Take Control of Your Data: Don’t Let Google do your GA3 to GA4 Migration
If you’re using Google Analytics to track your website’s performance, you may have heard about the migration from Universal Analytics (GA3) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). While this migration is necessary to keep up with the evolving user behaviour and data privacy concerns, it’s important to consider whom you trust with this crucial process.
Many website owners are tempted to let Google automatically migrate from Universal Analytics to GA4. After all, who knows the platform better than Google itself? However, in this blog post, we’ll explore why a more hands-on approach is essential rather than letting Google handle your migration.
Letting Google handle your migration involves risks, from potential data loss to misconfigured tracking. But fear not – we’ll walk you through the steps to perform the migration manually and provide tips for ensuring a smooth and successful transition.
So if you’re a website owner, marketer, or data enthusiast, it’s time to take control of your website analytics and not leave your migration to chance. Read on to learn how to ensure a successful migration from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4.
Risks of Automatic Migration
a. Potential for data loss or inaccuracy
One of the main risks of automatic migration is the potential for data loss or inaccuracies. While Google’s automated process may seem efficient and convenient, it must consider individual websites’ unique configurations and customisations. This can result in data being lost or inaccurately recorded during the migration process, which can have severe consequences for website owners and marketers.
For example, missing or inaccurate data can lead to incorrect analysis and decision-making, negatively impacting a business’s bottom line. In fact, research from Experian Data Quality shows that bad data has a direct impact on the bottom line of 88% of all American companies.
b. Misconfigured tracking or reporting
Another downside of automatic migration is misconfigured tracking or reporting. With Google handling the migration process, website owners may need to learn how their data is tracked and reported in GA4. This lack of understanding can lead to misconfigured tracking and reporting, rendering data useless or misleading.
For example, a misconfigured tracking code could result in data being attributed to the wrong source, such as organic search instead of paid search. This can make it difficult to accurately measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and make data-driven decisions. In contrast, taking a manual approach to the migration allows website owners to review and update their tracking and reporting settings to ensure accuracy and effectiveness.
3 Benefits of Manual Migration
- Greater control over the process
- Ability to review and update data and settings
- Opportunity to optimise tracking and reporting
While the risks of automatic migration are clear, taking a manual approach to the migration process offers numerous benefits. By taking ownership of the migration, website owners can have greater control over the process, resulting in a smoother and more successful transition. Additionally, website owners can take the opportunity to review and update their website’s data, settings, and configurations to ensure that they align with their goals and objectives. Finally, website owners can gain valuable insights into user behaviour and preferences by optimising tracking and reporting settings, which can inform business decisions and improve their website’s performance.
Manual Migration Checklist
a. Preparing for a Manual Migration
- Review your current Universal Analytics implementation
- Identify customisations and configurations
- Clean up your data to ensure accuracy
b. Post-Migration Best Practices
- Review and update your GA4 settings and configurations
- Ensure that tracking and reporting are accurate
- Update your website and other tools to use GA4 data
Ten common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid in setting up Google Analytics 4:
- Not properly configuring tracking: Incorrectly configuring tracking can result in inaccurate data being collected, negatively impacting decision-making.
- Not properly setting up goals and conversions: Failing to set up goals and conversions can make it difficult to measure the success of your website and marketing efforts.
- Not setting up event tracking: You need to set up event tracking to ensure you understand how users interact with your website and which actions lead to conversions
- Not properly filtering out internal traffic: Failing to filter out internal traffic can result in skewed data that does not accurately reflect user behaviour.
- Not utilising custom dimensions and metrics: Custom dimensions and metrics can provide valuable insights into user behaviour and preferences, but failing to use them can limit the effectiveness of your tracking and reporting.
- Not setting up e-commerce tracking: Please set up e-commerce tracking to ensure you accurately measure your online store’s success and identify improvement opportunities.
- Not setting up cross-domain tracking: Cross-domain tracking is essential for accurately measuring user behaviour across domains and subdomains.
- Not properly implementing data privacy and security measures: Failing to implement data privacy and security measures properly can result in data breaches and negative consequences for both users and businesses.
- Not linking Google Ads and Google Analytics: Linking Google Ads and Google Analytics allows you to understand your advertising campaigns’ effectiveness better and make data-driven decisions.
- Not regularly reviewing and updating settings and configurations: Please review and update your settings and configurations regularly can result in updated data and missed opportunities for optimisation.
In conclusion, while it may seem tempting to let Google automatically migrate from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, taking a more hands-on approach can be the key to success. By understanding the risks of an automatic migration and investing the time and effort to migrate manually, website owners and marketers can ensure that their data is preserved correctly.
The most important takeaway is the need for website owners and marketers to take ownership of their website analytics. While relying on tools like Google Analytics to provide insights and data, it’s ultimately up to us to interpret and apply that data to improve our websites and businesses. By actively participating in the migration from Universal Analytics to GA4, we demonstrate our commitment to data accuracy, privacy, and effectiveness.
So as you embark on your migration journey, remember there is no one-size-fits-all approach to website analytics. Every website is unique, and the best approach is one that is tailored to your specific needs and goals. However, by staying informed, being proactive, and maintaining a critical eye, you can ensure a successful migration and unlock the full potential of Google Analytics 4.
Google Analytics 4 Course for Beginners
That is why Hackalogy is preparing to launch a beginner’s course on setting up Google Analytics 4 correctly. The course is based on best practices that Google and other web analytics specialists recommend. We have incorporated practices that are tried, tested, and proven to work for our past and present clients. In addition, we will be sharing actionable guides that you can apply to your website immediately after one lesson.
What’s more, we will share with you the easiest way to set up Google Analytics 4 goals for lead generation and e-commerce websites. Even a beginner without prior knowledge of Google Analytics and coding experience can set up goals without the help of a developer. Amazing, right?
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