Google Analytics 4: What You Need to Know

Essential news: Google’s legacy analytics solution, Universal Analytics, is on its way out, and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will take the reins on July 1, 2023. 

That’s a big deal, so the Growth team has put together some resources here to empower you to make the transition as easy as possible. 

A graphic design showing small figures representing business professionals congregating around a large laptop computer with various analytics graphs and charts in an outdoor setting with "Google Analytics 4" in large text at the top.

Let’s break it down: 

Which Version Is My Business Using Currently?

Now, you might be wondering if your Google Analytics property is impacted, so here’s the gist of it: 

  • If you created your property before October 14, 2020, you're probably using a Universal Analytics property. 
  • If your property was created after that date, you're most likely already on Google Analytics 4, and you won't need to take any action.

This is just to say that it’s crucial to make the switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible to establish the necessary historical data and usage in the new platform. 

Because you’ll want a smooth transition for your business when Universal Analytics is no longer available. 

What Do I Need to Do?

Starting July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data, and the next-generation measurement solution, Google Analytics 4, will become the standard. So, it's time to get ready for the switch.

First things first, let's make sure you understand what's happening. 

  • In March 2023, Google began automatically creating a GA4 property for you if you haven't done so already - unless you choose to opt out. 
  • This new property will be based on the settings in your Universal Analytics property. 
  • If you've already created a GA4 property linked to a Universal Analytics property, any configurations (such as goals, audiences, etc.) will be copied over unless you decide to opt out.
  • You can continue to use and collect data in your Universal Analytics properties until the July 1, 2023 deadline. 
  • After that, you'll still have access to your previously processed data for at least six months. 

We know how important your data is, so don't forget to export your historical reports during this period. 

If you’re making the transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 or just starting out, we’ve got you covered. 

Google Analytics 4: The Basics

A graphic design of an outdoor setting with clouds and trees blowing in the wind with the words "Google Analytics 4" in large text at the top and a bulleted list of features that are beneficial to businesses from Growth Marketing Firm.

Launched in October 2020, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google's web analytics platform. 

While GA4 is still relatively new, there are several big reasons why businesses should consider making the switch.

Here are just a few of GA4’s features and benefits:  

Let’s dig into these features and how they help you make better data-driven decisions for your business. 

Tracks Interactions Across Devices and Platforms

This is one of the biggest challenges of growing a business in a digital landscape, hands down. 

Mobile devices, social media, and the plethora of digital platforms out there now make it difficult to accurately track user interactions on your website so you can serve your customers and prospects better. 

GA4 addresses this challenge by offering a new measurement model that allows for better tracking of cross-device and cross-platform interactions. 

With GA4, you can discover a more comprehensive map of your customer's journey across different touchpoints, providing valuable insights that can inform marketing strategies and improve user experiences.

Enhances Data Privacy + Compliance

Data privacy and compliance are a must in 2023 and beyond, but it’s a challenge to find a tool to help you protect your customer’s data (and yours). 

Plus, with the introduction of regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), businesses now must take extra precautions to ensure that they’re collecting and using data in a transparent and compliant manner.

GA4 has been designed with that in mind. 

It includes features like consent mode, which allows businesses to obtain user consent for data collection and processing. 

And it gives you control over what customer data your business holds, allowing you to delete user data on request. 

The true benefit of using GA4 around user data is that you don’t have to worry about whether you’re being compliant or transparent according to the regulations. 

Improves Event Tracking and Analysis

Another major improvement in GA4 is the introduction of an event-driven data model. 

Without needing to set up specific tracking codes for each one, you can track a more wide range of user interactions (events) on your website like: 

  • Clicks
  • Video views
  • Downloads 

The event-driven data model also provides businesses with more flexibility when analyzing data. 

Instead of being limited to predefined metrics, you can create custom events to track and use metrics specific to what data your business needs to see. 

This allows you to gain a deeper understanding of your customer's behaviors and preferences and to use this information to improve your marketing strategies which improves results and marketing ROI.  

A graphic design of an outdoor setting with clouds and trees blowing in the wind with the words "Google Analytics 4" in large text at the top with a quote about the benefits of pairing Google Analytics 4 with HubSpot CMS from Growth Marketing Firm.

Powers AI Predictions and Interactions

We’ve all got our eyes on what AI can do to enhance our business models, and Google has been offering it for a while now through GA4 to provide businesses with customer insights and predictions based on customer preferences and interests

By using AI to analyze this, GA4 can identify patterns and trends that you might not have otherwise noticed, allowing you to tailor marketing strategies to what your customers need or want from your business. 

GA4 can also use machine learning algorithms to make predictions about future user behavior, helping you anticipate trends and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Integrates with Other Google Products

Finally, GA4 is designed to be seamlessly integrated with other Google products, including:

  • Google Ads
  • Google Tag Manager
  • Google Optimize 

This makes it easier to manage your digital marketing campaigns and to gain a more complete picture of your customer's journeys.

For example, by integrating GA4 with Google Ads, businesses can gain insights into the effectiveness of their ad campaigns and adjust their targeting and messaging accordingly. 

Integrating GA4 with HubSpot: Enhanced Data Insights for Your Business

Combining the power of GA4 with HubSpot CMS can provide invaluable insights for businesses looking to make data-driven decisions. 

When you integrate GA4 with HubSpot, your Google Analytics account will collect data on visitor interactions with your HubSpot-hosted content, giving you a comprehensive view of your site's performance.

There are two ways to integrate GA4 with HubSpot:

  1. Add a Google Analytics Measurement ID to your HubSpot settings – This method is suitable for users with a Marketing Hub Starter subscription without a CMS Hub subscription.
  2. Insert your Google Analytics tracking code snippet into the site header HTML for your domain – This method allows you to track specific blogs or pages.

By leveraging HubSpot CMS alongside GA4, businesses can take advantage of the robust content management system and its built-in SEO tools while also gaining valuable insights from Google Analytics. 

This integration offers a more streamlined user experience, enabling you to:

  • track user behavior
  • analyze traffic patterns
  • make informed decisions to optimize your marketing ROI

Google Analytics 4 + HubSpot CMS gives you the best of both worlds, allowing you to benefit from the powerful features of each platform, ultimately leading to improved results and growth for your business.

Speaking of Best of Both Worlds: Growth Operations

Growth is a Google partner as well as a HubSpot Diamond Solutions Partner which means we’re certified to help you with either (or both!) of these platforms.

 Our expert team stands ready. Talk to us about what you need. 

Learn about Inbound Marketing Services from Growth Marketing Firm