In October of 2020, Google announced a new version of Google Analytics called Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This guide is designed to help B2B marketers migrate their analytics tracking ecosystem from Universal Analytics (UA) to GA4 following Google’s recommended best practices.
In this article you will:
Learn what is new in GA4.
- Get clear migration steps for migrating your tracking to GA4.
- Learn how to set up event tracking.
- Learn how to set up e-commerce tracking if needed.
- Discover what to keep in mind when using GA4.
What is new in Google Analytics GA4?
Google Analytics 4 is a brand new platform that uses machine learning and builds on the infrastructure of BigQuery. GA4 is designed to give B2B marketers a richer, more accurate picture of their customers across devices and channels.
Some of the key features of GA4 include:
- Cross-device measurement: GA4 can link together multiple devices used by the same person to give you a more complete view of their behavior.
- Offline data: GA4 can track offline conversions, such as phone calls or in-store purchases, and attribute them back to your online marketing campaigns. This is incredibly helpful for complex B2B account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns.
- Enhanced customer journey reporting: GA4’s new funnel reports show how customers move through the various stages of your marketing funnel.
If you’re using Universal Analytics (UA), you can migrate your existing tracking code to GA4. However, GA4 offers a different data model than UA, so it’s important to understand the differences between the two platforms before migrating and to be careful during the migration process.
Migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4
Migrating to GA4 is a lot more complex than simply changing the tracking code as was the case with the upgrade to Google Universal Analytics. Due to this, we recommend approaching a GA4 migration in phases, as different types of data are now collected with different methodologies. Our approach at Zipline uses the following phases:
- Setup pageview tracking
- Setup Event Tracking
- Setup eCommerce Tracking
- Setup Inter-platform integrations
Lets get started.
How to setup pageview tracking in GA4
The first step is to add the GA4 tag to your site. You can find more information on how to do this in Google’s help documentation:
Next, you need to decide whether you want to use GA4’s built-in pageview tracking or configure your own. GA4’s built-in pageview tracking offers some advantages over UA’s, such as:
- The ability to track across devices
- The ability to track offline conversions
- Enhanced customer journey reporting
If you decide to use GA4’s built-in pageview tracking, you can find more information on how to configure it in Google’s help documentation:
If you decide to configure your own pageview tracking, you’ll need to use the “config” command in Google Tag Manager. The config command allows you to specify the parameters that will be sent with each pageview hit. You can find more information on how to use the config command in Google’s help documentation:
Once you’ve decided how you want to configure pageview tracking, the next step is to set up event tracking.
Setting up Event Tracking in GA4
In GA4 eCommerce tracking is done via the “e-commerce” command. The e-commerce command allows you to specify the parameters that will be sent with each transaction hit. You can find more information on how to use the e-commerce command in Google’s help documentation:
Once you’ve set up eCommerce tracking, the final step is to set up any inter-platform integrations.
Setting up Inter-Platform Integrations
If you’re using any third-party platforms that rely on data from GA4, you’ll need to set up an inter-platform integration. Inter-platform integrations are done via the “integration” command. The integration command allows you to specify the parameters that will be used to connect GA4 with the third-party platform. You can find more information on how to use the integration command in Google’s help documentation:
Once you’ve completed all of the steps above, you should have a fully functional GA4 tracking ecosystem. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using GA4.
Things to Keep in Mind When Using GA4
One of the most important things to keep in mind when using GA4 is that it’s a very new platform. As such, there are bound to be some bugs and limitations. Google is actively working to address these issues, but it’s important to be aware of them before you make the switch.
Another thing to keep in mind is that GA4 doesn’t yet have all of the features that UA has. Some of the most notable features that are missing from GA4 include:
- Custom dimensions
- Custom metrics
- Content groups
- Attribution modeling
If any of these features are important to your tracking, you may want to stick with UA for the time being or run both UA and GA4 at the same time.
Finally, it’s important to note that GA4 is not compatible with UA.
his means that if you switch to GA4, you won’t be able to use any of your existing UA tracking code or events. You can run both systems at once but they will each need to be configured independently.
While there are some things to keep in mind when using GA4, it’s a very powerful platform and with the sunsetting of Universal Analytics, it is time for B2B marketers to make the transition. With its new features and improved usability, GA4 is sure to revolutionize the way B2B marketing efforts are tracked.
If you have any questions about GA4 or how to migrate from Universal Analytics, feel free to reach out to our team. We have extensive experience configuring and optimizing GA4 as well as a variety of other tracking systems and we can help you maximize the effectiveness of your tracking ecosystem so that you know exactly how effective your marketing dollars are!