Why Google Analytics 4 Property Is Replacing Its Universal Analytics

The Google Analytics 4 Property Setup Assistant guide herein is for all webmasters. Basically, digital transformation is a business essential, but the journey will look different for every brand. From redefining budgets to rethinking measurement, explore actionable solutions to help your company gain deeper insights, be more agile, etc.

As well as create growth opportunities, and build resilience for the future. In today’s measurement landscape, businesses need to navigate new challenges to understand the complex, multi-platform journeys of their customers — all while prioritizing user privacy. Almost two and a half years ago, an introduction to Google Analytics 4 was made.

Particularly, to address the evolving measurement standards and help businesses succeed. Google Analytics 4 has the flexibility to measure many different kinds of data. Whilst, delivering a strong analytics experience that’s designed for the future. It allows businesses to see unified user journeys across sites and apps using Google’s machine learning tech.

More so, in order to surface and predict new insights, and most importantly, it’s built to keep up with a changing ecosystem. Bearing in mind, that without a modern measurement solution, you leave essential insights on the table — that can impact your business. So, now is the time to make Google Analytics 4 your cross-platform Analytics solution.

What Is Google Analytics 4 Property?

Google Analytics 4 Property aka GA4 is the next-generation measurement solution by Google that is replacing Universal Analytics. On July 1, 2023, standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits. If you still rely on Universal Analytics, we recommend that you prepare to use Google Analytics 4 going forward.

In that case, you need to understand what’s going to happen. First of all, until July 1, 2023, you can continue to use and collect new data in your Universal Analytics properties. After July 1, 2023, you’ll be able to access your previously processed data in your Universal Analytics property for at least six months. We know your data is important to you!

Learn More: Google Analytics | 5 Features Every Webmaster Needs

That’s why we strongly encourage you to export your historical reports during this time. Secondly, in the coming months, Google will continue to provide a future date for when it will be existing Universal Analytics properties. As well as the official date to when it will no longer be available. After this future date, you’ll no longer be able to see your reports.

More so, in the Google Universal Analytics interface or access your Universal Analytics data through the API. Overall, Google Analytics 360 Properties will receive a one-time processing extension ending on October 1, 2023. That said, there are a few things you can do to check if your Google Analytics property is impacted.

Consider the following:
  1. One, if you created your property before October 14, 2020, you’re likely using a Universal Analytics property.
  2. Two, if you created your property after October 14, 2020, you’re likely using a Google Analytics 4 property already.
  3. Three, if you are still not sure, you can confirm which type of property you’re using for free.

For this and other reasons, we strongly encourage you to make the switch to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible. Doing so will allow you to build the necessary historical data and usage in the new experience. Whilst, preparing you for continuity once Universal Analytics is no longer available. Google Analytics 4 has the flexibility to measure many different kinds of data, delivering a strong analytics experience that’s designed for the future.

And, as aforementioned, next year, Google will begin sunsetting Universal Analytics at any time for good. So, now is the perfect time to make Google Analytics 4 your cross-platform Analytics solution. Not to mention, in today’s measurement landscape, businesses need to navigate new challenges as they come. More so, in order to better understand the complex, multi-platform journeys of their customers — all while prioritizing user privacy.

Moving Onwards From Google Universal Analytics

Google Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions, and more easily observable data from cookies. This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete. Meanwhile, Google Analytics 4 operates across platforms — it does not rely exclusively on cookies.

In addition, it uses an event-based data model to deliver user-centric measurement. And though Universal Analytics offers a variety of privacy controls, Google Analytics 4 is designed with privacy at its core. In particular, to provide a better experience for both Google customers and its users. It helps businesses meet evolving needs and user expectations.

Generally, with more comprehensive and granular controls for data collection and usage. Google Analytics 4 is designed with your key objectives in mind — like driving sales or app installs, generating leads, or connecting online and offline customer engagement. The benefits may surprise you. Especially, with the inclusion of advanced analysis.

Something that historically was only available within Google Analytics 360 (the paid-for version of Google Analytics). That said, below are a few ways Google Analytics 4 Property can support your business.

