Three risks to consider for an automatic GA4 setup

If you haven't been following the latest tracking and analytics news, Google announced in February that they will be automatically setting up GA4 configurations to mirror Universal Analytics (UA) settings for all Google Analytics accounts that have yet to set up GA4 tracking by the end of this month.

As a recap to this point, GA4 is Google’s next-generation measurement that collects both website and app data to better understand the customer journey. It replaces the standard Universal Analytics, which on July 1, 2023, will stop processing new hits.

The latest update from Google may come as a relief for many as the GA4 setup can be challenging. But with this response of an easier switchover, there are risks and potential drawbacks when relying on Google to set up your new GA4 property automatically. As such, it's important to be aware of these issues to help mitigate them.

Below are three risks that come with the automatic GA4 setup:

  1. Personal Identifiable Information (PII): The new GA4 property lacks safeguards to prevent the inclusion of PII in collected data. Organizations that gather and use this kind of data on their sites or web apps risk inadvertently running afoul of PII laws by relying solely on the automatic GA4 setup.
  2. Data Filtering: Unlike in Universal Analytics, filters that used to be applied at the view level must now be applied at the time of data collection using Google Tag Manager.
  3. Event Names: Events from Universal Analytics will be imported automatically into GA4 but with a 40-character name limit, which could pose a problem for organizations that use a complex naming system for their events.

The akhia digital team continues to keep an eye on updates from Google. As with any change like this, it’s good to have partners who understand and can help guide, answer questions, check on progress and anticipate further risks to enable a successful transition.