Google Analytics 4 comes into play and this is definitely big news for all of us, because the way GA tracks and treats data is different, as opposed to any previous version of GA.
Therefore, also the way we approach data collection and, more importantly, how we make use of these data in order to get actionable items.
That’s why I thought of listing the 11 things that, in my opinion, you should be aware of before upgrading to Google Analytics 4.
Let’s dig in.
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1) It’s a new tool, not a new version.
I’ve said it many times in my previous articles, GA4 is definitely a new tool, even though officially it is a new version, as opposed to:
- Version 3 (gtag.js)
- Version 2 (Universal Analytics)
- Version 1 (Classic Analytics).
However, for the very reasons that I just mentioned above, the overall concept behind Google Analytics 4 has changed.
As a matter of fact, we’re not talking about improving what we were already doing. This is a totally new way of collecting and using data.
As frustrating as it sounds, considering that we would all need to learn something new and discontinue what is no longer well supported, believe me this is for the best.
2) Upgrading to Google Analytics 4 is not necessarily an update.
Usually upgrading means that you replace the current version of whatever tool with a newer version.
But, again, GA4 a new tool that brings along a new way of tracking data.
Therefore, in this very case, upgrading to GA4 means that you will be running GA4 AND any previous GA version you have been tracking data with in parallel.
In other words, the Google Analytics version you have now will keep on working just as it used to work before; GA4 will run as a separate tool.
Essentially you’re going to have two user interfaces for tracking data.
And nothing that you need to do because the upgrading process is essentially a 20 second step: head to your Google Analytics Admin menu and you will see the link to upgrade to Google Analytics 4. Follow the instructions and in 3 clicks you’ll be done.
3) Prepare to change your tracking setup.
I just said that upgrading to Google Analytics 4 is a matter of 3 steps and 20 seconds, but what this automatic upgrade Google is simply going to take the data tracked via any previous version of GA you have in place and mirror it into Google Analytics 4.
In a nutshell, the tracking keeps being tracked with the old modelling, therefore not making the most out of the new functionalities brought along by the new version.
Moreover, it will come the time when all previous GA versions will either be discontinued. Or, best case scenario, the time when Google will stop focusing on older versions.
Ultimately, if you are using a tool, you might want to make the most out of it, right?
Even though you might be OK with any basic tracking you currently have and therefore you don’t feel the need to invest time and energies on this upgrade, consider that also that basic tracking may be totally gone soon.
Now let’s dig into what really matters, meaning the core of the data tracked in GA4 and what we, hoteliers, can get out of it.