1. Understand your customers across touchpoints

Get a complete view of the customer lifecycle with an event-based measurement model that isn’t fragmented by platform or organized into independent sessions. For example, UK-based fitness apparel and accessories brand Gymshark used Google Analytics 4 to measure across its website and app.

Whilst, allowing the Gymshark team to better understand how users moved through the purchase funnel. As a result, they reduced user drop-off by 9%. They also increased product page clickthroughs by 5%. And then again, they also cut down their own time spent on user journey analysis by 30%.

2. Improve ROI with data-driven attribution

Use data-driven attribution to analyze the full impact of your marketing across the customer journey. It assigns attribution credit to more than just the last click using your Analytics data and helps you understand how your marketing activities collectively influence your conversions. You can export that analysis to Google Ads.

As well as into the Google Marketing Platform media tools to optimize campaigns. And, to measure engagement and conversions with business and compliance needs in mind. With new country-level privacy controls, you can manage and minimize the collection of user-level data. Like cookies and metadata — preserving key measurement functionality.

3. Get greater value from your data

Machine learning generates sophisticated predictive insights about user behavior and conversions. It also creates new audiences of users likely to purchase or churn. And then, it automatically surfaces critical insights to improve your marketing. With Google Analytics 4 at hand, you’ll be able to easily activate your insights.

As you also expanded integrations with other Google products, like Google Ads. Uniquely, you’ll also be able to work across your combined web and app data. Whilst, making it easy to use Analytics insights to optimize your campaigns.

4. Address your enterprise measurement needs

New sub and roll-up properties in Analytics 360 allow you to customize the structure of your Google Analytics 4 properties to meet data governance needs. This ensures that different teams or partners, like advertising agencies, can access the data they need in accordance with your policies.

Analytics 360 also offers higher limits to meet increasing demand — up to 125 custom dimensions, 400 audiences, and 50 conversion types per property. And you’ll have peace of mind with service legal agreements (SLAs) across most core functionality, including data collection, processing, reporting, and attribution.

5. Have more control over your customer data

Importantly, Google Analytics 4 will also no longer store IP addresses. These solutions and controls are especially necessary for today’s international data privacy landscape. Where users are increasingly expecting more privacy protections and control over their personal information data.

And now, Search Ads 360 and Display & Video 360 integrations are available for all customers. This means that any Google Analytics 4 property — standard or 360 — can activate its Analytics data seamlessly. Like conversions and audiences — in Google Marketing Platform buying tools — to strengthen your overall marketing campaigns performance.

6. Bounce rate being replaced by engagement rate

Bounce Rate is the percentage of people that land on a page and leave within 30 mins – it’s regularly misused by marketing professionals. Some identify a high bounce rate as bad — when sometimes it’s a good thing. GA4 is looking to stop this by removing the bounce rate and replacing it with an engagement rate.

Engagement rate defines the percentage of people who have been on a landing page longer than 10 seconds or clicked a conversion on that page or been on more than one page on the site. Helping to track a more valuable user journey. There’s also no limit to the traffic you can review.

Google Analytics Universal reports limit your reporting to 500k sessions (sessions = how many times the website has been visited). This has been scrapped for GA4 where there is no limit to how many sessions can be reported. As well as this, you have advanced analysis through funnel and path tracking.

7. Easier Cross-domain tracking, cross channel, and funnel tracking

On one hand, eCommerce users will straight away understand the pain of this. If a visitor ever must leave your website to pay for something and is then redirected back to the site, your tracking considers it a referral or direct within Google Analytics… instead of associating the purchase from its original channel.

GA4 removes this by having the capability of adding cross-domain tracking built-in. On the other hand, there’s also the cross channel and funnel tracking feature that is available in the GA4 toolkit dashboard. Because GA4 can be integrated with websites and apps easily. You’re now able to track visitors as they go from your app to your website.

8. Start working out how people are enquiring

There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to deciding what you’re going to track, what is valuable to you and how to go about tracking them. From tracking people going to the basket then to checkout or watching a video then ringing you. The possibilities are nearly endless. With the help of the ‘new and improved’ goal tracking and conversions.

