Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is an event-based, instead of session-based analytics tool that will replace Universal Analytics officially on July 1st of 2023. GA4 measures actions on your website conducted by users and provides friendly dashboards and an interface for understanding user behavior which can inform your web and app designs, marketing content, and even sales decisions.
The move to GA4 has finally happened. Are you getting the most out of your reporting and insights?
In late 2020, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) officially became the default tool for organizations tracking any new digital properties. With that, the path to sunsetting the previous iteration (Universal Analytics) was set in motion.
While there are many benefits to this new era of digital measurement, it’s vitally important that your business adjust to these new tracking methodologies and get the most out of the new reporting. Marcel Digital is proud to be a longstanding Google Analytics Certified Partner and we’re ready to guide your team in the transition to GA4. Get the most out of your GA4 with data validation, implementation, training, reporting enhancement, and consulting from Marcel Digital. Don't just migrate to GA4. Use GA4 to completely transform the way you measure and report on your website and marketing channels.
What’s Changed With Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is designed for both scale and privacy. It also offers more robust tracking for web and app experiences. Cross-device measurement is at the heart of this upgrade as it enables brands to track all digital interactions in a single platform. To coincide with this new approach, GA4 has put less focus on the session metrics of yesterday in favor of more user and event analysis.
Additionally, the platform provides a new forwarding-thinking perspective on privacy and cookies. The GA4 architecture is designed to rely on data modeling to fill in gaps of incomplete information. While it still uses first-party cookies for now, it will soon incorporate Google’s machine learning models to fully support a future without them.
Finally, users will note changes to the reporting interface, including fewer standard reports, but a more robust custom reporting tool. Most consumers of Universal Analytics (UA) data will likely find most of their day-to-day reports are no longer available out-of-the-box (although a skilled GA4 expert will be able to help guide you on the best alternatives and new reporting methods.)
GA4 also introduces API quota limits. These are different from sampling and users are now limited to how much and how often they can pull data from GA4. You’ll likely be affected if you have complex reports and/or a volume of users accessing data from GA.
Benefits of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Consulting
To put it concisely, Google Analytics 4 is complex. The platform is always evolving and as a result, so are the various POVs on the best way to do things. With 100+ properties set up to date, our analytics experts have learned a lot, and we are ready to help you understand and get the most out of the platform.
If you’re a marketing team that utilizes Google Analytics as your single source of truth, it is important to work with a GA4 expert to optimize your implementation and to get the most out of your data and reporting. The team at Marcel Digital brings expertise that comes from years of experience, allowing us to not only validate your implementation, but bring proactive and personalized recommendations to your organization.
Key Dates for Google Analytics 4 Services
October 14, 2020
Google Analytics 4 became the default for organizations creating a new tracked property. Universal Analytics, which refers to the previous generation of Analytics, remains active.
July 1, 2023
Universal Analytics properties will not process data after this date. All new data will be imported into Google Analytics 4 properties only.
December 31, 2023
This is the date you'll lose access to your legacy UA data. Users have until this date to extract any data they want to keep for reporting purposes.
Google Analytics 4 Migration
The experts at Marcel Digital have successfully migrated and optimized over 100 GA4 properties to date. Our clients also span across many verticals including healthcare, manufacturing, education, finance, logistics, SAAS and insurance. In other words, there’s not much we haven’t seen.
These various implementations have been as simple as recreations of UA data to the more advanced setups that include full enhanced e-commerce, integrations with CRMs, and BigQuery-based reporting.
While we’ve worked with organizations both big and small, we follow a general process to ensure we stand behind every property we touch.
Keep reading for an overview of our approach to Google Analytics 4 migration services:
1. We conduct a full audit of your Google Analytics setup.
To determine that your account was migrated accurately, it’s important we audit your current GA setup. Our comprehensive audits consist of a 100+ point checklist to ensure every aspect of your implementation is accurate and optimized. We will look at what you’re already tracking, check for proper configuration, and see what you could be tracking but are not yet. Many clients are unaware (or not sure how to set up) tracking for specific events on the site like video analytics, transactions, form fills, and more with GA4.
We will take a deep dive and look at what is tracking on the site and what we could be tracking to increase performance. Then we'll make robust changes to fill in gaps in your reporting.
2. We gather all tracking requirements from various stakeholders.
Because many teams in the marketing department typically need access to GA, we will make sure to involve all parties who rely on Google Analytics for reporting on their marketing projects and endeavors. This helps make sure that we cover all bases in regards to reporting and tracking, and ensure each team has what they need to make data-driven decisions.
3. We build custom reports and dashboards based on your business needs.
Once we've completed the audit and gathered all tracking requirements and reporting needs, we will move on to reporting. In this stage, we'll help you create easy-to-digest reports and dashboards which will help your team pull up valuable insights at a moment’s notice.
And by connecting your data to Google Looker Studio we can also build a report that fits your business and stakeholder's individual needs.
4. We configure your Google Tag Manager.
Part of our process is to help configure your Google Tag Manager (GTM) properly and/or audit an existing GTM container. This ensures all tags are in proper working order and gives visibility to any gaps in tracking site performance and other key metrics.
GTM will be the foundation on which your implementation is built, ensuring a clean and organized tagging structure for current and future tracking.
