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GA4 Implementation Time?

Download our Google Analytics 4 (GA4) implementation checklist to learn if:

  • You are overcomplicating your process
  • Your implementation follows best practices
  • You are ready for when GA4 fully replaces UA
  • How to avoid any future “Oh $#!+” moments

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The Numbers Don't Lie









Analytics mobile view for GA4 implementation

We hear you. But the longer you wait, the sooner July 1, 2023 is going to come. On that day, Google is going to snap their fingers... and the GA you’ve grown to know and love is going to cease to exist. 

Implementing GA4 is more than a change of tracking scripts and fields in Google Tag Manager. Instead, your plan is the first step towards shifting how your company measures web performance. This checklist includes:

Not sure how to start your GA4 implementation?

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Steve D’Angelo - DOM GA4 Implementation Sr. Digital Advertising Analyst

DOM Senior Digital Advertising Analyst Steve D'Angelo is certified in multiple disciplines of digital marketing and advertising from Google (including Google Analytics) and HubSpot. He has spent his entire career helping growing and enterprise companies in data-driven industries like healthcare, technology, and insurance create actionable measurement strategies so they can fully utilize their complex analytics setups. 

Steve D'Angelo
DOM Senior Digital Analyst

Dana Schumacher - DOM GA4 Implementation Sr. Digital Analyst

DOM Senior Digital Analyst Dana Schumacher is a Google Analytics Qualified Individual who was one of the first hires at DOM specifically dedicated to campaign analysis. Prior to joining our team to help our clients grow their SEO and social media campaigns with greater confidence, Dana spent over a decade serving as an in-house analyst for publicly traded enterprises,  eCommerce companies, and software development firms.

Dana Schumacher
DOM Senior Digital Analyst

  • What you need to plan and prepare before getting started
  • 15 settings to review as you prepare properties, data streams, and data collections
  • Tips for setting up event and conversion tracking
  • Applicable integrations to connect
  • 3 best practices hand selected by our team of digital analysts

Whether you are:

  • A seasoned marketing leader responsible for data-driven decision making 
  • A growth hacker at a high-growth company always looking for the next opportunity 
  • An emerging pro who regularly reports to leadership from Google Analytics

Whether or not you’ve already implemented GA4, are you sure it's setup to provide your marketing team with meaningful insights?

You don’t have to dread the day when you need to use GA4 full time to get the same insights you’ve come to expect from Universal Google Analytics. 

You need to invest the time to review, plan, and strategize if you want to get meaningful insights when you implement Google Analytics 4. This checklist is the perfect setup guide for you to audit your GA4 platform to make sure it's properly optimized.

GA4 implementation - who should download this GA4 checklist?

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How Do You Test GA4 After It Is Implemented?

After you have installed GA4, click the Preview button in the top right corner. If possible, always send your test traffic to your site while GA4 is in DebugView or GTM preview mode to ensure it is working as expected. 

Select a high-traffic webpage of your site, like the homepage or another specific page's URL, and then press Start.

How Long Does It Take To Implement GA4?

Implementing GA4 may seem like a straightforward process, but there are some layers of complexity that may change the implementation times based on things like: 

  • Your access to (and comfort level with) Google Tag Manager (GTM)

  • The amount of:

    • Data streams you need

    • Custom events you need to set up

    • Integrations you need to apply

  • If you need to enable Google Signals

  • Whether or not you have the ability to acknowledge the User Data Collection Agreement on behalf of your company

According to Google, once you have finished testing and debugging, there should be about a 30-minute delay before your GA4 property starts populating with data.

How Do You Deploy GA4?

As we mentioned above, there are a lot of variables that can alter the amount of time you will need to invest in completing a GA4 implementation. 

We recommend installing GA4 via GTM. Assuming you are starting with a blank slate to deploy GA4, you can follow these steps to make it live.

  1. Add a new tag to GTM

  2. Select Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration

  3. Enter your Measurement ID

  4. Deploy your updated GTM  

  5. Test GA4 to see if it is registering site visits

However, even if you are starting with a blank slate deployment, there are a lot of customized features and settings you need to set up if you want GA4 to be a critical part of your data-driven decision-making.

Does GA4 Have ‘Hit’ Limits?

As a free to use tool, there are no “hit” limits in GA4.

Why Should I Switch To GA4?

In addition to making it easier to follow a visitor's journey, our agency President Justin Seibert makes the reason to switch pretty clear in a recent post. 

You Have No Choice, So Just Flipping Do It!

So does this mean you should wait like the grasshopper until June 30th, 2023 to switch? We would urge you in the strongest terms not to wait for the following reasons:

  1. Universal Analytics and GA4 pull data differently, so they aren’t apples-to-apples comparisons. You’ll want to run both versions side-by-side so you can compare the two.

  2. Some of the metrics – like engagement rate – are brand new, as is the user interface. Give yourself time to get educated and used to everything new.

  3. Custom implementations – if you want to go that route – can take 6-8 weeks or more.  

Want more information on the end of life for Google Universal Analytics properties? Click here.

Does GA4 Work Without Cookies?

GA4 can work with or without cookies. Its built-in machine learning and statistical modeling helps fill in any data gaps that are promoted as privacy-centric. The digital world is becoming less dependent on cookies for tracking users, and GA4 has been designed to be relevant and valuable in both modern and future-state web environments.

Why Is GA4 Better Than Universal Analytics?

According to our Senior Digital Advertising Analyst Steve D’Angelo, it is clear that Google designed GA4 to be a more customizable, future-proof tool than its predecessor. By moving to event-based collection, GA4 is better than Universal Analytics because it is more flexible, scalable, and customizable.

The event-based model allows for all hits to be stored as a single data type. This is a welcome shift for analysts who have longed for improved granularity and have used workarounds (via hit-scoped custom dimensions) to segment and analyze data on a hit-by-hit basis. This constant and granular measurement of interactions across web streams provides you with even richer insights from your data.

For more on the differences between the two platforms, check out this recent post Steve wrote.

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