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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Part 3: Migration & reporting

Our tools must adapt and progress as we navigate the evolving digital landscapes. One such pivotal change is Google's shift from the well-known Universal Analytics (UA) to the more comprehensive Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This evolution signifies a radical transformation in how data is gathered, analysed, and reported, providing businesses with richer insights into their […]

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Our tools must adapt and progress as we navigate the evolving digital landscapes. One such pivotal change is Google's shift from the well-known Universal Analytics (UA) to the more comprehensive Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This evolution signifies a radical transformation in how data is gathered, analysed, and reported, providing businesses with richer insights into their users' behaviour and engagement.

Transitioning from the familiar territory of UA to the new realms of GA4 may seem intimidating, but rest assured, this guide is here to illuminate your path. We aim to answer your key questions and concerns, diving into the intricacies of GA4 and covering aspects from initial migration to utilising advanced reporting features.

Migrating from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4

Q: Will my old data be transferred to Google Analytics 4?

No, when you set up a GA4 property, it will not have any historical data from your UA property. The two systems collect and structure data differently. Setting up GA4 as soon as possible is a good idea to start gathering data.

Q: How can I ensure a smooth transition to GA4? 

Start by setting up a GA4 property alongside your current Universal Analytics property (pre-July 2023). This will allow you to collect data and get accustomed to GA4 without losing your current UA data. Spend some time exploring the new interface and its features. Use Google's resources and tutorials to understand the new platform better. Over time, as you become more comfortable with GA4, you can gradually transition to it entirely.

Understanding GA4 reports and analysis

Q: What types of reports are available in Google Analytics 4? 

GA4 offers various reports that can help you understand user behaviour and engagement. Some of these include:

  1. Realtime: Similar to Universal Analytics, this report lets you see activity on your site as it happens.
  2. Acquisition: This report shows where your users are coming from, like organic search, , direct visits, etc.
  3. Engagement: This section includes reports about how users engage with your site. It includes , Pages and screens, and Events flow.
  4. Monetisation: This report shows information about the products or services you sell on your e-commerce store.
  5. Retention: This report comprises individual cards summarising user retention data on your website or app. By default, Google Analytics populates the report with several useful cards; however, you can customise the cards in the report to be more tailored to your business goals.
  6. Demographics: This report gives you insights into the age, gender, and interests of your users.
  7. Technology: This report lets you see what technology your users are using, like the browser, operating system, and device.
  8. Exploration: This powerful tool allows you to drag and drop various dimensions and metrics to create custom reports.

Q: How does ‘Exploration' in Google Analytics 4 work?

The ‘Exploration' is a powerful feature in GA4 that allows you to perform advanced analysis with flexible, drag-and-drop functionality. You can use it to build custom reports and visualise data in a way that suits your needs. It offers several types of templates.

Q: What is ‘Funnel Exploration' in GA4? 

Funnel Exploration in GA4 is a feature that allows you to map out a series of events you want users to follow and then analyse how effectively users follow that path. This can help you understand where users drop off, enabling you to change your website or app to increase conversions.

Q: How can I use ‘Path Exploration' in Google Analytics 4? 

Path Exploration allows you to see the events a user triggers during a session. This can be used to understand how users navigate your website or app, their actions, and in what order.

Q: What is ‘Cohort Exploration' in GA4, and how can I use it? 

Cohort Exploration is a type of report that groups users with common characteristics and tracks their behaviour over time. This can help you understand how different groups of users respond to your site or app. For example, you can track users who made a purchase during a specific period and see their behaviour before and after the purchase.

Q: How do I use ‘Segment Overlap' in GA4? 

Segment Overlap allows you to see how different segments of your users overlap. For example, you can see how many users from a paid search also completed a purchase. This information can help you better target your marketing efforts.

Q: What is ‘User Explorer' in Google Analytics 4, and how can I use it? 

The User Explorer report provides insights into individual user behaviour. You can see a timeline of events, like pages viewed and actions taken, for individual users. This feature can be used to understand how different types of users interact with your site or app, which can inform your marketing strategy and user experience improvements.

Q: Can I export data and reports from Google Analytics 4? 

Yes, you can export data and reports from GA4. Click on the export icon in the top right corner of the screen. You can export the current report as a PDF or export the underlying data as a CSV file. This is helpful if you want to perform further analysis or share the data or reports with others.

Q: Can I create custom dashboards in GA4? 

Yes, you can create custom dashboards in GA4 by using the ‘Exploration' tab. You can build your reports with the metrics and dimensions that matter most to you and save them for easy access. You can also share these custom dashboards with your team.

Embracing the power of Google Analytics 4

In this era of rapid digital transformation, we must seize the opportunities that change presents. Google Analytics 4, with its robust suite of reporting and analysis tools, is an embodiment of such an opportunity. It allows businesses to garner deeper, more meaningful insights into user behaviour and engagement, revolutionising how we use data in strategic decision-making.

The shift from UA to GA4 is not merely a tool change; it's an expansion of possibilities within digital analytics. As you acclimate to GA4's innovative interface and features, it promises to become an invaluable part of your data strategy, empowering your decision-making processes and refining your marketing efforts.

Whether you're at the beginning of your GA4 migration journey or delving into its advanced reporting features, remember that mastering the tool is just the beginning. The real power of GA4 lies in how you apply its insights. As we navigate away from Universal Analytics and explore the depths of Google Analytics 4, let's embrace the transformation and the incredible opportunities it presents for our businesses.

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Simon Cohen
Simon Cohen
Simon Cohen is a senior writer at Tech Edition. He is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things tech. Apart from writing about tech, Simon spends his time in the music studio as a producer. Before joining Tech Edition, Simon worked at Vox, The Wall Street Journal, and The Verge, overseeing consumer tech coverage.

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