Surprisingly, it also doesn’t need cookies, and it’s fully GDPR compliant. GA4 heavily relies on first-party cookies which keeps it GDPR compliant. Meaning, that as the world moves away from cookies GA4 is designed to leverage machine learning to its fullest. As well as other protocols to fill in data gaps – when there are no cookies.

9. Unified app and web analytics toolkit features

People expect to interact with businesses when and how they like. Such as browsing a brand’s website to research a product and then purchasing it later using the brand’s app. Getting insight into these cross-platform journeys is critical for businesses to predict customer needs and provide great experiences — but it can be very challenging.

Currently, many businesses measure app engagement with Google Analytics for Firebase and website engagement with Google Analytics. While each of these products separately offers powerful insights, getting a more unified picture of engagement across your app and website can be a manual and painstaking process.

To make this simpler, there’s a new way to measure apps and websites together for the first time in Google Analytics. So, start measuring across platforms using this new way to unify app and website measurement in GA.

How To Add Google Analytics 4 Property (Setup Assistant Guide)

Notably, you can easily add a Google Analytics 4 Property (to a site that already has Analytics) for free. Or even set up a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) property alongside your existing Universal Analytics property. There are no changes to your Universal Analytics property and it continues to collect data as always.

You can always access both properties via the property selector or Admin screen. If you use a website builder or your site is hosted on a Content Management System (CMS) (for example, Hubspot, Magento, Squarespace, etc.) that doesn’t already use gtag.js, follow these instructions for your particular CMS. and do not simply paste your “G-” ID code.

Particularly, in the field that your CMS provides. The GA4 Setup Assistant wizard does not backfill your new GA4 property with historical data. Your GA4 property only collects data going forward. To see historical data, use the reports in your Universal Analytics property. Technically, creating your GA4 property, it’s very simple and easy for everyone.

Related Toolkit: Google Analytics Fastbase WebLeads | The Key Tool Uses

Not forgetting, you can use the GA4 Setup Assistant wizard guide that’s provided by the Google Analytics Help team in detail. The instructions are the same. Regardless of whether your website pages have a Google Analytics tag (gtag.js or analytics.js) or a Google Tag Manager container. To use the GA4 Setup Assistant, you need an Editor role for the account.

On one side, your new GA4 on-page tag is located on the details page for the web data stream for your GA4 property. On the other side, if you don’t see a Data Streams link in the Property column, you are looking at the Admin page for a Universal Analytics property instead of your new GA4 property.

  1. Click Settings Admin (lower left).
  2. In the Property column, check that you have your new GA4 property selected, then click Data Streams, then Web.
  3. Click the data stream.
  4. Under Tagging Instructions, click Add new on-page tag > Global Site Tag (gtag.js).
  5. Your Analytics page tag is the entire section of code that appears, beginning with:
    <!-- Global Site Tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics -->
    and ending with

In other words, Google Analytics 4 Property is the next-generation measurement solution that will take over from Universal Analytics. On July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits. So, if you’re still relying on Universal Analytics, it’s recommended that you complete your move to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible.

Question 1: What if you or your web developer are manually tagging your web pages?

Copy and paste your entire Analytics page tag immediately after the <head> tag on each page of your website. Don’t remove the old analytics.js tag; it will continue to collect data for your Universal Analytics property. The gtag.js tag that you’re adding will collect data for your new GA4 property.

Use the Realtime report to verify that you’re receiving data. If your website builder/CMS is already using gtag.js, the setup wizard should offer the option to reuse your existing tags. If you don’t have that option, then add your GA4 on-page tag as custom HTML. The following table lists website builders / CMSes that use analytics.js for developers’ use.

And, they require that you add your GA4 on-page tag as custom HTML in order to have both tags on your site. Copy and paste your entire Google Analytics page tag to your website using your CMS’s custom HTML feature. Use the Realtime report to verify that you’re receiving data. Consider the following table if you are using a website builder/CMS.

Website Builder / CMSOptions To Add Custom HTML
Cart.comContact Support 
One.comContact Support 
DemandwareContact Salesforce 
VTEXContact Support 

Likewise, if you add your tag using Google Tag Manager you can consider the basic data collection guide. Just follow the Google Tag Manager help center instructions to add either the Google Analytics or the GA4 Configuration tag.

Question 2: What if the setup wizard did use your existing tagging?

