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Community Banks: How to Migrate Your Google Analytics Setup to GA4

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Community banks are in a unique position when it comes to upgrading to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Not only do you have to worry about data tracking and measurement, but you also have to think about upgrading your tagging and data management processes. While some of the steps may be similar to other businesses, there are specific considerations that need to be taken into account. 

In this blog post, we will outline the process of migrating your Google Analytics setup to GA4, and provide tips on how to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Why it’s important for community banks to migrate to GA4

  • More accurate data tracking and measurement: especially important when it comes to understanding customer behavior and trends
  • Improved security features and data protection. With the recent GDPR regulations, this is critical for all businesses.
  • New features and capabilities to optimize your marketing and advertising efforts
  • Eventually the old version (Universal Analytics) will go away: see deadlines below

How is GA4 different than Universal Analytics?

  • GA4 uses a machine learning model to identify and group together similar events. This means you no longer have to manually tag each event, which will save you time and effort.
  • Goodbye Cookies and Hits: the GA4 model is instead based on entities (such as users, sessions, hits, and conversions)
  • A new set of APIs designed to give developers more control over their data
  • The ability to send data from any source, not just web pages or apps. This means you can now track offline events, like in-store purchases, as well as online events.

Deadlines for GA4 – Key dates banks should know for when data will stop tracking in the current analytics account

July 1, 2023: standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new data. Until this date, you can continue to use and collect new data in your Universal Analytics properties. That being said, Google strongly advises connecting GA4 well before this date.

Approximately 6 Months Later: Google states historical data will be for ‘at least 6 months’ after July 1, 2023. Eventually it will no longer be accessible.They also strongly recommend prioritizing the exporting of your historical data.

Key aspects a community bank will need to migrate:

Step 1 – Goals and Conversions

Document your current goals that are in UA. Then making sure you have an event setup in GA4 for the same action and tracking as a conversion in GA4.

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Step 2 – Events

A custom event is an event with a name and set of parameters that you define so you can collect information that’s specific to your business.

The events setup in new Google Analytics 4 is highly customizable, with some actions now automatically collected. For example button clicks and video plays were previously goals you had to manually add when using Universal analytics but now they’re already included.

The new setup process for events is much simpler than before. Additional parameters outside of ‘Event Name’ are no longer mandatory. However, you can tie in custom parameters to help you with filtering reports for certain events down the road.

Here are the steps to handle your GA code snippets and scripts, including additional steps if you’re utilizing Google Tag Manager:

  • In your new Google Analytics 4 property (once it’s been added to your Google Analytics account), look for ‘Setup Assistant’.
  • Under Setup Assistant, see the option ‘Tag Installation’.
  • If you used Universal Analytics previously for this account. you’ll automatically have a ‘data stream’ set up here. Within that Data Stream, locate your Measurement ID.
  • Copy your Measurement ID in order to bring it over to Google Tag Manager.
  • Within Google Tag Manager, set up a Google Analytics 4 Container. (If you’ve not done previously)
  • Within this Container enter the Measurement ID from your Google Analytics 4 Property.
  • Now enter ‘Preview’ mode in Google Tag Manager to ensure your ID is functioning properly in real time.

Step 3 – Audiences

Audiences are a way to group together users with similar characteristics. You can use audiences to segment your data, and create targeted marketing campaigns.

There are two ways to create audiences in GA4:

1. Static Audiences: manually add or remove users from an audience

  • Go to the ‘Audiences’ tab in your GA4 account
  • Click ‘New Audience’ and select ‘Static List’
  • Name your audience and add a description (optional)
  • Add or remove users from the audience
  • Click ‘Create Audience’ when you’re finished.

2. Dynamic Audience: create audiences based on certain conditions or rules

These can either be created through GA4’s interface or through Google Tag Manager.

To create a dynamic audience through GA4’s interface:

  • Go to the ‘Audiences’ tab in your GA4 account
  • Click ‘New Audience’ and select ‘Smart List’
  • Configure the rules for your audience
  • Name your audience

To create a dynamic audience in GA4 through Google Tag Manager:

  • In your GTM account, go to the ‘Audiences’ tab
  • Click ‘New Audience’
  • Name your audience and add a description (optional)
  • Configure the rules for your audience
  • Click ‘Create Audience’ when done

Step 4 – Custom Reports

Custom reports are a way to view the data that is most important to you. You can use custom reports to segment your data, and track specific metrics and dimensions.

To create a new custom report

  • In your GA4 account, go to ‘Customization’ and select ‘Custom Reports’
  • Click ‘New Custom Report’
  • Name your report and add a description (optional)
  • Click ‘Create Report’
  • You will be directed to the ‘Edit Report’ page, where you can add dimensions, metrics, and filters

Three types of reports you can create in GA4

  • Explorer: The default report type. It shows data in a graph format with dimensions as rows and metrics as columns. You can also apply segments to this type of report.
  • Flat Table: This report type shows data in a tabular format. The rows represent dimension values, and the columns represent metrics.
  • Pivot: Pivot reports are similar to Flat Table reports, but with one key difference: you can choose to pivot your dimensions, so that they appear as columns instead of rows.

Conclusion

Google Analytics 4 is a powerful tool that can help you track your website or app’s traffic and understand your user’s behavior.

Now that you have an overview of the steps involved in migrating to GA4, it’s important to start planning and preparing now. The deadlines for data migration are looming, and you don’t want your analytics data to stop tracking prematurely. Unsure sure where your bank stands? Take this quick personalized assessment.

On the bright side, once you’ve migrated your data, you’ll be able to take advantage of all the new features in GA4, including custom reports and audience targeting.

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