Bonus: Ask the Experts GA4 Q&A

05.18.2023 Alyson Phillips3 min

Last week, we hosted our Q2 Ask the Experts webinar, focusing on the upcoming transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4.

For this event, we partnered with Google expert Alex Fleshner. You can view the full webinar recording here. We covered:

  • What is GA4 and what are its benefits?
  • What’s changing from current-state analytics and why?
  • What do advertisers need to do now to prepare for the transition in July?

At the close of the webinar, we invited attendees to participate in a Q&A and received some great questions. As we couldn’t get to them all before time was up, we followed up with Alex and have provided the answers below.

Want to get started on your GA4 transition today? Check out our Small Business Guide to Making the Google Analytics4 Switch here.

Q: How does the migration option work compared to implementing a brand new GA4 and installing the code? Does migrating use the existing UA snippet to gather data? When migrating, is your data transferred from UA to GA4?

A: The short answer is that I recommend dual tagging. This article captures the full process, but essentially, data will trigger to both UA and GA4 as you build up enough data to feel ready to officially switch over. There is the capability to leverage the existing UA tag, while also gathering data for the new GA4 instance.

Q: I have properties set up, but should I actually transfer to using it now or later?

A: I would recommend transferring once you feel comfortable with the UI and the interface. I still recommend dual tagging in the interim so you can accrue data across both platforms until you reach that point of comfort within GA4 to fully switch over. Furthermore, you’re going to want some of the historical context to transfer, so a clean slate immediately is not recommended.

Q: With GA4, will all websites be required to have the cookies pop-up for users to accept?

A: GA4 offers features like consent mode, but this question is best suited for your legal team or legal advisor.

Q: When transferring from UA to GA4, do you need to install a new tag on your website or can you use the same tag and utilize Google Tag Manager to track events withing GA4 and be ok when UA sunsets?

A: For this, I recommend dual tagging, which will keep existing UA code on your site, but does require additional implementation.

Q: Are UTM codes still relevant in GA4? If so, where can we find UTM code data?

A: Yes, definitely! And GA4 offers a tool to help build out your URLs with UTM tags. See this article for more detail. The data can be found in Traffic >> Acquisition.

Q: We are struggling with the loss of views (that we have filtered by URL). Do you have resources or recommendations on how to drill down into specific website sections for reporting to those section managers?

A: I would equate “Views” in UA with “Data Streams” in GA4. You can manage the specific reports that various POCs might need leveraging Filters as outlined here.

Q: Can you confirm that historical data will not be accessible unless stored before upgrade?

A: This is correct! With dual tagging, similarly, you also are provided with the simultaneous collection of data across properties as you’re ramping up with GA4.

About the Author

Alyson Phillips

Alyson is the Director of Marketing at Cox Media’s corporate offices in Atlanta. With a background in journalism and over a decade of experience in brand marketing, she has a passion for connecting brands to their customers through powerful storytelling. In her role, she’s responsible for amplifying the Cox Media brand in the communities we serve nationwide – whether through advertising, thought leadership, or the customer experience. When she’s not working, she’s chasing around her twin toddlers and spending as much time outdoors as possible.

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