Data collection in Universal Analytics, the old version of Google Analytics' traffic measurement tool, will completely stop on 1 July 2023. However, if you haven't implemented Google Analytics 4 (GA4) — the latest version of the tool — or are unsure if it's up and running, don't worry. Even if there is a short time left before the old GA stops collecting data, it doesn't take too long to do the necessary steps for a basic setup for migration to GA4.
Depending on the technical setup you have, there are a number of different approaches:
In may be the case that GA4 has already been implemented automatically on your account. In March 2023, Google rolled out a solution to automatically create GA4 properties for those who have not yet migrated manually.
These properties retrieve data via the tracking code that was already set up for Universal Analytics. This means that you will most likely collect data for GA4 even if you have not taken action.
It may also be that a developer or another person has already implemented GA4 for your website. Either way, you need to check this.
A quick way to check if there is a GA4 property in your GA account is to look at the id that each property has. The ID for "old" Google Analytics follows the format UA-XXXXXXXXXXX-1 (it starts with "UA" and ends with a number). The ID for a GA4 property consists only of digits, without any letters.
How to see if you are using Universal Analytics or Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
If you want more tips on how to check if you are using GA Universal or GA4, check this link to Google's support on the subject: How to check whether you have Universal Analytics or Google Analytics 4.
An easy way to check whether GA4 is collecting data is to look at a real-time report. Such a standard report can be found under Reports > Real-time. It shows, among other things, the number of visitors during the last 30 minutes. If you see numbers here, GA4 is collecting visitor data.
Check the real-time report to see if data is collected in GA4.
It can also be interesting to see how long GA4 has been implemented. You can find out by looking at the report Reports > Acquisition > User acquisition. Then change the date selector to cover a longer period. The longest default selection is 12 months, but you can also set a custom interval. You can now look at the graph showing visitors per traffic source over time, and use the graph to understand when GA4 was implemented and started collecting data.
For example, you can use the user acquisition report to understand via the graph when GA4 started collecting data.
What to do if GA4 is not implemented at all?
If GA4 is not implemented at all, meaning that there is no GA4 property in your Analytics account, you need to do the following to migrate to GA4:
You do this by clicking on "create property" and then going through a step-by-step guide where you get answers to some questions. One of the questions is about "business objectives". In this step, select "Get baseline reports" if you are unsure of what to answer.
Create a GA4 property by clicking "Create property" when inside your GA account
The guide ends by asking you to choose the type of platform you want to use GA4 on. You can choose between Web, Android app or iOS app.
If you choose Web, you enter the URL and name of the website in the next step. You also get the choice of what you want to measure. Here, "enhanced measurement" is selected by default. This setting makes it possible to measure scroll, clicks to external sites, internal site search, interactions with video content, form interactions and file downloads, on top of the usual analytics such as page views and sessions.
Once you have made your choices, click on "create stream".
Now, a so-called stream is created, which has a 'Measurement ID' associated with it. It is this ID that you use to, for example, implement GA4 via Google Tag Manager, via HubSpot or in another CMS that has a prepared integration.
Directly in GA4 there are also guides for how to implement tracking in Drupal, Squarespace, Typo3, Wix and others.
In the GA4 interface there are a number of implementation guides for common CMS.
If you're a HubSpot using, implementing GA4 is easy. Under Settings > Website > Pages > Integrations, you simply enter your measurement id to track all the site's pages in GA4.
When the tracking code is implemented, validate that data is collected from the site. As I described above, you can easily validate the implementation by looking under Reports > Real-time to see the number of visitors right now and during the last 30 minutes.
Take a look at the GA4 tutorial for beginners video from Analytics Mania which guides you through the setup process for GA4. The link will take you to the part of the video where a new GA4 property is created.
If there is a GA4 property for your site created in the GA account but the reports show no traffic even though 48 hours have passed since implementation, then it is likely that the tracking script is not in place or is incorrectly implemented. It may also be that the wrong tracking script has been added to the site.
To solve this, download the tracking code from the following location:
You will then see the code that needs to be on the site for data to be collected. This code can be used if you want to add it directly to the site without using any built-in functions in the CMS or using GTM. In the section above, I describe different ways to implement GA4.
The transition to GA4 can be a challenge, but remember that it doesn't have to happen overnight. Start by checking if GA4 has been implemented on your website by following the instructions above, make sure it is collecting data and take the right steps to activating it if it's not.
After 1 July 2023, a six-month window will open during which you will have access to your previously-gathered Universal Analytics data. This gives you some buffer time to fully transition to GA4 and ensure you have all necessary data at your disposal. I highly recommend taking advantage of this period to export your historical reports.
Whether you are a seasoned analytics user or a newcomer, GA4 offers a wealth of insights that can guide your decisions and help drive your business forward. The key is to start now, familiarize yourself with the new system, and tap into the power of advanced analytics that GA4 has to offer.
Do you need advice or help with new implementation of GA4 or migrating to GA4? Then we've got a package for you — head to this page to find out more and get a quote for a full assessment of your current Google Analytics setup and a roadmap for transitioning to GA4. We take care of the heavy lifting, and you get a reliable, up-to-date Google Analytics setup that will give you the insights that you need.
Alternatively, if you've got any further questions about GA4 or how Zooma can help streamline your Google Analytics setup, book a meeting with me at a time that suits you below and we'll take it from there.