In this post we explore the advantages and disadvantages of migrating to GA4 on your own or with the help of a professional. Discover which option is best suited for your business needs and how to get the most out of your GA4 implementation.
As most have heard by now, Google Analytics Universal is coming to an end and will stop processing data on July 1, 2023. You will be able to access previously processed data for 6 months past the shutdown date. Google Analytics Universal is now being replaced with Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the latest version of Google's web analytics platform which was introduced in 2020.
Website owners need to urgently start migrating their old analytics properties and connected services such as existing tags in Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics 360, Google Ads conversion tracking and Looker Studio dashboards to sync with GA4.
GA4 uses an event-based data model, while Universal Analytics uses a pageview-based data model. This means that in GA4, all interactions with a website are treated as events, which includes page views, button / link clicks, video views, etc. In contrast, Universal Analytics primarily tracks page views as the main unit of data.
In GA4, user tracking is based on a user's unique ID, which enables tracking across devices and platforms. In Universal Analytics, user tracking is based on a less robust client ID, which is stored in a cookie and can be reset when a user clears their cookies.
GA4 incorporates machine learning models to provide more accurate and detailed insights into user behaviour and trends. For example, GA4 includes a "Predictive Metrics" feature that uses machine learning to forecast user behaviour and trends.
GA4 provides more granular data control and allows for more custom event and parameter tracking than Universal Analytics. This means that website owners can track specific interactions and user behaviour that may not have been possible.
GA4 provides more flexible and customisable reporting options than Universal Analytics. For example, GA4 includes an "Analysis Hub" feature that allows for more advanced analysis and visualisation of data. However, this flexibility and customisation is complicated to set up for those unfamiliar with its features and workflow.
Migrating to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) from Google Analytics Universal can be a complex and time-consuming process. While it is possible to migrate to GA4 on your own, there are several reasons why it may be beneficial to use professional GA4 migration services instead:
If you have complex tracking set up it is important to have the experience to ensure that the migration process is executed correctly. It is essential to ensure all of the tracking and unique settings that have been set up in Universal Analytics will not be lost when transitioning to Google Analytics 4.
A full migration to GA4 can be a time-consuming process, especially if you have a large website with a complex setup.
Migrating to GA4 requires updating tags, dashboards, and custom reports, which can be prone to errors. Furthermore, it is important to export all of the historical Google Analytics Universal data. This requires a unique understanding of each business and industry to determine what data needs to be exported for future use. Updating tracking from Universal Analytics tags to Google Analytics 4 tags in Google Tag Manager might be more complicated than you think.
Professional migration services can provide ongoing support and guidance for using GA4 and maximising its features and capabilities. This can help ensure that you are using GA4 to its full potential and getting the most value from your website data.
Migrating to GA4 may seem like a daunting task, especially if you're not familiar with the platform or have a large website with complex analytics properties. While some website owners may choose to migrate to GA4 on their own, seeking professional help from GA4 migration services is important if you use more than just the standard reporting functionality.
If you have any of the following it might be worth it to engage a specialist agency:
Using a professional migration service such as the one offered by Koben Digital can help website owners with the entire migration process, including setting up GA4 properties, creating custom events and dimensions, exporting historic data and ensuring integrations are working correctly.
However, if you have a small website with a simple analytics setup, migrating to GA4 on your own may be feasible. For users still on Google Analytics Universal who had not already migrated, Google automatically created a GA4 property in April 2023 which means the default data will continued to be collected for your website. The decision to seek professional help ultimately depends on your website's complexity and your own experience with analytics platforms.
There is no way around Google Analytics 4 and therefore it is crucial for website owners to make a decision as soon as possible on whether they require the help of a professional service to migrate to GA4. If your website does not generate massive amounts of traffic and you only use the standard analytics without any complex tracking or reporting, you don’t need to take action as Google created a GA4 property automatically in April 2023 for existing GA Universal properties.
But if Analytics are an important aspect of your business processes or you have a complex tracking implementation it is best to seek professional help. By following best practices for GA4 migration and working with experienced professionals such as Koben Digital, website owners can ensure a smooth transition to GA4 and improve their overall analytics capabilities.
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