Your Hottest GA4 Questions Illuminated by our Resolute Analytics Experts

Our expert panel illuminates your hottest GA4 question topics with our best learned practices and award-winning domain expertise to give you clarity on the unrivaled value that GA4 can deliver for you and your path to migration!

From Choosing GA4 to Creating Value with GA4 to Planning Your Path to GA4—our expert panel will cover it all in the video below.

Answers to Your Top GA4 Questions

Choosing GA4

What is the value in migrating to GA4 versus adopting an alternative solution?

The value in migrating to GA4 versus adopting an alternative solution is that GA4 was tailor built for the modern analytics landscape. The modern analytics landscape is one that is consented first party and modeled to meet the needs of tighter user privacy expectations and a growing demand for more personalized experiences. GA4 enables simplified unification of cross-device data streams, enables more seamless data extraction options for performance tracking, and enables precision targeting through its ability to build, identify, and activate audiences across the Google Marketing Platform.

The reality is that roughly 55 percent of all websites globally are currently using Google Analytics and are going to be required to move to GA4 if they haven’t already. Similar to that, there are a ton of companies already using another product within the Google Marketing Platform and as such, GA4 enables those companies to stay within the Google stack because it’s at the center of the GMP. GA4 has native and easy integrations with the GMP and provides a simpler implementation than competing products. It’s important to note though that getting the most out of your GA4 setup requires a strong partner, as it comes with a shift in UI implementation and reporting.

We at Resolute Digital are certified partners who help and empower brands to gain full advantage of GA4’s capabilities to secure competitive advantages in optimizing the full end-to-end digital customer experience.

Are there any features that we lose with GA4?

As it relates to any features that we may lose with GA4, the reality is that with any new product launch, there are still enhancements and optimizations being made in real time. Google is proactively taking feedback from partners and alpha users to enable further capabilities. As of now, we see a few major changes to be aware of with GA4. First, the UI of GA4 is drastically different from Universal Analytics which requires a bit of a learning curve in locating data and reporting. Additionally, sessions are now second class as GA4 leads with events. Similarly, there’s a streamlined event model though that streamlining comes with far more flexibility and customization than ever had before. Major features are being added to GA4 from Universal Analytics on a rolling basis and we as a partner have front row access because we’re on the alpha team where we get to chime in on optimizations and gaps. It’s also really important to keep in mind the major benefits of GA4 surrounding machine learning privacy and beyond. So while we lose some capabilities, we gain even more with those benefits.

What is the additive value of GA4 360 vs GA4 Standard?

Here are some of the key features that GA360 gives you that the standard doesn’t for GA4 properties. First off, you have the ability to create more event parameters, more dimensions, more metrics, and more conversions. Within 360, you have the ability to have higher thresholds when it comes to sampling before even sampling is kicked into for your reporting. On top of that, you can create unsample report. Your data freshness is going to be fresh within four hours of the data collected and available in your reporting. You have the ability to retain your data for up to 50 months and Google servers versus only 14 months for a standard. You have the ability to create roll-up and sub properties. These give you the ability to slice and dice the data or roll up the data how you see fit across one or many properties you might have. And then lastly SLAs. Google is guaranteeing freshness of your data, the availability of your data, and lastly for the first time SLAs around exports to BigQuery if you have the integration set up where they’ll make sure the data is available and available in a timely fashion from GA to your bigquery instance.

Creating Value with GA4

How is the user journey stitching improved in GA4?

GA4 was tailor built for the more complex measurement landscape today. It’s been increasingly hard to be able to unify a user’s journey across devices and across sessions, and GA4 solves for this in two ways. Number one, it uses a unified tracking model for web and for apps and number two, it adopts multiple identity spaces. One, it uses device ID to see if this is the same user on that device. Number two, it uses user ID to see if they’re authenticated. Number three it resolves for you if they are using an Android device or a Chrome device and where we can identify them, which is known as signals ID. And number four, it uses machine learning to actively patch any gaps.

How does GA4 integrate differently with Google Marketing Platform?

A great way to unlock value with Google Analytics is by curating meaningful audiences for your brand and then activating them across the Google Marketing Platform. For example, you can create an audience which is a look-alike of what’s already working just to scale up on that. You can also identify brand new lucrative audiences or recognize if an audience should not be targeted and then suppress it because you know we want to drive our marketing efficiency up. You can do all of that with GA4 even if you have the free version and you can do this at scale with the paid version. You could do it with up to 400 audiences and the best part of it is that you can use something called audience triggers to be able to fine-tune a lot of those audience definitions and you can use the power of machine learning to be able to identify high propensity audiences.

How is GA4’s User Interface reporting different?

GA4 introduces a brand new reporting UI instead of the standard very limited, out of box reports that you saw in previous versions called Explorations Data Tool. Explorations Data Tool puts the power of flexibility into your hands it gives you a drag and drop canvas on the fly funnels. It allows you to look at cohorts overlap analysis and even complement this with BigQuery. Explorations date tool gives you very precision tailored segment building capabilities and ultimately, one of the big value points is that you can take advantage of some of the outer box machine learning algorithms, which enable you to quickly identify audiences which are more likely to churn. So all together, you end up with a much more tailored reporting interface. Yes there’s a learning curve, but that’s where we’re there to help.

How does attribution change in GA4?

GA4 introduces a brand new marketing attribution model called DDA. DDA, which stands for data-driven attribution, is fully machine learning based. What it does is it awards fractional credits to each marketing channel based on time between click and conversion, format tab type, and add query signals. It really helps the marketer understand the true contribution of each marketing channel. We recommend using DDA in complement with Ads Data Hub. Ads Data Hub is a complementary solution by Google which allows you richer multi-touch attribution along with other items like region frequency.

How can GA4 enable stronger privacy compliance?

One question that we get often is how GA4 enables stronger privacy compliance. The reality is that the underpinning of GA4 is tailor built for the modern analytics landscape which is consented, first party, and modeled to meet the needs of tighter user privacy expectations and a growing demand from our personalized experiences. There are about three privacy pillars that GA4 enables from our perspective. Data capture, data control, and advanced data collection controls. Under the topic of data capture, first and foremost there is a reliance on first party cookies as opposed to third-party cookies which we know are being deprecated in the months and years ahead. Additionally, PII is not captured. IP addresses which are key online identifiers under GDPR are anonymized and GA4 offers consent mode which is a user privacy feature that actively captures data contingent on user’s consent choices. Under the topic of data control, data retention can be trimmed situationally and there’s a capability within GA4 for surgical deletions and redactions. Lastly on the topic of more advanced data collection controls, Google signals another product within the GMP which collects additional user information like demographics, however this can be left deactivated. These are just a couple or a few examples of what Google has done to put user privacy at the forefront. We’re always continuing within Resolute Digital to also think of ways that we can continue to be privacy focused on behalf of our clients atop the GMP.

Planning Your Path to GA4

What does migration to GA4 entail?

Migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4 is a multi-step process. Step one is really taking a hard look at your current analytics. Determine what you want to carry over to GA4 from a tracking standpoint and maybe what you wish you had. This is a time they could take a good fresh look at your tracking. Step two is to implement. GA4 has its own distinct property with its own configurations that would need to be set up, as well as its own distinct GA4 tags which are completely different from the current Universal Analytics tags. Both tags can live on the site together and it’s actually suggested that you have them both together so you get used to how they both work together and how the platforms are a little different. Third would be the test. Make sure everything’s set up correctly, QA the site, QA the tagging, and QA the configuration to make sure that data is flowing through correctly. And the last step is to have a launch date. Determine a date when you want to switch over officially to GA4 away from Universal Analytics and have GA4 be your source of truth.

How can I retain access to my legacy data?

Now that Google has provided dates around when they’ll be cutting off access to all Universal Analytics data for everybody, now is the time to come up with a game plan of what historical data you care to pull, how you should pull it, and where you want to keep it. There’s really three options. Option one is for GA360 customers only. You can leverage your GA to BigQuery, which allows you to pull raw GI data out of GA and store it directly in BigQuery in an automated fashion for long-term reporting needs. Option two, libraries reporting API, is great for standard customers. It’s the best way for scalable and programmatic ways of pulling data out of GA if you’re not on 360 and store it in a file system or data warehouse. Option three is actually to just go to the interface and go to the report to your care about reporting on long term and export data from there into CSV files, Excel files, or other formats. Each of these options have their pros and cons. We can certainly walk you through any of these options and figure out what’s best for your reporting needs long term, for your year-over-year analysis, or anything like that.

What is the special value of migrating with Resolute?

One of my favorite questions is why Resolute Digital and what’s the special value of working and migrating with us. First and foremost, if you can’t tell by these videos we are a bunch of fun data nerds who really care about the work that we do. We hold distinguished status as one of the original Google analytics sales partners and that means we bring best practices from 100 plus complex implementations and have a fully certified team across the GMP. Notably we hold the highest GA360 accreditation along with company certification in Google Tag Manager, Google Cloud, Google Campaign Manager, and soon Google Search Ads, along with 100 plus individual certifications across our team within the Google marketing platform and Google Cloud. We have prestigious access to the alpha launches which gives us a front row view and active involvement in shaping new features. We Implement GA4 adopting a top-down strategic approach which is tailored around key business questions and incorporates a 360 degree customer footprint. We also bring a highly mature, holistic dashboard solution which unifies data from dozens of data sources with very advanced visualizations. And we bring a very hypothesis driven approach. Another cool feature is that we work hand in hand with IPG to deliver even more innovative data solutions that bring in the best of the best as it relates to data including Axiom first party data.

Our Experts

Headshot of Amanda St. Clair

Amanda St. Clair

Executive Vice President,
Head of Solutions,
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Milan Savani

Senior Vice President,
Headshot of John Allen

John Allen

Vice President,

More About Resolute

Resolute Digital, a part of The Weber Shandwick Collective, is a digital media and marketing company that understands data, tech & innovation. Learn More

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