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120 Users Share Their Opinions on GA4 (Infographic)

Last Modified on February 27, 2024

So less than 9 months left until the sunset of Universal Analytics? Well, this sounds a bit scary.

We definitely need a guiding beacon in the field in these challenging times. 

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Since GA4 is a relatively new tool (yeah, it is not an upgrade, yet a completely new tool), we ended up in the same boat – we should learn it from scratch. 

The abrupt decision to sunset UA has raised many questions, as people wonder what their next steps should be and how they should deal with it. 

This is why we decided to connect with our audience in order to understand how the migration is going and how they are addressing the need to switch. 

Not only did we get some really nice insights but we also asked 10 experts whose expertise we rely upon to voice their opinions about the current situation. 

Sounds really intriguing, right? 

So let’s find out what the luminaries of measurement shared with us. 

Here you can find the questions we included in our survey and below each question, you can read the expert’s thoughts on that specific aspect. 

Before reading the opinions, ask yourself the given question too, as this might give you some food for thought.

🚨 Note: We have created an infographic of the survey responses for you to use on your own site.

What is your setup?

What is your GA4 setup?

Bryan Lamb from InfoTrust: “Two questions that I think would have been interesting to ask are have you moved to GA4 and/or is GA4 ready to meet your needs. I’d be curious how many people at this point have fully made the move to GA4. The percentage of dual-tagging makes me think possibly a high number of users have not made the full transition but being dual-tagged does not necessarily mean they are still using UA. Could be they are just leaving it dual-tagged to the deprecation point and will just turn it off later. Since most of our clients have GA 360, we find there are a number of features that are still needed to finish making the move but I suspect for the average user this is not the case.”

Sofiia Bychkovska from MeasureSchool: “I am pleasantly surprised by how many people have already migrated to GA4. Either we have really responsible respondents, or people do feel the need to migrate asap. I do understand how many challenges they are facing at present, as we are also dealing with that. It is not easy to work with the tool that is being under heavy development with new features released on the fly. However, this is the reality we have to adjust to.”

Zorin Radovancevic from Escape Studio: “As expected the dual approach is still prevalent meaning, probably, that a lot of the implementations may be done but users still revert to the ‘good old’ Universal for answers (usually reporting needs).”

Julius Fedorovicius from Analytics Mania: “The numbers such as 70% have dual-tagging and 18% have only GA4 were very surprising. But unfortunately, I don’t think they really represent the reality. It shows that Measureschool’s followers (even though the sample size is not significant) are responsible and they try to follow best practices and don’t wait for deadlines. That’s good. Kudos to them. 

People invest their time to learn new things, they follow educational content creators (like MeasureSchool), thus they dedicate time to convince their employers, customers, etc. to migrate sooner than later. (that’s my educated guess). 

In reality, many businesses haven’t migrated yet. Here are some numbers from Builtwith.

There are ~26 million websites using Universal Analytics.

And there are ~7 million that use GA4.

Yes, technically, some companies might reuse their existing GTAGs of Universal Analytics to send data to GA4 too (then Builtwith cannot fully this is happening) but even then the difference is too big. Some of UA users will never migrate to GA4, but many (who will probably migrate) haven’t even started doing that. So I think there will be a big wave next year of last-minute migrations.”

What is your level of experience with GA4?

What is your level of experience with GA4?

Sofiia Bychkovska from MeasureSchool: “It is great to see such a high percentage of people who are advanced GA4 users. Not so much time has passed since the tool was introduced, and people display the willingness to learn and to excel themselves. All marketers are kind of in the same boat at the moment – we need to master the tool from scratch since this is not a simple upgrade yet a new tool with different functionality.”

🚨 Note: Marketers who had no experience with GA4 were excluded from the later part of our survey.

How would you describe your current role?

How would you describe your current role?

Do you prefer the GA4 event-based model or the UA session-based model?

Do you prefer the GA4 event-based model or the UA session-based model?

Dana DiTomaso from Kick Point: “The breakdown of the preference between the GA4 and UA data models speaks for itself. The GA4 model is excellent — what’s been lacking is a great UI and any sort of report parity between UA and GA4.”

Sofiia Bychkovska from MeasureSchool: “I think the new data model is a considerable improvement in GA4 since it gives us so much flexibility as well as control over our data. We can define ourselves what we want to track but such responsibility might also generate more confusion among people.”

