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GA Upgrade: Meet The New Google Analytics 4

Last updated on June 16, 2021
7 minute read
Key Takeaways

  • Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics. Tip: Set up a GA 4 account in parallel to your existing UA property.
  • GA 4 provides greater flexibility when tracking actions taking place on your website or app.
  • Running Google ads? GA 4 properties can be linked to Google Ads!

Skill Level

All Skill Levels

Google Analytics 4 is a new type of property that will give you a more complete understanding of your customers across devices, as well as essential insights to prepare for future marketing decisions. The new GA uses machine learning to automatically alert you to data trends such as certain tours or activities seeing a rise in demand. It also helps you see the potential revenue you could earn from a particular customer group, allowing you to create and target new audiences for increased ROI.

So what does this mean for your tour and activity business? This guide will break down the specifics of GA 4 and show you how to create a new property so you can derive insights from new data and start reaping the benefits.

What is GA 4?

Google describes GA 4 as the new default version of the original Google Analytics (Universal Analytics), one that’s quite different from the traditional GA thanks to a host of new features. GA 4 is built on what was formerly known as the App + Web version of Universal Analytics, giving site owners a way to track data across platforms: websites, software, and apps. Its main goal is to show data focused on users from the first visit to the final conversion – booking a tour or activity.

New Features & Capabilities of GA 4

Events are the main way data is presented in GA 4.

  • An event is a user interaction that can be measured independently from a screen load, such as link clicks, form submissions, or downloads.

Events give you a more comprehensive look at how users interact with your business online. GA 4 enables event tracking, editing, and fine-tuning of events within the user interface, meaning you don’t need to edit on-site code. You can also conduct cross-domain tracking without code adjustments.

GA 4 uses data streams instead of Views and Segments.

  • The original GA has three levels (Account, Property, View), whereas GA 4 only has Account and Property levels.

This means there’s no View level section. Data Import can now include data from non-website sources, such as apps, all in one Property.

The Life Cycle Report focuses on user journey.

  • Looking at the user journey helps to provide site owners a full understanding of their customers’ life cycles.

For example, you can see where a user found your business and then where they revisited and converted from. Life cycle reporting has also been expanded to offer Ecommerce reporting to better understand your ecommerce funnels.

GA 4 offers a deeper integration with Google Ads.

  • GA 4 allows you to create and maintain custom audiences from visitors across your website and other platforms and will automatically remove or add them to ad lists based on the interactions they perform on your site. 

Get Started with GA 4

You might be concerned about migrating from Universal Analytics to GA 4. The good news is that you can run a dual setup where you keep using Universal Analytics but also get started with GA 4 to see how your business can benefit from this new property. GA also offers a Setup Assistant and Get Started Wizard to make the process as easy as possible. Follow the steps below to get started.

  • Start by going to the Account column in GA and make sure that your desired account is selected (if you only have one account, it will already be selected for you). 
  • In the Property column, choose the Universal Analytics property that you currently use for your website.
  • Click GA 4 Setup Assistant, the first option in the Property column.
  • Under “I need to create a new Google Analytics 4 property,” click Get started.
  • If your site uses the gtag.js tag, you have the option to enable data collection using your existing tags. If you use a website builder/CMS like Wix, or you use Google Tag Manager or your website is tagged with analytics.js, the wizard won’t be able to use your existing tagging and you’ll need to follow these instructions to add the tag yourself. 
  • Click Create Property. Analytics now uses basic data from your current Universal Analytics account like property name, URL, and currency to create your new GA 4 property.

When this process is complete, you’ll see this message, “You have successfully connected your properties” at the top of your GA 4 Property Setup Assistant page. Click See your GA 4 Property to be taken to the Setup Assistant. Remember that it can take up to 30 minutes for data to start appearing in your new property.

Your two properties are now linked and data will flow into both of them. Following the Setup Assistant, you can migrate configurations from your Universal Analytics property to your new GA 4 property for ease of use.

This is a great YouTube video that walks you through the entire process.

Now that you’ve got GA 4 set up, start playing around with the reports and features to see what you can glean from the data available to you.

  • When you log into Analytics, the home page will show you a summary of what’s interesting about your data, like user volume by minute, top conversions, and users by country, among other data.
  • Additional resources to explore include the Realtime report overview, which shows data coming in from the last 30 minutes, and
  • Google’s Skillshop Course to help you discover what’s new with GA.

Looking for more information about Google Analytics? Be sure to check out the top mistakes you might be making in GA.

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