How to Set Up Google Analytics 4? A Step-By-Step GA4 Guide. Part I

How to Set Up Google Analytics 4? A Step-By-Step GA4 Guide. Part I

Google Analytics 4 isn’t an updated version of Universal Analytics, but a completely new tool that has been available for quite some time. If you use GA3, you have no obligation to change it for the new solution. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that Google has announced the date when GA4 will eventually replace GA3. Wondering how to add your website to Google Analytics 4? Check out our step-by-step guide!

Table of contents:

When Do You Need to Start Using Google Analytics 4?

Google has released information concerning a decision that many experts were expecting. Although it seemed that it would be possible to continue using GA3, we already know that it won’t be the case. On the blog, Google has announced a specific date when the service will stop being active.

It turns out that on July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics will be deactivated and replaced by Google’s new product, GA4. This will affect everyone who uses the free version of GA3. On the other hand, the date for Analytics 360 users is October 1.

From these dates, new data won’t be collected in GA3. However, Google is supposed to give you access to historical data for 6 more months, so be sure to export it to external tools to maintain continuity of work.

Download our free GA4 guide and get all the information you need to benefit from this tool in one place!

Don’t wait until the last minute and export the data as soon as you start using GA4!

To learn more, read our article: Universal Analytics will be going away in 2023.

Should You Add Your Website to Google Analytics 4 Today?

Google Analytics is currently still in the beta stage.

Of course, the solution will be developed and updated over time, so new features will certainly be appearing there. However, at this moment it lacks many options such as custom channel grouping or filters organizing traffic.

So is Google Universal a better solution at the moment?

Actually, it’s best to use both solutions simultaneously. Why?

You can explore the new system and collect data with two tools with different attribution models. By the time GA3 is out, you’ll probably know GA4 like the back of your hand.

So, let’s explore how to set up Google Analytics 4!

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How to Export the Data?

So, before you start using GA4, make sure you export data from GA3: 

  1. Log into Google Analytics Universal and find the report that’s of interest to you,
  2. For example, click Acquisition -> Overview -> All Traffic -> Channels,
  3. Choose the period from which you want to get the data, and then click Export,
  4. Choose the format that suits you best. These can be PDF, Google Sheets, Excel, or CSV.

how to export data google analytics

Done! Now you have access to data that can be used for later analysis, comparison, and decision-making related to your marketing activities.

Of course, you may need information from different reports. It’s best to export all of them. After all, you can’t state for sure what kind of data you’ll need in the future.

How to Add a Website to Google Analytics 4?

GA4 is a brand new service. To start using it, it’s not enough to click one button in Universal Analytics.

You won’t be automatically taken to GA4 and the data you’ve collected so far won’t be waiting there for you. It’s necessary to export the data and upgrade Google Analytics manually.

Ready to add your website to Google Analytics 4? You’ll need to complete a few steps. But don’t worry. They’re rather simple and shouldn’t give you sleepless nights.

Depending on whether you have used Universal Analytics in the past or not – you can do this in two ways:

Google Analytics 4 Setup Guide for Websites that Used Universal Analytics

1. Log in to Google Analytics, then select the Admin page (cogwheel icon) and click on Google Analytics Setup Assistant 4.

google analytics 4 setup assistant

Why should you do it this way and not by setting up a new service as usual?

Well, this way the system will guide you through the configuration steps. Besides, your existing service will be automatically connected to the new GA4.

This way, you’ll be able to benefit from a data stream created for tracking the web application.

2. You’ll see relevant information. As you can notice, the tool can copy basic settings from Universal Google.

how to upgrade google analytics

3. Next, you’ll see a message that the services have been successfully connected.

how to connect google analytics 4

4. Click View your Google Analytics 4 service to access the following options:

how to upgrade google analytics properties

5. If you have implemented Universal Google using the analytics.js tag, then you need to add the gtag.js code snippet for GA4. You already have an A service ID in the code – it applies to GA3.

