Google’s Universal Analytics Is Being Sunset: Here’s What You Should Do
In April 2022, Google began sending emails informing users that Universal Analytics (UA) will be sunset in mid-2023. They’ve placed a date of July 1, 2023, as the day that UA will stop collecting new hits and displaying them in your dashboard. This means that you need to have been on Google’s new platform, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) for at least a few weeks prior to this switch; the longer, the better. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between GA4 and UA and why this is happening in the first place.
What’s The Difference Between UA and GA4?
Universal Analytics was designed with desktop browsing in mind – ten years ago. That may not seem like a long time ago, but in 2012, businesses were not seeing the same viewership as they are today. Nowadays, mobile browsing makes up more than 50% of website views, especially for sites like social media giants. UA was built from the previous “OG” Google Analytics that relied on desktop technology, and we need new tools for this highly mobile market we live in today. This is where Google Analytics 4 comes into play.
What Is Google Analytics 4?
GA4 brings new functionality to your tracking dashboard, including keeping track of app installs. With Google Analytics 4, users can also track the customer journey across platforms since each end-user has a unique signature that can be followed between desktop and mobile devices. GA4 also shines when it comes to privacy and compliance issues, boasting newer, more robust encryption and secure connections that protect viewers’ personal information.
How Do I Switch to GA4?
The process is very similar to the setup for your Universal Analytics account. You can use the Google Analytics dashboard to “Create New Property” or add a GA4 sub-property. Some properties can also be directly upgraded, especially if you don’t already have a GA4 property on this user account already.
Should I Switch to GA4 Now?
Honestly, it’s better to do this step sooner rather than later. Since it’s no issue having two tracking methods on a website, Marketing Matters for example did this when GA4 was first announced more than a year ago. Now that we know a sunset is coming, and when, your business can make the decision to switch at the best time. The sooner you switch, the more back data you will have to make marketing calls with. Keep in mind that on July 1, 2023, UA will stop collecting data from hits on your site. If you wait until this day to switch, you will have a gap of about 24-48 hours in data. For many reasons, it makes more sense to set up a GA4 account now and let it collect data, even if you don’t yet use its insights.
What if I Was Using 360 UA?
The Google Analytics tool 360 Universal Analytics is also being sunset, just 3 months later on October 1, 2023. If you are currently using this tool, rather than traditional UA, you’ll still need to migrate sooner or later. As we’ve discussed, it’s better to spend the time transferring everything you’ll need in advance so that the platform can build up a history of data for you to act upon.
Are you currently using UA or 360 UA? If so, start thinking about setting up your website’s GA4 property soon. If you aren’t sure what your analytics tool is using, get in touch with your marketing expert or Marketing Matters. Odds are, they’ve seen this email that Google sent out, and they may already be switching everything over. Above all, be in the know; this will always ensure that you can make solid decisions for your business!