Google Analytics – Website Tracking and Reporting
Google Analytics 4 Transition
As of June 2022, UCR is in the process of transitioning the campus from using Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and preparing for the sunsetting of UA in July 2023.
This guide was created to serve as a resource for campus partners during this transition.
The campus-wide transition will be handled by University Relations and ITS, with the option for campus partners to create and implement their own Google Analytics/Google Tag Manager if additional customization is desired for their specific program area.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics (GA) is a web analytics service used to track user behavior on websites with the GA tracking code configured. GA includes features that can help identify trends and patterns in how visitors engage with our websites.
What is Google Analytics 4?
GA4 is not an "upgrade" to UA. It is a completely new version of GA that processes data based on a different model. GA4 is centered around an event-based model, whereas UA stands on a session-based data model.
Why are we transitioning to Google Analytics 4?
UA is going to stop processing data in July 2023, and historical data in UA will be available for up to 6 months after July 2023 (so, up until January 2024).
One of the reasons that Google is discontinuing UA is to address data privacy concerns. Per Google, “UA was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies.” By not relying exclusively on cookies and using an event-based data model, GA4 can operate across multiple platforms (e.g., web, iOS apps, Android apps). This makes GA4 a more future-proof solution.
What will the campus-wide transition to Google Analytics 4 look like?
With the transition to GA4, there is an opportunity to restructure our campus GA account(s) to be more cohesive, track user engagement across the entire ucr.edu domain (all sites hosted on Drupal), while still having the ability to drill down into specific segments as needed.
Trainings and Resources
Process Documentation/Job Aids
Google Analytics 4 Guide
Comprehensive overview of Google Analytics 4, including a detailed breakdown of the transition, basic Google Analytics 4 concepts and features, and an optional section for advanced Google Analytics.
Google Analytics 4 Guide – Creating and Using Your Comparison or Segment for Reporting
Process documentation on how to view basic site analytics/reporting for your program area using comparisons/segments.
Google Analytics 4 Guide – Confirming Your Tracking Codes Work
Process documentation on how to use Google Tag Manager preview mode and Google Analytics debugger to ensure your Google Analytics 4 tracking codes are processing hits correctly on your site(s).
- Google Analytics Guide – Tracking Campaign Traffic with UTM Links