How to Set Up the New Google Analytics 4 Property?

Here’s what you’ll find in this blog:

We’ve all heard the news; Google just introduced a whole new Google Analytics. It’s by no means the first update for the platform. But by the looks of it, it might be the most significant.

But what does the update entail? How do businesses set up the new Google Analytics 4 property? And most importantly, what benefits does the new Google Analytics interface provide over the old one?

We’ll be answering these questions in the following blog, along with a complete tutorial on how to set up the new GA 4 property. 

So let’s dive in.

What is the New Google Analytics Update?

The updated version, introduced in October 2020, builds upon the beta App + Web property first seen in Universal Google Analytics. This update aids in cross-platform analytics, which is tipped to be the future of business success. 

Here’s what a senior executive at Google says about the new Google Analytics:

‘The new Google Analytics will give you the essential insights you need to be ready for what’s next.’

Vidhya Srinivasan, VP of Measurement Analytics and Buying Platforms

There’s a greater role of machine learning in this update, focusing on privacy and adaptability for the long term. With changes like cookie restrictions around the corner, the new Google Analytics update helps businesses remain ahead of the curve.

How to Upgrade to Google Analytics 4?

Now that we know a bit more about the new GA let’s look at how to set it up. Here’s a step by step guide on how to upgrade to GA 4 from Universal Google Analytics.

Step 1: Go to Admin>Property

Once you’re in your Google Analytics account, click on the ‘admin’ option. This option should appear at the bottom of the menu on the left-hand side. You’ll see three columns once you click it. The column in the middle has property settings, and the first option in this column should show ‘Upgrade to GA4’. Click on this option.

Universal Google Analytics

Step 2: Get Started

Once you click the option, this window should pop up.

setting up Google Analytics 4 property

Along with some basic information about the update, it’ll show two options: 

  1. ‘I need to create a New Google Analytics 4 property.’
  2. ‘I want to connect to an existing Google Analytics 4 property.’

Since we want to set up a new Google Analytics 4 property, so click on the ‘Get Started button for this option.

Step 3: Creating Property

After clicking the button, this window will open.

setting up Google Analytics 4 property

Essentially, it shows details about the GA update process and provides an ‘Enable data collection on existing tags’ option. This option allows you to enable data collection with gtag.js without making changes to your website. However, if the website isn’t using gtag.js, then this option will not be active. 

At the bottom right of this window, you’ll see a ‘Create Property’ button. Click this button, and it’ll take you to the GA 4 setup assistant (shown in the next step).

Step 4: GA 4 Property Window

So we made it to the new GA 4 property. Woohoo! But we’re not done yet.

Google Analytics 4 property window

It’s time to set up GA 4 with Google Tag Manager on your website. To do this, click on the ‘Admin’ option located at the bottom of the menu on the left hand side.

Step 5: Setting Up Data Stream

Looks familiar, doesn’t it?

This is the admin window on GA 4 property, like the one we saw in Step 1 for Universal GA. Well, not exactly like that one.

setting up Google Analytics 4

There are two columns in GA 4 property compared to the three columns in universal GA property (step 1). We’ll explore these subtle differences between GA 4 and Universal GA some other time. For now, let’s stay focused on getting the new property set up.

In the property column, you’ll see a ‘Data Streams’ option. Click on it to set up a data stream for your website with the new property.

Step 6: Continue Data Stream setup

Once you click on it, this window will open. You’ll see a data stream has automatically been created for your website.

setting up Google Analytics 4 property

All you need to do is click on the data stream for your website.

Step 7: Web Stream Details

The web stream details for your website will appear in the next window (seen below).

setting up Google Analytics 4 property

There’s a bunch of options on this screen, including tagging instructions and additional settings. But you need to locate the Measurement ID at the top of the screen. Copy this measurement ID because it’ll come in handy later on.

Step 8: GTM > Workspace > Tags

Now you need to create a tag for the new GA 4 property on Google Tag Manager. Open the GTM for your website and go to the ‘Workspace tab.

Several options appear on the left-hand side of the page. Go to ‘Tags’ within the workspace. You’ll see a list of all the tags firing on your website. Now click on ‘New’ at the top right-hand corner of this screen.

Steps 9 & 10: Creating New Tag on GTM

Once you click on new, this window will open.

