The Crucial GA4 Migration: Timely Action for Long-Term Success
In just five months, Google’s Universal Analytics will become a part of the web analytics history. Until recently, many businesses chose to disregard the looming deadline. Google may have launched GA4 in October 2020, but the end of Universal Analytics seemed distant. However, with only five months left until Universal Analytics’ expiration date, many businesses are realizing the urgency of the situation. It’s time to act.
In this article, we will provide CMOs with a clear understanding of the following:
- How to ensure continuity for your business, data, and analytics workflow
- The consequences of further delays to your GA4 migration
- The prioritization of tasks in preparation for the new analytics paradigm
The Importance of GA4 Migration for CMOs:
Google Analytics has been the most widely adopted platform in its space for an impressive 17 years, with Universal Analytics dominating the past decade. The announcement of Universal Analytics’ sunset and the introduction of GA4 caused concern among CMOs and marketing professionals due to its widespread use and impact on reporting, performance analysis, business intelligence, and decision-making strategies.
To help CMOs navigate the upcoming changes, we’ll outline the crucial steps that should have been taken, what needs to be done now, and potential pitfalls to avoid during the migration process.
Optimal GA4 Migration Scenario:
The ideal situation would have involved addressing the GA4 migration a year ago, recognizing the impact on your operations and getting ahead of the curve. Since Google does not collect data retroactively, the earlier you implemented GA4, the more data you’d have available after the cut-off date.
Second-Best GA4 Migration Scenario:
If you haven’t already done so, your top priority should be to add a GA4 property to your company’s account. Don’t worry about conversion goals, custom events, segments, BigQuery, reporting, or data cleanliness; focus on getting data flowing into the new property. Google provides a convenient wizard to assist with this process.
By starting now, you’ll have as much data as possible available by July. Although you won’t have year-over-year data, you’ll at least recover the last few months of information.
The Next Steps for GA4 Migration:
- Assess your company’s current reporting, dashboards, and related integrations that require updating. Consult with team members who use these resources to determine their importance. Create copies of all reports and dashboards where possible and begin transitioning Universal Analytics data to GA4.
- Rebuild your audiences in GA4, as any remarketing audiences in Universal Analytics need to be recreated so they can start repopulating. Prioritize this task early, as it can take time for audiences to reach a targetable size.
- Educate your team on the new platform to avoid confusion and delays when GA4 becomes the primary analytics tool.
Recap for CMOs Starting GA4 Migration:
- Add a GA4 property to your company’s account immediately.
- Identify priority Universal Analytics resources, copy reports where possible, and start transitioning data to GA4.
- Rebuild your audiences in GA4 to allow for repopulation.
- Train your team on the new platform to avoid a bottleneck in July.
The Worst-Case Scenario:
Failing to start the GA4 migration process will lead to significant consequences, including inaccurate performance reporting, shrinking remarketing audiences, and a lack of year-over-year data. Your company’s understanding of its web performance will be severely compromised.
Act Now to Ensure a Smooth Transition
Despite the urgency, it’s not too late to successfully migrate to GA4 and minimize disruptions to your business. Timely action is crucial for a smooth transition and maintaining the integrity of your data and analytics workflow.
By following the steps outlined in this article, CMOs can take control of the situation and lead their teams toward a successful GA4 migration. Prioritize the migration process, allocate the necessary resources, and stay informed about the latest developments to ensure your organization is well-prepared for the new analytics landscape.
Don’t wait for the worst-case scenario to unfold this summer. Take action today to safeguard your company’s data, analytics, and marketing strategies, and embrace the opportunities that GA4 brings to the table. By proactively addressing the challenges of GA4 migration, you’ll position your business for long-term success in an ever-evolving digital landscape.