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Getting to grips with GA4

It’s now a month since Google started to switch off* the old version of Google Analytics that we’ve all known and loved for years. I hope that every reader who uses Google Analytics managed to update to the replacement version a while ago, but I know some people who only check their data every few weeks are only now discovering that they have no visitor records.

We’ve encouraged all of our clients to switch to the new version with time to spare, and assisted where we can, but I know for many businesses, Google Analytics was set up along with the website many years ago and they’ve got no personal help available to install the new version.

The new Google Analytics 4 is a very different beast to the old one. I imagine many businesses did the technical side of switching over, so there was at least continuity in the data, but they haven’t really spent enough time creating reports and ensuring everything’s set up correctly.

Getting to grips with it is not easy (personally, I think it’s horrible), but sadly it’s the best tool there is for an essential job, and it’s free, so many users don’t have much choice.

For those of you who have completed the set up, getting the most from the data will be your next challenge.

Looking at data collection and retention, audiences, events, conversion and customising reports are just a few of the things we have been supporting our clients with. If you need guidance, you can find a lot of useful tips and guides online. Alternatively, you may find the Analytics Mania YouTube channel tutorials useful.

 


*Contrary to what Google led us to believe, the shutdown has not been immediate and total. They posted on Twitter on July 1st, “Today, we begin shutting down Universal Analytics as we welcome you to Google Analytics 4. This will not happen overnight, so some Universal Analytics properties may continue to process data. However, all properties have now been added to the queue.”

In essence, some Universal (traditional) Google Analytics properties may still continue to process data, and we can confirm that we are seeing this across our client base.

Beyond this, there will be access to previously processed data until July 2024. Then, from July 2024, everyone (even those with ‘360’ properties) will no longer have access to the UA user interface.