Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will soon be the only supported version of Google’s Universal Analytics (UA). Whilst a future date for when UA will no longer be available is yet to be disclosed this is going to impact your business, and you need to take action. But what does the transition to GA4 mean for your business and your data?
Why is UA going?
UA – an essential part of a digital toolkit – is going. It will officially sunset in July 2023. Its replacement, GA4, will soon be the only supported version of analytics.
GA4 will have more benefits over UA, including:
- Track website and app data – or both
UA only lets you track websites, not apps. With GA4, you’ll be able to to track both website and app data. This is great because you’ll get more accurate tracking abilities, especially with more businesses relying on apps.
- Privacy changes
The privacy changes will allow you to comply with GDPR requirements. This is because your IP address will no longer be logged, but your location will still be available. This removes a potential compliance risk when transferring potential data.
- Collect more data
You’ll gain a clearer understanding of your customer’s journey by being able to collect additional data out-of-the-box with the enhanced measurement function. This includes data collected through scrolling, outbound clicks, video engagement and more.
- Improved debugging experience
An improved debugging experience allows you to view debugs directly in the interface. This is important to quickly validate your analytics configuration. With GA4, you’ll be able to directly import data to see where the issue might be if you’re using the Google Tag Manager Chrome extension.
When do I need to switch?
Google’s UA will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. For at least the first six months after this date, you can continue to use and collect data in UA. However, Google advises to use GA4 and export your historical reports as soon as possible.
There are some other dates to keep in mind to check if your Google Analytics property is impacted. If you created a UA property after October 14, 2020, you’re likely using GA4 already, so you won’t need to do anything.
Get a full year of data
Analytics delivers most value when there’s a high volume of data to look at. If you want a full year of data to compare within GA4 the date to consider is June 30, 2022. This is so you can build necessary historical data and usage in the new property, so you have continuity once Google’s UA is no longer available.
The longer you leave it before making the switch, the less comparable data you will have available on the same platform.
Difference between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics
Sadly, we’re losing some of our much-loved features of GA, including bounce rate, pages per session, and average time per session. These will be replaced with ‘engaged’ sessions as the primary behaviour measurement to help track what your audience is interested in.
While we’re losing the aspects mentioned above, we’re also gaining as GA4 will collect data from both websites and apps. This will help to better understand the customer’s journey. It also uses events instead of session-based data and includes privacy controls (cookieless measurement, behavioural and conversion modelling).
We’ll be losing menus such as audience, acquisition, behaviour and conversion. Instead, we’ll see a ‘Lifecycle’ section that divides analysis into acquisition, engagement, monetisation and retention.
You’ll also see a ‘User’ section focusing on user demographics and technology. With analysis tools being more focused on user engagement, GA4 allows you to get a clearer idea of your customer’s journey.
Support with setting up Google Analytics 4
Our experts at Spindogs can help you map out the migration process and identify KPIs you will need to focus on in GA4. We can also get you set up alongside Google’s UA to make sure you’re comfortable using the new platform.
We’re here to help you with the transition to GA4. Our team of experts have been researching the new system to help train you. We will help you to demystify the new platform and support you with the transition.
Now is the time to make the switch, not just for that valuable year-on-year comparable data but also so you can start getting comfortable with the platform.
So, a round-up of the key dates are…
- Before October 14, 2020 – you’re likely using Google’s Universal Analytics and will have to switch to GA4 eventually
- After October 14, 2020 – it’s likely you’re already using GA4 and have no need to switch, however, we can still support you as you’re getting used to the platform
- June 30, 2022 – you should move over to GA4 by this date if you want a full year of data to compare
- July 1, 2023 – Google’s Universal Analytics stops processing new hits
- October 1, 2023 – 360 UA properties stop processing new hits
We’re here to support the transition to meet your business goals, whether it’s for something as simple as more information on GA4 or Google Analytics 4 training.
Get in touch by filling out the form below to discuss options and support ready for the 30th. If you can’t make the 30th deadline, we are still here to help and support. It will just mean you don’t have a full year of data by the time it switches.