GA4 is here! What you need to know:
It’s the GA4 season, probably at every agency that has something to do with analytics. Most of the businesses, at least here in Denmark are using Google Analytics for web analysis – and therefore all of them are standing in front of a challenge: Universal Analytics will stop collecting data July 1st 2023.
What does it mean that many companies and agencies helping them are accelerating their efforts to migrate to GA4? At Kvantum we are also doing that – and from our observations so far, the technical part isn’t the most difficult one. What needs focus is the business part and a vision of the data analytics tool within the technological landscape of an enterprise.
We will in this blogpost give you 5 considerations that we think every person taking decisions about the above should think of when planning this process.
1. For Google Analytics360 license clients:
You are lucky – the phase out date for you was moved to July 2024 giving you one more year for the migration process. This might seem like a lot, but as you’re a GoogleAnalytics 360(GA360) client – the scale of your setup there are probably a lot of considerations and stakeholders that need to be included in the migration process. So it is definitely not the time to do nothing – quite the opposite, now the extra time can be used to take important decisions about the placement of GA within your data architecture and to plan out the transition period. The first one will take time for sure – and will influence the process of setting up the dataflows and tracking across the platforms you have. Also it is super important to note that there are significant differences in the GA4 data model – which adds additional value when your data is processed and enriched via other systems (such as Big Query). So the extra time you have you can definitely use to plan that and see what you can decide that corresponds to your business needs.
The transition period is also a chunk of activities that in a large organization will take a huge amount of time to conduct. You need to note that the interface of Universal Analytics and GA4 are absolutely two different things, and that your colleagues who got used to working with the GA over the years will have hard time finding the reports they used to look at in the new platform. So here goes another decision: build the reporting with the GA4 interface or build the reporting outside of it (for example in dashboards). Both actions will require time and effort in establishing what is best for your organization, what capabilities you have to perform it and most importantly – will the results allow you to seamlessly switch to GA4 data when the time comes?
2. For regular Google Analytics users, who are in the process of migration already:
So here you already are aware of the time factor – and you’ve taken action to have your GA4 ready for the phaseout deadline – well done! For sure transition period will also be something you need to plan out – and you can still take the tip from the section above. Now another aspect is finance! Even though you’re not planning to move to a GA360 license – there still will be some funds you need to allocate to get your GA4 data running in a similar way it was running in the Universal Analytics. Here it will be mostly the costs associated with running Google Cloud platform and caps that Google has put on data imports. Note that every additional functionality you want to develop to work with your data handled in Big Query will also drive additional costs. So the conclusion is that no matter how you’re planning to move forward – you need to be aware of extra costs associated with storing and processing your data.
3. For regular GA users who haven’t started migration yet:
The clock is ticking! In about six months, your GA data collection will die. So now is the time to start your action. It can be a fairly quick process – depending on the complexity of your setup, but even for the advanced ones it is fair to say that you could have something in place still within Q1 and build more sophisticated features in Q2. At Kvantum we’ve conducted a migration process for a client where 100+ properties were migrated in 2 months. Now it allows them to build up remaining features, plan a transition period and still have an amount of time to compare the data and address any observable shortcomings. For basic setups getting started is a matter of a few clicks – so take your actions now and buy yourself extra time to finetune your setup before July!
4. For clients considering moving to other platforms:
Sure this is a way too! GA has been under a lot of pressure lately and apart from challenges associated with GA4 migration there still are the issues of its compliance in the EU. That can naturally aim at other platforms such as Piwik Pro, Matomo Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Snowplow, and others. Many companies are deciding to do so for a number of reasons and it should always be a choice everybody is able to take.
This decision should be well thought through considering if the time and effort of moving to another platform is comparable or exchangeable to the time and effort that has to be put for the right implementation of GA4. This has to be addressed and evaluated by each individual company considering that move and there are no right or wrong answers. There are only consequences of the decisions that can make life way harder or just a bit harder in the beginning – and from a consultancy perspective we just have to be transparent about that.
Interested in learning more about migrations and GA4? Then contact: