Photographers spend quality time establishing their brand, organizing their photos, and building a website showcasing their photography. So, the next logical step is to share it with the world. Social media, mass emails, search engine optimization, and other marketing campaigns are excellent ways to connect with potential clients. Still, once the traffic starts flowing to your website, it can be challenging to understand how effective those efforts are without proper tracking and measurement tools. This is where Google Analytics comes in.
By setting up Google Analytics, photographers can gain valuable insights into their website traffic, such as where their visitors are coming from, how long they stay on the site, and which pages they visit. This information can help photographers better understand the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and make informed decisions about how to improve their website and online presence.
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The Difference Between Google Analytics 4 and Google Universal Analytics
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google Analytics, which was released in October 2020. It’s designed to provide more advanced and accurate business tracking capabilities, compared to the previous Universal Analytics. GA4 is also more focused on privacy and security and provides more options for data control and governance.
Universal Analytics, also known as UA or GA3, will reach end-of-life on July 1, 2023, as announced by Google. If you are still using Universal Analytics, you should transition to GA4 by creating a new GA4 property in your Google Analytics account.
Adding Google Analytics To Your Site
There are two different scenarios that you might encounter. In the first one, you already have Google Universal Analytics and would want to transition to Google Analytics 4. In the second one, you would want to set up Google Analytics 4 on your website for the first time.
The Transition From Google Universal Analytics To Google Analytics 4
You should transition to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible to start collecting data for your website. You can do it by setting up a new property in your account. Here are the steps on how you can do it:
- Sign in to Google Analytics
- Click Admin in the lower left corner of the screen
- Make sure that your account is selected in your Account column
- Select Universal Analytics property in the Property column
- Click GA4 Setup Assistant and follow the instructions
Setting Up Google Analytics For The First Time
If you are setting up GA4 for the first time, you will need to create a new GA4 property in your Google Analytics account. After that, you need to add the GA4 Measurement ID to your website’s tracking code. Here are the steps on how to create a new GA4 property:
- Sign in to Google Analytics
- Enter the name of your account and the entity – it can be the name of your website, for example, Wonderful Machine
- Enter the URL of your website, and you will get the Measurement ID
You’ll see the Google Tag code when you open Google Analytics 4 Installation instructions. You need to copy it and navigate to your WordPress dashboard. The easiest way to set up Google Analytics 4 on WordPress is by using a plugin. It’s a specific set of functions that adds specific features to your website.
You should navigate to the Plugins section of your WordPress dashboard and click Add new. Afterward, search for a plugin called Head, Footer, and Post Injections. Then you have to install it and activate it.
Go to Settings, and then Header and Footer. You’ll see a section “<HEAD> PAGE SECTION INJECTION”. Next, paste your Google Tag code, save changes, and complete the Google Analytics 4 setup.
Copy the Google Tag code from Google Analytics 4 Installation instructions. Then navigate to your Squarespace dashboard. You have to click on Settings, Advanced, and Code Injection. Paste the Google Tag code in the Header block of your Squarespace Code injection settings. Lastly, save changes, and you are done with the Google Analytics 4 setup.
Other Platforms Setup
Other platforms such as Shopify, Webflow, or custom websites can have different methods to implement Google Tag tracking code. So it’s essential to check the platform’s documentation or consult with the developer to ensure the correct implementation of the GA4 tracking code and Measurement ID. If you need help setting up Google Analytics 4 for your website, feel free to reach out!
You Have Google Analytics, Now What?
Now that you have tracking codes attached to your website, head back to Google Analytics to look at the data.
Some important metrics you should track are the number of Users and the Average engagement time. Both metrics are available in the Reports snapshot section of your GA4 dashboard.
Another helpful section in your GA4 dashboard is the Traffic acquisition section. It’s a report that shows how Users found your website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between Universal Analytics and GA4?
A: GA4 is a more advanced and accurate tracking tool than Universal Analytics and is more focused on privacy and security. It also provides more options for data control and governance.
Q: Can I still use Universal Analytics after GA4 is released?
A: You will not be able to use Universal Analytics (UA) after July 1, 2023, as Google has announced that it will shut down UA in favor of GA4.
Q: Is GA4 compatible with Universal Analytics?
A: No, GA4 is not directly compatible with Universal Analytics and requires a different tracking code.
Q: What is the process for transitioning from Universal Analytics to GA4?
A: In order to transition from Universal Analytics to GA4, you must create a new GA4 property in your Google Analytics account and use the GA4 Measurement ID in your website’s tracking code.
Q: What is the process for setting up GA4 for the first time?
A: To set up GA4 for the first time, you must create a new GA4 property in your Google Analytics account and then add the GA4 Measurement ID to your website’s tracking code.
Q: How can I set up GA4 on WordPress?
A: To set up Google Analytics 4 on WordPress, you can use a plugin called Head, Footer and Post Injections. This plugin allows you to easily add your GA4 measurement ID to your website by pasting it into your website’s <head> section.
Q: How can I set up GA4 on Squarespace?
A: You can add your GA4 Measurement ID to your Squarespace website by going to Settings > Advanced > Code Injection, adding the GA4 tracking code to the “Header” code injection field, and saving your changes.
About the Author
Before diving into digital marketing, Josip Hotovec studied Computer Science at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing at the University of Zagreb, Croatia. As the online marketing world expanded, his interest in SEO, web development, and social media helped him establish his own business, Paradox Bay. He also works as a SEO Manager at Wonderful Machine. In his offline time, Josip enjoys riding bikes, exploring nature, and learning Japanese. This article was originally published here and shared with permission.