GA4: What Everyone With a Website Needs To Know


If you’ve been noticing headlines about Google Analytics 4 (GA4) but haven’t quite figured out what it means for you or your marketing (or operations) team yet, we have you covered. The biggest takeaway? There’s a new version of Google Analytics on the horizon and the transition will affect anyone who needs to access analytics and even those who just read an analytics report from someone else every once in a while. Whatever your role, we suggest pausing to become more familiar with what’s ahead.

The quick summary: Google Analytics 4 is now available to activate, and in July 2023, it will replace Universal Analytics (the current version). Google promises some improvements. However, there’s a learning curve for anyone who logs in and analyzes the data. GA4 data is also calculated a bit differently than Universal Analytics, too. The good news is that we all have until July 1, 2023 to get up to speed. Until then, GA4 will run parallel to Universal Analytics (the current version). Google says that on July 1, 2023 “Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits.”

While this leave us all with about a year to prep, there are steps we recommend taking now that apply to most small to mid-size businesses, nonprofits and government organizations:

  1. If you or your team has a role in managing your website, talk with your internal web team, IT team and/or web maintenance partner to form a plan for who will be activating GA4. Analytics is often one of those gray areas where marketing and IT aren’t always on the same page about who owns it. There are also few steps to accomplish the activation, which could be done by anyone who can log in and has the proper admin rights to your Analytics account. If you’re a JayRay client and we’re maintaining your website, we’ve been in touch and have you covered.
  2. Decide which data you will use (Universal or GA4) and when you will switch to GA4 in your reporting. GA4 and Universal will show data slightly different, so it’s important to stay consistent and/or note in your reports. You might also consider providing an educational opportunity for anyone who reads your reports.
  3. Study up. This 10-minute video from Google is a good place to start. Additional learning opportunities depending on your role include: