You read it right. After October 1st, Universal Analytics 360-enabled sites will have an additional two years to implement the feature.

One more thing, even though GA4 sounds like an upgrade from Universal analytics. Your UA data will not be migrated to GA4 🙂

So, my friend, in order to generate the required historical data, you should switch to Google Analytics 4 now rather than later.

• But, how did we get here?

• Why is Google making this change?

• And, most importantly, what must your brand do now to survive the transition?

Continue reading to learn more about moving to GA4 and why it’s critical that you get started right away.

Index

Difference between GA4 and GA Universal?
Loss Of Historical Data
New Data Visualization Model
Data Privacy
GA4: Optional Or Unavoidable?
Where Do I Start?
Cost To Migrate From UA To GA 4
General Hourly Costing
General Caveats Of Hourly Costing
Requiments For Ensuring A Successful Project
Cost Of Basic GA4 Implementation
Cost Of GA4 Ecommerce Implementation
Requiments For Ensuring A Successful Project
Closing Notes

First thing first – What is the difference between GA4 and GA Universal?

Now, our friend, Universal Analytics (UA), was released nine years ago, and it was simply an upgraded version of the original Google Analytics Classic.

The Universal Analytics measurement model is built on sessions and pageviews. And while GA Universal is page-focused, the new GA4 focuses on user interaction.

So, rather than focusing on page views, GA4 utilizes a novel form of tracking based on occurrences. It tracks individual page elements’ performance and relative contribution, complete with variations.

Now, there’s no need for extra products to track your visitors engaging with your business on a mobile app, software, or website–all traffic can be monitored in one place.

You’ll notice a number of changes, including a new user interface. GA4 also makes use of contemporary Google Tags but requires the creation of a new Google Analytics property for data storage.

Though it’s a year away, why the hurry? Good Question.

Universal Analytics will sunset

The sooner you migrate to GA4, the better. Google has set a sunset date of June 2023 for GA Universal, making it more important than ever to move fast.

If you act now, you’ll be able to compare apples to apples when looking at year-over-year data soon.

One more important reason to switch to GA4 soon is machine learning.

Machine learning addresses some of the gaps in your visitor data. The sooner you begin collecting data, the better.

The loss of historical data

As the data model changes, so does the foundation of the measurement model. The first consequence is that, in the new tool, previous data will no longer be accessible.

Consequently, we will have to renovate everything – from the measurement strategy and execution to the way we present data through visual dashboards.

The New data visualization model

Although, the release of the beta version in October 2020 has been largely ignored by digital managers.

The data visualization model (and anybody who has viewed the new Google Analytics interface will have noticed) will also be transformed.

Naturally, all of these modifications necessitate the development of a large number of skills among the teams in order to deal with the learning curve. In other words, it takes time and effort.

Are there any advantages as well? Oh Yes!

Fortunately, as with many things, it comes with a benefit. Here are some of the advantages that come with moving to GA4 early:

Universal Analytics (UA) is no longer supported or updated, and it has an expiration date, as we previously said. Google Analytics 4, on the other hand, is being continuously improved and added to with new features every month (and yes, it's still a free tool; there are various business editions for additional features).
Consequently, if we don't begin to generate a new data history using the updated measurement model now,  we will have no choice but to start completely from square one come changeover day.
The transition will not happen overnight: it is a gradual process that takes time. Early adopters of the technology will have a competitive advantage over those who adopt it later on (laggards). In addition, adoption is not immediate; it requires some time to learn and adapt. Therefore, you should avoid being the last to adopt this technology at all costs and plan accordingly.
It's a more marketing- and business-oriented tool. The shift from sessions to events generates insights that are less concerned with "what is the user doing on my website," but rather with "how is my digital presence helping me bring in money."
The reasons Proof is better than Google Analytics and any other analytics tool are as follows: The integration of web and mobile application data. By crafting more targeted information, our marketing actions will be much more effective. Reports are based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Individualized reports for every account. For big volumes of data, the end of sampling has arrived. More seamless integrations with other tools. More sophisticated visualization systems. Increased accuracy for attribution models.

The reasons Proof is better than Google Analytics and any other analytics tool are as follows:

The integration of web and mobile application data.
By crafting more targeted information, our marketing actions will be much more effective.
Reports are based on artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Individualized reports for every account.
For big volumes of data, the end of sampling has arrived.
More seamless integrations with other tools.
More sophisticated visualization systems.
Increased accuracy for attribution models.

