Google Analytics 4 to Supersede Universal Analytics (UA)
Google has announced that Universal Analytics (UA) will be discontinued from 1st July 2023 with Google Analytics 4 taking its place.
The news has significant implications for the future of website traffic measurement. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) represents a shift in analytics reporting and only temporary historical support for Google’s long-standing ‘Universal’ platform will be available after the announced end date.
As UA has been operating since 2014, many of its users have become very reliant on the tool to track website performance. The announcement from Google has set a deadline for website owners and analysts who plan to continue to use Google’s tools, going forward.
If you haven’t already started, it’s time to get on board with Google’s new style of measuring data.
When will Google Universal Analytics be replaced by GA4?
From 1 July 2023, Google Analytics will no longer support website properties using Universal Analytics (GA3).
Why is Google ending Universal Analytics?
Google describe their revamped GA4 as a ‘next-generation measurement solution’. The main differences to consider are that it is an events-based system of measuring website traffic, along with additional features which include predictive data insights and enhanced Google Ads integration.
GA4 also allows businesses to track their websites alongside other properties they own such as mobile apps.
What do you need to do to prepare for the change?
GA4 first launched in December 2020 and has been in beta mode for some time, this has meant that some website owners and digital marketers have already used the opportunity to get to know the new tool’s functionalities.
It’s important to note that GA4 is not simply an updated version. There are some big differences to get used to – not just changes to the reporting interface – but the moving of goalposts in terms of measurement too. Are you ready for the changes?
Protect your historical Analytics data
When the end date for Universal Analytics comes around next year, Google claims that existing site data will be available for a further six months at least. It is advised that during that time, any historical data should be exported to prevent the risk of losing it for good. Google has not yet set an end date for when historical Universal Analytics properties can be accessed.
Check your Analytics property type
If you’ve had a brand new website built in the last year, the chances are you are already connected up with GA4.
Thankfully Google has made it really simple with instructions to identify if you’re using ‘Universal’ Analytics or GA4. Properties with an identifier which includes UA at the start denote a Universal account, whereas ID’s that have just a string of numbers will be GA4-ready accounts.
Start using Google Analytics 4 now
If you are solely reliant on Universal Analytics it is time to prepare to use GA4. There is no need to wait for Universal Analytics to run its course right through to the end date. Google Tag Manager makes the installation of a GA4 property straightforward and can run in parallel alongside Universal Analytics. Taking this approach will allow time to grow accustomed to the new tools and make a smooth transition from Universal to GA4.
This article was written by David Lakins of Key Digital
A non-profit organisation WSX Enterprise runs a wide range of projects delivering business support in the UK as well as working with partners in Europe. As some examples, our projects support access to finance, digital skills, start-up guidance, and general business advice. Our team includes a wide range of business advisors from a breadth of industry experience supporting small and medium-sized businesses across our region.