<script async src=”https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=<Service ID A>”></script>

<script>

window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];

function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}

gtag(‚js’, new Date());

gtag(‚config’, ‚<Service ID A>’);

gtag(‚config’, ‚<Service ID B>’);

gtag(‚event’, ‚sign_up’, { ‚method’: ’email’ });

gtag(‚event’, ‚view_video’, { ‚send_to’: ‚<Service ID B>’ });

</script>

But where to get the Service ID B for GA4?

Take a look at the previous screenshot. Click the Tag installation, and then select your data stream. Then you’ll find the ID among the available information.

how to set up google analytics 4 measurment id

And that’s it! Once the GA4 code is added, the process of collecting data should start.

Google Analytics 4 Setup Guide for Websites that Didn’t Use Universal Analytics

Are you just starting your adventure with Google Analytics and you’ve never used Universal Analytics before?

In this case, it won’t be possible to configure it using the assistant. Instead, you should follow a slightly different path to set up Google Analytics 4:

1. After logging into GA, in the Admin panel, click Create Property.

how to add universal analytics to ga4

2. Enter the property name, such as your website address, and proceed.

Also, pay attention to the information about the limits. It’s not possible to have analytics for as many sites or applications as you want on one account.

google analytics 4 property setup

3. You’ll see a screen with questions. However, you don’t have to answer them. It’s enough to simply click Create.

4. Configure the data stream. Assuming that you want to connect the analytics to your website, you should choose Web. Beyond that, you have options for Android or iOS apps.

how to set up google analytics 4 data stream

5. Provide the website URL and the stream name. This name can be basically anything you want.

As you can see, you have Enhanced Measurement activated and it’s definitely worth keeping it that way. This will allow you to track several events without extra setups.

In the case of Universal Analytics, it’s crucial to set these elements up manually. We’re talking, for example, about internal search engine tracking, scrolls, internal link clicks, and more.

how to set up google analytics 4 data stream setup

6. Place the code on the page in the <head> section.

how to set up google analytics 4 tags

7. If you don’t know how to add the code and you’re using WordPress, you can benefit from a plugin called GA Google Analytics.

After installing it, you just need to add the GA Tracking ID. Moreover, you can also modify other settings if you find it necessary.

google analytics 4 plugin

If you’re using Google Tag Manager, and your website is connected, you just need to add a new Tag.

Basically, the measurement ID is the only information you need to provide. The remaining settings can be left unmodified.

Why Should You Add Universal Analytics to GA4?

First of all, GA4 is the future.

From the beginning of July 2023, GA3 won’t collect data anymore, so it’s better to implement new analytics now. This will give you time to thoroughly explore its functionalities.

Of course, you don’t need the entire year to do this, but the earlier you start, the easier it’ll be for you to master the new solution. GA4 has many advantages, including:

  • the possibility to automatically track basic events without having to configure them,
  • comparatively easy management of conversions,
  • automatic analyses,
  • the possibility to verify users on the basis of user ID, Google Signals, and device ID,
  • more attractive data presentation,
  • the possibility to integrate Google Analytics 4 with Big Query for free,
  • data analytics – it’s not only about the presentation, but also about collecting the most important conclusions.

GA4 introduces many changes compared to its previous version, so there is much to learn! Don’t wait until GA3 stops collecting data and upgrade your Google Analytics today.

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Adding a Website to GA4 – The Takeaway

Don’t wait to start collecting your website traffic data until Universal Analytics is shut down. Do it now, and you’ll have more time to explore the new system.

GA4 is a solution designed to provide more information and make the service easier to use. With its help, monitoring certain events may get simpler!

Let us know if you found our guide helpful! If you need help – contact us, we can help you with your SEO efforts!

FAQ

The new solution definitely differs from Google Analytics Universal. It allows you to track internal searches, scrolls and clicks on internal links without any additional setup.

Moreover, GA4 offers different reports. In GA3, the measurement is based on sessions and page views, while in GA4 it’s about events and parameters.

In addition, GA4 introduces a new system for evaluating user engagement on the site. There is also a possibility to create advanced reports on your own.

Definitely! As long as Universal Analytics continues to collect data, it’s beneficial to use it and compare the information from the old and new tools. Based on this, you’ll monitor changes implemented in GA4.

With all the probability, GA4 will be developed over time to introduce even more helpful features that will come in handy in various sectors such as e-commerce.

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Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

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