Luckily, if the GA4 Setup Assistant wizard provided the option to Enable data collection using your existing tags (and you left this option selected), your new GA4 property should now be collecting data. It can take up to 30 minutes for data to begin appearing in your new GA4 property.

To verify that data is being collected, browse your website, then select Real-time from the report navigation. You should see activity in the Realtime report. If you have an existing Firebase project, you can link this GA4 property to it. However, you have to do this from Firebase in this case.

Question 3: What if the setup wizard did not use your existing tagging?

Eventually, if you tagged your site with analytics.js (instead of gtag.js) or if you use a website builder/CMS that tags your pages with analytics.js, then the GA4 Setup Wizard was not able to reuse your existing tagging. If you’re not using a website builder/CMS, you or your web developer can use whatever page editor you like to add the GA4 gtag.js tag.

Such as directly to your website pages. Leave the analytics.js tag in place so that Analytics still sends data to your Universal Analytics property. If you’re using a website builder/CMS that tags your pages with analytics.js, you can use the custom-HTML feature to add the GA4 gtag.js tag to your pages.

Leave the analytics.js tag in place so that Analytics still sends data to your Universal Analytics property. A first-party data strategy allows companies to satisfy customers’ privacy preferences while also gaining more helpful insights.

Question 4: What about Google Analytics 4 Property and Search Console integration?

Of course, with Google Analytics 4 Property, you’ll also have an option to integrate with your Google Search Console within the admin dashboard panel. Whereby, by linking your Analytics property to your Search Console property, you will enable data to flow between the products (learn more).

Data exported from your Search Console property into Google Analytics is subject to the Google Analytics terms of service, while Google Analytics data imported into Search Console is subject to the Search Console of service. By creating this link, your email address will be recorded and may be visible to authorized users of your Google Analytics 4 Property.

And/or the linked Search Console property. When you associate a Search Console property with a Google Analytics web property, Search Console data is enabled for all profiles associated with that web property. As a result, anybody with access to that Google Analytics property may be able to see the data for the linked Search Console Property.

Important to realize, that in order to link a GA property to a Search Console property, you must be a verified website owner of the Search Console property. And that you have all the ‘edit’ permissions on the GA property. Search Console properties for which you are a verified website owner are listed under the new GA4 assets dashboard.

Question 5: What about Search Ads 360 Links or rather Link Search Ads 360?

In the same fashion, you can also link Search Ads 360 Links (Link Search Ads 360) with your Google Analytics 4 Property account as well. The self-serve linking of Analytics 360 properties and Search Ads 360 advertisers lets you create and manage the links from the Analytics 360 Admin section.

When you create the links, you can import Search Ads 360 campaign data to Analytics 360. Historical Search Ads 360 data is not available for import. As such, you can only import data that has been generated from the time of link creation and later. Auto-tagging of your destination URLs is automatically implemented.

Reminder: Linking accounts enables authorized Analytics and Search Ads 360 users to see data from both products. You can also learn how to link your Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts in detail. There are also features for BigQuery Links and to link your Analytics 360 properties and Display & Video 360 advertisers.

You can link multiple Search Ads 360 advertisers to a single Analytics 360 property. As well as a single Search Ads 360 advertiser to multiple Analytics 360 properties. You’ll need to repeat the linking process for each separate Analytics 360 property. Each link between a Search Ads 360 advertiser and an Analytics 360 property is listed as a separate entity.

The Google Analytics 4 Property Data Myths Holding You Back 

Marketers are no strangers to storytelling. Using data to craft compelling stories that connect the brand to its customers is at the core of what they do. And today’s customers are more empowered than ever to take control of their data to ensure that privacy is an imperative, not an aspiration.

According to new research from Boston Consulting Group and Google, while two-thirds of consumers want relevant ads, nearly half of them are uncomfortable sharing their data for personalization. So, it’s not a matter of whether your business will shift to a privacy-first approach; the only question is when.

Gartner predicts that by next year, 65% of the world’s population will have personal data that are covered by privacy laws, which is up from just 10% in 2020. And yet, not all marketers have plans in place that account for those regulations.

