Welcome to the Evolytics “Google Analytics 4 in 400 Words” blog series! In the second post of the series, we’ll be discussing the easiest way to get started with Google Analytics 4—dual tagging.
What is dual tagging?
“Dual tagging” means adding Google Analytics 4 (GA4) tracking onto your website in parallel with your existing Universal Analytics tagging. (If you are new to Google Analytics entirely, please visit Analytics Help for more information.)
Benefits of dual tagging
Benefit 1: More historical data
GA4 does not bring in any historical data you’ve tracked in Universal Analytics (UA). It starts tracking as soon as it is set up. The sooner you get GA4 tagging in place, the more historical data you will have to work with.
Benefit 2: Future-proof yourself
Google has not announced when Universal Analytics will be fully deprecated. GA4 is already the default tracking when a new property is created, although you can still create a Universal Analytics property. Rather than procrastinating, start your GA4 setup now. Your future self will thank you.
Benefit 3: More time to get used to the new interface and reporting configuration
Setting up dual tagging now allows you to get acclimated to the new product over time. The learning curve for Google Analytics 4 may be steep if you’re unfamiliar with the current Analytics for Firebase or App+Web, so give yourself plenty of time to learn the new tool.
Dual Tagging without Google Tag Manager
You can easily upgrade to GA4 by selecting the “GA4 Setup Assistant” button in your UA Property Settings. If you have implemented Universal Analytics with gtag.js, you can select the “Enable data collection” checkbox to carry over your baseline tagging settings. Any customizations you’ve made to gtag.js will not carry over.
Before you can add a GA4 Config Tag to GTM, you must create at least one data stream. This will generate a unique Measurement ID and is the equivalent of a Property ID in Universal Analytics. (The next blog post in this series will cover account structure and data streams in GA4).
Dual Tagging with Google Tag Manager
In GTM, input your Measurement ID into the GA4 Config Tag to begin collecting baseline data, (Page Views, Scrolls, Outbound Clicks, Site Search, Video Engagement, and File Downloads). Keep in mind that basic dual tagging does not mean parity with your UA implementation. Be prepared to spend time and resources on the additional customizations which need to be made.
After setup, use the Real-Time Reports to validate data is flowing. Be aware it can take up to 30 minutes.
In our next “GA4 in 400 Words” post, we’ll be discussing the ins-and-outs of Account Structure in Google Analytics 4. We hope to see you next time!