Analytics and Data | 3 MIN READ
On June 1, there will be just 30 days left until Google’s Universal Analytics stops collecting data forever (GA360 users have a further year).
While many businesses have successfully migrated to GA4 and trained their team members to get the best from the new reporting platform, it’s fair to say that not every organisation is fully prepared for the change. With this in mind, some of our Analytics team members have created a list of the challenging changes marketers face and should check there is a solution in place before the June 30 sunset.
The UA sunset is very close, with many organisations still partway through their journey to GA4, whereas others are just starting. Reassuringly, support is available, and you will certainly not be the only one facing these challenges.
Lacë Rogers, Head of Analytics and Data
It is a common theme for many, but the GA4 UI is still a challenge.
Unlike the soon-to-be-retired UA UI, it's not as slick and familiar an interface. Many people find using it less efficient and more frustrating to use. If you do find yourself in this position, you are not alone.
Many (of us) marketers are used to getting data themselves in UA. However, the accessibility and learning curve for GA4 is steep. If you are not frequently in/out of the interface, getting the same report (which isn't always possible) in GA4 can take longer.
Users are continuing to get tripped up on:
- Traffic vs users' attribution reporting
- Sampling and thresholding removing data in reports
- Data retention on Explore reports
- Unfamiliar metrics - engagement rate (no bounce rate)
- Event-based conversion, not session/user-based conversion, in most reports
- Missing metrics - like conversion rate
- Renaming conversions and tracking conversions differing due to data structure changes.
There is a feeling that, for many, the sunset is coming too soon.
It’s not all smooth sailing with the relationship between Looker and GA4.
Some of the challenges facing marketers with Looker include the following:
- Looker reports breaking due to connection losses / subsequent changes in metrics with GA4 quota limits mean you can't simply switch to using the GA4 reporting API
- UI is a nightmare if you've not had sufficient time to get fully acquainted with the solution
- Monthly reporting could be drastically different if you haven't organised what you report on in the new event world.
If you are experiencing issues with exporting GA4 data to Looker, you are not alone. Many are experiencing similar challenges.
What about getting data in and out of GA4, how's this element shaping up?
There are several challenges for those engineering data solutions with the new platform. Common issues include:
- GA4 API quota limits - the quota limits mean more often, users need to switch to using BigQuery. Switching to BQ provides an opportunity beyond the standard metrics in the UI and API. We have created a data model which makes this process vastly easier and prevents errors in reporting.
- GA4 BigQuery connection - You'll lose your GA4 event and user-level data if you don't connect to it. However, we can help. We have a solution to help backfill valuable core metrics if you're missing some of your GA4 historic
- GA4 and AdWords - migrating to GA4 on Google Ads and why conversions have changed
- The challenges around attribution - there are now multiple levels of attribution - user, session and conversion. The session and conversion variants are the closest to how UA reported
- GA4 BQ compared to data from the GA4 API - expect some variances
What does all this mean?
The UA sunset is very close, with many organisations still partway through their journey to GA4, whereas others are just starting.
Moving to the final month of UA seems a bit surreal, given that marketers still face many challenges in fully migrating to the GA4 platform.
Reassuringly, support is available, and you will certainly not be the only one facing these challenges. We can help if any of the above points resonate with you.
We can support you and your organisation on the GA4 journey.
Training: Choose from our Essentials and Advanced training courses to bring you up to speed with understanding how to become supremely confident in getting the best and using the new reporting platform.
Migration support: We have supported many organisations on their journey. If you are not making sufficient progress, talk to us about how we can help you.