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GA4: The Time is Now. Your foolproof guide to the 2023 switch.

January 2023 - Performance • Guides

Used Google Analytics lately? Then you've probably noticed that big banner looming over the top of the page, urging you to upgrade to Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

Feeling a bit wary? No need. We've got you!

Our mini-guide has been designed to give you an overview of what it is, why it’s going to improve your life, and what you need to do to ensure you’re GA4 primed before the deadline of 1st July 2023 (or – if you use GA360, 1st July 2024).

Let's start with the GA4 need to know:

  • The old version of Google Analytics (also named Universal Analytics) was launched in October 2012  

  • GA4 is an all-new platform, it'll replace the old one 

  • Historical data collected within the old GA will not be there in GA4. So, you need to start tracking data within GA4 

But what are the GA4 benefits we hear you ask?

The new platform actually provides much greater analytical capabilities than its predecessor, from a data, tracking and reporting perspective. It's tooling in tune with the times. Don't believe us? Here's a quick highlights reel of the benefits of GA4: 

Ad-hoc customisable funnel reports 

  • Funnel analysis is vastly improved 

  • You can now create any funnel on the fly, report on historical data and, slice and dice the data by any segment or dimension.

Exploration reports 

  • Explorations allow you to build powerful analyses, using any dimension and metric and providing for many types of visualisations. 

  • Prior to GA4, only GA360 (paid) users could do that.

Attribution modelling

GA4 now lets you choose your preferred attribution model for reporting on channel performance. Previously, the model used was last non-direct touch (also known as last-click attribution).

The default model used in GA4 is data-driven. This kind of attribution distributes credit for the conversion based on data for each conversion event. It’s different from the other models because it uses your account’s data to calculate the contribution of each click.

Enhanced measurement

The old GA out of the box setup only tracked page views. Any additional event required extra tagging.

GA4 tracks many events out of the box, including virtual page views (for single page applications), page scrolling, downloads, outbound clicks, embedded YouTube video interactions and more.

Better data modelling

People are locking their data down, blocking cookies and generally dishing out pain to marketers. But fear not, Google’s bot army is riding to the rescue. Machine learning fills in the gaps left by the missing data.

Conversion modelling, for instance, aims to attribute direct conversion to their original channels which it couldn’t pick up due to tracking restrictions.


GA4 is a platform agnostic analytics solution, allowing brands to track websites, iOS, Android applications and other data streams within the same property. 

Sold? Thought so. Here's what you need to keep in mind:

As you prepare to adopt GA4, you should mull over a few things, including: 

  • Historical data: When did you first implement GA4? Only data tracked with GA4 will be present in your dashboard and reports – data tracked within the old GA platform will not be present. 

  • Tracking and tagging: Is your tagging compatible with GA4? Previously, Google Analytics (Universal) used a model of sessions, pageviews, and on-page events. Now, GA4 uses an event-data model in which each event can have properties. This may require tagging changes on the site and will require new tags to be set up in Google Tag Manager. In particular, you should consider implications on: 

  • Event tagging 

  • Goals 

  • Custom dimensions 


  • Dashboards and reporting: As GA4 is a brand-new tool, any ad-hoc dashboard and report you currently have set up in the old Google Analytics package will be out of action as of 1st July. All reports and dashboards will need to be re-created within GA4. 

  • Training your staff: Besides having new metrics and many more capabilities, the new interface is very different from Universal Analytics. Your people might need to be brought up to speed.

And, don't forget, time is of the essence

Timelines for adoption:

  • The old GA will stop processing data on 1st July 2023 for free GA clients, and 1st July 2024 for GA360 clients 

  • If you haven’t implemented GA4 yet, or if you’re not sure your GA4 implementation is accurate and comprehensive, the clock’s ticking.

But remember you don't have to go it alone...

If you need help getting GA4 ready, we're on hand to help. Brave Bison specialises in:

  • Brand new implementations 

  • Migrations to GA4 

  • Training  

  • Dashboard and report creation 

So if you have any GA4 jitters, drop us a line. We’ll be happy to chat. Want more from the world of Performance? Step into a universe like no other.

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