Google Analytics 4: Prepare for the GA4 Migration
Are you tired of relying on guesswork or gut instinct in the hopes you can determine what is and isn’t working on your website? Would you love in-depth data-driven insights, so you know who exactly your audience is and where specifically they come from?
Great! You’re in the right spot.
Tracking your key metrics puts the power in your hands so you can make educated decisions about your website. Decisions that improve your ranking, your results, and your bottom line.
Enter Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the latest version of Google’s web analytics platform.
This high-powered tool will provide insights into your site, supplying the data you need to make informed decisions that improve your online presence. But what exactly sets GA4 apart from its predecessor? What are the benefits of switching to this new platform? And how do you connect this (powerful) gizmo anyway?
It’s crucial to have GA4 linked to your site. So, let’s answer the common GA4 questions we receive right now.
GA4 vs Universal Analytics: The similarities and differences
Google Analytics (GA) is an essential tool that helps you understand your site’s data. When you have high-quality information, you can make better decisions. And as the saying goes, “With Knowledge Comes Power.” The power to positively change your practice.
Over the past few years, two versions of GA have evolved: Universal Analytics (UA) and GA4.
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UA hit the market in 2013 and has been widely adopted by businesses. GA4, on the other hand, has been introduced more recently. It’s poised to revolutionize the field of web analytics. Providing businesses like yours with a suite of cutting-edge features and capabilities that allow a deeper understanding of your audience and their behaviors — visitors to your website and what actions they take — and tracking crucial metrics with ease.
There are similarities between the two versions. Both iterations provide valuable insights like traffic volume, visitor demographics, content engagement, and more.
But there are also crucial differences.
You might have imagined how artificial intelligence (AI) will profoundly transform the world’s future. Robots that clean your entire house, automated cars that extinguish the need to drive, or technology that restores and protects our environment.
But AI is already here, and it’s well-established. Including in GA4.
Where Universal Analytics tracks users via cookies, GA4 harnesses the power of machine learning, session stitching, and enhanced measurement protocols. This enables the modeling of user behavior and conversion patterns to make predictions and provide a more comprehensive view of the client journey.
The technical jargon doesn’t matter. What matters is what this gives you: more accurate and valuable data so you can make better business and marketing decisions.
GA4: Preparing for the migration
If you’re using UA for your website, you’ll need to become part of the mass GA4 migration. Because as Google has said, “On July 1, 2023, all standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits.” That means you’ll lose your data stream.
Google’s automated migration tool makes migration from UA to GA4 easy. Switching over is simple with the GA4 Setup Assistant wizard.
Google says about the wizard:
- Creates your new GA4 property.
- Copies the property name, website URL, timezone, and currency settings from your Universal Analytics property.
- Activates enhanced measurement in your GA4 property.
- Creates a connection between your UA and GA4 properties. This connection makes it possible for you to use Setup Assistant in your Google Analytics 4 property to migrate configurations from your UA property to your GA4 property.
- Sets the GA4 property to receive data from your existing Google tag, if you choose to reuse an existing site tag.
But before you switch, take a moment to prepare. There are a few things to consider before making the great GA4 migration.
- Plan to back up your data before you migrate in case of a hitch. You don’t want to lose your stats because of a technical glitch.
- You cannot migrate your data from UA to GA4, so we recommend you export your historical data.
- You can do this in one of three ways: manually exporting the file, by Query Explorer, or by Google Analytics Sheets Add-On. Search Engine Journal’s in-depth article, Getting Ready For GA4: Saving Your Historical Data, walks you through each option step-by-step.
- When preparing for the GA4 migration, verify that the data being tracked is accurate and adequate. Check the data inputs (what data is being collected) and the data outputs (what insights are being derived from the data). Correct information collection is essential for accurate analysis. It’s important to get this right.
- Examples of data inputs for GA4 include website events like button clicks, page views, and form submissions. If you have an app, events include app launches and in-app purchases.
- GA4 migration also allows you to check your admin settings, clear your head, and set goals anew.
- Sometimes in business, things change. We might alter our email, brand name, or domain. When you migrate, confirm that your details are accurate. You may have given freelancers or employees access to your account. Confirm that those who have access still should have access. If not, remove them from the admin.
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On the theme of updating, GA4 migration allows you to take stock and reset your website’s goals. Transitioning to a new tool is only worthwhile with plans to use it. With this in mind, set clear goals. Determine what you want to achieve with GA4.
Would you love to…
- increase your website conversions
- improve your user engagement
- boost lead generation results, like form submissions or email sign-ups
- bolster content engagement, such as article reads
- rocket the time visitors spend on your site or the number of pages they visit
Tip: Want a walk-through guide on creating goals in GA4? Check out How to Create Destination Goals in GA4.
It would be best to familiarize yourself with GA4’s features and capabilities. GA4 training will help you learn about this tool’s features and abilities, so you can hit the ground running right out of the gate.
GA4 Training: How to skyrocket your success with the power of GA4
As you’ve seen, GA4 has been designed to give your business a comprehensive understanding of your audience and online presence. With advanced features like event-based tracking, privacy controls, and predictive capabilities, GA4 is a tool your practice absolutely needs to stay ahead in the digital world.
And as many therapists don’t use any analytics, this tool can be your secret advantage!
If you’re looking to maximize the potential of this tool to skyrocket your success, you should prioritize GA4 training.
Here are 4 tips to help you get started. And because of the importance of what Google calls “events,” we’ll share more about this in the dedicated final section.
Upgrade to GA4
The first step to GA4 migration is to upgrade!
Rather than read through a techy jargon-laden text, we thought we’d share this easy-to-follow video…
Make use of GA4’s privacy controls
With privacy becoming an increasing concern, governments making legislative policies, and searchers wanting increased protection, GA4 has ramped up privacy control.
GA4 offers privacy controls such as cookie-less measurement and behavioral and conversion modeling. This critical aspect of GA4 helps you stay compliant with privacy regulations and protect your user’s data.
We believe this is especially important for those who work in the health field. So, ensure you understand these privacy controls and how they might benefit your business.
You can learn more about the how-to in Google’s resource, Privacy controls in Google Analytics.
Harness GA4’s predictive capabilities
GA4 has predictive capabilities to help you drive actions on your site (or app). The powerful predictive capabilities provide guidance without the need for complex models, allowing you to make data-driven decisions without being a tech expert.
The predictions are generated by analyzing various signals: user interactions and behaviors, or conversions on your website, for example.
Predictive insights are displayed as charts and graphs within the GA4 interface. These insights help you identify areas you can improve and optimize conversion paths. GA4 will also automatically generate recommended actions that will improve performance.
Direct integrations with social media platforms
GA4 directly integrates with media platforms to help you drive actions on your website (or app). Integrations include Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Snapchat Ads, and Instagram Ads, and more.
These integrations help to make data-driven, informed decisions that optimize your marketing campaigns.
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I mentioned earlier it was necessary to talk more about GA4 events. Events form an essential piece in the GA4 puzzle.
Let’s take a look.
GA4 Events: Get to know about event-based tracking
UA is limited to session-based data, providing only a snapshot of user behavior during a single visit. Instead, GA4 collects event-based data from your website (and apps if you have them).
Events offer a more comprehensive way to understand your visitors’ journey. Event-based tracking allows you to gather data on individual interactions with your site, such as clicks, form submissions, etc. This data provides a nuanced understanding of how users interact with your website and what actions they take.
Become familiar with event-based tracking and learn how it can help you track key metrics, including user engagement, conversion rates, and more.
Tip: Loves Data has created an in-depth article titled Google Analytics 4 Event Tracking: Your Complete Guide that walks through everything you need to know about events.
The GA4 takeaway
When it comes to GA4 vs UA, we believe that GA4 wins hands down. It’s an incredible, data-driven tool that can transform how you do business, attract clients, and grow your practice.
With sufficient GA4 training and know-how — including getting a handle on GA4 events — we think you’ll fall in love.
This tool has the power to explode your practice. And as UA effectively goes offline for everyday businesses this July, there’s no time to wait. If you’re too busy or totally tech-phobic, reach out. We’re here to help.
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