Preparing for the switch to GA4: Key steps for marketers

D-day is nearly here… In just a few days, on 1 July, Google will be making the switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This transition marks a significant change for marketers, as GA4 introduces a new platform with a different tracking model and advanced reporting capabilities.

To ensure a seamless and successful transition, let's dive into the key steps that marketers should take as soon as possible.

1. Familiarise yourself with GA4

First things first, take the time to familiarise yourself with GA4. Get to know its new features and functionalities that will shape the way you analyse data. Explore the updated interface, delve into event-based tracking, and uncover the enhanced reporting capabilities. The more you understand about GA4, the better prepared you'll be to leverage its power and extract valuable insights.

2. Audit and update your tracking implementation

Next, it's crucial to review and audit your current tracking setup. Ensure that your existing tracking aligns with GA4 requirements. Update your website and app tracking codes to GA4's measurement protocol, which will help you maintain accurate data. Seize this opportunity to clean up and refine your tracking implementation for enhanced precision.


3. Define your goals and key metrics

Identify your marketing goals and determine the specific metrics you want to track in GA4. With the event-based tracking model, carefully choose the events that align with your objectives. Setting clear goals will allow you to measure success effectively and optimise your marketing strategies accordingly.


4. Migrate important historical data

If you have valuable historical data in your current Google Analytics setup, consider migrating it to GA4. Although GA4 doesn't offer a direct transfer option, explore data import and export capabilities to retain critical insights from your previous tracking efforts. Preserve those valuable nuggets of information for future analysis.


5. Set up custom reports and dashboards

Leverage GA4's robust customisation options for reports and dashboards. Tailor them to meet your specific business needs. Define key metrics, dimensions, and filters that are relevant to your marketing objectives. By doing so, you'll have a personalised and insightful view of your data, empowering you to make informed decisions.


6. Ensure compliance with privacy regulations

GA4 places a strong emphasis on privacy. Review your data collection practices to ensure they align with user consent and privacy regulations. Take a close look at your privacy policy, cookie consent mechanisms, and data handling processes. Maintaining a privacy-first approach will not only keep you compliant but also build trust with your audience.


7. Get trained and stay informed

Stay up-to-date with the latest GA4 developments and best practices. Consider enrolling in training programs, such as the dedicated GA4 courses offered by the Chartered Institute of Marketing. These courses will equip you with the necessary skills to navigate GA4, interpret data accurately, and make well-informed marketing decisions.

- Google Analytics 4 (GA4): This course is aimed at marketers who are preparing to make GA4 their primary analytics tool. It covers the basics of GA4, such as setting up a property, creating events, and measuring conversions. 

- GA4 Advanced: This course is aimed at marketers and analysts who are already using GA4 and want to learn more about advanced features, such as custom dimensions and metrics, cohort analysis, and predictive analytics. 

- GA4 Reports and Dashboards: This short course is designed to help marketers quickly get up to speed on the fundamentals of GA4 reporting. It covers how to identify the right metrics, create visual dashboards, and share insights with stakeholders. 


8. Final thoughts

If you find yourself unable to meet the 1 July deadline, there's no need to panic. You can still migrate to GA4 after the deadline; however, keep in mind that you may miss out on valuable insights and data.

- Start using GA4 in parallel with your existing Google Analytics setup as soon as possible. This will allow you to get acquainted with the platform and begin collecting data.

- Utilise the GA4 transition tool, which assists in migrating data and settings from Universal Analytics to GA4.

- Stay informed about the latest GA4 developments by following the Google Analytics Twitter account.


Embrace the switch to GA4 as an opportunity for growth and advancement. This new platform offers a range of features and capabilities that can enhance your marketing insights and decision-making processes. By following these steps, you'll ensure a smooth transition to GA4 and be ready to harness its power.

Time is of the essence! Start preparing for the switch to GA4 today and get ready to unlock a new level of data-driven marketing success.


This article was written by Ben Grainger, Channel Marketing Lead at Allianz and Communications Ambassador for the CIM London Committee. Find out more about the CIM London Committee members here.