Should you switch to GA4 now?what you need to know

Third-party cookies are about to disappear

As you can see, GA4 doesn’t track third-party cookies; its focus will be on first-party cookies.

Privacy is one of the main reasons why third-party cookies are being phased out.

What is the difference between first-party cookies and third-party cookies? Why does this matter?

  • first party cookies A cookie that tracks your activity on a website and is placed by the owner of that website.
  • third-party cookies A cookie placed on a website by someone other than the website owner that allows third parties to automatically track your activities.

Google is removing third-party cookies from Analytics and Chrome.

Deleting third-party cookies changes what Google and other advertisers can track and how they collect data.

GA4 will change key metrics like bounce rate etc.

Different data collection models mean that many of the metrics you’re used to can’t stay the same.

An example of a metric that is changing is bounce rate.

Bounce rate is the percentage of sessions that end without any interaction on the page.

GA4 replaces bounce rate with engagement rate.

What is the participation rate?

Engagement rate is the percentage of “engaged sessions”.

These meetings are either:

  • Duration exceeds 10 seconds.
  • There is a transition event.
  • There are at least two page views or screen views.

As CallRail in their GA4 eBookthe engagement rate is not the direct inverse of the bounce rate.

If you’re an agency, you’ll need to spend some time adjusting how these new metrics are reported to your clients.

How does GA4’s participation rate compare to . UA’s Bounce Rate Offers Better Opportunities

With change comes opportunity, especially when you have plenty of time to prepare.

As you’ll see in the engagement rate example below, you get more information than your bounce rate provides.

According to SEJ contributor and analytics expert Kayle Larkin, bounce rate isn’t necessarily a useful measure of engagement or page effectiveness, as it focuses on action rather than time.

For example, a user who reads an entire 2000-word blog post and then leaves without doing anything else is considered a bounce in the old model. But they are clearly involved in the content.

By adding a time element, engagement rates, including readers, are a better indicator of page effectiveness.

It may take some time to change your reporting process and educate clients, but you may find many positive results.

Learn more about What you lose and what you gain by switching to GA4 with CallRail Agency GA4 Guidelines.

Should new website owners use GA4 or UA?

If your website or a client’s website is brand new, your new account will default to GA4. You probably shouldn’t set UA on purpose.

UA is going away, so it doesn’t make sense to set two new properties.

Get started with new technologies and don’t worry if there is a learning curve.

You and others study at the same time.

Should existing website owners use GA4 or UA?

Don’t delete your UA properties just yet! Backup them first!

In addition to losing data, any integrated tools will break if you do a hard switch now.

The good news is that you still have plenty of time to get your feet wet.

Pro tip: Get started early so you can start collecting annual data now.

Just make sure any third-party tools you use are updated before diving in. Or, if you don’t want them to be up to date, look for new tools.

Should agencies use GA4 or UA?

For agencies and marketers, the situation is more complicated.

If you Want year-on-year data for next year, you should already have GA4 set up. If you don’t, start now. The longer you’re away, the longer you’ll have to wait for yearly comparison data.

But you may also have to spend some time at UA.

Your customers will all do this at different speeds. Some may not even realize they have to make a change. Many people won’t expect significant changes to the reports you give them.

You may have multiple team members who need to learn GA4.

If you do not already have a data archive, you will also need to start a data archive.

When you do all of this and change your processes to account for new types of data, you want your service to your customers to remain disrupted.

If you’re dealing with their analytics accounts, you’ll need to have a clear project management plan for each client’s migration.

You may have to keep using UA and GA4 until it is officially retired.

How to set up GA4

Setting up and migrating to GA4 is very simple.

How to set up GA4 from scratch

Setting up a new GA4 account from scratch is simple.

This is a matter of setting up a new Google Analytics account or a new GA4 property on top of an existing account.

Google’s documentation can guide you step by step.

How to migrate from UA to GA4

If you have an existing UA account and want to upgrade it, Google has created a helpful setup wizard.

CallRail provides a Step-by-step guide Use screenshots in their ebook, or you can use Google’s support documentation.

You can also find these helpful instructions in CallRail’s eBooks:

Remember, you don’t have to cancel your UA immediately and go all-in for GA4. However, if you want year-over-year comparisons for next year, set up your GA4 account now.

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