Google Analytics 4, In a Nutshell
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will be replacing Universal Analytics (UA) completely on July 1st, 2023, leading to some major changes in your web traffic data. After July 1st, Universal Analytics will officially sunset, meaning no new UA data will be collected!
Some of the main bullet-points about how GA4 differs from Universal Analytics are:
- Event-based instead of session-based data
- Many new naming conventions and definitions
- New privacy controls such as “cookieless” measurement
- More unified website and app analytics
- Sessions are expected to be more accurate
- New methods for behavioral and conversion modeling
Google has some limited systems to automatically set up GA4 for you, but in order to avoid loss of data, we recommend you manually set up a GA4 property as soon as you can. Here is Google’s Migration Guide to GA4. Once you set up GA4 on your end, you will then have to connect the new data source to Source Medium.
How to connect Source Medium with GA4
Once you’ve set up GA4 on your website, you can connect your GA4 data to Source Medium by following the instructions on our short Integration document.
We will continue updating this FAQ with the key questions we encounter.
GA4 uses a fundamentally different architecture for gathering analytics with a new emphasis on flexibility and user privacy, known as an “Events-based” architecture. Before GA4, Universal Analytics was Session-based, tracking events, page-views, and transaction stages as aspects of sessions.
In short, what we’ve seen is that comparing UA and GA4 is like comparing apples to oranges, and it’s not expected that numbers will quite match up for anybody during the switch. For more details, here is an informative page from Google’s Documentation.
During setup, you will have the option to change your attribution to the new “Data Driven Attribution.”
- Data Driven Attribution is Google’s new recommended method to increase attribution accuracy using machine learning to weigh the contributions of multiple traffic sources.
- Legacy methods like Last Click attribution can be chosen instead to match with your analytics history more closely. These legacy methods can also be more transparent.
Changing attribution methods within Google Analytics will lead to sometimes dramatic changes in the apparent performance of your marketing channels and traffic sources! This will change what you see within Source Medium, as we reflect and report whichever attribution method you select during your GA4 setup.
For more information about the above methods, check out Google’s Documentation on Attribution. For more information about how the above attribution impacts Source Medium, check our our Attribution Documentation.
Our GA4 Documentation
External GA4 Resources
- Google’s Migration Guide
- Littledata’s GA4 FAQ
- Google’s UA vs GA4 Comparison
- Google’s Comparing Metrics between UA & GA4 Documentation
- Google’s GA4 Definitions
- Google’s Attribution Documentation
GA4 data not quite right? We recommend setting up a free GA4 audit with our partner, Littledata!