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Google Analytics 4: Now is the time to upgrade

All websites using Google Analytics must be on the new GA4 version by 1 July 2023, otherwise your website usage tracking will cease.

What is GA4?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the new version of Google Analytics, which supersedes the previous version  known as Universal Analytics (UA).  GA4 is an exciting and necessary enhancement to the digital world, with improved privacy for website visitors and expanded reporting capabilities for marketing teams.  You can learn more about it on this Google Analytics help article.

How does it affect Nonprofits?

This change will impact all websites but there are some unique considerations for nonprofits, especially those who utilise conversion tracking features.  One of the key differences between GA4 and UA is its use of event based data (individual interactions or user flows)  instead of session based data (a user’s entire website visit).  Beyond basic stats like page views and bounce rate, you may be tracking interactions like:

  • Donations
  • Newsletter signups
  • Google Ads (e.g. Google Grants for nonprofits)
  • Service enquiries
  • Document downloads

If you have these goals or other event tracking setup in your existing UA configuration, you may need to adjust them for GA4.  While Google will automatically copy across your existing configuration, GA4 tracks events differently so you’ll need to check that the new settings are fit for purpose.  Google strongly recommends you manually migrate Universal Analytics settings to GA4 for this reason.  

Another consideration for nonprofits is historical data, often used in annual reports and to inform new initiatives. Historical data will automatically be copied across from UA to your new GA4 property (each website is referred to as a “property”). However historical data in the old UA format will only be available for approximately six months, so you may want to consider exporting it.  This might come in handy as GA4 will display some data in different ways.

Perhaps the most important consideration is your analytics tracking itself!  If you don’t upgrade to GA4, your site may stop tracking usage data from 1 July 2023. 

What do I need to do?

If you installed Analytics on your website  before October 14 2020, you’re likely using Universal Analytics.  If you started with Analytics after this date, it’s likely  you’re already using GA4 and no action is required.  If you’re unsure, feel free to contact us.

For websites using UA, Google Analytics will automatically create a new GA4 property to match any existing UA property,  copying across existing configurations and historical data. This leaves the following key steps you’ll need to action:  

  • Events/goals review — if you use existing event tracking features (including Google Ads), you’ll need to review your goals to ensure they are fit for purpose within the new GA4 environment
  • Update and test updated GA4 tracking tag on your website
  • Export UA reports of historical data, as required 

Get help

If you need assistance to implement these changes, Heartburst is available to assist.

Migrate basic Google Analytics setup to GA4 — $400 excl GST
Many Heartburst clients simply have the Google Analytics code installed on their website, and it ticks away collecting standard usage data.  If this is the case, we can update and test your GA4 tracking tag at the fixed price of $400 excl. GST.

Migrate advanced Google Analytics setup to GA4 – quote required
If you have existing tracking events of Google Ads configured in Google Analytics, we can provide a consultation to plan your migration to GA4.  We’ll provide a quote for the migration following an initial consultation.

Don’t delay,  contact us today to arrange your GA4 migration.

Photo credit: Sam Hart with a big thanks to Damon Fowler for being a good sport and capturing the moment!

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