Today, July 1st, 2022, marks the beginning of the final year before Google sunsets its popular Universal Analytics software (also known as UA or now, GA3).
You may be thinking “that’s a long time – why should I care?” Or you may be thinking “they can’t do that – what am I going to do without it.”
Maybe you’ve by now heard of the replacement to Universal Analytics, called Google Analytics 4. Maybe you have even looked at it and said, “thank goodness, I don’t have to worry about learning this for a whole year.”
Here’s Why You Should Care – TODAY.
Google Analytics data doesn’t mean a lot if you cannot compare data between time periods. Sure, a current snapshot is interesting; to know your web traffic, acquisition source, bounce rate, conversions, etc, but if you can look back and compare to a previous period, the data certainly doesn’t tell you which way these things are trending. Historical data is key.
And therein lies the problem. After July of next year (if the Google roll-out of GA4 stays on schedule), you won’t have that historical data to make comparisons with. When Universal Analytics goes away, so does all your history. Yes, there are ways to save that history (we’ll cover that in an upcoming blog post), but the nature of GA4 is so different that you won’t be able to compare your new GA4 metrics to your old, downloaded GA3 history.
OK, I Care Now! What Should I Do?
The answer is to start collecting that data NOW, in GA4 – even if that means just letting it run in the background. (You can run GA3 and GA4 simultaneously.) That way, you will have 12 months of history that you can use going forward with GA4 when the time comes. And by then, with some studying and practicing, you’ll be feeling more comfortable in GA4, and able to make those year-over-year (or month-over-month) comparisons
OK, I’m Ready to Start. How Do I Get Started?
Installing GA4 for the first time can be a little intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. If you have experience installing GA3, you should be able to manage the GA4 installation. (GA4 customization, and customized reporting is a little more difficult.
We wrote a blog post here, on installing GA4 from your current Universal Analytics (GA3) account. Google has made it somewhat easy to add GA4 right from your current account. You’ll just need to get the additional tracking code into your website, probably using the same method as you used to install GA3.
If you didn’t install your own GA3, or you get hung up on installing GA4, Illuminous Marketing offers a low-priced, “do-it-for-me” service, so feel free to reach out to us. We also offer more advanced, custom installations for your customized reporting needs. Just email us or call us for more information.
And be sure to follow our blog as we post more GA4 articles on a wide variety of topics, including an upcoming “basic training” post called “Getting Familiar with GA4”.