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illustration of people asking business questions about ga4 360
Category: Google Analytics

Business Questions to Consider Before Migrating to New Google Analytics 360 (GA4)

September 17, 2021

By now most everyone has heard of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the new Google Analytics. For current Google Analytics 360 (GA360) customers, there’s also an enterprise version of GA4, the New Google Analytics 360 (or GA4 360). This is a major shift for Google, and every organization using Google Analytics will have to answer some key questions surrounding the impending migration. The objective of this article is to help business leaders better understand the New Google Analytics 360 rollout in order to make the best decisions for their organizations.

Key business-level questions about migrating to GA4 360:

  • When should we migrate from our current Universal Analytics 360 to Google Analytics 4 360?
  • How will a GA4 360 migration affect your daily operations?
  • What should you be doing now to prepare for the GA4 360 migration?

When Should We Migrate to Google Analytics 4 360?teammates developing an action plan to migrate to new google analytics 4 360

The last time I checked, everyone is busy and under-resourced in their digital teams. So taking on an analytics migration project is not something an organization should do lightly. However, because Google is migrating to the New Google Analytics, you’ll need to consider how your organization’s timeline can sync with Google’s.

Here are some key dates to understand about Google Analytics’ migration plan:

  • In Q3/Q4 of 2021, Google plans to reach parity for app-based measurement and reporting.
  • In Q1/Q2 of 2022, Google plans to reach parity for web-based measurement and reporting.

So with these key dates in mind, let’s walk through a hypothetical situation. Assume you’re a national retailer with web and app environments using Google Analytics 360. You have many business functions that depend on data from GA360 directly or from BigQuery data from GA360. How might you approach your migration timing?

You won’t want to migrate before there’s full parity and if you depend on year-over-year data for your business operations. You also have a code freeze every holiday season. In this scenario, we ‘d recommend the following approach:

  • Set up data collection in GA4 in Q1 of 2022 (including reviewing your data collection strategy).
  • Run GA4 360 in parallel (dual-tagged) with GA360 from Q1 of 2022 through Q1 of 2023 (Google is not charging for data collection on the New Google Analytics while your contract is a Google Analytics 360 contract).
  • Switch to GA4 360 in Q2 of 2023 and run both for 90 days.
  • In Q3 of 2023, GA4 360 will be your analytics platform of record with more than 15 months of data for historical comparisons.

That brings us to our next question.

How Will a GA4 360 Migration Affect Your Daily Operations?

We’ll answer this question in three stages: pre-migration, migration, and post-migration.

Pre-Migration

From now until you migrate, you’ll be operating under two different analytics platforms. Your current platform will continue to be your system of record, however, you’ll want to limit the investment that you make in that platform, as it has a limited shelf life. Your future platform needs to be set up for success by feeding it with data now so it can be most effective when it becomes your platform of record.

Things to be doing now in pre-migration:

  • Set up Google Analytics 4 to start collecting data now with any core customizations needed to meet your business needs.
  • As enhancements are made to both your sites and apps during the pre-migration plan, be sure to also update your current platform and the New Google Analytics 360 at the same time.
  • At a pace that makes sense for your organization, start creating reports from data in your current platform and GA4.
  • If possible, designate someone within your organization as the evangelist for Google Analytics 4 360, and give that person time to learn the platform and to prepare the platform and your organization for success (including developing a timeline for migration).

Migration

You’ll know it’s time to migrate based on the timeline your evangelist has developed and your confidence in the new platform. When you migrate (assuming you’re a current Google Analytics 360 customer), you’ll have 90 days with full functionality on both platforms. You’ll want Google Analytics 4 360 to be your system of record from day one, but you should establish a process for cross-referencing data from your (now) old platform.

Post-Migration

Once you’ve migrated to the new platform, your main concern is enabling your entire organization on the new data and reporting. Some people will be unaffected by this migration, while others will have significant changes. Establishing a support line for the organization will greatly increase your likelihood of success. Your evangelist will be an ideal candidate to lead this support line.

What Should You be Doing Now to Prepare?

coworkers preparing for a ga4 360 migration

Hopefully, you’ve gleaned action items from this post thus far, but let’s put things into a nice to-do list in order of importance:

  1. Designate a teammate as the evangelist for the New Google Analytics 360.
  2. Start collecting core data in the New Google Analytics 360 as soon as feasible.
  3. Develop a timeline for migration based on the needs of your business.
  4. Include in that timeline data collection, reporting, and enablement at minimum.

Google Analytics 4 360 is an exciting development in digital data and measurement. To dive into more details on the platform, here’s further insights:

Contact Blast with your questions on how you can prepare for and take advantage of Google Analytics 4 360. And hopefully, you can answer the question, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

Bonus Data Humor

My colleague Jess Johnson does this fun thing where he rewrites the lyrics to rock songs with analytics-themed lyrics. Here’s the “GA4 360” version of “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” by The Clash, with the alternate title of “From UA to GA4.” Enjoy.

My friends you got to let me go
From UA to GA4

When you do it will be fine
I’ll track your events like they’re mine

So you got to let me go
From UA to GA4

You watched your hits, hits, hits
Events might have you throwing fits

One day it’s here, well that day’s come
So if you want to get this done

Well, come on and let me go
From UA to GA4

From UA to GA4 now
From UA to GA4 now

Plan ahead or there’ll be trouble
‘Cause if you don’t it will be double

So come on and let me go

Old strategy is bugging me (La vieja estrategia me molesta)
New implementations what you need (Nueva implementación es lo que necesitas)

Then it’s time to optimize me (Entonces es hora de me optimiza)
And some training will set your team free (Y algo de entrenamiento te liberará)

You got to let me go (Tienes que libérame)
If I stay here I think I’ll blow (Todo podría explotar)

From UA to GA4 now
From UA to GA4 now

Charles Davis
About the Author

Charles is the Vice President, Solutions and a Partner at Blast Analytics & Marketing. He is an entrepreneur at heart and thrives on working with clients to understand the most important details of their business. He is also a member of the Digital Analytics Association and serves on the Awards Gala Organizing Committee and as co-chair of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter.

Connect with Charles on LinkedIn. Charles Davis has written on the Blast Digital Customer Experience and Analytics Blog.

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