In the swirl of building and launching digital campaigns and keeping up with evolving measurement solutions, it’s easy to be confused and swayed by common misconceptions. Here, we’ll take a closer look at three of the most pervasive measurement misconceptions. Then, explain how you can address them to build a privacy-first future business.

Myth No. #1: Cookie deprecation will disrupt website tags

Marketers have long relied on cookies and website tags to detect sitewide activity and conversions. But as third-party cookies are phased out, how can you measure, let alone optimize, your campaigns? An important distinction to make is that cookies and tags are interrelated, but they’re not interchangeable.

Tags are pieces of code placed across your website that enable you to measure visitor interactions and marketing performance. They’re used to set cookies, which live on a visitor’s device and store browsing information. They can also be used to set first- or third-party cookies on your domain.

As third-party cookies and other identifiers are deprecated, accurate measurement hinges on a robust tagging infrastructure that is designed for first-party cookies and can interact with new attribution capabilities provided by browsers. We recommend adopting a tagging solution that’s easy to use and durable enough to evolve with time.

A solution, such as the global site tag (gtag.js) or Google Tag Manager and its integrations, can provide accurate measurement, have positive downstream effects, and improve conversion modeling and bidding.

Myth No. #2: Accurate measurement relies on third-party data

There’s no denying the impact that third-party cookies have had on advertising. They’ve been foundational to improving user experience and relevant ads and providing marketers with useful information about customer activity across websites. But third-party cookies also make it difficult for people to control how their data is collected and used.

And as consumers’ expectations for privacy rise, the costs of cookies increasingly outweigh their benefits. This raises another common misconception about moving away from third-party cookies: that doing so will leave you with inaccurate data. This isn’t the case as long as marketers are willing to look to other data sources instead.

That’s where first-party data comes in. Investing in a first-party data strategy allows companies of all sizes to satisfy customers’ privacy preferences while also gaining more helpful insights. How exactly? By creating a meaningful two-way value exchange between your brand and customers so that you offer curated recommendations, deals, etc.

Or even other special offerings in exchange for collecting customer data across your website, app, and offline channels. A strong example of this is how PepsiCo improved its ROI by 3X and increased media efficiency. By prioritizing first-party data as a core global marketing principle. And inviting customers to join its loyalty program for custom offers.

With the right tools and permissions in place, first-party data can also deliver actionable insights that are unique to your business and customer interactions. It can also inform other privacy-safe solutions that further improve the accuracy of your measurement. For instance, you can implement a solution like enhanced conversions for the web in this case.

It can unlock additional conversion attribution data by matching hashed user-provided data from your website with signed-in Google accounts. The result is a more comprehensive view of the customer journey.

Myth No. #3: Protecting privacy and driving business results are mutually exclusive

Lastly, as the industry moves away from individual identifiers and toward privacy-first solutions, some advertisers fear they’ll begin seeing measurement gaps that disrupt their reporting and hurt downstream optimization.

While losing some observable data is inevitable, it’s important to recognize that there are machine learning-driven models available. In general, that both preserve measurement and deliver performance. Machine learning works by analyzing data to identify trends, correlations, and other insights that may otherwise be missed.

More so, through human error or otherwise. In digital advertising, privacy-safe machine-learning techniques work to enhance your campaign reporting. As well as to provide you with a more accurate view of the customer journey. One popular application is conversion modeling, which assigns connections between ad interactions and conversions.

Something that would otherwise be unobservable. While also preserving the privacy of individual users. For instance, by leaning on this type of solution, you can enhance all your measurements. To better assess the true impact of your media in a privacy-safe way. This, in turn, will enable better optimization and ROI.

The journey into a future without third-party cookies may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Set these marketing myths aside, and commit to building a strong foundation now so you’re ready for what comes next.

How First-Party Data Can Help Your Business

It’s a very useful and unique method, especially, for web-based businesses. Whereby, it can help you better understand your customers. Whilst, creating long-lasting connections and building a mutually beneficial relationship on the basis of trust. Bearing in mind, that historically, as an industry we have been far much laser-focused on our audience.

Especially, those we are targeting either to buy our products, visit our business, or even land on our sites. But, how can we find them, you may ask, right? Well, there’s a collective focus on how we replace third-party cookies with first-party data. However, while 9 out of 10 marketers say first-party data is important, only less than a third have an idea.

