Yesterday, Google announced its plan to sunset Universal Analytics in 2023 in favour of Google Analytics 4.
Originally introduced over two years ago, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) offers an enhanced experience of analytics with the ability to measure many different types of data across both websites and apps. Its overarching aim is to provide businesses with a more unified view of customer journeys.
With its new capabilities, GA4 promises a deeper understanding of customers across touchpoints, providing a greater ability to move users through the funnel. It works upon an event-based measurement model that isn’t siloed by platform or individual sessions, allowing the entirety of the customers’ experience to be tracked.
Importantly, in terms of data protection and privacy, GA4 does not rely solely on cookies or store IP addresses. This, in effect, will help brands comply with privacy regulations as part of Google’s shift to prioritise user experience whilst meeting evolving expectations around personal data.
In addition, GA4 utilises Google’s machine learning technology to derive and predict new insights aimed at informing marketing decisions.
So, when will this happen?
Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on the 1st of July 2023 with Analytics 360 properties stopping processing hits three months later, on the 1st of October 2023.
The countdown is on and approaching quickly. What should you do? Prepare. Here’s how.
Start by asking yourself the following key questions every analytics owner should be considering:
Do you have a detailed plan in place to migrate to GA4?
Are you using this as an opportunity to consider alternative analytics tools?
How will you mitigate historical data loss during the migration?
What’s your plan to train staff on GA4 once it’s in place?
Our Director of Data Services, Owen Davies explained the importance of getting ahead now:
"Preparing for the update is key at this stage. Ensuring that 15 months down the line - when Universal Analytics stops processing new data - your teams are well versed in GA4. If organisations haven’t made the move to GA4 as yet I recommend putting in plans to do so now, even allowing time for both UA and GA4 to run in parallel. This will allow analytics & insights and marketing teams time to familiarise themselves with GA4’s user interface and features. The UI, reporting structure, and terminology have all changed. Although Google have announced that data will still be available in UA for a while post the July date next year, the sooner that GA4 is configured, the more historical data will be available in the new property. If organisations don’t currently have visibility on the digital data that they need to pull out insights, the move to GA4 is a good opportunity to put that right."
If you’re not sure where to start or have questions, our team would be delighted to talk it through. You can email Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.