Google has decided that 2023 will be the end of the road for Universal Analytics. The company announced on Wednesday that they retire the current version of Analytics next year.
The announcement comes due to Google dropping support for third-party cookies in favour of user data privacy.
If you haven’t set up your Google Analytics 4 (GA4) properties yet, now is the time.
You have well over a year to learn and get used to GA4. But, we recommend configuring your GA4 dashboard now. Setting up the new system early will enable it to start tracking the metrics you care about. So, when 2023 comes, you'll be able to reference historical data.
How will the new Google Analytics affect your business?
If you don’t get round to transitioning over to GA4 by the July date given, not all is lost. You will still have access to your Universal Analytics data for six months (from 07/2023), but it will be in read-only format.
Despite the Marmite feeling of love and hate towards GA4, it seems Google sees a future with this platform and will be taking its place as a higher priority.
It’s expected that Google will resolve the existing limitations to ‘Collection’ and ‘Configuration’ that we've seen in GA4, hopefully before they scrap Universal Analytics for good.
How to Prepare for GA4.
Transitioning from Universal Google Analytics to GA4 can seem daunting. But if you start to organise your data strategy now, the transition can be seamless and easy.
We recommend setting up parallel tracking in both UA and GA4. Switching on GA4 now will help to build a bank of historical data before you commit to the new platform.
To compare fundamental interactions within separate datasets, set up GA4 now. Early adoption will all you to maintain year-on-year oversight, monitoring growth and areas for improvement.
Set up your GA4 before the 1st July 2022 to make sure you have a full year of data before you switch over to the new system completely.
Tips from our Analytics ExpertsOur team have given these five pointers in preparation for the changes coming in 2023:
- Document all existing tracking in Universal Analytics.
- Install Google Analytics 4 in tandem with your existing Universal Analytics account.
- Define what you actually need to measure using GA4. By understanding your requirements and key metrics, you'll know where to start when it comes to setting up your new analytics platform.
- Plan your event naming taxonomy. The new Analytics model is more intuitive and flexible than the previous model. Make the most of the new structure!
- Consider training your colleagues and clients - educate your team about how data and reporting will change. GA4 is a platform with multiple uses and more than one of your team will be using it over time, so it’s a good idea to invest in bringing everyone up to speed.
Our overriding advice to all clients is to run both Google Analytics UA and GA4 in parallel. This maximises your data collection.
This advice remains unchanged based on the recent announcement from Google. But Google's deadline for migrating to GA4 has expedited the need to set up parallel Analytics tagging.
If you are running a free version of Google Universal Analytics, then you have until July 2023 to get GA4 implemented and working, to ensure you have Year-on-Year comparison data. If you’re running the paid version then you have a little longer to achieve the same.