On July 1, 2023, Google’s current analytics platform, Universal Analytics (UA), will stop collecting new website data. In place of UA, Google is introducing the next generation of their analytics platform: Google Analytics 4 (GA4). The transition is a global change enacted by Google. GA4 offers an improved analytics experience, including the ability to view holistic traffic across webpages and devices, automatic insights and predictions, adaptability to a changing industry ecosystem and an improved navigation bar, making it faster to find the data you need.
Filtered views are going away. Instead, GA4 features a new Explore section that allows for easy viewing of custom mini-data reports.
While UA uses a session-based tracking system to track website activity, GA4 will use an event-based approach. This means every user interaction will be categorized as an event, which will add more detailed information about their time on site.
GA4 has an enhanced measurement feature that automatically tracks events such as page views, scrolls, outbound clicks, first visits, and session starts. So, there is no need to manually configure these events with Google Tag Manager (GTM).
In the main navigation bar (Explore tab), users will be able to fetch requested data sets inside GA4 according to unique use cases.
GA4’s Explore feature (Explorations) allows for customized report creation and viewing for more complex and specific analyses. This feature requires the user have “Analyst” credentials, which MarComm can grant upon request. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being added to a waitlist to receive training on using Analyst-level insights.
As mentioned above, there are no longer filtered personalized views in the GA4 interface for DU campus partners to immediately see only their website(s) data. As a result, MarComm has created a Standard Analytics Dashboard that is available to all campus partners using the main DU property in GA4. The dashboard has preset controllers which allow departments to view just their website data, in addition to all DU data.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is this about?
On July 1, 2023, Google’s current analytics platform, Universal Analytics (UA), will stop collecting new website data. In place of UA, Google is introducing the next generation of their analytics platform: Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This is a global change enacted by Google.
Why does this matter?
Since UA will no longer be collecting new data, it is imperative that the University successfully navigates the transition to GA4 to continue tracking website analytics and retain invaluable historical data. All DU webpages will be impacted.
What Is GA4? How is it different from the current Universal Analytics (UA) platform?
GA4 is the next generation of Google Analytics. GA4 offers an improved analytics experience, including the ability to view holistic traffic across webpages and devices, automatic insights and predictions, adaptability to a changing industry ecosystem and an improved navigation bar, making it faster to find the data you need.
Filtered views are going away. Instead, GA4 features a new Explore section that allows for easy viewing of custom data reports.
What is MarComm handling?
MarComm has been actively preparing for this transition. With assistance from our agency partner Carnegie, we recreated DU’s primary, current analytics property in GA4, which has been running parallel with UA since August 2022.
Moving forward, all DU webpage data will be tracked via a single GA4 property.
In the past, multiple properties have led to a fragmented view of the University’s web traffic. Shifting to a single property will enable marketers across campus to access a more complete overview of the user journey across multiple domains and devices.
By June 1, 2023, MarComm will send all DU units a standard analytics dashboard via email.
Is my website already connected to GA4?
Yes, with a few exceptions of those websites that are not on Drupal. As noted above, the new, primary GA4 property is already activated and covers nearly all DU campus partner websites currently hosted on Drupal.
If you previously tracked your data under a separate UA property and are concerned about the shift to a single DU property, please contact MarComm at email@example.com
What do I need to do?
Any active website events you may have are currently connected to UA through Google Tag Manager (GTM). If you wish to use these tags in GA4, they need to be migrated/recreated for GA4 before July 1, 2023.
This video tutorial provides a useful demonstration for how to recreate your existing UA tags in GA4 to continue tracking all your unique events (see video between 8:10 and 10:14 ).
I'm not on Drupal. What does this mean for me?
If you are not on Drupal, you still can migrate and be connected to common GA4 by creating a GTM configuration tag and sending your website data to the common DU property in GA4. To connect your website to the GA4 within your GTM container, create a GA4 configuration tag by placing the GA4 property measurement ID: G-CMGRJVENZ2 (see example below).
How will I access my old data? Will I lose any of it?
Historical data will still be available in Universal Analytics through December 31, 2023. We recommend accessing your current UA account before December 31 to download any past reports you wish to save. See the options available through Google here.
GA4 will retain 14 months of historical data on a rolling basis. To preserve important digital history, MarComm has paid for the import of the past two years of UA data from the main DU property into Google’s integrated cloud storage partner, BigQuery. Learn more about BigQuery here.
How will I view my website's performance in GA4?
MarComm has created a standard Dashboard that is available to all campus partners using the main DU property in GA4. The Dashboard has preset filters allowing departments to view not just all DU data but also just their own.
For a more complex analysis, GA4’s Explore feature allows for customized report creation and viewing. This feature requires an Analyst level, which MarComm can grant upon request. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being added to a waitlist to receive training on using Analyst level insights.
What else should I know?
In the future (after the Phase I work outlined above), MarComm will be reaching out to and partnering with select units responsible for revenue generation to create additional dashboards to allow for tracking and analysis of efforts. If you are interested in being considered for this Phase II initiative, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
A new policy and GA4 Technical Guide regarding analytic usage in light of GA4 here at DU will be shared during the next fiscal year.
I still have questions. Who can help me?
The MarComm GA4 transition team is available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Google Tag Manager (GTM): a free tracking tool/platform that allows users to add and create marketing tags to track and enable data collection for specific website events.
GTM Tag: a snippet of code that sends specific data to a system such as Google Analytics 4.
GTM Container: a workspace where marketers create, add or modify tags to apply to their website(s) to track and send website data to GA4.
BigQuery: Google's fully managed, serverless data cloud that enables scalable analysis over petabytes of data.