Preparing for Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics has been around for nearly two decades. In that time, the popular analytics tool has undergone multiple updates and changes, the most recent of which occurred with the switch to Google analytics 4 (GA 4).

Universal analytics (UA) and GA 3 users aren’t all excited about the upgrade. Some feel like the system will be too complex or that it will be hard to get used to. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how publishers feel about making the change. If they want to continue accessing the program’s most useful tools, they’ll need to switch over either way.

How to Make the Switch

The good news is that while GA 4 may take some getting used to, making the initial switch should not be hard. Here’s a quick step-by-step to get publishers started.

Step One: Create a New Property

The first step is to create a new property in the GA account. Do this by logging in, clicking on “Admin,” and selecting “Create Property” from the drop-down menu. Upon selecting GA4, users will be prompted to finish the property creation and configure it to import old data.

Step Two: Install the Global Site Tag

The global site tag gtag.js is a framework that allows users to collect and send data to GA. Find the code for the new property by navigating through these menus:

  1. Admin
  2. Property
  3. Tracking Info
  4. Global Site Tag

From there, it’s just a matter of copying and pasting the code from GA into a website’s code. WordPress plugins like Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress (GADWP) can also insert the tracking code automatically for users of the popular content management system. Some managed WordPress hosting platforms, including our own, will also include the necessary code.

Step 3: Verify the Function

Use Google Tag Assistant to verify that the gtag.js code is operating as intended. This free Chrome extension from Google will automatically detect tags on the page and alert the user to whether they’re working.

When’s the Deadline?

Google announced the change to GA 4 in October 2020, so people have had plenty of time to adapt. From July 2023 on, Universal Analytics will no longer be able to gather data and publishers will need to switch over or lose the ability to use GA, at all. The company plans to allow users to continue accessing previously processed UA data for an extra six months.

Consequences of Refusing Change

Publishers that refuse to make the switch from UA or GA 3 to GA 4 will find out in July that they are no longer able to use the program. People who don’t migrate everything over to GA 4 will also lose access to their historical data. In other words, now is the time to make the change. Our Managed WordPress Hosting clients need not worry however, as we have already completed this migration for their websites. Please reach out if you’re interested in our Managed WordPress hosting platform.

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