Universal Analytics Will Stop Measuring In July - Now's The Time To Switch To Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

From the effectiveness of landing pages and demographic information to traffic sources, and website conversions. These are just some of the key metrics Google Analytics can show businesses to help understand the effectiveness of a website and ensure that their business performs at its best. Without this data to make strategic and informed marketing decisions on, it would be like making key choices blind.  

Many businesses use Universal Analytics (UA), however from July 2023, the universal version will stop collecting data. Whilst businesses will still be able to gain historical data for up to 6 months after this cut-off, all data from Universal Analytics will be gone. It is therefore vital you collect the necessary data NOW before switching to GA4. 

What Is GA4 And How Is It Different From Universal Analytics?

GA4 is the latest version of Google Analytics and the main difference is that it combines app and web data in one place for the first time. This is great news for measuring the overall effectiveness of your digital presence.

We are moving towards a more cookieless world and GA4 has taken this into account. Currently, when users opt out of cookies, it becomes extremely difficult to track these users, and therefore a new way of measuring web traffic was needed. GA4 focuses on tracking “events” on websites rather than specific users to overcome this challenge. Extensive machine learning is used to help fill in the gaps of users who have not consented to cookies, meaning businesses can still gain critical insights whilst still remaining GDPR compliant. 

When you first migrate over to GA4 you will notice some differences. To begin with, it will look a little different and the dashboard will be more focused on the user life cycle. Some metrics will change with more emphasis on engagement metrics.  Reports will also be a bit different, with access to new types of reports and data that weren't previously available. 

What Are The Benefits Of GA4?

Not only will the reporting be for app and web in one place, but GA4 has also been designed to be more efficient, more flexible, more intelligent, and have privacy as a key focus. 

Now that more and more people are opting out of cookies, the new machine learning model of GA4 can help businesses who have noticed a drop off in traffic using Universal Analytics. In a lot of cases, this drop is simply due to more people opting out of cookies. GA4 can help fill in this gap and continue providing you data for these users which you currently cannot access. 

How To Prepare For The Switch To GA4

It can seem like a daunting task to migrate over to GA4 but it doesn't have to be. There are certain things you can put in place now to make sure you and your business are prepared for when July comes.  

  • Migrate to GA4 as soon as you can. The longer you have getting used to the new analytics will make you feel more comfortable when you move to solely using GA4. It also allows more time to build up data 
  • Use GA4 alongside your current analytics until July. It will help you understand what the differences are and ease yourself into using the new system.  

Having data for your website is vital and from July, GA4 will be the only analytics from Google so ensure you have a plan in place to ensure your Analytics suddenly stops measuring your website and that you give yourself enough time to get used to the new system. Whilst it may be a daunting prospect to work with something new, the improvements and changes in functionality that GA4 provides can help take your analytics to the next level.  

If you need any advice on how to switch to GA4 please get in touch with the DBS team.

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