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GA4 Upgrade


Google launched GA4 as a Beta product in 2019, as a replacement for long-serving Universal Analytics (UA).
GA4 was officially released in 2020.

UA was officially sunsetted on 30 June 2023, although historical data will be available for 6 months.

What is different?
Without wanting to get too technical, GA4 is a platform that measures events rather than pages.
An event could be a page view, or an App screen view, or an interaction with a widget, or many other things that are important to you.
So GA4 is more suited to today's websites and Apps.
GA4 is also more privacy-compliant, so it does a better job of protecting users' privacy, while keeping us marketing geeks happy.
Well, happy-ish, as many of the standard reports have been discontinued or buried, requiring configuration to extract the juicy info.

We have found the best solution for reporting is to use Looker Studio (formerly called Google Data Studio), so that we can configure just the data that you need into a user-friendly real time and scheduled report.

What does this mean for sites running UA?
You will no longer be collecting web user and behaviour data.
Installing GA4 or another analytics system is critical if you wish to improve marketing effectiveness.
The major problem will be that Google Ads needs conversion data in order to optimise advertising for conversions not just clicks. 
This will have a negative effect on your ad position and cost per click.
You will also lose UA remarketing, as the audiences you may have used for a decade are no longer populating with new users and will slowly shrink.

GA4 sounds good, so we just paste in the code and that's that?

I wish.

GA4 is a data scientist's dream, but for us humans it can be daunting.
UA was very user friendly and you could peruse dozens of preset reports.
GA4 however is more like being shown to the cockpit and told to learn to fly a plane.

What's this I hear about Google Tag Manager (GTM)?

Since your developer is going to have to install some code, it makes sense the go a little further and install GTM instead of just GA4.
GTM enables greater control of all marketing tags, not just Google ones. This may include Microsoft UET tags, Facebook pixels, CrazyEgg or Hotjar code - all of which can be added, tested and deployed in a matter of minutes via GTM.

Installing GA4 into GTM gives greater flexibility, testing and debug control, plus allows more nuanced tracking of custom events like measuring when visitors watch your embedded videos or submit an enquiry form.

What are the next steps?

Houdini Search Marketing has installed numerous GA4 projects for clients, from e-commerce to travel.

While some are straightforward, those with 3rd party booking engines (Rezdy, Timely, ServiceM8, Squarespace etc) or ecommerce platforms (Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce etc) are considerably more complex.

So we have developed 3 packages to make the upgrade process easier for you.


Core - very simple and straightforward. Includes Google Tag Manager, Looker Studio (formerly called Google Data Studio) reporting and conversion tracking setup
Current assets like Remarketing audiences, filters, conversions and referral exclusion lists will be migrated* to GA4 (or created if not already in existence).
*It may not be possible to migrate all assets in exactly the same format.
Can include installation of 3rd party code such as Facebook Pixels, Microsoft UET Tags, Hotjar and CrazyEgg.
We will provide code and instructions for your developer to install, or you can provide us with backend access to install and debug ourselves.

We will install GA4 inside GTM.
$500 + gst

Integrated - as above, but with 3rd party integration (eg booking systems like Rezdy, Timely, ServiceM8, Squarespace etc) and/or shopping (Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce etc)
Includes linking Google Ads to GA4 and to Looker Studio, and configuring multiple pages in your Looker Studio report
We will provide code and instructions for your developer to install, or you can provide us with backend access to install and debug ourselves.
$600 + gst

Custom - Price to be estimated for custom projects.

The prices may vary, if we find additional steps that may be needed.

The simple Looker Studio report will have 2 pages

If you run Google Ads, then we will link this data and add 3-6 additional pages, depending on the type of campaigns you are running (Google Ads Search, Display, Discovery, Shopping, PMax Shopping, Video or App) and will also include a Competitor Insights page
The Looker Studio reports have been written as executive level reports and will be emailed monthly, including a PDF and a link to the live data
However they are best viewed online so that they can be filtered and interrogated to answer key marketing and business questions

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