Do you want to migrate to GA4?

Do you want to migrate to GA4?

Brian Clifton from Verified Data: “It’s interesting that just over 30% of respondents say “no”. Is this just because of the effort involved, costs, or negative experience/reviews of GA4? We simply don’t know. 

What surprised me is that only 2.5% are prepared to look at a different solution. With so many complaints and stories of bad experiences flying around online, I really thought it would be much, much bigger. I expected this to be greater also because the UA/GA4 transition is such a big change i.e. it makes sense to look at alternatives now. However, it shows just how entrenched GA has become.”

Ken Williams from Further: “GA4 has certainly made progress in winning the hearts and minds of the marketers and analysts who responded to this survey! This is evident in the fact that 89% of respondents have started using GA4 to some degree, and 69% are doing this willingly (responded “yes” to the question “Do you want to migrate to GA4″).”

Josh Silverbauer from From the Future: “The responses to this survey were quite interesting to me. First, the fact that most people said “yes” to wanting to migrate to GA4. There has been major pushback in the community with GA4 and a non-adoption problem. The overall resistance has been perpetuated by Google, changing it’s own timeline with 360 customers, kind of admitting that the tool was not ready yet. The fact that most people are excited to migrate, is surprising but shows that consumers are starting to see the advantages of both the GA4 model and the many features within the tool.”

Bryan Lamb from InfoTrust: “Yeah, those results are interesting. We’ve had mixed reactions on the forced move from UA to GA4 but we are generally dealing with enterprise companies with much more complex setups so the move can be more difficult. Based on the answers I’m guessing this is a much more even mix of users and it seems like for your average, user the move to GA4 is not as daunting as more advanced users.”

How do you migrate your events?

How do you migrate your events?

Julius Fedorovicius from Analytics Mania: “I liked that those who completed the survey are willing to invest more time and look at GA4 migration as an implementation of a completely different tool (meaning that they do the setup manually and (probably) evaluate what needs to be migrated, what is still useful to track, etc.)

My approach is similar. Even though there are some (very limited) migration options, it is better to start with a blank piece of paper and revisit your current measurement strategy. What should be measured? What is useful? Migrate only those things and leave some of the technical UA debt behind.”

Fred Pike from Northwoods: “81% are migrating events manually from UA to GA4. Holy cow – that’s painful! The good news is that a manual migration implies (hopefully) some level of planning and thinking about how / what to migrate and (again hopefully) a good structure for GA4 events and parameters. But migrating events manually is a very tedious process which could be improved through tools like Ben Kuehn’s GA4 migration tool, or TagMate (which I haven’t tested), or some other options.”

Brian Clifton from Verified Data: “I am very encouraged to see that the vast majority of respondents (81%) are manually doing this – implying a fresh view of what event tracking means. This is supported by 62% saying they are creating their own custom parameters i.e. moving away from the the very hierarchical and rigid category/action/label approach of UA. Note, there is nothing wrong with hierarchical events per se, just that GA4 is very different in this respect. Hence it makes sense not to migrate your existing UA structure, but to look afresh.”

Sofiia Bychkovska from MeasureSchool: “I cannot say I rely on goal migration tools. Of course, they could be used for a quick setup but I would prefer implementing everything from scratch. This abrupt change has given us a golden opportunity to audit the old setup, identify what has value and come up with a fresh tracking strategy. It is really great to see that most people share the same opinion.”

Zorin Radovancevic from Escape Studio: “Moreover there are some UA artifacts that can carry a load down the road, for instance, the tracking schema is migrated and the Google migration tools used for collection efforts. I am strongly against this as it shows no thought process involved in the migration – this should be an opportunity.”

How do you deal with event setup?

How do you deal with event setup?

Charles Farina from Adswerve: “I was surprised by how many people carried the event category/action/label approach from UA into GA4. On one hand, it will likely be harder for all those folks to do analysis in the platform, but on the other hand, it showcases GA4’s flexibility to handle different approaches.”

Dana DiTomaso from Kick Point: “The responses regarding event setup are concerning! 1/4 of respondents are migrating the old UA event model over to GA4 which makes no sense at all. There are so many more options and ways to set up GA4 events, why would you limit yourself to what we were stuck with in GA4? I’m also seeing this with 3rd party vendors who send events to GA4 — they’re still using the C/A/L terminology. We definitely need more education here to help people change how they think about events.”

