Google Analytics 4 (GA4), formerly known as App + Web, is the latest iteration of Google Analytics designed to cater to websites, apps, or a combination of both. Unlike Universal Analytics, which supports only websites, GA4 offers a more versatile approach to analytics. Google has declared GA4 as the default experience for analytics properties and strongly recommends users to transition to Google Analytics 4 properties.
Do I Need to Upgrade, and When?
While Google has not officially announced the deprecation of Universal Analytics properties, there are clear indications that resources for new features in Universal Analytics have been halted. The focus and efforts of the analytics team are now directed towards GA4 properties. Although there is no imminent news on the discontinuation of Universal Analytics, it’s evident that GA4 is the future.
In this article, we’ll guide you on how to seamlessly upgrade to GA4 and run it concurrently with the old version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics).
Installing GA4 Alongside Universal Analytics
Setting up GA4 properties is designed not to interfere with Universal Analytics. Your existing Universal Analytics property remains unchanged and continues to collect data. The process of upgrading to GA4 involves creating a brand new property in your Google Analytics account.
Important Note: Your new GA4 property won’t contain historical data; it starts collecting data from the moment of setup. To access historical data, rely on the reports in your Universal Analytics property. Therefore, it’s advisable to upgrade to GA4 and allow sufficient time for data collection before making decisions based on historical trends.
Steps to Upgrade to GA4:
- Navigate to Google Analytics and click on Admin.
- Select GA4 Setup Assistant in the Property column.
- Click “Get started” under “I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property.”
- Click “Create Property.”
Tag Installation for GA4:
Option 1: Adding GA4 Tag Directly to Website Pages
- If using a CMS (Shopify, WordPress, Squarespace), follow the relevant guide for adding the GA4 tracking code.
- For non-CMS users, access your website’s HTML. Consult a web developer if needed.
Option 2: Adding GA4 Tag Using Google Tag Manager
- In your GTM account, click “Tags” > “New.”
- Click “Tag Configuration.”
- Select “Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration.”
- Enter your Measurement ID from the data stream in the admin tab of your GA4 property.
- Add the “All Pages” trigger.
- Save and Publish your container.
Verification of GA4 Installation:
Check the real-time report in GA4 to ensure that data is being received. Utilize the Realtime feature to monitor ongoing website activity immediately after the upgrade. Visit your website and navigate to the report tab for a comprehensive overview.
By following these steps, you can smoothly transition to Google Analytics 4, ensuring a seamless coexistence with Universal Analytics while preparing for the future of analytics.