Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Summertime brings vacations, barbecues, and warm weather. This summer also brings a big change for any Universal Analytics (UA) users. On July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics properties will permanently stop processing new incoming data from your website. Why is this happening, you may ask? In 2022, Google announced that it will be permanently ending this previous generation of analytics. UA’s replacement is Google’s latest generation of analytics powerhouses, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which will become the sole available property for all Google Analytics users.  

GA4 has been evolving since its 2015 beta release. Google’s comprehensive Web + App Tracking tool has expanded to allow for the platform to provide more interaction-focused reporting and metrics, as well as improved privacy targeting and reporting enhanced capabilities.  

This change is a big one for marketers, as many have grown to know the user interface of UA very well. Marketers and data analysts may be wondering if they need to make the switch from UA to GA4. The answer is yes. Google is requiring all accounts not currently using GA4 to make the change. UA data will be accessible for at least six months after July 1, 2023. The end date for 360 Universal is July 1, 2024.  

Luckily for existing or new users, GA4’s user interface is more beginner-friendly and limits the need to enable event tracking, which has more often caused user confusion in UA in the past. 

How is UA different from GA4?  

One of the great benefits and differences between UA and GA4 is the change from session-based data modeling to event-based data modeling. A session is a group of user interactions on a website within a certain time frame.   

Session-based data is not going away entirely. GA4 will instead collect user interactions with a website or app as events. These stored events will provide data insight into what is happening, like user actions on a website or app.  

GA4 has several additional new features:  

  1. Predictive Metric Analysis: Run by machine learning and a required minimum of 1,000 active users, the metric will provide an in-depth understanding of customers’ and potential customers’ purchasing habits.  
  1. Custom Reports: Formally known as Analysis Hub, Explorations will give the ability to further drill into data through filters and segments and share as an Excel worksheet or PDF.  
  1. Create Audience Segments: These segments can be created without needing to be saved like in UA. There are three audience types: general, templates, and predictive.  

Google recognizes this is a big change for all its users. If the upcoming deadline is worrisome, know that UA properties that have not made the migration will automatically transition to GA4 on July 1. As analytics experts, we are prepared to assist in the migration and set up to start your GA4 journey outright. If you’d like the Moxie team to help you navigate through this process, we’re here when you need us at   

Simone Bierma

Simone Bierma

As the digital strategist for Moxie, Simone focuses on opportunities for growth with our clients, providing the necessary tools regarding SEO, marketing automation, data analytics, and social media, so they can achieve success. While she may be Diet Coke’s biggest fan, she’s an even bigger fan of watching clients thrive.