Bryan Lamb from InfoTrust: “I liked seeing the question about how they dealt with event setup and I was very happy to see that just passing category, action and label was not the top answer. It’s the easy path but will make reporting so much more difficult. So to see people aren’t going that route probably helps in some of the other questions about using GA4 and how they feel about moving to it.”

Josh Silverbauer from From the Future: “40% of survey-takers mentioned either putting category, action, and label as parameters or not adding them at all. This shows the continued confusion with understanding the ga4 model and how the approach to measurement strategy needs to be completely different. I’ve felt that Google has not done a good job of educating users between the differences between the two different models. I’d like to see the percentage of users who don’t add their own custom parameters dwindle over time.”

Fred Pike from Northwoods: “Fascinating survey results. I think they’re highly reflective of a GA4-engaged audience, though – people who get GA4 and are already committed to it.

For example:

  • 89% are running GA4 in some form.
  • Almost 70% rank themselves as “intermediate” or “expert” in their GA4 knowledge.
  • 73% are not re-creating UA’s category/action/label designations.

This is a group of people who are clearly ahead of the curve, as far as GA4 goes.”

How do you download UA historical data?

How do you download UA historical data?

Dana DiTomaso from Kick Point: “I suspect the reason why about half of respondents hadn’t thought about downloading UA data yet is because there still isn’t a great solution out there. Whoever makes it first to market with an easy-to-configure UA to BigQuery/Sheets/something else exporter will own this market.”

Fred Pike from Northwoods: “Almost half have not figured out how to export UA data yet. That makes total sense to me. The closer we get to the data-disappearing date of ~1/1/2024, the more this group will be paying attention to it. I’ve told most of my clients not to worry too much about it yet because there are sure to be some decent options for exporting the data.”

Are you using exploration reports?

Are you using exploration reports?

Julius Fedorovicius from Analytics Mania: “The results of this question does not necessarily mean that 22% are using just standard reports. It might mean that some people are using GA4 just as a data collection tool and they use Looker studio/Bigquery/etc to visualize data there. But of course, some people will use GA4 just for standard reports. I think with a larger sample size this number of “no” would have been greater.”

Tick the most useful features in GA4

Tick the most useful features in GA4

Josh Silverbauer from From the Future: “I was also surprised by what features takers found the most useful. The features that came in last are actually the most valuable, in my opinion. Audience triggers and predictive audiences being some of the most incredible features of GA4. I think over-time, these answers would shift as people get more familiar with the tool and its capability. Enhanced Measurement for instance is a feature that, in audits to come, I would suggest turning off and building similar events on your own.”

Julius Fedorovicius from Analytics Mania: “My guess why predictive audiences are marked as the least useful is because this feature requires a high volume of conversions and not many companies can use/have that. So in this case the “least useful” means “the predictive audiences feature is often unavailable” for smaller companies.

I have sliced the question above based on GA4 expertise levels. Enhanced measurement is the most useful feature among beginners (together with funnel tracking). Which is expected.

Beginners opinions on GA4 features

And the more you are experienced with GA4, the less you find enhanced measurement useful. 

Intermediate users opinions on GA4 features
Experts opinions on GA4 features

That’s my experience too. The more complex website is (e.g. single page application), the fewer features from Enhanced measurement are used (or EM is disabled altogether)

The same applies to conversion tracking. The more experienced you are, the less useful you find it. My guess is because not all UA goal types can be easily recreated in GA4. For intermediate/experienced users, the most useful feature is Explorations.”

Did you connect your GA4 property to BigQuery?

Did you connect your GA4 property to BigQuery?

Ken Williams from Search Discovery: “From the responses, it is clear that this audience is more technically proficient than the average marketer (based on roles and 81% preferring to migrate manually), so it is surprising that only 48% have thought about how they will download historic data, and only 33% have tried out the free BigQuery integration. As we approach July 2023 I would expect these numbers to rise quickly.”

Dana DiTomaso from Kick Point: “I’m not surprised that only 33% of respondents had attached GA4 to BigQuery — the process isn’t that user-friendly, especially if you haven’t used Google Cloud Platform before. It’s bad enough if you’re doing it yourself and trying to get clients to do this is a nightmare. Again, education is needed since there isn’t a lot of awareness out there about the limit on detailed event data.”

