You’ve probably already heard the big news – Google Analytics is being retired! More specifically, we’re bidding goodbye to Universal Analytics, also known as GA3 – the most commonly-used version of Google Analytics.
As of 1st July 2023, Universal Analytics (UA) will no longer be processing data and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will take over. Here’s a link to the official announcement made back in March
Premium account users (GA 360) have a bit of additional time until 1st October 2023.
Well, since the announcement made in March, what have you actually done about it?
The most urgent task at hand is to make the switch as soon as possible. Or better yet, use both versions simultaneously so you can compare the differences, and slowly sink your teeth into GA4.
The main issue is that it will not be possible to move historical data over from UA to GA4. So, although there’s plenty of time before the official retirement date, if you don’t hop on the GA4 bandwagon NOW, you will lose out on a whole year’s worth of historical data to compare against once UA is well and truly gone next year.
Year-on-year data comparisons are an integral part of marketing and sales. A business can be greatly impacted by a lack of performance comparison stats. You don’t want to be left with a ‘gap year’ simply because Google Analytics made an upgrade, do you?
No excuses, no disruption. Get ahead now!
If you would like us to do it for you please schedule a chat to discuss the possibilities and pricing.
Why is this happening?
Recent data protection and privacy laws (including GDPR) are forcing a trend of going cookieless. Gathering user data has become a lot more complicated – prioritising data privacy and maintaining transparency have become the need of the hour. Third-party cookies will soon become a thing of the past.
UA has relied on tracking users with session-based browser cookies. GA4, on the other hand, uses event-based data tracking, where an event can be the click of a button or any other user action, with no cookie tracking at all.
UA vs GA4 – Main Differences
There are a number of differences that make GA4 a much-improved version of Google Analytics. Here are the main ones.
- Session-based tracking
- Limited user privacy
- Limited support for cross-device /cross-platform reports
- Basic machine learning
Google Analytics 4
- Event-based tracking
- Fully supports cross-device /cross-platform reports
- Advanced machine learning
For a comprehensive list of differences, see this article from Google Support.
First, check which version of Google Analytics you are using. If you started using Google Analytics after October 14, 2020, you’re probably using GA4 already, in which case you won’t need to do anything further.
If you started using Google Analytics before October 14, 2020, you’re probably using Universal Analytics.
If you’re not sure if you are using Universal Analytics, check the property ID of your account. If it begins with UA followed by a bunch of numbers, you are indeed using Universal Analytics. GA4 property IDs only consist of numbers.
If you are still using Universal Analytics:
- Create a GA4 account TODAY
- Set up a GA4 property alongside your existing Universal Analytics property
- Set up Google Ads and other advanced features
- Define UA goals as GA4 conversions
- You may need to set up Google Tag Manager along with GA4 if you plan to track conversions
- Export historical data from UA (available for up to 6 months after the official stop date)
Still Not Sure What to Do?
If all this feels like a bit of information overload, or you are unsure about how to set it all up, Globemrk Digital Studio is here to do all of that for you!