GA4 – The Good, The Bad & the Ugly
And why you need to pay attention NOW, even if you’ve installed it already.
Google’s mandatory migration to GA4 is one of the biggest thorns in marketers’ sides in recent memory but unfortunately it can’t be ignored.
However, there are some great elements to it as well.
Let’s have a quick look at it (in reverse order of our title).
The Ugly of GA4
- It’s mandatory (you can’t keep using the old Universal Analytics after July 1st)
- Your old data and history is not imported
- The automatic upgrades offered by Google don’t migrate custom settings or custom conversion goals
The Bad of GA4
- It’s hard to set up (even for pros)
- The interface is totally new and your familiar reports are gone
- Conversions and goal tracking don’t necessarily start working immediately, so troubleshooting issues can take many painful individual sessions
The Good of GA4
- Technically, it’s a better platform
- You can customize the interface and reports
- It still supports UTM tracking (Source & Medium) so you can clearly see which of your marketing efforts are driving results
- It still integrates with other Google products
In short, GA4 is a great platform even though Google took a clean slate approach to it. This makes sense from an engineering perspective, but from a user perspective the switchover is a bit of a jarring nightmare.
In practical terms:
- If you haven’t already, you need to set up GA4
- If you have a Shopify site and set up GA4 prior to April, you probably need to remove your custom settings and use the Shopify-provided integration tools (that came out in April).
- If you have conversion goals set up in Analytics, you’ll need to recreate them in GA4
- If you import your goals into Google Ads to support your Ads optimization, you’ll need to import your new GA4 goals and switch over from your UA goals (or risk severe optimization issues).
- If you did Google’s automatic migration, you’ll likely need to re-do any of your old custom settings (referral exclusions, etc).
Lastly, if this seems like a lot of hassle:
- We are offering a free seminar on Friday June 16 where we will show how to tackle many of the setup challenges. Click here to sign up.
- We offer a pain-free GA4 upgrade service. Note that we offer significant discounts for current and past clients. If you’re in Canada you can likely get it done for free with a grant that’s currently available (plus some other great marketing support for free).