Last but not least – Data Privacy

There are three key factors progressing the empowerment of individuals so that they can make decisions about how companies use their data from Internet activity :

States and institutions, through legal changes and regulations, as in the case of the GDPR in Europe or the CCPA in the United States, to name just two examples.
Technology companies are being forced to limit data collection and the use of cookies in browsers.
The Internet is not only fostering a global culture but also accelerating the maturation of users and legitimizing their claims.

Over the following months, we will see significant developments in corporate digital policies, with organizations implementing privacy-first actions to promote ideas such as openness in data usage and user control over how their data is used.

Though it may seem contradictory, more user privacy typically leads to less information. Google Analytics 4 is a product of Google’s dedication to providing more privacy for users in the future. Its data model uses artificial intelligence to fill in the gaps left by privacy browsers.

Until now, we’ve only been able to analyze data after the fact. But from now on, we will be modeling data as well so that we can predict future outcomes more accurately.

Google is providing us with all of its technological capabilities and user knowledge to complete this information while maintaining our privacy. What’s more, the models’ dependability is off the charts. It has been many years of observing and learning about everything that goes on in our lives as users.

Well-Well Migrating to GA4: optional or unavoidable?

Do you wish to continue using your current Google Analytics version? That’s fine, go for it.

But in that situation, your business will fall apart until the day EVERYTHING fails. Then there will be a panic and everything will be completed in the incorrect manner.

Although you could opt to use other analytical tools, it would be pointless because the adoption curve would likely reflect similar data, and nobody can keep up with Google’s rapid Analytics advancements.

In conclusion, it is only a matter of time before classic Google Analytics becomes obsolete; the decision of which tool to migrate to will depend on each brand’s individual corporate strategy.

So, where do I start?

It’s now time to take action, get started on your journey, and profit from the GA4 competitive advantage.

Establishing a team of individuals who are veritable experts in their field is crucial for the success of your project. Not only that, but everyone needs to be on board with the changes you’re trying to make. Change requires work and comes with benefits, so it’s essential that your leadership is committed and that your team knows about the potential rewards. The next step is simply to take risks—this isn’t an undertaking where playing it safe would be beneficial.

OR

We can do it for you 🙂

How much does it cost to migrate from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4

If you made it this far, I believe you are on our website for one of the three reasons:

  1. You are evaluating us for the fitment of a project
  2. You are checking out our content
  3. You are looking to be part of our team

From this point on, I am writing this blog for the audience with objective 1 ie, you are evaluating whether we are the right fit for your requirements or not – specifically when it comes to Google Analytics 4 projects.

I’ll also share our working procedure and cost estimate in the sections below.

PLEASE NOTE : LIKE UNIVERSAL ANALYTICS, GOOGLE ANALYTICS 4 IS ALSO FREE OF COST. THE POST PRESENTS THE COST OF OUR SERVICES AND NOT THE TOOL.

General Hourly Costing

So, here is a thing – In general, DataVinci charges 40 USD per hour for one-time or ad hoc projects. Whatever we charge is going to be dependent on the effort that is involved in enabling the solution on your digital asset.

One more thing: Don’t expect that we will do only a 40$ assignment 🙂 It is an estimate for you considering you have a batch of projects for us 🙂

Now, If it’s a simple setup and you are OK to work with plugins (if they exist for your platform) then the cost will be low. But, if it is going to be a complex one, then the cost will increase.

But, If the project is really complex and is going to take considerable effort, we can also negotiate the pricing. Alright?

We have delivered end-to-end GA4 implementation projects in the range of 300 USD to 5,600 USD. While writing this blog, I am sincerely trying my best to present you totally transparent information. My objective is to help you assess whether we are the right agency for you or not. We value our time and we value your time more than ours.

General caveats of hourly costing

In general hourly costing is not the preferred unit unless you are testing us to go on a retainer-based arrangement.

We rather prefer if we can agree on a set scope wherein we can provide the estimates to you before commencing the project. Once you get our estimates, you can assess them and request any additional details that are required.