Not to mention, they’ve mastered accessing and integrating data across various channels that they work on or with. In fact, it’s surprising to say that there’s is a very significant benefit on our side. With a 1.5 times increase in cost savings and 2.9 times revenue uplift. Meaning, that this is something that you too must consider while marketing your brand.

Being customer-centric means getting the value exchange with customers right. So, we must transform our approach to marketing and how we serve our customers. This involves completely rethinking the way we approach data and putting ourselves in our customer’s shoes. To achieve this, we need to ask ourselves a few questions.

We need to ask ourselves these questions:
  1. What customer data do we need for this campaign?
  2. Why are we asking customers for this information?
  3. How can we reimagine the way we use data to become a more customer-centric brand?

On one hand, an intentional focus on your first-party data strategy can help you meet your customer’s expectations in terms of their digital privacy. On the other hand, it’s also a great way to gain better insights into how to give them what they want, and how they want it. And, as such, there’s no other better start than moving into Google Analytics 4 Property.

The Google Analytics 4 Property Privacy-First Future

In order to be ready for what’s next always, you’ll need to invest in first-party data to build a competitive advantage end. As well as to boost your performance, and be ready for a privacy-first future. While, keeping in mind, that data and insights are very crucial tools for sustaining any digitally mature business. But, data and insights are not the same.

With so much data now available, businesses must ensure that the information they collect drives smarter decision-making plans. As well as improving customer experiences and business outcomes. Unfortunately, most businesses face yet another challenge when it comes to data. And, it’s all about the whispers of digital data privacy.

Suggested Web Resources:

One thing is for sure, most people are increasingly having concerns about their digital privacy and how business use their personal information. Digital marketing is increasingly moving to a privacy-driven approach, which has made investing in first-party data even more important to understanding who our customers are.

In fact, searches for terms such as ‘online privacy‘ grew more than 50% from 2019 to 2020. While, at the same time, 49% of people worldwide have stopped using a service from a company due to privacy concerns altogether. With that in mind, everything else also has its downside — Google Analytics 4 Property is no different with just two mentions.

(a). Little Familiarity

Suffice to say, it’s a very new product in the market as of now. And with it being new it means there’s a lot to grasp and a steep learning curve. Familiarity leads to comfort and with GA4 being brought into our life you can say goodbye to comfort in the short term! There’s a lot to grasp but as touched upon earlier, a lot to benefit from.

(b). Unfinished Product

Unfortunately, it isn’t just a like-for-like product and technology when you compare it with Google Analytics Universal. And now, because of this software, CMS’ and products need time to integrate with the platform. Because of this, you’ll find a lot of your data sources may struggle to work with GA4 currently.

Summary Thoughts:

Traditional marketing practices and the technologies that power them are not ready to meet increasing customer expectations and regulatory demands for privacy. Today, customers don’t just exchange money for goods and services. They share their personal information and trust companies with their privacy in exchange for relevant brand experiences.

We’ve been recommending in this time of limbo that you install GA4 and Google Analytics Universal — run them in parallel. Don’t worry, if you have both Google Analytics Universal and GA4 running at the same time — nothing will break and data will remain correct. Moreover, it’s easy to install and if you need some help, please do Contact Us for help.

Finally, we would encourage you to do this ASAP to get ahead in the game. July 2023 seems a long way away but – we assume – by 2023 you’d not only like to have data available through GA4 but data to compare with the year before. Find some training and/or download the demo account Google to experiment on first. Break and test many things now!

Get Started: How To Prepare For The Future With Google Analytics 4

That’s it! It’s time to prepare for the future with Google Analytics 4 Property toolkits. Make the move over to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible.  Perse, in order to build the necessary historical data before Universal Analytics stops processing new hits. For more guidance, you can check out the Google Help Center Resources that has more details.

But, if you’ll need more help, you can always Consult Us and let our team of Web Tech Experts know how they can sort you out. By the same token, you can also share your additional experience thoughts, suggestions, opinions, contributions, or even questions (for FAQs & Answers) in our comments section. You can also donate to support what we do.

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