Google Analytics 4: Benefits and Archiving Universal Analytics Data

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The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and businesses need to stay up to date to remain competitive. One crucial tool for businesses to understand their customers and optimise their online presence is Google Analytics. The latest version, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), offers numerous benefits over its predecessor, Universal Analytics. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of GA4, how to switch to it, and the importance of archiving Universal Analytics data.

Google Analytics 4 Benefits: Understanding Your Customers Like Never Before

GA4 is built on a new, more flexible measurement framework that provides businesses with deeper insights into customer behaviour, including cross-device tracking, improved event tracking, and machine learning capabilities. Cross-device tracking allows businesses to have a more complete view of their customers’ behaviour across multiple devices, including desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.
Improved event tracking enables businesses to track more events than ever before, such as file downloads, video engagement, and scrolling behaviour. Rather than having to manually track every action on your website, a lot of the events tracking in Google Analytics 4 is done automatically, making it easier to gain valuable insights. Machine learning capabilities provide businesses with insights into customer behaviour and predictive analytics to help them make data-driven decisions. Greater data privacy is also a key feature, offering businesses greater control over their data and compliance with privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.

Switching to Google Analytics 4: The Importance of Effective Data Migration

As of 1 July 2023, Google will stop processing and recording new hits in Universal Analytics (UA). Therefore, businesses need to switch to GA4 to continue tracking and analysing data effectively. The change to GA4 will affect businesses’ current GA accounts and data in several ways. Metrics within GA3 or Universal Analytics will look different in Google Analytics 4. This is because the key metrics have changed, and GA4 measures them differently. In order to ensure that you can still accurately report on your KPIs using GA4, businesses will need to migrate their measurement framework used in Universal Analytics/GA3 or the way in which they measure. This means redefining how you track and measure metrics, in order to align with GA4’s measurement framework.

Archiving Universal Analytics Data: Retaining Access to Historical Data

After 1 July, 2023, businesses will no longer be able to access their UA reports in the interface or access them via the API. Archiving UA data is, therefore, critical to retain access to historical data. Without archiving, businesses will lose access to their historical data, which would make it difficulty to accurately validate thier marketing spend and ensure that their website is performing optimally. Luckily, Google Analytics provides the tools necessary to make these comparisons and obtain valuable insights into your website’s performance on a month-to-month basis.. Businesses can still access previously processed UA data for at least six months after 1 July 2023, by manually exporting data and uploading it to Google Drive. Downloading and exporting data for one month should take no more than 5-10 minutes and should be done for every month since the beginning of the site’s creation/data processing.

Options for Exporting Data: Looker Studio and BigQuery

In addition to manually exporting data and uploading it to Google Drive, businesses can use Looker Studio or BigQuery to store data. Looker Studio or data studio is a free feature that allows clients to ask their account managers to upload and organise their data into tables and/or graphs displaying the metrics they want to see. It should take no more than 1-1.5 hours to produce the template, and from here, they can upload each month to the template. BigQuery is a paid feature that allows clients who want to store UA data as is to use. It is only available in Analytics 360. Google Analytics 360 is an enterprise-level analytics platform that is designed for businesses with complex data and measurement needs. This platform is typically used by larger businesses, such as banks and media organisations. Such businesses typically have more complex customer journeys and need to understand how different touchpoints and marketing channels are contributing to their bottom line.

Making the Switch to Google Analytics 4: The Future of Analytics

GA4 is the future of Google Analytics, and businesses need to switch as soon as possible to continue tracking and analysing data effectively. With features like event-based tracking, machine learning-powered insights, and cross-device reporting, GA4 offers a more comprehensive view of user behaviour and engagement. It is important to make the switch to GA4 as soon as possible to begin recording data and metrics alongside your existing UA data. By taking these steps, businesses can ensure they have access to the data and insights they need.
With options for storing data such as Looker Studio and BigQuery, businesses can find a solution that works for their needs. The future of analytics is here, and it’s time to switch to Google Analytics 4. Outsourcery can assist current and future clients in transitioning to Google Analytics 4 and archiving their Universal Analytics data by providing expert guidance and support throughout the process. Our team of experienced professionals can help ensure a smooth and successful transition, maximising the benefits of the new platform while minimising any potential issues. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a more data-driven future for your business.

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