Yo ho, yo ho, fellow digital adventurers! The time has come to say goodbye to Universal Analytics (UA) as it sets sail into the sunset. But don’t fret, for a new and improved vessel named Google Analytics 4 (GA4) awaits us. Before you embark on this exciting new voyage, whether you haven’t prepared yet (well mate, no pressure, but… it might be time to hurry up) or if you think you are prepared but want to double check, let’s make sure you’ve packed all the essentials. 

Here are six critical points to check off before the UA ship sinks!

1) Is your new GA4 property shipshape and recording your key conversions?

Arr, mate! Did you use Google’s auto-migrate function to transfer your precious data to GA4? Whatever the answer is, you might want to make sure your main goals are properly recorded in the new property and, more importantly, switched on as conversions. You wouldn’t want your valuable data to be lost at sea. So, ensure those goals are set to “captain”, and let GA4’s conversion reports and Google Ads integration hoist your revenue sails!

2) Have you connected your Google Ads account to set sail with GA4?

Don’t be left stranded on a deserted island! Connect your Google Ads account to your new GA4 property to enjoy the benefits of seamless integration. Import GA4 conversions into your Google Ads account and watch your advertising campaigns navigate the vast digital oceans. Feast your eyes on Google Ads data in your GA4 reports and discover new horizons with GA4 audiences, which are more customisable than a peg-legged pirate. But beware, without “Google Signals” turned on, you might end up shouting “Yo ho, yo ho!” to an empty sea.

3) Prepare for a long voyage with data retention

As seasoned sailors, we know the value of keeping records. Set your GA4 data retention to the maximum allowed (14 months for free accounts or 50 months for 360 accounts). But why stop there? Connect your GA4 to a BigQuery project and export your data daily, ensuring it’s safely stored for as long as your heart desires. Let your data be the guiding star on your analytics voyage, helping you navigate through stormy seas and charting the course to success.

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4) Beware of the Bermuda Triangle of misassigned traffic and conversions, caused by payment domains

Pay attention, vessel captain! Add all relevant payment domains, such as PayPal and Stripe, to the referral exclusion list in your GA4 property. Failing to do so would be like steering your ship straight into the treacherous Bermuda Triangle. GA4 might misattribute traffic and conversions, giving credit to the referral channel when it should be applied to another channel like Paid Search. Don’t let your treasure fall into the wrong hands! Keep a watchful eye on your attribution and sail smoothly towards accurate analytics.

5) Migrate your trusty UA audiences to GA4

Just like loyal shipmates, your UA audiences have served you well. If you’ve been using them for targeting in Google Ads or segmenting reports in UA, it’s time to create new GA4 replicate audiences. Give your loyal crew a new home in GA4, allowing them to continue guiding your advertising adventures. With GA4’s advanced audience features, you’ll navigate uncharted territories and discover hidden treasure troves of customer insights.

6) Set sail towards GA4 optimisation!

Arriving safely at GA4 is just the beginning. Now it’s time to hoist the sails and optimise your GA4 property for a remarkable experience. Fine-tune your data collection settings to ensure smooth sailing and avoid getting caught in the windless waters of data gaps. Craft custom reports that unveil buried analytics treasures, and set up alerts to warn you of any unexpected storms on the horizon. GA4 offers endless possibilities to harness the power of your web data. Don’t be afraid to explore and unlock GA4’s true potential.

Still need to make sure your data ship is iceberg-safe? Ask our Analytics experts NOW

Yo ho again, fellow data sailors! The UA ship is setting sail for its final voyage, but GA4 is here to lead us into the future of analytics. By checking off these six critical points, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the stormy seas and unleash the full power of GA4. So, hands on the wheel, adjust your captain’s hat, and set course for analytics greatness. 

Bon voyage, and may the data winds be ever in your favour!