Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google’s web analytics platform. If you’re already tracking your website using the previous version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) then you’ve probably received an email from Google suggesting that you upgrade. But, it’s not that simple.
Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics
Compared to Universal Analytics, Google Analytics 4 comes with several new reporting features. It also gives you more detailed insights into how people interact with your website, thanks to out-of-the-box events tracking. Additionally, GA4 has the ability to track both websites and apps in the same account. While Universal Analytics can only track websites.
However, alongside a redesign and navigational changes, the way data is stored and processed in GA4 (the data architecture) is completely different. So finding and reading that data in the new interface isn’t exactly beginner friendly. Also, several existing features from Universal Analytics, such as bounce rate, are not available.
So, how do you take advantage of the new features in Google Analytics 4, while keeping the best bits of Universal Analytics? The answer is to use dual tracking. If you have manually installed the gtag.js tag for Universal Analytics, then you may be able to use the same tag for GA4 too. However, any tag customisations will not be replicated.
Thankfully, if your website is built on WordPress, then MonsterInsights (the Google Analytics plugin that we use to track our website) provides an easy solution.
How to set up Google Analytics dual tracking in WordPress
Step 1: Go to analytics.google.com and click Admin. Then select the Universal Analytics property for your WordPress website and click GA4 Setup Assistant.
Step 2: Click Get Started under I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property.
Step 3: On the pop-up, deselect Enable data collection using your existing tags as we are using MonsterInsights for dual tracking instead. Then click Create property. This will create a new GA4 property linked to your Universal Analytics property, with the same name and time zone.
Step 4: Click See your GA4 property.
Step 5: Under the Property column, click into Setup Assistant and select Tag Installation.
Step 6: Find the Measurement ID for your new GA4 property (it should look like G-XXXXXXXXXX where the X’s are numbers). Click the copy icon to copy it onto your clipboard.
Step 7: Make sure you have the Monster insights plugin installed and activated on your WordPress website.
Step 8: While in your WordPress admin, go to Insights » Settings. Within the Google Authentication section, you’ll find Dual Tracking Profile field. Paste your Measurement ID here.
Step 9: The Measurement Protocol API Secret field will then appear. Paste your Secret Value here and the settings will automatically save. The Measurement Protocol API Secret allows your site to send tracking data to Google Analytics. To retrieve it, follow this guide.
You did it! Your WordPress website is now being tracking using Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics at the same time. You’ll be able to continue to use Google Analytics in the same way that you’ve been used to, while future-proofing your site by collecting useful data in GA4.