4 Reasons Why Your Business Should Move To GA4

April 20, 2022


With Universal Analytics depreciating in July 2023, businesses need to think about how and when to start migrating to new GA4 properties. So why should you be thinking about making the move now?

  1. It provides the opportunity to implement a conversion measurement strategy that can be used to guide your KPIs for growth.
  2. You will be able to take advantage of new features that will be added to GA4 over the coming months.
  3. It allows for a much needed data cleanup, some properties have been collecting data since 2005.
  4. It will allow year on year data comparisons within the same property when Universal Analytics is depreciated.

What to consider when moving to GA4

There are a lot of changes to consider when migrating to GA4, which can be particularly challenging for larger businesses that may have dozens of properties and views with conversion goals mapped across all of these.

Some main changes to consider during a migration are:

  1. There are no more “views” in GA4, everything is managed through properties and data streams.
  2. Events are created in a completely different way. Say goodbye to the familiar event categories, actions and labels.
  3. You will need to use custom definitions to track custom event parameters.
  4. Conversions are now tracked using events, either built in or custom (no more goals based on thank-you pages).
  5. There are new enhanced measurements automatically available for every account.

Why the move to GA4 is GOOD

Google Analytics has been around for a long time and, it’s safe to say, there are a lot of poorly structured and maintained accounts. We come across these common issues time & again when auditing existing Google Analytics accounts:

  • Broken tracking
  • Redundant information
  • Poorly optimised event tracking
  • Incorrect settings

With the forced move to GA4, this will allow event tracking to be built from the ground up. Clean, accurate data can be sent straight to your GA4 property which can be used to make meaningful decisions about your customer’s journey and how they interact with your site. You will be able use insights from your data to improve core digital strategies including, sales funnel development, content creation, digital marketing and UX design.

What is a conversion measurement strategy?

Simply put, a conversion measurement strategy is a list of valuable actions that a user can take on your site. Some of these may be high-value actions, such as completing a contact form or buying a product and some, lower-value actions, such as subscribing to a newsletter.

A good conversion measurement strategy will have rules to define how a specific action should be categorised and sub categorised. This is important as when future actions are identified, the event hierarchy and naming conventions will remain consistent allowing for clean, structured data in your account. Where possible, events can be categorised using the GA4 “recommended events” naming convention, with additional custom parameters added to these events to enrich the data further.

Before migrating to GA4 and starting your event implementation, you should always create your conversion measurement strategy first. Some good questions to consider are:

  • What are the most valuable web actions to the business (conversions)?
  • What secondary actions show that a user is engaged with the business?
  • What stage of the conversion funnel do these actions sit in?
  • What information are internal teams most interested in?
    • Does this change between teams?
  • hat information are stakeholders most interested in? These questions will help you structure your plan so that you can get the most out of your data.

What are GA4 enhancement measurements?

GA4 has some handy built-in measurements that were not present in universal analytics. You will, however, still want/need to set up additional tracking for custom events on your website.

These enhanced measurements are:

  • Scroll depth tracking (this triggers when a users scrolls to 90%+ page depth)
  • Download tracking (matches to most file type extensions eg .pdf)
  • Outbound link clicks (clicks to another website)
  • Video engagements (for embedded youtube videos)
  • Site search tracking (using query parameters [q, s, search, query, keyword])

UA vs. GA4 Example

Let’s take a look at a new vs old tracking setup. The below table is a common example of universal analytics tracking setups we have seen in the past. All of the form submissions can be considered a lead, however, there is a lot of redundant information in the Categories, Actions & Leads (CAL) . This is in part because the CAL is not suitable for capturing the data that we need. A more suitable approach would be to categorise and sub categorise these actions.

The below table shows the same 4 user actions, with a much cleaner structure that can be implemented in GA4. By passing custom parameters with property:value pairs, we can segment our data into meaningful categories that can then be visualised in analytics. We can see high-level statistics of “total leads generated” as well as drilling down into how each stage of the funnel is performing.

Of course, there are more complex setups that can be implemented in GA4, but having clean structured data goes a long way in creating a useful tool that can be used to improve your business performance.

Final Thoughts

The move to GA4 presents a great opportunity for businesses to implement new event and conversion tracking throughout their website. With a well-planned implementation, you will be able to benefit from richer data, leading to deeper and more informative insights. These insights will ultimately help you to better answer questions around business performance, health & growth. By making the move to GA4 now, you will be able to future-proof your data analytics and implement a successful measurement strategy to fuel business growth.

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