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What is Google Analytics 4 and should I upgrade?

Updated: Apr 18, 2023


What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a replacement to the Universal Analytics that most websites are using. It is the latest version of Google Analytics which is Google’s tool to measure, report and analyse website and now app activity. The new Analytics adds AI-powered insights, tracks users across devices and provides more granular data controls. In March 2022 Google started placing a banner in their Universal Analytics accounts warning them that their current analytics properties will stop accumulating data on July 1st 2023. GA4 resides on a completely new code base and there is no easy transition nor data migration from the existing GA platform to the new GA4.

Should I upgrade to GA4?

The short answer is yes. While website owners that have Universal Analytics on their website currently will continue being able to accumulate data and use this data, the Universal Analytics property will stop processing new page views/events and website owners will need to upgrade to GA4. Google Analytics 4 can not show retrospective data, so it needs to be set up now. Even if you do not configure the reporting, having the code on your website to accumulate the data will be greatly advantageous down the line once UA becomes redundant. Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 should be run in parallel until June, especially as websites platforms such as Shopify have still not rolled out native GA4 support yet.

How do I install GA4 on a website and configure the page view tracking?

Once you have created the Google Analytics 4 property, there are a few different ways to get the Google Analytics code snippet on your website. Google lets you connect your GA4 account to your existing Universal analytics account as well as installing the code snippet directly. It is very important that you install the web measurement ID, not the GA4 property ID. Within a GA4 property it is the web stream that website owners should care about and that is where the Measurement ID is located:

While some websites will be able to have the GA4 Configuration tag added in Google Tag Manager, other websites will require installing the GA4 directly in the website backend or CMS. This may involve putting either the Measurement ID in or the whole code snippet.

Do note that while some website platforms such as Wix & Bigcommerce have rolled out native GA4 support, several large website platforms such as Shopify have not yet rolled out native GA4 support and require additional setups steps to get data flowing.

If you require more help or would like more information, Google has created guides to help users upgrade to GA4, which can be found here: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/10759417.

Adhesion are Digital Marketing, SEO and Google Analytics specialists. If you would like assistance with setting up and configuring your analytics setup including GA4, then contact our team.

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