, but unfortunately they are not free. The sooner you start with GA4, the better! Start collecting data now and by the time Universal Analytics stops, you will have at least 6 months worth of data.
Google has made an extensive manual and an accompanying wizard that guides you through the creation of your own GA4 property. Does your website or application have Google Tag Manager (GTM)? Then the implementation of GA4 is easy to achieve. No GT? Then the code for the GA4 will have to be placed directly in the code of the website, or still choose GTM.
Need help or would you rather outsource the implementation of GA4? No problem, we are happy to help you! Please contact us for more information.