There are essentially two things you need to do here. The first is to rename the tag with the relevant name. In this case, we chose the name ‘Google Analytics GA 4’ for the tag. 

Now you’ll see two options below; Tag Configuration and Triggering. Set the tag configuration by clicking on this option.

Step 11: Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration

The tag configuration option will give you a list of featured tags. Locate the ‘Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration’ and click on it.

Step 12: Tag Configuration

After clicking on ‘Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration’, the following screen will appear.

Within this screen, there will be a place to enter the Measurement ID. This is where the Measurement ID copied in step 7 comes into play. Paste the Measurement ID in the box.

Step 13: Triggering

Now that you’re done with tag configuration, it’s time to set up triggering. Below the tag configuration screen, you’ll see the triggering screen. Click on it.

Step 14: Choose a Trigger

Once you click on the option, GTM will ask you to choose a trigger. The trigger will determine the pages on which the new GA 4 tag will fire. Choose ‘All Pages’ as the trigger, so that the tag fires on all pages.

Step 15: Save

Don’t forget to save the tag configuration and the triggering you set. Click on the ‘Save’ button on the top right corner of the screen.

Step 16: Submit to Publish Changes

Once you save the tag configuration and triggering, GTM will take you back to the Tags in the Workspace. You can even spot the newly created Google Analytics GA 4 tag. But this tag won’t be published on your website until you submit the changes. Click ‘Submit’ on the top right corner of the screen.

Step 17 & 18: Version Creation & Publication

Before you can publish the changes, GTM will ask you to name the new version. You can name it anything, but it’s always a good idea to name it with the newest change.

In this case, we’ll name the version ‘Added GA 4’. After that, just click ‘Publish’ on the top right corner of the screen.

Step 19: New Version Created

Once you publish the changes, GTM will show you this screen.

We can see that in the version changes section, a Google Analytics GA 4 tag has been added. This step verifies that the creation of the tag was successful.

Step 20: Reload Website to Fire GA 4 tag

Finally, you’ll simply need to reload your main website for the changes to take hold. Once you do, the new Google Analytics 4 tag will be triggered and data will begin collecting into the new property.

Why is the New Google Analytics Better for Businesses?

So now you have GA 4 property set up for your website. But why should businesses shift to the new Google Analytics anyway? Here are some of the main benefits GA 4 brings to the analytics experience.

1. Smarter Insights with Machine Learning

For one thing, there’s greater involvement of machine learning with GA 4. The new Google Analytics update uses machine learning to update users about significant trends. This feature helps anticipate and respond to business trends as they crop up. Other uses of machine learning include automatic calculation of churn rate and better integration with other Google products.

One of the most significant advantages of smarter insights through machine learning is an increased ROI. Google Analytics 4 will calculate the potential revenue from a set of customers using predictive analytics. This will allow you to target the highest value customers with the best strategies.

2. Holistic View of Consumer-Business Interaction

A significant addition in GA 4 property is the introduction of ‘Retention’ and ‘Conversion’ stages in the customer lifecycle. Along with the ‘Acquisition’ option, GA 4 property gives a more holistic view of the entire consumer journey. This feature provides a more customer-centric approach to analytics. Additionally, it’s an improvement on the customer lifetime value feature found in Universal GA.

Thanks to unique User IDs and Google Signals, GA 4 tracks user activity across multiple sources. As a result, you can know where, when, and how customers interact with your business. This makes it easier to focus on a particular stage in the customer lifecycle and devise targeting strategies accordingly. Additionally, you’ll be able to pinpoint data-driven trends that much easily with GA 4 in your corner.

3. Durable & Scalable

Finally, the GA 4 property is designed for the future. With more flexible user tracking, sophisticated insights and a holistic data collection approach, GA 4 is built to last. As the industry landscape shifts in the future, businesses won’t be left stranded. Instead, they’ll have the analytics and insights to make the best decisions. The greater control over data and personalization capabilities makes this update essential for businesses to navigate the future uncertainties.

Conclusion

It’s never easy to shift your analytics approach, especially in an uncertain time like this. However, the GA 4 property offers a better way of collecting, analyzing, and implementing data insights. With a greater focus on the user and machine learning insights on offer, the new Google Analytics is the best analytics tool for the future.

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