In this blog we will be looking at the changes that are going to be coming with the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and the end of Universal Analytics. If you set up your Google Analytics account after 2020, you’re most likely already using Google Analytics 4 and don’t need to do anything. If you set up your account prior to 2020, read on!
What is the difference between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics is a digital tool that helps you to measure the data that comes from your website, app or AChurchNearYou.com. Within the tool, there are two different ways to collect, measure and process the data from your website which will either be Universal Analytics or Google Analytics 4. The difference here is based on how the data is collected and processed within Google Analytics. The data it measures can cover the following but is not limited to:
- How many people have visited your site
- How many of them are returning visitors vs new/unique visitors
- The location they are viewing your site from i.e., town, city or country.
- How they found the website, for example was it via social media, Google search etc
- How many people used their phone, tablets or desktop to view your website
- How long they have stayed on each page for
Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 (which launched in 2020 and has seen quite a bit of improvement since then) have been operating side by side. However, Google has now decided that they will be getting rid of their Universal Analytics and focusing their attention on Google Analytics 4 as it offers a new way of collecting data, making it more suitable for the future and the needs of their users.
Everything you need to know about the coming changes
Google will be removing Universal Analytics from their platform as of the 1st of July and are solely focusing on migrating their users to GA4.
What this means is, whatever data you have been collecting in your current set up will STOP being recorded as of that date. However, do not fear. If you have not transferred over already, Google will automatically do that for you using the records within your current set up. Another thing to note is, whilst the data stops recording on the 1st of July, it will not immediately disappear, you will still have 6 months to transfer the data from your Universal Analytics to GA4.
Make a switch to GA4: [GA4] Make the switch to Google Analytics 4 - Analytics Help
What does this mean if you use Google Analytics for your site within AChurchNearYou.com?
Once you have set up your new GA4 property or Google has automatically transferred it for you, you will need to update the tracking ID you have filled in on AChurchNearYou.com. Currently you will have listed in the AChurchNearYou.com settings a Universal Analytics tracking ID (starting with UA-11). You will now need to insert your measurement ID (starting with G-1A) instead.
How to add your new measurement ID to AChurchNearYou.com
Follow Google’s instructions for how to set up Google Analytics 4. At the end of the process, it will give you a ‘Measurement ID’ to put into your site. If Google has already set you up you can also find your measurement ID using this article.
Put the measurement ID code into your ACNY site like this:
- Open your church in editor view, so you can see the editor menu. Show me how.
- In the editor menu, click on analytics and then select the tab marked ‘Google Analytics’
- Paste your measurement ID code in the box and click save
What to do from here:
- Check your Google Analytics and familiarise yourself with the changes using some of the help articles we have shared with you
- Create a plan of how you are going to transfer the data from your Universal Analytics and Google Analytics or, if you are happy for Google to do this for you, just wait until after July
- Update the new measurement ID on your website, app or your AChurchNearYou.com site
- Make a decision on whether you want to download all the data from your Universal Analytics and save it somewhere else so that you do not lose it entirely if you are not in a rush to transfer everything over to GA4
Please note, if you do not or have never used Google Analytics, you do not have to worry about doing anything or learning about the previous way of tracking data. If you are starting from scratch, you can just set up your GA4 straightaway. In order to do this, use this help article from Google: [GA4] Set up Analytics for a website and/or app - Analytics Help
- Ruvimbo Makumbe, Digital Labs Manager