Google Analytics Is Changing

If you are the admin to a Google Analytics account you will probably already know that the traditional Analytics platform is changing.  Google are ‘sunsetting’ Universal Analytics in July 2023. The new GA4 is the way to track visitors from then onwards.  But what does this mean?

Universal Analytics has been a great way for standard websites to monitor traffic to a website for years. However, with new ways to display content or features, a new tool has been introduced.  Currently, if you wanted to track website and app data, you need to connect a different application, but even then, the data is separated.  The new GA4 collects all data in one place for easier tracking.  The benefits of GA4 laid out by Google are:

  • Collects both website and app data to better understand the customer journey
  • Uses events instead of session-based data
  • Includes privacy controls such as cookieless measurement, and behavioural and conversion modelling
  • Predictive capabilities offer guidance without complex models
  • Direct integrations to media platforms help drive actions

One of the issues that I don’t think people understand fully is that you will need to do some work initially to configure the new Analytics property, as it won’t just transfer over automatically.  Therefore, you will need to change the tracking codes on your website, which can be a bit of a faff!

The sooner you can sort out the tracking codes to your website the better. This is because when it comes time to wave goodbye to Universal analytics, your new GA4 property will be void of data.  If you implement the codes today, by July 2023 there will be a year’s worth of data to analyse.

What is the best way to configure GA4?

In my opinion, the best and easiest way to implement GA4 is to use Google Tag manager. This has been around for a while, but isn’t as commonly used as it should be just yet.

Google have designed Tag Manager to make it easier to manage code snippets.  Essentially, it is two pieces of code that get placed on your website, then everything else is configured through the Tag Manager interface. So, if you are tracking different button clicks, or email, telephone clicks, you can do it all in Tag Manager, without having to add another snippet of code on your website.  This is the same with conversion data and Google Ads tracking.  It does genuinely make it easier to manage the amount of different tags that you have installed on your website.

How To Use Tag Manager With GA4?

The next obvious question, would be ‘how?’ Thankfully, it is quite simple to set up.  You need to sign up to Google Tag Manager and have your Google Analytics account open.  It would be a good idea to use Tag Manager with the existing Universal analytics tag whilst you are making the changes. If you do use Tag Manager to manage your Universal Analytics codes, just remember to delete the old Analytics code on your website. Otherwise, you will get incorrect click data coming through, as you will fire the tag twice.

1) Firstly, sign in to Tag Manager
2) *Copy the two code snippets and paste into the appropriate areas of your website.
3) Click ‘Tags’ and create a new tag.
4) Under ‘Tag configuration’ click the Google Analytics: GA4 configuration

You will then need to open a new tab and go to Google Analytics to get a measurement ID.

5) Open Analytics
6) Click ‘Admin’. Second column you will see GA4 setup assistant. Click that.
7) Go through the steps to setup the account.
8) Make a note of the Measurement ID. It will start with G- and is clearly identified.

If you can’t find the measurement ID, just go back into the Admin settings on the new GA4 view and click on ‘Data Streams’ in the second column. You can find your measurement ID there.

9) Go back to Tag manager, paste your measurement ID into the Google Analytics: GA4 configuration field
10) Click on ‘triggering’ and choose ‘all pages’
11) Finally, save and publish the Tag Manager.

*If you have a WordPress website, there may be an area in your theme that allows code snippets to be added to the ‘head’ and ‘body’ section, but if not, you may need a plugin such as ‘Insert Headers and Footers’ to paste these codes in.

Once you have followed these steps the GA4 configuration should be complete.

Chat to us today for help with Google Analytics

As you may now be aware, Tag Manager is pretty complex, with lots of opportunities to track things that you may not have previously considered.  It is well worth having a look around and doing a bit of research as to how you can best use the new features to your advantage.

If you need any help with setting up Tag Manager, or converting to GA4, please get in touch and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Start Your Free Consultation

To get started, all you need to do is get in touch! Send us a message through the contact form, letting us know what you’re trying to achieve and we will get back to you with details of how we can help.