Use Universal Analytics (not GA4) on your website

Google is pushing people into GA4- although it’s not ready yet. Here’s how you can setup your new Google Analytics with Universal Analytics and not GA4 (for now, at least).

Why you should setup Universal Analytics and not GA4 yet?

Although Google is pushing people into GA4 (by making this the default kind of analytics for new accounts created), it’s not ready for full-use yet. It has serious limitations that can drastically affect your marketing efforts- especially when attempting to track ecommerce conversions (although you can track form submissions in GA4). It also lacks fundamental features, such as reporting. As a result, for now at least, I recommend you stay with Universal Analytics rather than GA4.

Google is so aggressively pushing GA4 that it hides the ability to create a traditional, Universal Analytics account. In this process I show you how to find it and set it up yourself. This is so important, that I’m making it available for free.

What should you expect from Universal Analytics?

Eventually GA4 will be a better (and the only) solution for Google Analytics. It’s not there yet. In the meantime you will get a lot more out of Universal Analytics.

How to skip GA4 and setup Universal Analytics

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This process assumes you are setting up a new Google Analytics account. If you already have a Google Analytics account and want to setup a GA4 profile too, use the setup wizard in your Google Analytics administrator area.

  1. Create a new Google Analytics Account
  2. Name your account
  3. Setup your property
  4. Click on “Show Advanced Options”
  5. Select the slider to “Create a Universal Analytics property”
  6. Do you need to create a GA4 and a Universal Analytics property?
    1. In the least you need a Universal Analytics property. It’s recommended you have both. Select (or leave selected) the “Create both a Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics property” radio button.
      1. Enter the canonical URL for your homepage for Universal Analytics property
      2. Name your property and select the correct timezone for the GA4 property
    2. If you only need a Universal Analytics property (for instance, if you accidentally created a GA4 property already and now need a Universal Analytics property) select the “Create a Universal Analytics property” radio button and then enter the requested information.
  7. Click “Next”
  8. Optional: provide information about your website for benchmarking data.
  9. Accept the TOS from Google Analytics
  10. Add your code to your website.

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