As technology and data regulations evolve, so must analytical tools adapt to a future which almost certainly won’t include cookies or other cross-platform identifiers. One of these tools, Google Analytics, has been the industry standard for over a decade. It too is now evolving, adopting flexible approaches to measurement and modeling to fill in the gaps where the data may be incomplete.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google Analytics (GA). It combines data from both apps and websites. GA4 is the new name for the beta reporting platform App & Web, which has been renamed for clarity.
In short: if you want to keep using Google Analytics, the answer is yes, you must migrate to GA4. Google Analytics as we now know it (Universal Analytics) will shut down on July 1, 2023. Any website that wants to continue using Google Analytics needs to migrate to GA4 before that date.
GA4 doesn’t only offer more of what Universal Analytics offers. It’s built differently to align with current and future needs for reporting and privacy. Here are some of the differences and benefits:
Google Analytics 4 leverages Firebase technology to offer a unified platform for mobile app and website tracking within a single Analytics property view. Custom audiences, events, content groups are automatically synced between both web and mobile app properties. This allows for more advanced, segmented targeting as well as comprehensive cross-device analytics.
Transitioning your accounts to GA4 involves more than just a copy-paste. Due to differences between these analytics platforms, you need a custom strategy to maintain your data.
To minimize data tracking disruptions, we recommend a phased approach to GA4 adoption. Depending on client needs, this includes planning and implementation; data architecture and integrations; and QA and optimizations. We’ve helped clients needing basic migration; those with more complex needs (multi-domain sites, third-party platforms, etc.); and we’ve audited GA4 for clients which already migrated but wanted to ensure their setup is correctly configured and optimized.