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What Is GA4 & How Will Converting From Google Analytics Affect You?


This spring, Google announced the official dates for decommissioning its Universal Analytics tool, which is widely used to examine and report on website performance. A new tool, Google Analytics 4, will take its place. All users of Universal Analytics must convert to the new tool as soon as possible. Making it measurable is a core company value at Etna. We are ready to convert our client analytics platform and will implement the first of three phases this August.  

What Is Changing? 

Google is discontinuing Universal Analytics support in the middle of 2023 and will no longer send new session data to the measurement tool we use for most clients today. This discontinuation date was announced in late March of 2022. Google expects sites to move to the new GA4 platform to continue their analytics experience.  

What Is GA4?

This change from Universal Analytics to GA4 is not a simple rebranding. It is a fundamental shift in how Google offers analytical tracking, moving from a session-oriented approach to an event-oriented approach. This changes all the underlying mechanics and, ultimately, the reporting. 

Our goal is to set up each client in GA4 as soon as possible to continue to capture the needed metrics and provide the client, our teams, and reporting suites with the tooling necessary to manage the account.  

Why Is It Changing? 

Google has decided to stop sending session-based information to the existing Universal Analytics platform as of June 2023. They have many reasons for this decision, and you can read more about them in Google’s announcement message.  

Ultimately, UA is a software product that is provided for free by Google. They are discontinuing this software product, and all users will need to move to the new product to continue collecting analytics on their domains and applications.  

How Is GA4 Being Implemented at Etna?

While UA is a well-known analytics entity, GA4 is not. It is a new and evolving Google tool. Etna is taking a judicious approach to learning the new tool’s capabilities, documenting differences in the collected data and establishing a change-over process. We want to do more than just convert from one platform to another; we want to provide more data and intelligence to each client’s marketing journey.  

To do this, we are executing this project in three phases. Each client domain will need to go through these three phases:

Phase 1: Base GA4 Setup

  • Timing: Our goal is to complete all client domains by the end of August 2022. 
  • Cost: $150 per client domain. 
  • Description: GA4 account establishment and base data capture for key events.  

Phase 2: Extended GA4 Setup + Customized Events 

  • Timing: Our goal is to complete all client domains by the end of May 2023. 
  • Cost: $300 per domain
  • Description: Convert client reporting and intelligence to be GA4 based. Establish 10 new event measurements. Build key reporting in GA4 and dashboards.

Phase 3: Client Training & UA Cleanup 

  • Timing: Our goal is to complete all client domains by the end of June 2023.
  • Cost: TBD. 
  • Description: Provide client training on new metrics and systems in place with GA4. Clean up any old UA-based measurements, and remove UA tracking from client domains. 

What Do I Need To Do? 

If you are an Etna client, you don’t need to do anything. Just sit back and know that Etna has you covered. We will inform you at each phase and let you know when there is more that you can see or do. Make sure to check your email for notifications on our three-phase process.

If you are not an Etna client, make sure to educate yourself about this change from the links above and ask your marketing team or provider about their path to getting you onto GA4.

Expect Phase 1 to be hands-off, as it is just the basic conversion process to start capturing data in GA4. 

Phase 2 will give you access to more data from GA4. You can expect messaging about Phase 2 details in September.  

Phase 3 will provide you with structured training for using the new data and reporting from GA4. You will know more about that before the end of 2022. 

I Have Questions 

We probably have answers. While we know much of what Phase 2 & 3 will entail, we are still investigating many details of certain event capture and data types. We want to make this conversion low impact on our client reporting needs AND extend on what we can learn about visitor engagement on your domains.  

Feel free to ask your Account Executive questions about this change. Know that they might not have all the answers yet, but we have experts in our Technology and Marketing Operations teams that are here to help. You can also reach us by phone at (866) 374-3762 or using our online contact form as well.

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