We will validate that your GTM events are all firing correctly and ensure that your tags are not getting in the way of site performance.
5. We train and educate your team on how to optimize and make changes to GA4.
GA4 has a steeper learning curve than Universal Analytics. To help create more digestible reporting, our team will create dynamic reports in Google Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio) for your team to use. In addition, we will provide UTM tracking governance tools to help you keep your data organized and optimized in GA4.
Whether it's by providing robust training or providing internal documentation, we will make sure that you have what you need to fully utilize your data.
6. We inform you of the latest developments, features, and reports in GA4.
As a Google Analytics Certified Partner, we are provided advanced notice of new features and updates. We will use this knowledge to help guide and counsel your analytics migration and decisions.
We will also ensure that you remain informed of any upcoming changes so that you are your team can plan and prepare accordingly.
Why is GA4 Worth Migrating?
Companies must migrate as GA3/UA will be sunset on July 1, 2023. Getting your website setup on Google Analytics 4 (GA4) can provide valuable insights into your customers' behavior and preferences, allowing you to better tailor your marketing efforts and improve your website's user experience. Additionally, GA4's enhanced tracking capabilities and integration with other Google marketing tools make it a powerful tool for optimizing your digital marketing strategy.
Below are some key advantages to doing it now instead of later:
1. You won’t have a gap in data for comparison purposes.
Your Google Analytics account will stop collecting new information unless you migrate to GA4. Also because the new GA property cannot pull in historical data from UA properties, the sooner you get GA4 implemented, the more data you will have to analyze. This is super important because you won’t be able to do comparable analytics without enough data collected. Marcel Digital recommends you implement GA4 as soon as you can, whether it’s with our agency or another agency. It is vital to have GA4 configured and running well before the cutoff date of July 1, 2023.
2. You won’t stress out your CMO or head of digital on July 1st when all standard UA properties stop processing new hits.
Because UA will shut off the processing of new sessions/hits in July, it could cause a lot of havoc within your marketing team who relies on key data to measure how things are performing. Google strongly recommends early migration.
"July 1, 2023 all standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits….The earlier you migrate, the more historical data and insights you will have in Google Analytics 4."
3. You’ll add machine learning to your analytics mix.
GA4 uses machine learning to help provide insights and optimization to your site and campaigns. The more information that GA4 has the more accurate its suggestions will be.
4. You’ll potentially have even better insights through integrations.
GA4 also boosts integrations with media platforms like Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC), Google Ads, Google Optimize, Display & Video 360 (DV360), Search Ads 360 (SA360), and more which will help you understand customer journeys and performance of content at a deeper level.
5. You’ll give your customers increased privacy with event-based tracking through GA4.
Because GA4 tracks event-based data instead of session-based data, it’s a future-ready tracking solution aware that cookieless tracking will soon be the status quo. Event-based tracking with GA4 means increased customer privacy without losing data that will allow you to draw similar conclusions about the customer journeys on your websites and apps.
Post GA4 Migration Services
What happens after you’ve migrated from UA to GA4?
Our company provides continual support to ensure GA4 is fully integrated into your company. We will provide training, reports, dashboards, documentation, and more to make sure you get the most out of your GA4 configuration and setup.
Marcel Digital GA4 Consulting Services
We provide ongoing consulting services with our Google Analytics 4 specialists. We’ll provide insights and reporting that will help you grow your business. In addition, we answer all your GA4 questions. Depending on your level of need, we can set up weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly check-ins with our analytics specialists to monitor progress and ensure you’re getting the most out of GA4.
GA4 Frequently Asked Questions
We partnered with Marcel to upgrade a complex Google Analytics account to GA4, and it truly did feel like a partnership. They were transparent with us about what was and wasn't possible, provided thoughtful answers to questions, and helped us navigate the transition smoothly. They weren't pushy about adding services, didn't have any hidden charges, and I would wholeheartedly work with them again if the need arose. Highly recommend!
Ashley Christopherson / Web Performance Manager / Fortra
These guys know how to measure performance. They're pros at Analytics configuration for sites big and small. Not sure you’re getting accurate reports or good insights? Let them take a quick look.
Andy Crestodina / Co-Founder, Chief Marketing Officer / Orbit Media Studios
I went with Marcel Digital over a larger - and much higher priced - competitor and it's one of the best decisions I've made. Marcel Digital are lovely people to deal with, extremely knowledgeable and approachable and willing to take the time to examine possible solutions that differ from how they would normally proceed. I value the partnership with their company and am planning on having our company be a client of theirs for years to come. Can't recommend them enough.
Michael Duquet / Director, Web Strategy / Absolute Software
Marcel Digital is simply the best Digital Marketing agency. We hired them years ago, and I can't say enough amazing things about their dedication to the field, to my team, and their phenomenal leadership team. Top-notch professionals all around.
Kim Rafalowitz / Dir. of Global Marketing / Worldpoint
We have been using Marcel Digital for the past few years. We attribute our growth to the staff at Marcel and have embraced them as part of our company. Their insight and attention to detail have been indispensable. They take a personal approach to our products and processes and see our success as their own. We highly recommend Marcel!
Rob Dunbar / Marketing Manager / Lightmart
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