Do you find the GA4 Predictive Audience metric useful?

Do you find the GA4 Predictive Audience metric useful?

Charles Farina from Adswerve: “I agree with the sentiment that most people aren’t finding Google’s predictive metrics useful solely because they have been largely purposed for e-commerce. I hope Google opens up the ability for other verticals/use cases, so these become more accessible to all users. Google made some changes in this direction earlier this year, when they lowered the requirements to use them, so I’m hopeful 2023 will have some great feature launches in this area.”

Do you use Enhanced Measurement?

Do you use Enhanced Measurement?

Brian Clifton from Verified Data: “This feature is a huge improvement over UA, so seeing 28% not using it is disappointing. Literally, without Enhanced Measurement, what is the point of having GA4?

Enhanced Measurement is very simple to set up, and because GA4 does the heavy lifting for you, it is less prone to data quality issues. From my research, poor data quality was a major problem of Universal Analytics (reference).”

🚨 Note: Marketers that haven’t used Enhanced measurement were excluded from the next question.

Tick the Enhanced measurement events in GA4 that you’ve found useful

Tick the Enhanced measurement events in GA4 that you’ve found useful

Julius Fedorovicius from Analytics Mania: “It’s natural that users find scroll tracking least useful (because it tracks only 90% threshold. I guess that if Form tracking was added here, it would be marked as even less useful :)”

Tick the metrics in GA4 that you’ve found extremely useful

Tick the metrics in GA4 that you've found extremely useful

Bryan Lamb from InfoTrust: “I also find it interesting that the Sessions metric got such a high count given GA4 is not really built around sessions. Although I will say I think Google has come a long way to supporting sessions than it was when GA4 was first released to production.”

Do you use GA4 Explorations for your data analysis?

Do you use GA4 Explorations for your data analysis?

Zorin Radovancevic from Escape Studio: “What I find the most promising finding is that Explore is the go-to report interface as in customizing based on actual needs rather than messing with the standard UI and in fact I do hope it will become a primary way to digest collected data.”

Do you find the Modify Event feature helpful?

Do you find the Modify Event feature helpful?

Sofiia Bychkovska from MeasureSchool: “Hah, funny to see 2 camps here. I think it is nice to have new features in GA4 but at the same time, I would not rely on this one too much. If you use this feature, it will override your GTM settings which might lead to a mess, especially if many people are working on the same project. I love keeping my tracking neat and tidy in one place but this is a matter of one’s preferences.”

How do you verify your GA4 implementations?

How do you verify your GA4 implementations?

Brian Clifton from Verified Data: “Given how quickly UA setups could go bad (typically 6-12 months), monitoring an analytics setup is very important. GA4’s Real-time reporting and Debug View are a big help in this regard, but they are a one-off i.e. “set and forget” process. It will be interesting to see how monitoring tools such as Verified Data develop in this area. The challenge is not just about what data is collected, but what data is missing, and what is compliant.”

Final words

Josh Silverbauer from From the Future: “The survey to me reads as though most people still haven’t completely dove into GA4 but have a preliminary setup and are exploring the benefits. It will be interesting to run this survey in another 6 months and see how the answers have shifted. With all of that said, It’s definitely an interesting time for Google Analytics 4, and exciting to see its user base evolve.”

Fred Pike from Northwoods: “Overall, a great look at how deeply GA4 is entrenched already, at least in this group of fairly sophisticated digital marketers/analysts. I suspect the freelancers and agencies in this group will have a very busy 2023.”

Yeah, 2023 promises to be quite interesting. The good thing is that we are not left to our own devices. 

It is truly inspiring to see how people deal with the challenges and grow professionally upgrading not only Google Analytics yet also their skillset. 

We do have an outstanding community that enables us to learn and move forward. 

We are a part of something great: Let’s carry on this passion for measurement and respond to the challenges 2023 has prepared for us.

Infographic - 120 Users Share Their Opinions on GA4

Feel free to share our infographic on your website with the link provided below.

<div><img src="https://measureschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Infographic-120-Users-Share-Their-Opinions-on-GA4.webp" alt="Infographic - 120 Users Share Their Opinions on GA4" width="100%" height="100%"><br><p>Infographic by <a href="https://measureschool.com/services/">MeasureSchool</a></p></div>