Hourly-based costing has issues, plenty of issues :

Time Is Tracked Manually
Time is tracked manually in most of the tools - Harvest, Clockify, Taimer etc. etc. Manual tracking can get erronous. Someone can forget to turn the timer ON. Or worst - someone can forget to turm the timer OFF? Plus, there is always a feeling of distrust with timer based arrangement. Till the time the invoice is raised, the client is tensed on how much effort the delivery will take. We as delivery team are tensed that the client will scrutinize the time logs and it is not always possible to explain every mintute. It is so peaceful at both the ends - If we can commit to you a quote in advance and you can sign that off once you are fine with the estimates. The interests of both parties are take care of like this.
Poor Bandwidth Management
In a fixed scope project it is very simple to communicate to the sales and BD team on how much bandwidth is available with the operations team. But, with an Ad hoc project, the bandwidth management is very difficult. Hence, it is preferred that we agree on scope where we keep our side of the deal and you keep yours.

Requiments for ensuring a successful project

Proper Approvals & Permissions
This is like a fundamental requiement and seems like a no-brainer. But often, approvals become a major blocker. We are external partners and often company policies from various departments do not allow a smooth working arrangement with external vendors. For example, there can be a strict IT and compiance policy in your company that you can work with only those agencies which are holding certain ISO certifications. Hence, it is preferred that you cross check with your key stakeholders on what are the requirements to work with external partners like us and then only proceed for scoping.
Bandwidth of your developers
This one is the most challenging aspect of delivering a smooth analytics implementation. Lets take a hypothetical case - you initate a project with us at the beginging of the month, we provide you with all the documentation and dataLayer instructions. But, when you go to your development team, they inform you that they cannot incorporate any updates for the next 2 months. After 2 months, there is no gurantee on which all other projects our team gets occupied with. Further, after 2 months you cannot expect us to prioritize your project if we have committed to other clients. Hence, it is preffered to start projects when your development team has the bandwidth to support us.
Proper Tool Accesses
To work on your stack, we obviously need proper accesses to it. But, the nature of our work is such that you will be sharing your data with us. Even though all our engagements are covered under strict NDA clauses (which you can customize as well) - at the end of the day we are getting access to your data. Now, depending on your company policies - you can grant us the accesses we need or you cannot. It is better to check on this first, otherwise there is considerable back and forth which usually results into a blocker only.
Proper Site Or App Accesses
There can be certain sections of your website which only your customers can access, but they will be important from analytics and tracking perspective. To access those sections, we will need accounts created for us. In case there are any transactions involved, we will need test card details or 100% OFF discount vouchers, such that we can make multiple conversions to debug the journey. It is also preferred that you have informed your CRM team about our test conversions so that there is no confusion at their end if they see an unusual spike in activity.

Cost of basic GA4 Implementation

We prefer to do the setup with Google Tag Manager. I am assuming here that you already have GTM enabled on your site. If not, then GTM enablement will cost you extra, but I will keep that one outside the scope of this post.

For a simple setup, here are the required steps :

  1. Gathering relevant accesses
  2. Creation of property in GA account – creating data streams, etc.
  3. Configuration of the property – any filters, enhancements, etc.
  4. Installing the GA4 tag in GTM
  5. Debug and validation
  6. Handover and signoff

This will not take us more than an hour to do. Hence the price of a simple page load-based GA4 tracking will cost 40$.

Cost of GA4 Ecommerce Implementation

Assuming standard conditions, this should not take more than 2 hours. Factoring in the previous 1 hour, this should roughly take 3 hours, and hence 40X3 = 120$

The price of this one can vary based on the platform that you are using. For the scope of this blog post, I am focussing on 2 key platforms viz. Shopify and Woocommerce

I will start with WooCommerce.

Usually, we prefer to work with Google Tag Manager for Word Press Plugin. It is a popular and stable plugin. We have used it on numerous projects and as such never had any issues. So, if you and your team are OK to work with this plugin then that is not much of an effort from our side (assuming standard conditions).

So, adding to the steps I have covered above for standard page load enablement. We need additional enhancements for enabling Ecom, which will be :

  1. Gathering access to your WordPress
  2. Configuring the plugin for GA4 Ecom
  3. Configuring GTM based on the plugin requirements
  4. Installing the tags, triggers, and variables
  5. Debug and validation
  6. Handover and signoff

Now, for Shopify.

The thing is as of the creation of this blog, there is no direct integration or plugin available with Shopify that allows you to track all the Ecom data points viz. Product detail views, Add to cart, checkout, and purchase.

