Is your association using Google Analytics to track data? If so, you are most likely familiar with the announcement that Google Analytics will no longer process data for Universal Analytics (UA) past July 1, 2023. Prior to the deadline, all organizations will have to make the transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to avoid any data interruptions. If you are unsure what this means or why it’s important for your association, we’ll help you understand GA4 a bit better. 

Why Make the Switch Before the Deadline?

Putting off the setup of your GA4 account until July is not an ideal situation for your association’s data collection. Instead, you should consider making your GA4 account ASAP. Google Analytics cannot transfer your data from your UA account to a GA4 account, meaning your data collection will have to start over. For a smooth transition, it’s highly recommended to follow the practice of dual-tagging all pages of your website with both Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4. By doing this, you are continuing to use the benefits of UA, while beginning the process of collecting data through GA4. If your association is properly set up with a GA4 account ahead of the deadline, there will be plenty of time to retain excess data.  

What Are the Differences/Advantages of Using GA4?

If you are having trouble understanding the advantages of GA4 compared to Universal Analytics, you are not alone! This new use of technology has many Google Analytics users scrambling to figure out its differences before the deadline. To better understand, here are a few key differences between the two platforms: 

  • GA4 has the ability to track data without collecting cookies. Instead, GA4 uses Google Tag Manager to track User IDs. This allows users to stay anonymous while tracking their behavior on a site and the actions they are taking. 
  • Instead of using a session-based model to collect data that varies from websites to apps, GA4 will now focus on using an event-based model. An event is any action someone takes on your website that your association finds important to track, giving a better insight into your audience and website performance. 
  • GA4 uses a cross-platform approach. This allows for the collection of data across both web and mobile apps, so you can view the entire customer journey for clearer user behavior. 
  • GA4 offers customer life-cycle framed reporting. This is used to help analyze specific aspects of a customer’s journey and to better understand how customers/members engage with your association, across both channels and devices. 

How Google Analytics 4 Will Help Your Association

Now, if you are wondering how these updates can actually be useful for your association, it’s simple. With Google Analytics 4 providing better data tracking, visualization, and segmentation properties, your organization can focus on more important performance metrics than simple web traffic or bounce rates, for example. Members can be evaluated across multiple platforms, and you can better determine how they are reaching your fundraising, membership, events pages, etc. With enhanced knowledge, your team can make valuable changes to your web properties that aren’t just focused on your most popular content.