What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and why do I need it?

GA4 is a new tracking code to enable loads of new data about the visitors to your website.

If you use the free tool Google Analytics on your website to track the number of visitors you get to your website, then you really need to know about Google Analytics 4 (GA4). The new tracking code will improve and increase the amount of data you'll need to improve the useability of your website and thereby give visitors a better experience.

GA4: 

  • Collects both website and app data to better understand the customer journey
  • Uses event-based data instead of session-based
  • Includes privacy controls such as cookieless measurement, and behavioral and conversion modeling.
  • Its predictive capabilities offer guidance without complex models
  • Direct integrations to media platforms help drive actions on your website or app

Do I need to use GA4?

The short answer is YES. Google Analytics 4 is replacing the old UA-# Universal Analytics. On July 1, 2023, all standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits.

360 Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2024.

If you have a Universal Analytics property, you must migrate. The earlier you migrate, the more historical data and insights you will have in GA4.

Can I set it up?

Yes, although this is a learning curve in itself, even for SEO teams. Google Support pages offer detailed instructions on the steps for setting up the tracking and also adding Events and Ads, Ecommerce etc. Plan on investing a few hours to really understand the tools in full.

Google advises "Set GA4 today, to get a complete view of consumer behavior across web and app by using first-party, modeled data. Improved machine learning features, actionable reporting, and new integrations help you adapt to an evolving privacy and technology landscape to keep getting the insights you rely on."

How do I get a GA4 tracking code and add it to my website?

There are 4 ways to get started. You will need at least an 'editor' or 'administrator' User level to access the Admin area of the Google Analytics account:

Option 1: Set up Analytics data collection for the first time.

Create a free Google Analytics account (If it's for a business website, use the Google account associated with that business). Follow the steps within the tool to create the tracking code to apply to your website (within the <head> code). 

Option 2: Add GA4 to a site with Universal Analytics (UA-#)

With the Admin area of Google Analytics, under 'Property View', you'll see the "GA4 Setup Assistant. The setup here will add a Google Analytics 4 property alongside your existing Universal Analytics property. Your Universal Analytics property will continue to collect data up until the deadline date of July 1 2023. You can access both using the property selector in the Admin area.

Option 3: Add GA4 via a website builder platform or CMS plugin.

Option 4: Add the GA4 ID# to your Tag Manager account and set Triggers, Tags, and Events via the Tag Manager.


Set up GA4 in HubSpot
: This is relatively easy - follow these steps.

What's better about GA4?

GA4 enables you to track additional data that Universal Analytics could not. For example, Sessions is an automatically tracked function of GA4.

NOTE: Some aspects of session counting in Google Analytics 4 differ from Universal Analytics. In Universal Analytics, a new campaign will start a new session regardless of activity. In Google Analytics 4, a new campaign does not begin a new session. This may lead to lower session counts in your Google Analytics 4 property.

Custom Events, Metrics, and much more: You can see them all via Google Support docs.

 

Happy data tracking with GA4. 

HubDo Support Services.