At the time of writing, we have little under four weeks until migration from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), and while it has been around since October 2020 the reception has been a bit of a mixed bag.
On July 1st 2023, Universal Analytics will no longer track hits and will only really be useful for historical data. Replacing this more “traditional” form of analytics is GA4, a new take on App + Web properties that relies significantly on machine learning with the aim of helping analyst professionals forecast data with predictive analytics.
We’ve urged everyone we can to migrate their UA data to GA4 to get the jump on the most accurate data they can. If you haven’t migrated within six weeks, UA will cease to work, meaning you could be left with no tracking on your website.
With no access to:
- Where your visitors are going
- How many visitors you have
- Your all important conversions
In order to collect data, you need to set up the correct analytics tag on your site, this does depend on what CMS (content management system) you’re using to run your website.
Setting up a tag
To get started with Google Analytics 4, you will need to place your Measurement ID on your site using a GA4 Configuration Tag. Although there are two ways to set up a tag (gtag or Google tag manager), we recommend tag manager because it is highly customisable usually without extra development work.
Set up Google Tag Manager (GTM)
- Create a new account and container
- Install the container
- Now that you installed the container on your website, you’re ready to add new tags.
When your new container first loads, you will see a different dialog depending on the container’s type:
* Web and AMP: You receive the installation code snippet for your website.
* iOS and Android: You receive a link to the developer documentation.
* Server: You can choose from provisioning a server automatically or manually.
1. In Tag Manager, click Workspace.
2. Near the top of the window, find your container ID, formatted as “GTM-XXXXXX”.
3. Click your container ID to launch the Install Tag Manager box.
4. Copy and paste the code snippets into your website as instructed in the Install Tag Manager box.
5. Place the “script” code snippet in the
6. Place the “noscript” code snippet immediately after the “body” tag in your HTML output.
1. In your Workspace, click >Tags.
2. To add a tag, click New.
3. Name your tag and configure it:
4. Tag Configuration: Choose the type of tag you want to manage. Google Tag Manager supports tags for Google products and third party tags. If you need more help with setting up a tag from a Google product, refer to Your guide to Google Tag Manager.
5. If no tag type matches, you can create a custom HTML or image tag.
6. Triggering: Triggers govern if a page tag is fired or blocked. Learn more about triggers
*Optional: Add a note to your configuration for later reference. To add a note, click the more actions More menu and select Show Notes*
7. Click Save and create more tags as needed.
Once this tag is placed, you will add the site as a Data Stream in GA4. To do this, navigate to the Admin screen by selecting the settings gear in the bottom left corner. From this screen, select “Data Streams” under the Property column.
Google’s security standards are strict. Google products only collect data on pages where you have deployed the associated tags.
Getting useful data from GA4
If you complete additional configurations to enable on GA4, you will receive more relevant and accurate data.
Google states that;
Many configurations determine what data is collected in your property, so it will only be available from when you complete them.
The sooner you configure these properties, the more valuable the data. Our checklist for recommended configurations is below:
GA4 is focused on two main things: machine learning and data visualisation
Google Analytics hopes to help users identify current, and forecast future, trends. When it comes to SEO, predicting trends can be tricky.
SEO forecasting is the practice of predicting and estimating changes in your website’s search engine visibility. This includes factors such as organic traffic, keyword rankings, and more.
Google Analytics automatically enriches your data by bringing Google machine-learning expertise to bear on your dataset to predict the future behavior of your users. With predictive metrics, you learn more about your customers just by collecting structured event data.
GA4 is now able to track both web and app behaviour on multiple devices meaning that GA4 uses user-based analytics, this is a key difference from the session-based analytics we’re used to seeing on UA.
In regards to data visualisation GA4 is committed to communicating potentially complex information in a clear and concise manner – regardless of the audience’s level of experience and expertise. You can find these data visualisations under the explore tab, with these reports you can deep dive into user behaviour at an incredibly intimate level – and have useful visuals to really tell a data story.
Below are the templates available for use, you can also start with a blank canvas for your data:
We’ll talk more about data visualisation in the explore tab in a later article. There is a lot to learn about GA4, but you don’t need to know everything. Our experts have been working hard to hone their craft and are here to help your business succeed with GA4.