Earlier this month, Google announced the official end-of-life for Google Analytics 3: Universal Analytics and rallied partners and customers to prepare to migrate to its successor, Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
To quote Google directly, “Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions, and more easily observable data from cookies.” Today, organizations engage online with audiences who consume content with multiple devices and across multiple channels, including apps and, sometimes, multiple websites.
Growing consumer privacy concerns and evolving data privacy regulations also require organizations to rethink how they track customer journeys. While Universal Analytics offers limited privacy settings, GA4 is designed with user privacy at its core, with an anonymized model for tracking user behavior (no longer storing IP addresses) and detailed country-level privacy controls.
While Universal Analytics was built around the concept of “hits” (like page views), GA4 provides an event-based data model to measure traffic across websites and apps with or without cookies. Google continues to add new features to GA4, with a roadmap that includes:
- Built-in funnel reporting and user journey exploration
- New attribution options to enable more granular conversion tracking and reporting
- Comprehensive revenue reporting, including a Google Ad Manager integration
- Predictive analytics powered by AI
- Combined reporting across websites and apps for multi-channel digital properties
For those interested in a deeper dive into the differences between Universal Analytics and GA4, Google has published a detailed technical comparison.
To provide site owners with time to transition to GA4, Universal Analytics will remain available for the next year. According to their current schedule:
- Standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023;
- Google 360 Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on October 1, 2023;
- Universal Analytics data will remain available until at least January 2024.
10up’s Audience Strategy team and analytics experts are well-equipped to support the transition to GA4, explore the benefits of GA4’s new features, and explore alternatives where appropriate. Over the coming months, we’ll be reaching out to impacted clients to discuss migration and data continuity. We’ve also partnered with Google for the ongoing development of Google SiteKit, their official Analytics integration for WordPress, which integrates GA4 for basic tracking and reporting.
If you’d like to discuss a strategy or support for your organization’s analytics plan, including migration to GA4, reach out! We’re here to help.