Why Small Business Marketers Need To Get On Board with Google Analytics 4 (And How to Make It Happen)

Analytics + Reports Marketing Coaching
Google Analytics 4 dashboard

Chances are, you’ve been getting a lot of emails from Google Analytics in the past 30 days that you’ve been ignoring. Or, if you happen to have logged into your Google Analytics account, you’ve been greeted with this terrifying pop-up (that you still ignored)

I get it.

You rarely go into your analytics and you have other, more pressing, issues at hand related to your business.

Well, I’m here today to tell you that need to STOP IGNORING THESE MESSAGES!

Google Universal Analytics Is Going To Stop Processing Data On July 1, 2023

This means that small business marketers who rely on Universal Analytics to track their website traffic and performance will need to switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). 

Now, in full transparency, Google is saying that if you don’t take the necessary steps to create your GA4 account and transfer data then they will automatically create an account for you based on your settings. 

So here’s the deal, if you really don’t want to ensure that you have all your historical data and are taking advantage of the new Google Analytics 4 platform then just bury your head in the sand until July 2, 2023 and login to see what the hell Google’s done with your account.

Now, if you’d prefer to be a bit more in the driver’s seat with your account and data, I’m going to do my best to navigate through getting this done in this blog post. 

Before we get started, here’s my honest truth in dealing with this transfer for many of my clients the past couple weeks: it’s kind of a pain in the ass. Google spoiled us with how easy it was to install Google Universal Analytics. It was just one small piece of code you had to put on your site and you were done. GA4 is a bit more complicated because of how it operates and, frankly, I’m surprised at how clunky the process is given how long Google has been teasing and working on this transition.

What’s The Deal With Google Analytics 4?

GA4 is the next generation of Google Analytics and offers a number of new features and benefits, including:

  • Cross-platform tracking: GA4 can track users across devices and platforms, giving you a more complete view of their behavior.
  • Event-based data: GA4 uses event-based data instead of session-based data. This means that you can track individual actions that users take on your website or app, rather than just their overall sessions.
  • Privacy-focused: GA4 is designed with privacy in mind. It uses a number of features to help you collect and use data in a way that respects user privacy.
  • Machine learning: GA4 uses machine learning to provide you with insights that you wouldn’t be able to find on your own.

How Google Analytics 4 Helps Small Business Marketers

Google Analytics 4 provides small businesses with a wealth of information about their website visitors. It allows you to track user behavior, such as how long they stay on your site, what pages they visit, and what actions they take. This information can help you make informed decisions about your website, such as which pages to optimize, which products to promote, and which marketing channels to focus on.

But that’s not all. Google Analytics 4 also provides valuable insights into your audience demographics, including their age, gender, and interests. This information can help you tailor your marketing messages to your target audience, inform your content strategy, and help you create more strategic Google Ads campaigns.

IMHO, it is a more advanced and comprehensive tools for data collection and analysis BUT it’s much clunkier and less user friendly than it’s predecessor.

The Benefits of Using Google Analytics 4 for Small Business Marketing

One of the biggest benefits of using Google Analytics 4 is that it’s free to use. That means small businesses can access valuable insights without having to invest in expensive analytics software. This is particularly good if you are someone who’s just starting your business or if you’re just a dabbler when it comes to digital marketing reports. 

Even if you don’t plan on using (or know how to use) Google Analytics, you need to set it up on your site. Why? Because Google Analytics only starts collecting data once it’s installed on your site. It’s not a tool that has all the information on your website and then provides it to you once you install. You need to install it so that it can begin to scan your site and collect data. So even if you don’t know how to use it, it’s important it’s set up so that when/if you’re ready, you have the historical data to work with.

Need Help Setting up Google Analytics 4?

I’m going to share with you some of the resources and instruction that I’ve found particularly useful in setting up Google Analytics 4. If you’ve never set up Google Analytics before or this is confusing to you (I get it), then you can message me inside of my Marketing CLARITY Community and I’ll see if I can help you.

Using Google Tag Manager To Install Google Analytics 4

You’re probably saying to yourself, “Oh no, Ross, another tool to set up?” or “Wait, Google Tag Manager? I thought we were talking about Google Analytics 4?!”

Or both…

So allow me to explain Google Tag Manager.

Imagine you have a toy box full of toys. You want to keep track of all of your toys, but it’s hard to remember where everything is. You could try to write down where you put each toy, but that would be a lot of work.

Google Tag Manager is like a toy box organizer. It helps you keep track of all of your tracking codes, which are like the labels on your toys. When you use Google Tag Manager, you can easily add, remove, and update your tracking codes without having to touch your website or app code. This makes it easy to track your website traffic and measure the success of your marketing campaigns.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You create a Google Tag Manager account.
  2. You add a Google Tag Manager container to your website or app.
  3. You create tags in Google Tag Manager. Tags are pieces of code that collect data from your website or app.
  4. You associate tags with triggers in Google Tag Manager. Triggers are events that happen on your website or app, such as a user clicking on a button or filling out a form.
  5. When a trigger fires, Google Tag Manager will execute the associated tags. This will collect data from your website or app and send it to your tracking service, such as Google Analytics.

Create A Google Analytics 4 Account

If you’ve never used Google Analytics before, the first step in setting up Google Analytics 4 is creating an account. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Google Analytics website
  2. Click “Start for free”
  3. Follow the prompts to create a new account
  4. Select “Web” as your property type
  5. Enter your website’s URL and name
  6. Click “Create”

Installing Google Analytics 4 on Your Website

Now that you have a Google Analytics 4 account (or if you’ve previously setup Google Universal Analytics), it’s time to install the tracking code on your website. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the “Admin” section of your Google Analytics 4 account
  2. Click “Data Streams” under the “Property” column
  3. Click “Add stream”
  4. Select “Web” as your data stream type
  5. Enter your website’s URL and name
  6. Click “Create stream”
  7. Follow the prompts to connect your Google Tag Manager container to your new data stream

You’ve Installed Google Analytics, Now What?

Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up Google Analytics 4 for your small business. Now you can start tracking your website traffic, user behavior, and more. Keep in mind that it may take a few days for data to start populating in your account, so be patient. 

I’ll be creating a blog post in the future to walk you through the basics of Google Analytics 4 and how you can use it to inform and improve your marketing. 

In the meantime, I’m always sharing marketing + content creation tips, guides, and updates inside my free Marketing CLARITY Community – would love to have you join me!

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