Further, the possibility of tracking specifically checkout data points will entirely depend on the tier of your Shopify account. Other than Shopify Plus accounts, it is not possible to inject any codes into the checkout.

So, for non-Shopify Plus accounts. You can track – Product detail views, Add to cards, Cart opens, and Purchases. But, you will not be able to use data from GA4 for your checkout optimization. OK?

Now, the pricing for Shopify will further depend on 1 more thing :

You have developers to implement the DataLayer or not.

So, let’s take case 1 – you have developers. So, our role is simply to provide you with the dataLayer specification document and then validate whether your developers have enabled the dataLayer as per our guidelines or not. With this provision here will be the steps for us:

  1. Create the DataLayer specification document for recording Product details views, Add to carts, Cart opens, and Purchase
  2. Configuring GTM to pick the values from the added dataLayer
  3. Debug and validation
  4. Handover and sign off

Assuming standard conditions, this should not take more than 8 hours. Factoring in the previous 1 hour, this should roughly take 9 hours, and hence 40X9 = 360$

The price will go up if your developers need more support, more detailed documentation (everything with images and markers and arrows, etc.), there is back and forth during validations, etc. Ok?

Now, in case 2 – you don’t have developers to enable the DataLayers that we supply. In that case, we will need to work with your theme code base and the effort involved is quite subjective. You can also use tools like Elevar which provide various tiers but have an additional monthly subscription fee.

But, if you don’t want to go with tools like Elevar and are looking for custom solutions then budget for additional 20-30 hours. I am not saying that it will take that much, but it is not possible to comment on complexities we might discover in your code base. It can also take higher. After all tailor-made solutions are always expensive.

So, a tailor-made solution without developer support will cost you 800+ USD ( Focus on +). I will be transparent over here – in one of the Shopify+ projects the commercials were 4,000 USD for the entire setup. It was a 100-hour ballpark project and took the team 2.5 weeks to implement, validate and deliver the entire stack.

The above figure of 800+ is applicable for any platform where developer support is not available.

Requiments for ensuring a successful project

The effort for tracking form submissions depends on 2 things :

  1. The type of form you have on the site
  2. The data you want to send along with the form submission

What do I mean by the type of form?

There are different kinds of forms – html5 based forms, single-page applications, iframes, etc., etc.

Google Tag Manager cannot detect all kinds of form submissions readily. Particularly, if you want to send data for a valid submission. Hence, it is difficult to comment on the effort and possibility without understanding the nature of the form.

At times form submission tracking might not even be possible. The form can be through a tool, for example – Outgrow.co & in this case, you might not even have access to inject any additional JS on Outgrow.

Now, the second thing – is the data you want to send along with the form submissions. The primary requirement for this is that the data needs to be exposed in the DOM for GTM to pick it up and send it across to analytics. If the data itself is not available, then we need that data to be passed in the dataLayer and will require developer support for this.

So, again if it’s a simple form and the data that needs to be passed to GA4 is also basic level, let’s say just counting the number of submissions – then it will not take more than an hour. But, if it’s a complicated setup and the data that you need to send also requires customization then the effort will vary based on the requirements.

If it’s a simple form, should not take more than 1.5 hours. If your requirements are beyond that, then it can take time.

Other factors affecting cost calculations

Here are some factors that will also affect the cost of the project and its scope :

Depth of customization
There can be certain sections of your website which only your customers can access, but they will be important from analytics and tracking perspective. To access those sections, we will need accounts created for us. In case there are any transactions involved, we will need test card details or 100% OFF discount vouchers, such that we can make multiple conversions to debug the journey. It is also preferred that you have informed your CRM team about our test conversions so that there is no confusion at their end if they see an unusual spike in activity.
Your process & documentation
This one is more applicable to agencies who are planning to sub-contract to us Google Analytics 4 projects. In this case, the cost can vary based on the internal processes and type of documentations you maintain for your clients. So, if there are certain procedural requirements, its better to let us know about that in advance to avoid any conflicts down the road.

Closing Notes

I hope the post provides you with a high-level understanding of Google Analytics 4 and whether we are the right agency for you or not. But, I also hope that this post provides you with some information to keep into consideration whenever you plan to onboard any external partner.

If you want to proceed further with the discussion on any of your digital analytics projects with us. Please use the link below: